What is the Best Oil for Frying Frozen French Fries?


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Let’s be honest. Most of us don’t take the time to cut fresh french fries from a potato. So, as I stared at my bag of frozen garlic fries, I wondered what the best oil for frying frozen french fries was and CAN you deep fry frozen french fries.

So I did a little research and compiled some great information to share with you:

The best oil for frying frozen french fries is one that can take high heat & doesn’t alter the flavor of the fries. It also doesn’t hurt to get one that is reasonably priced too since deep fryers use a lot of oil. Thus, the oils that best meet that test are canola oil, refined peanut, sunflower, or corn oil.

But there’s a lot more to the story of what is the best oil for frying frozen french fries, so let’s dig in a little deeper.

If you’re looking to buy any small kitchen appliance, don’t forget to check out my Recommended Products Page (click to see my page) which breaks down all my best picks by category.

I always hand select items that I either own, have used, or have researched well to ensure they are great items. I also give not only top of the line as well as inexpensive alternatives so my choices work for any budget.

Can you fry frozen french fries?

The short answer is yes; you can definitely fry frozen french fries.

In fact, calories aside, you’ll generally get a much tastier fry by frying frozen french fries than you will baking them.

Of course, you want to make sure your fries don’t have big clumps of freezer burn on them as that can cause your hot oil to splatter when you drop them in.

That being said, you also DO NOT want to thaw your frozen fries before dropping into your deep fryer.

Keeping them frozen until frying ensures that the surface of the fry is sealed in the frying which ensures a crispier fry. Thawing your fries first can lead to excess oil absorption and ultimately a soggier french fry.’

You may sometimes see fast food restaurants with their bag of frozen french fries right by the fryer. This, however, is mostly so they can crank out the fries faster and is NOT because it makes better tasting fries.

Wondering if you can leave your oil in your deep fryer when you’re done with your fries?

Fear not! It’s a great question and there’s a lot of confusion around that. But I get into detail on that in a recent article which breaks down exactly what you need to know.

I was really surprised at just how long the oil lasts if you just do 1 thing after each use! Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you cook frozen French fries in oil?

You can get some great fries without a deep fryer, but of course, a deep fryer makes things really easy.

I’ve already mentioned that the best oil for frying frozen french fries is either canola, refined peanut, sunflower, or corn oil. So get one of those for the best results.

Unlike if you were making fries from scratch, there’s no need to double fry them if you are frying frozen french fries.

When you make fries from a potato, you always want to cook them twice. You cook once at a relatively low temperature (about 325°) to get them soft but not brown (about 3 minutes). Drain on paper towels when done.  Then, after removing from the oil, crank up the heat to 375° and fry again for about 4 minutes. This will get you super crispy, golden french fries.

But again, don’t do that with frozen french fries!

For frozen fries, heat your oil (you’ll need a high-temperature cooking thermometer if you aren’t using a deep fryer) to 350°. Fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Don’t overcook them!

Using a slotted metal spoon, carefully lift the fries out of the oil and onto a plate covered with some paper towels. Sprinkle with salt immediately and serve.

How do you make frozen french fries crispy?

Keeping them frozen before frying is one of the keys to crispy french fries. The other is making sure your oil is hot enough (350° to 375°).

If you are baking them, however, there are some tricks to know to make your frozen french fries crispy but not dried out.

Many a home chef has probably overcooked frozen french fries attempting to get them crispier only to dry them out and turn them into something like veggie straws.

So don’t overcook them!

First, place your frozen fries (don’t that them) in a bowl or plastic bag and spray (or toss) generously with oil. If they aren’t seasoned already, add a little salt and pepper to them as well.

Then shake the bag or mix in the bowl by hand thoroughly until the fries are well coated with oil.

Place the fries on a baking sheet in a single layer. It’s OK if they touch a little, but you want to avoid stacking them or clumping them. Bake according to the directions on the package and serve when done.

Which oil does McDonald’s use for french fries?

Personally, as a french fry lover, I steer clear of McDonald’s.

Want to know why? Check out the ingredients in their fries (as stated on their website).

“Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. *Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.”

At least potatoes made the list.

To cook their fries, they use a blend of hydrogenated soybean oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.

Of course, back in “the day”, they fried their fries in beef fat. Hence they now add “natural beef flavor” to compensate for that loss of flavor when public outcry for a healthier (debatable) frying method caused them to switch.

How do you cook frozen French fries in an air fryer?

I LOVE my air fryer.

While it’s definitely not the same as a deep fryer, it’s a great way to quickly get something kind of crispy, cutting calories in the process. It’s also an extremely easy cleanup and doesn’t stink up the house as a deep fryer could.

Make no mistake, air frying or deep frying either one will get you a better textured french fry than baking.

My air fryer has a non-stick basket, but it still doesn’t hurt to spray a little oil on it. Then to cook frozen french fries in your air fryer, put between 1/2lb and 1 lb in the basket (depending on how big the capacity) and fry at 400° for about 18 minutes.

Toss with some salt and you’re done!

So if you’ve never checked out an air fryer, take a moment and read my recent article which breaks down all the advantages of air fryers.  I was really surprised at how crispy food can get with a surpringly small amount of oil.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What kind of oil should I use to fry French fries?

As I said at the start of this article, you want an oil that has a high flash point, or what is sometimes called smoke point.

This ensures the oil won’t start to break down in the high temperature of a deep fryer. It also won’t smoke as much and set off your smoke alarms.

But you also want an oil that won’t impart a lot of flavor to the fries that could clash with the fry’s taste or your chosen condiment.

Thus, right out of the gate, eliminate olive oil.

While pomace olive oil or light olive oil is less flavorful and have a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil, they also tend to be cheaply made and are a low-quality oil. So don’t buy those (for anything).

I would also steer clear of coconut oil given its strong flavor and relatively high price tag.

The best oil for frying frozen french fries would be any of the following:

  • Canola oil
  • Refined peanut oil
  • Refined sunflower
  • Refined corn oil

These oils all have a smoke point of over 400° so hopefully, your smoke alarm won’t go off. They are also milder in flavor. Since you’ll likely be using your deep fryer for multiple food items, these oils will also work great on just about anything you fry.

Did I answer all your questions about the best oil for frying frozen french fries?

In this article, we took a quick look at the world of deep fryers and frozen french fries. We looked at how to make frozen fries crispy, what oils give the best flavor and HOW to deep fry frozen french fries.

Specifically, though, we answered the question about the best oil for frying frozen french fries. That way you get perfectly fried fries every time with great flavor and crispiness.

Which brand of frozen french fry is your favorite?

If you’re looking to buy any small kitchen appliance, don’t forget to check out my Recommended Products Page (click to see my page) which breaks down all my best picks by category.

I always hand select items that I either own, have used, or have researched well to ensure they are great items. I also give not only top of the line as well as inexpensive alternatives so my choices work for any budget.


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Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, blogging on his main blog over at newmiddleclassdad.com or, of course, in the kitchen.

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