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I really like the french fries from a nearby takeaway shop, so I asked if I could buy a bag of commercial fries (par-cooked then flash frozen) from him, which he agreed to. However, my chips turn out nothing like theirs.

I deep fried in an electric deep fryer according to the instructions: 175C for 2-3mins until golden brown - cook from frozen.

The problem is, even though they are golden brown, they get soggy within 2 minutes. The exterior shell is not quite thin. The chip interior is not oily, the texture is how a chip should be. It's as though the steam from the chips is causing the exterior to immediately lose it's crispiness.

Some points:

  1. I don't overcrowd the fryer
  2. I leave the chips to "air" after frying for around 30s before moving to a wide bowl
  3. If I cook the chips for longer, they become overcooked and brown
  4. The oil is not new but not terribly old either

How can I get my chips/fries to not immediately get soggy?

  • Can you share a photo to indicate what you mean by "I don't overcrowd the fryer"? – The Photon Apr 1 at 2:39
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    Most take away shops have a fryer that holds something around 5 gallons / 20 litres of oil, which helps prevent cook temperate from dropping when you add frozen fries. I assume you're using a small home fryer? The 2-3 minute instructions probably assume a commercial fryer. IMHO getting "restaurant quality" fries in a home electric fryer just isn't possible – AMtwo Apr 1 at 3:18
  • Does the restaurant do their second cook from frozen as you are or from fresh after the parcook? – myklbykl Apr 1 at 4:46
  • @ThePhoton I don't have a photo with me, but it's about 1 handful of fries in a 1 gallon / 4L oil bath - there is plenty of room for the fries to swim. I have tried preheating the oil to around 10 deg C higher to account for the temperature drop. From the thermostat, it doesn't drop that much. – tgun926 Apr 1 at 5:13
  • Could be that they have a different oil - different boiling temperature? – bob1 Apr 1 at 7:05
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It's hard to know without more information, but one thing to keep in mind is that it's the release of steam from the food that keeps the fat out when you deep fry. It sounds like the frozen fries are keeping enough steam from releasing. You might try letting them come to room temp first before frying them.

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    Maybe the downvoter could explain? I'm not sure it's steam, but since commercial deep fat fryers are far bigger than domestic equipment, the temperature drop on adding the frozen fries may well be part of the problem. – Mark Wildon Apr 1 at 9:54
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Commercial deep fat fryers are very powerful and are designed to cook foods from frozen, they have large heating elements for that purpose. The home fryers I have used have never been able to deal with frozen foods very well as they lack the power to get heat back up quickly.

Small fries cook fast, when you drop them in it's a race against time for the heat to get back up before they are cooked, if your fryer isn't up to that you need to vary your method to compensate:

  1. Fry less at a time: try half of what you ordinarily put in and see how you get on
  2. Up the starting temperature: With the same size batch as you originally do put your temperature up past 175°C, say to 195°C, put your fries in and then turn it down to 175°C, this may compensate for the temperature drop
  3. Thaw the fries: Warmer fries to start means less temperature drop. I don't like this method much because you are more likely to get sogginess, but there's no reason not to try it
  4. Double cook the fries: You could try cooking your fries for a couple of minutes, then remove them and let them cool for a bit while the fryer gets back up to temperature, then finish them
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Adding some extra info to GdD answer.
Commercial friers don't use oil. there is special kind of fat, which is usually a mix of various fats and oils. It's smoking point is much higher than oil and they can be kept "on" at around 200°C-220°C for prolonged time.
For that the frozen food are also made in a way to be cooked fast in that higher temperature. Usually, home-use friers have max temp around 190°C and as you wrote, use oil. So you need to compensate with time what you lack in temperature.
A quick tip-question for you: does your chips lack in taste from the ones you buy? If yes then it might be that fat mix they are using. Which can be used in your frier with regular fries.

Hint: if the fries are not "steakhouse/belgian/homemade" type (so thick and quite big comapred to, for example, McD fries) don't fry them twice. You will probably end with bitter fries as the inside will cook itself slowly why you wait for the higher temperature.
Try unthawing them in oven. Set it to 100°C, put fries in pre-heated oven for 3 minutes and then place directly in oil (when all moisture is removed).

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