French fries have for long been accompanying burgers and a lot more dishes, as starters or snacks. But a lot of people bake frozen fries thinking it’s healthier. However, recently, a thought crossed my mind – are frozen french fries fried before freezing?
As a general rule, frozen french fries are fried before being frozen. In fact, they have also been blanched (to increase their shelf life) and then fried in oil (to make them crispy & quick to cook). Baking at home is simply to reheat them.
However, knowing this is not enough, as it raises many more questions like, which oils are used in frying french fries before packing and whether frozen fries are healthier than fast food fries.
But we’ll also get into the steps of making frozen french fries, and which frozen fries brands is the healthiest. So dive in, and I will cruise you through all these questions and more.
How are frozen French fries made?
Frozen french fries are made from potatoes that have been washed and peeled. Then they are cut into slices and blanched in boiling water to soften them slightly. After cooling and drying, they are then fried in oil, had the excess oil drailed, and then flash-frozen and packaged.
To make french fries, you have to peel and cut potatoes into strips. Big surprise, huh?
After cutting them into strips, they’re typically washed or soaked in cold water to remove the starch from the surface. Besides, removing the starch is what makes your fries crispy instead of turning the fries into a crumbly mess.
Blanching is the next step in the process, which includes putting the fries into boiling water for a short period and then into cold water immediately after.
Blanching is proven to get rid of any food pathogens, it preserves the color of the fries, and it helps remove starch and reduce any moisture in the fries.
Next, the fries are dried before frying in oil!
Fun fact! Did you know that only the large oval-shaped potatoes are cut for french fries? The smaller circle potatoes are separated and used for curly fries.
Actually, the best way to see how fries are made is to watch the episode of How It’s Made. It shows everything from the potatoes jumping on the conveyer belt to the potato slices being sorted by machines.
So this leaves us with the question about which oil is used for frying them. Let’s see.
If you love frozen french fries, you have got to try them in the air fryer. Air fryer french fries are honestly one of my favorite treats. I love how the air fryer crisps up the fries without oil.https://t.co/qYACbULbZP pic.twitter.com/g2uDoBMjjL
— Cindy Gordon (@VegetarianMamma) November 1, 2019
Do frozen French fries have oil?
Almost all brands of frozen french fries use vegetable oil and/or palm oil to cook their fries before freezing them. Baking them at home is simply to reheat the already-fried french fries.
Palm oil is high in saturated fat. Vegetable oil isn’t that healthy since when it heats up, the unsaturated fats in it may cause inflammation.
While neither of these is extremely bad for making fries, there are better options.
I have a recent article that talks about the best oil to use for frying frozen french fries and homemade fries. And these oils are canola, refined peanut, sunflower, or corn oil.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
Remember your french fries have already been cooked twice, so there isn’t a need to deep fry them again. Lightly oil them with olive oil and put them in an air fryer!
When it comes to oil on frozen fries, the less, the better, however, if you’re going to make fries at home, then yes, you will have to go through a bit of oil.
Irrespective of how you like your fries, remember to choose a healthy oil and use less salt. Most frozen fries already have a lot of sodium on them.
French fries freshly made from fresh potatoes, double fried and never frozen are the best french fries! Great tasting and not unhealthy. 🙂 pic.twitter.com/hRz825oGkz
— Pawel Gabrysiewicz (@pawelekg) November 19, 2018
What are the healthiest frozen fries?
The healthiest frozen french fries would be those from Alexia which are not fried in trans fats, and of their fries, their sweet potato fries have less sodium and calories per serving than those made from regular potatoes. But Cascadian Farm Organic French Fries are also among the healthiest frozen french fries.
When you think of anything deep-fried, your first thought is that it isn’t healthy. But what if it could be?
Everything can be healthy in moderation. Chocolate, fruits, ice cream, and yes, even french fries can be healthy. What you must do is – pick the right product, and choose to eat in moderation.
The main thing you want to look out for is the calories count, fat, trans fat, and sodium levels.
Generally speaking, when you think of french fries, you are probably thinking of the sweet crispy yellow classic fries, right?
What if I told you that one of the healthiest frozen fries you could get wasn’t yellow!
Alexia Sweet potato fries are made with 8g of fat but have 0g trans fat and have less sodium in them at 110mg of sodium. The calorie count is only 160 for every 12 fries (approx).
That’s not bad when the healthiest fast food fries have a calorie count of 220 for about every 2.5-oz. We’ll get into that more later, though.
Also, remember that homemade french fries are going to be your healthiest option. Besides, Sweet potatoes are another healthy option when it comes to homemade french fries.
Now, if you aren’t a fan of sweet potatoes, then your next best bet would be Cascadian Farm Organic French Fries. These fries have 60 calories for about 20 fries, 0g of fat and trans fat, and 15 mg of sodium.
Besides, you may also have a look at the top frozen foods myths, we have.
What do fries from these fast food restaurants all have in common? They’re FROZEN. Taste the difference at BFF. pic.twitter.com/xD0XmnLSuC
— Best French Fries (@BestFrenchFries) March 26, 2013
Are frozen fries healthier than fast-food fries?
As a general rule, frozen fries are healthier than fast food fries. This is because most fast-food restaurants add more salt and flavoring ingredients and they may be frying in lard or trans-fat oils which can be avoided with frozen french fries by reading the ingredient list.
I’m sure it’ll come as a shock if I told you Mcdonalds has the healthiest fries out of most fast food places.
Now, this doesn’t mean they are the healthiest fries in the world. It just means out of fast-food fries you’re less likely to get a heart attack. Remember that portion sizes play a huge role in this.
So these are about equal to ordering a small set of fries.
Here is the numerical breakdown of the nutrient count of frozen fries of three different brands.
McDonald’s: 220 / Alexia Sweet Potatoes: 160 / Cascadian Farm: 60
McDonald’s: 180mg / Alexia Sweet Potatoes: 110mg / Cascadian Farm: 15mg
McDonald’s: 10g / Alexia Sweet potatoes: 8g / Cascadian Farm: 0g
McDonald’s: 0g / Alexia Sweet potatoes: 0g / Cascadian Farm: 0g
Clearly, McDonald’s isn’t terrible, but you can definitely go for the better ones.
French fries are the single most popular fast food in America. In 1970, french fries surpassed regular potato sales in the United States. In 2004, Americans ate 7.5 billion pounds of frozen french fries.#foodies #food pic.twitter.com/tvuZ4bBJIw
— Milhan Farooque (@Milhan_Farooque) November 1, 2019
Who has the best frozen French fries?
In terms of flavor and not necessarily healthy ingredients, Ore-Ida frequently wins taste tests. But Alexia french fries, which are healthier, often are at the top of best-of lists also. Finally, Grown In Idaho Super Crispy Crinkle Cut Fries are another brand with superior taste.
Like I mentioned before, the brand Alexia is definitely on the top of my list. It has the best taste, and they’re healthy. It’s a win-win! Plus, they have more than just the sweet potato fries.
However, if you feel that they are not meant for your taste buds, you may try McCain’s crispy fries. They’re second to only Alexia on health, but win over a lot of people with their deliciousness.
I see a lot of people recommend Ore-Ida, as well, though this brand is high in sodium at 360mg and 200 calories. McDonald’s fries have better sodium count. Not only that, but these don’t compare in taste to some of the healthier options. That is not a win-win situation.
Generally speaking, though, the best french fry would be a homemade one, such as homemade sweet potato fries or avocado fries.
Yes, fries can be made from more than just potatoes. I would 100% recommend trying some new recipes for fries and seeing the difference yourself.
Now, if you do decide to make french fries at home, I do have a recent article that goes more in-depth about what potatoes are best for french fries.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
So, we learned that frozen french fries are cooked in oil before being frozen and sent to the store. We also took a more in-depth look into frozen fries. Here’re the key takeaways from this article:
- Process of making frozen french fries. Yes, french fries get cooked in oil, usually twice before getting shipped to the store.
- The oil that goes into making frozen fries. Palm oil and vegetable oil are what most brands use. Definitely not the best oil you could get if you were to make your own fries. You should use canola oil or even sunflower oil.
- Frozen fries can be healthy. Moderation and watching out for calories, fats, trans fat, and sodium can make a difference. Knowledge is power.
- The best-frozen fries to eat. Hands down Alexia sweet potatoes and McCain crispy fries.
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