Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 10, 2007 03:35 PM

The best potato for French fries?

Which one is best?, what oil?, I usually use veg oil, my grandmother used lard, and they were awesome, but even a few points lower on the health o meter, the best I've had were In-N-out, I would love to duplicate them at home, thanks .

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I use Idahos. I do the double fry method. 325 F. for the first fry then 350-365 F for the second. I usually use veg. oil but I do sometimes add some lard. Also with my fried chicken. The lard I get is produced by a local farm and has no partially hydrogenated fats. It is pure rendered laf lard. OMG is it good expecailly for meat pies.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      French fries are one of those items that is just better to find a good outside source for me. I seldom deep fry anything else, and I mean deep fry, as in using alot of oil. Gotta store the oil to reuse, or more $$ one t ime use. Cannot use oil used for anything meat.

      Double fry is best, dropping single dry fresh Idahos strings.

      I guess because I grew up in the business and worked in it, I still think, what is the Real Cost to make some item at home. French Fries are not it.

      1. re: Quine

        They have those oil-filtering shelf-top fryers that look pretty decent now... I've never used one, but a friend got one for a wedding present and seems to like it. I just get some peanut oil going in a dutch oven... works pretty well. Messy, but tasty. I always make sure I'm going to get several uses out of the oil over the course of a week or so... it's a shame to use it once and throw it out.

        Agreed on the double frying.... it is essential for french fries. And make sure to use a thermometer... Seems to be a more reliable indicator than time spent in the oil.

      2. re: Candy

        Ooh, I wish I could get some good lard. Mmmm.... lard...

        1. re: AbdulSheikhMohammed

          I'm told lard is awesome for cooking goat....

      3. Try Kennebecs if you can find them. Berkeley Bowl has them sometimes. Good starchy potato. Cut them, soak them, dry them and fry them. I second the nomination for good lard. Duck fat or goose fat also makes a superior fry. McD's used to fry in beef tallow for a really great tasting fry. Hard to find.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jdm

          You can render tallow from suet (just like lard is rendered from pork fat), which can often be found in better meat markets. Of course, home-rendered fats are often a bit impure and may smoke.

          Tallow fries were available in Canadian McDonalds long after being discontinued in the US - US fries have never been as good since the switch (the reputation of McDonald's fries is resting on stale laurels, in other words).

          Interestingly, I remember comparing the caloric values of Canadian (tallow-fried) and US (all vegetable oil fried) fries for the same portion sizes: the US fries had 30% *more* calories, albeit with less cholesterol (with transfats, of course...).

          1. re: Karl S

            Usually tallow is rendered beef fat. Not bad either.

        2. Idaho russet potatoes are standard for American fries. In Europe they generally use potatoes similar to Yukon Golds. What's best? That's a matter of personal preference. So is your choice of oil. Me, I like the crispness of corn oil. Others find that taste overpowers the taste of the potato. Beef fat is wonderful but it is difficult for most home cooks to accumulate enough of it for deep frying. Some day I'll save up a quart or two of duck fat and then watch out...

          1. There is a lot of good advice on this thread. I use peanut oil. It's not as healthy as canola (healthy - deep fry???), but gives less of a flavor to the food. In a comparison test with lard, minimally processed lard is available at hispanic markets here in LA, my tasters preferred the peanut oil fried potatoes to those fried in lard. I use russets, soak them in ice water for at least 1/2 hour, and use the double fry method mentioned several times above. Another trick I picked up from "Cooks Illustrated" is to dust the potatoes with either corn or potato starch before the first fry. This helps crisp the end product.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ebethsdad

              Canola's health reputation is a function of great marketing. Besides, at high temperatures, the oil gives off a fishy flavor (it's because of its fat structure) that many but not all people are quite aware of, for which reason it shouldn't be use for high heat cooking unless you know none of the guests suffer from being aware of that...

              1. re: ebethsdad

                GREAT tip about dusting with a starch! I can't wait to give that a try.

              2. I too like lard, or peanut oil. Olive oil also makes a wonderful fryFries made with freshly dug potatoes are well worth the effort. The local potatoes here where I live, which are grown for potato chips, make excellent fries; they are Norwis. For generally available potatoes, Russets.