Homemade French fries, or tiganites patates as they are called in Greek, are absolutely incredible. Once you know how to make French fries at home, nothing else will compare. All you need are potatoes, oil and some salt to season them when fried.
The only problem with this recipe is that you may end up eating too many French fries – they are irresistible. My parents would often make French fries as a mid-day snack, or they would often appear as the side to either some Greek meatballs (keftedes), homemade pork souvlaki or a grilled steak.
Why I love this recipe
I realize that most of you probably already know how to prepare homemade French fries, but humour me. I couldn’t, in good conscious, omit posting on something so delicious just because it was so easy. Besides, easy does not mean straightforward and I have discovered that there are as many ways to fry potatoes as there are to eat them. I thought, maybe some of you have never cooked homemade French fries, or maybe you are confused about exactly which method to use. Maybe my parents, who taught me, can help you too.
Potatoes Any potatoes will work here but I much prefer using yellow fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold. They are slightly sweet, and have a great texture and colour.
Vegetable oil A mild flavoured oil that has a high smoke point and is inexpensive compared to most other oils, it is perfect for frying.
Salt I use basic table salt to season my fries.
Dry oregano (optional) Sometimes I get fancy and sprinkle some dry oregano on my still warm fries as well.
How to make
Prepare your potatoes by peeling them, cutting them into 1/4 inch thick slices, and soaking them for at least an hour (longer is better) in cold water.
Drain potatoes and dry them using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
Heat oil in deep frying pan or a pot (at least 1 inch of oil).
Insert one French fry and when that potato starts to sizzle, drop additional potatoes into the oil carefully. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook over medium / high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are golden on all sides.
Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and let drain in a colander lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and oregano while still hot.
Repeat with remaining potatoes. Enjoy!
Cooking tips and helpful hints
Soak your potatoes
Unless french fries are a last minute impulse, it is a really good idea to soak your cut up potatoes in cold water for several hours or overnight. The water helps remove much of the potato starch, which results in crispier fries that won’t stick together as they cook.
Dry your potatoes
Water and oil don’t mix, so after soaking your potatoes, make sure that they are dried before plunging them into the hot oil. If you don’t own a food thermometer, one way to know if the oil is hot enough is to drop in one potato and wait until it starts to sizzle. If the oil starts to smoke… it is too hot and needs to be turned down. At this point add the potatoes in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. If you own a thermometer which can measure the temperature of the oil, aim for anywhere between 325 degrees Fahrenheit to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fry with caution
Frying potatoes is pretty dangerous, and not simply because of the hot oil (but more on that in a second). A real danger lies in the fact that fresh french fries are best eaten soon after they are made, before they get soggy and lose their crispness. So, if you’re the one doing the frying, drink a nice big glass of water before you start, or have a snack. Make these babies while you’re hungry and you may end up eating 5 pounds of potatoes before you call it a day.
But, back to the oil. Frying, although so good, requires caution. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when frying anything…including these potatoes.
- Never, ever, ever step away from the frying pan. You need to keep a close eye on what you are doing, at all times, to prevent any mishaps.
- Don’t wear flouncy sleeves, and if you have Rapunzel-like hair, tie it back. In other words, anything which might accidentally end up in the hot oil, or touching the stove-top burner, is forbidden. Literally, forbidden!
- If you have small children, out of control adults or out of control pets, use the back burner.
- When you are done frying, never, ever, ever, leave a pan or pot of oil sitting on your stove top “for next time”. This is a very dangerous practice. I can tell you from personal experience that it does not take much to wake up bleary-eyed one fine morning, stumble into the kitchen, place a kettle on the stovetop for tea, and accidentally turn on the wrong burner. Within minutes, that innocent pan of oil that was sitting on the stove turned into a pretty aggressive flame and it was only thanks to a quick thinking, and fully awake husband who knew exactly how to handle a grease fire, that tragedy was averted. So, from then on and forever more, any oil which can potentially be re-used is strained, cooled and then stored safely in a jar.
- For more information on how to safely deal with a grease fire (which hopefully you will never have to do) and other kitchen safety tips, click here.
Frequently asked questions
Which are the best potatoes for making French fries?
My parents are not really sticklers for the type of potato they use, often frying up yellow fleshed potatoes, red skinned, or large russets.
What is the best size potato to use?
The trick is to use medium to large potatoes, otherwise you end up with small fries. Cut them up so that each potato piece is about 1/4 inch thick but the actual size is less important than ensuring that they are all about the same size, so that they cook equally.
Is it a good idea to twice fry your potatoes?
I know that there is a strong camp of people who believe that you must fry your potatoes twice, and that this is the only way to obtain maximum crispiness. Maybe. All I know is that my parents have never done that, and their potatoes turn out just fine.
Top with a fried egg for a classic Greek recipe
Make your French fries and then fry an egg in olive oil. Once your egg is cooked, place it on top of the potatoes and enjoy! Add some crumbled feta and you have a classic Greek recipe of fried potatoes and egg (Τηγανητές πατάτες με αυγό μάτι)
Make a Greek-style poutine
A classic poutine is a Quebec speciality of fried eggs topped with cheese curds and gravy or brown sauce. It is amazing! You can make a Greek-style version of poutine by topping your fried potatoes with leftover sauce from a kokkinisto (like when you make veal kokkinisto with rice (Μοσχαράκι κοκκινιστό με ρύζι) and some crumbled feta. You will love this Greek-style poutine.
If you are interested in some more great Greek potato recipes, I think you will love these:
Roasted lemon potatoes ( Πατάτες λεμονάτες στο φούρνου) The classic Greek lemon potatoes that everyone loves. This recipe is a winner!
Greek potato salad with herbs Fresh and light, there is no mayonnaise in this Greek herbed potato salad.
Potatoes yahni (Πατάτες γιαχνί ) A traditional Greek potato stew, make with potatoes, carrots, olives and a tomato sauce base.
Storing and reheating
French fries are best when served immediately. However, if you do have some French fries leftover, store them in the refrigerator. To reheat you can either heat up your frying oil and fry your potatoes again for a few minutes until just heated through. You can also warm them up in an air fryer or oven set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It won’t take too long to reheat them.
How many does it serve
This recipe will serve four people, although this all depends on if you are serving the potatoes on their own, or as a side dish. It also depends how hungry everyone is!
How to serve
What was that? You wanted to know what I believe to be the best way to eat homemade french fries? So happy you asked. For me, a plate of French fries is not complete without a sprinkling of sea salt, Greek oregano and a nice hunk of Greek feta cheese with some olives on the side.
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- Potatoes (average 1 – 2 large potatoes per serving, depending on how hungry people are) we prefer yellow flesh potatoes
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Dried oregano optional
- Prepare your potatoes by peeling them, cutting them into 1/4 inch thick slices, and soaking them for at least an hour (longer is better) in cold water.
- Drain potatoes and dry using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
- Heat oil in deep frying pan or a pot (at least 1 inch of oil).
- Insert one piece of potato and when that potato starts to sizzle, drop additional potatoes into the oil carefully. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook over medium / high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are golden on all sides.
- Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and let drain in a colander lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and oregano while still hot.
- Repeat with remaining potatoes.