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I have yesterday's French Fries (Chips for those of you across the Pond). They were stored in a refrigerator overnight and now are cold AND soggy.

What's a good technique to reheat them in a small counter-top electrical oven? E.g. temperature? bake/broil/convection setting? How long?

Constraints:

  • I must heat them on a sheet of thin wrapping aluminum foil (over a loose grill, no tray)
  • I would prefer a method that takes less than 5 minutes, but that's not a cut-off
  • The main goal is to have them somewhat crispyish on the outside, and tasty (not hard, not soggy) on the inside
  • The fries/chips size can be either McDonalds size (1/2 cm^2 square cross cut) or slightly larger diner size (~0.5cm x 1 cm cross cut)
  • The amount is such that - evenly spreading them on an aluminum foil sheet the size of the oven's tray - they cover pretty much the whole sheet, in single layer
  • this is at work, so I am unlikely to have access to any ingredients (e.g. any answer that starts with "sprinkle with xyz oil" is less desirable.

The fries are fully-cooked, from an order from an eatery, not home-cooked. So while I don't know the ingredients/coating/what they were fried in, a safe assumption is that the fries are either standard McDonalds recipe, or some sort of generic US Diner or midrange restaurant recipe, assuming one is known.

  • I think you mean "constraints," not "restraints." This probably depends (largely) on the composition of the fries, in particular, the coating (if any). – ashes999 May 28 '15 at 16:12
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    I think the only good answer is "Fresh Fries"... – Cos Callis May 28 '15 at 18:16
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    @CosCallis - that most certainly is not a good answer, by virtue of not being an answer at all. A funny quip an answer does not make. – DVK May 28 '15 at 18:26
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    And I'm sure that's why @CosCallis wrote a comment, not an answer... Honestly, "fresh fries" was my first thought, too. – Stephie May 28 '15 at 18:45
  • related: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/9301/67 – Joe May 28 '15 at 20:13
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They won't be as good as when fresh (of course) but generally:

  1. You want the oven pretty hot. How hot depends on the oven, size of fry, etc., but a good first guess would be 425°F–450°F. On most toaster ovens I've seen, that'd be as hot as it goes. Let the oven preheat. Unfortunately, heating the oven is going to take longer than your five minutes, probably ten to fifteen... But as long as you stay nearby (just in case) you can do something else while its heating.

  2. Spread the fries evenly on your piece of foil. Fold up the edges of the foil a little to keep them from sliding off when you move it. (Note: A plain, uncoated aluminum quarter sheet pan probably fits in your toaster oven, and can be had for under $10.)

  3. They won't take long. Listen for them to start to sizzle. Once they've sizzled for a little bit (say, 30 seconds) pull them out and flip them. Put them back in and let them sizzle a little longer. Take them out, sample one, put back in if not done yet. I can't give you a time (other than "a few minutes") because it's going to vary a lot based on the fry, and even how much it has dried out in the fridge. Judge when they're ready based on the sound (sizzle), smell, color (browning), and taking one out and tasting it.

Notes:

  1. You may find adding some salt helps them a lot. Same with some finely ground pepper. Or other powdered seasoning mixes like Old Bay.

  2. If the center isn't warm enough by the time the outside is browning, use a lower temperature next time. If the center is overdone (e.g., dried out) before browning sets in, use a higher temperature.

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If you are not trying to reheat small scraps, they will be better right on the grill/rack, rather than on foil; foil or a pan help to promote "one soggy side", though you can turn them to help with that. Not using foil means they get to dry all around.

I would stay at 350-375F - that's where the fry oil typically is.

I make baked "fries" from raw potatoes this way in 15-20 minutes - reheating should be considerably faster.

  • The question very explicitly stated "I must" in the foil part. I didn't put it there just for giggles. Also, not sure about this specific site, but on other SE sites "should" isn't really a basis for a good answer - if you never reheated them, guessing isn't very helpful. – DVK Jun 3 '15 at 0:32
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    @DVK - to my ears, your sentence could also mean "I dont have a proper baking sheet, only a makeshift one", at least that's what I read. Besides, the "should" is correct here - without previous knowledge of a) the characteristics of your specific oven and b) the amount and temperature of the fries plus some extended kitchen math it's impossible to give a precise time. In cooking, should is not guessing but the application of extensive experience to a new situation. Only someone who solved your exact problem could answer exactly - and be wrong b/c he likes his fries softer/darker than you. – Stephie Jun 4 '15 at 7:21
  • @DVK I have, in fact reheated fries this way, but only rarely - "fresh fries" is, in fact, always better. I certainly didn't take notes for the time. – Ecnerwal Jun 4 '15 at 18:44
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In medium-hot skillet (fry pan) add a little oil. (not cooking spray)

Add fries in serving size batches to hot oil.

Stir & flip often until outside is crunchy & inside is hot, but not over cooked.

Drain on paper towels & salt to taste. (if needed)

I find this works best with room temperature, leftover fast food fries like McDonalds or Burger King fries.

  • The OP doesn't have a skillet or any oil. Just an oven. And the fries are fridge-cold, not room temperature, though I suppose "let them sit out to warm up for an hour" is a possibility. – Kate Gregory Apr 15 '17 at 18:14

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