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My co-workers and I are in a debate. We brought some french fries home from a fast-food restaurant in paper bags and they got soggy. My co-workers maintain that the combination of steam and soaking in their own oil made them soggy. I claim that it was only the steam, because excess oil does not cause food to become soggy.

Can sitting in oil make things soggy? If I submerged a french fry in oil overnight would it get soggy. If so, would that be from the oil or the moisture in the fry?

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Both. Is it soggy with moisture? Or is it soggy with oil?

In both cases, the problem isn't excess oil, after all, French Fries are usually deep fried. The problem is that the moisture isn't adequately driven out of the fry and/or that the fries sit in cold oil.

The crispiest French fries (read that non-soggy) are first soaked in cold water to remove excess starch, dried, deep fried in lower temperature oil to drive out all of the excess water, then deep fried in hotter oil to crisp the outside.

Then they are well drained while hot.

Unless the fries get quite crispy, they're going to get soggy with oil as the oil on the outside of the fries cool, even if there really isn't all that much oil clinging to the fry. Unless the moisture is well driven out (interior of the fry is fluffy), the fries will get soggy with moisture as they cool.

In the worst case scenario, you can have both greasy and wet cold fries.

  • Interesting... what you're saying - unless I'm mistaken - is that oil alone, absent moisture, will cause crispy fries to become soggy. Right? By that logic putting something with no moisture (a potato chip for example) in oil overnight will make it soggy. But is that what actually happens? – Brad Urani Oct 21 '14 at 19:03
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    Sure, the chip would become limp and flabby, certainly not crisp anymore. I would say that's probably less commonly the issue with soggy fries than moisture, however. – Jolenealaska Oct 21 '14 at 19:24

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