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Cold-Fry Frites

By Patricia Wells April/May 2018 Issue From Moveable Feast Season 5, Ep.4

Servings: 6 to 12

One pot, one cooking session, no blanching, no double frying, no electric deep-fat fryer, no thermometer.  Best of all, you end up with fries with a moist, creamy interior, an intense potato flavor, and a perfectly crisp, golden, non-oily exterior that sends all of us into ecstasy.


  • 3 lb. russet potatoes
  • 3 qt. sunflower, vegetable, or canola oil
  • Kosher salt, as needed

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 190
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 150
  • Carbohydrates (g): 20
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 2


  • Rinse the potatoes, peel, and rinse again. Cut each potato lengthwise into disks about 3/8-inch-thick, then cut these disks lengthwise into sticks about 3/8-inch-thick. (Precision is not essential here: I love the tiny, crunchy, almost-burned bits that emerge from the fryer.)
  • Soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, changing the water when it becomes cloudy, until the water remains clear (at least three times). Drain the potatoes and put them in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry with additional paper towels.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a 7 qt. Dutch oven and set it on the stove. Pour the oil over the potatoes. Do not cover the pot. Set the heat to high, and stirring the potatoes gently with a metal spoon to distribute and prevent sticking, bring the oil to a boil.  (The oil should move from a peppy simmer to a boil in 7 to 9 minutes.) When the oil starts to boil, set a timer for 17 minutes. Stir the potatoes very gently every 3 to 4 minutes and lower the heat to medium, if necessary to keep the oil from boiling over the pot.
  • After 17 minutes, the potatoes should be slightly golden. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently. Resist the urge to remove them from the oil too soon. When the fries are a deep golden brown, taste one to make sure they are crisp and firm on the outside with a creamy interior. Transfer the fries with the wire skimmer or slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined tray to drain. Season with salt and serve immediately.
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Reviews (5 reviews)

  • Photobyalan | 10/21/2018

    Complete disaster. I followed the instructions to the letter. The russet potatoes started to disintegrate in the oil after about 10 minutes of frying and I ended up with something that resembled hash browns in size. After 17 minutes, the potatoes had cooked but not begun to brown. After 30 minutes, they had begun to brown but there was no crispness. Since my sous vide flank steak was getting cold I went ahead and served it without the potatoes, and then removed the potatoes from the oil and transferred them to the cast iron skillet in which I seared the steak. I managed to crisp them up a bit but by this time they were thoroughly saturated with oil and quite unpalatable. We ended up throwing them out, wasting three pounds of potatoes, almost three cups of peanut oil out of the three quarts I used, and all of the effort of cutting, soaking, draining, drying, frying, and cleaning up the not insignificant mess it made. It would have been a lot easier and less messy to double fry them the traditional way. This turned out so badly that I’m not even going to try it again to see if I can improve my results.

  • haldrich | 08/21/2018

    These turn out great every time I make them

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