How to Make the Best Pan-Fried French Fries

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Put away the deep fryer and break out your cast-iron skillet. We've got the secret to the best pan-fried french fries you can make right on your stovetop.

French fries are one of life’s guilty pleasures. But have you ever made them from scratch before? Pan-fried french fries are easier to make (and even less messy) than you might think! The secret to the best skillet french fries is using the double-fry method. When double-frying, you fry the potatoes once at a lower temperature, then increase the heat and fry them a second time. The result: the crispest and tastiest golden brown fries you’ll ever eat.

Psst! If you love french fries, you’ve got to try these recipes.

How to Deep-Fry French Fries on the Stove

Ingredients

  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or another frying oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Special equipment

Instructions

Step 1: Prep the potatoes

photo of cut friesSusan Bronson for Taste of Home

Wash and peel the potatoes. Use a sharp knife to cut each potato into 1/4-inch julienned strips. Place the strips in a medium bowl and fill with water. Soak for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Drain and pat dry.

Editor’s Tip: Water and oil don’t mix! Make sure to thoroughly pat the potatoes dry before placing them into the hot oil. Otherwise, they’ll splatter. (Ouch!)

Step 2: Heat the oil

Add 1 cup of oil to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (the walls of the skillet should be at least 2 inches high). Heat the oil to 340°F.

Editor’s Tip: Use a digital thermometer to monitor the oil temperature.

Step 3: Fry ’em up

Fry the potatoes in several batches. Place an even layer of fries into the hot oil. Fry for 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fries from the skillet, then drain them on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all potatoes have been fried.

Step 4: Fry ’em again

Heat up the oil to 375°F. Fry your potatoes a second time in batches for 1-2 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Turn frequently with a wooden spoon or spatula to ensure even frying. Drain on fresh paper towels.

Step 5: Season the fries

In a bowl, season the fries to taste with salt and pepper—or get creative and use your favorite seasoning blend. Serve skillet french fries while they’re nice and hot.

Editor’s Tip: French fries are best eaten when fresh. If you have extras, here’s how to reheat fries so they’re as good as day one.

Looking for more ways to cook with your cast-iron skillet? Check out our complete guide to cast-iron cooking, and more of our favorite cast-iron skillet recipes.

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Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.