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My first ever stab at french fries, and 20 minutes with olive oil and seasonings in the oven preheated at 450*F was not enough to make them crisp. They were cut thick.

Could I simply cook them longer to dry them up? They have the texture and consistency of a baked potato.... except the skins are crisp

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Note that many "baked" french fries, as well as many "baked" potato chips, are actually fried, then baked. – Joe M Feb 5 at 20:02
    
Sounds like you made the kind of fries I like.... – ssdecontrol Feb 6 at 0:48
up vote 7 down vote accepted

There are a few questions on this site about French fries, I'd suggest you take a look. But I think the best answer is: baked sticks of potato do not French fries make. French fries are deep fried. You can never get the same results in air, although air fryers do come close. A normal oven bakes, not fries.

Here are some sites that experiment with fries and crispiness [1] [2].

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Those links take Fries to the next level, thank you – Jonathan Leaders Feb 5 at 17:27

You can try a few things:

  • dredge the fries in cornstarch (whack them in a plastic bag, give it a good shake), shake off the excess, then season.
  • ensure the fries are in a single layer in the pan - crowding and stacking will mean they steam, not roast
  • when they're nearly done, turn the oven off and leave them in there for 20 minutes or so before serving.

I would also avoid cutting them thick. They should be french fries, not steak fries.

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+1 I completely agree about avoiding thick cuts for sweet potato fries. :3 – Jay Feb 5 at 16:07
    
The potatos were so hard to cut with a knife! I actually hurt my hand from the pressure on the handle. Am I doing something wrong? That's why I went thick -- after two potatoes my hands were red and I went back to programming computers. – Jonathan Leaders Feb 5 at 16:32
    
+1: I make sweet potato wedges which are meant to be soft inside (according to me) but they're crispy on the outside because I dust them well with polenta (mixed with paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, thyme, black pepper...). And cook them spread out in a single layer. – Chris H Feb 5 at 16:51
    
@JonathanLeaders A sharp knife and practice both help. Or you can upgrade to a mandolin-style slicer for better consistency and easier cutting. – logophobe Feb 5 at 18:46
    
@chris: polenta dusting is a great idea! I just made sweet potato fries from the blog, smitten kitchen, substituting sweets for Yukon golds. They stuck to the aluminum foil; soggy, limp and was unhappy with the result. I am trying minimalist baker's website for crispier fries next! – sassygirl 711 Feb 9 at 23:47

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