In almost every menu of every restaurant, a side that you will usually find is fries. Fries are versatile and can be enjoyed on their own with a side of sauces. They also make a great companion to any meal.
You can enjoy fries that are made from scratch at home. But the most straightforward and quickest way to enjoy fries would be cooking them frozen straight from the packet. Maybe you’re craving a side of warm crispy fries, or you have no time to spare to peel and cut a bag of potatoes. That’s where frozen fries come in. You may ask, what is the quickest way to cook frozen fries? Can I microwave frozen fries?
In this article, I’ll cover whether microwaving frozen fries is a good idea and the different alternative methods you can try to cook frozen fries at home. I’ll also look at some ways you can reheat your leftover fries.
Is it a Good Idea to Microwave Frozen Fries?
There’s no real risk of harm by microwaving french fries. After all, they’re usually pre-cooked before they are frozen. They’re still safe to eat if you do microwave them. However, their texture, taste and quality will not be massively reduced.
It’s generally not a good idea to microwave frozen fries as they will become a soggy and mushy mess. If you microwave frozen fries, there’s too much moisture and heat. Your fries will not crisp or become golden.
Most frozen fries are not made to be microwaved. You can tell by looking at the instructions on the packaging. The instructions will usually suggest you cook frozen fries by frying them or baking them in the oven.
Some brands, however, have created frozen fries specifically for microwaving. This includes as Ore-Ida or McCain’s microwaveable frozen fries – making cooking frozen fries slightly easier for all of us.
In almost all cases though, and as a lover of fries I can’t repeat this enough – you shouldn’t cook frozen fries in the microwave. Usually you’ll get much better results by cooking them in an oven or air fryer, as well as other ways which I’ll also cover later.
How to Cook Frozen Fries in the Microwave
So we know that it’s generally not a good idea to microwave frozen fries. While it is possible, it’s not advised if you have any respect for your taste buds!
If you’re just after the convenience of microwaving though, there are specifically designed frozen fries that are intended to be microwaved. These make it possible for you to achieve crispy and hot fries in a few minutes with your microwave.
Two popular microwaveable frozen fries products that you may find in your nearby supermarket would be Ore-Ida’s Easy Fries or McCain’s microwavable frozen fries. But, how exactly do they work, you may ask?
Microwaveable frozen fries usually come in a tray or in a box. In the case of Ore-Ida’s Easy Fries, the frozen fries come in a cardboard box. The fries are covered with a lower and upper crisping sheet. The top lid also has a silver foil-like layer which allows the french fries to be heated nicely, ensuring a crispy and fluffy french fry finish.
What I love about microwavable fries is that it is usually mess-free and fast. All you have to do is pop them in the microwave, and your fries will be ready in less than 5 minutes!
They’re ideal if you’re in a hurry and want to satisfy a craving from fries. However, they’re no substitute for the ‘real deal’ in my opinion.
How to Properly Cook Frozen Fries
What if your frozen fries are not microwaveable? How can you cook them properly?
Well, the safest bet would be to follow the given instructions on your frozen fries. But sometimes, from experience, you may still get slightly undercooked or overcooked fries. So here are some ways that I have found to be best for properly cooking frozen fries:
The first and most common method to cook frozen fries would be by using your conventional oven. Most of the time, you do not need to thaw your frozen fries; you just lay them on a lined baking tray.
Ensure that they are spread apart and not touching each other. This ensures that each fry cooks evenly and becomes crispy.
Next, be sure to preheat your oven to the desired temperature, usually around 400 Fahrenheit.
Bake your fries for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Always check the instructions for the correct temperature and time to cook, as they vary for different brands.
Arguably the tastiest frozen fries are usually the ones that have been prepared by deep-frying. While it is not the healthiest option out there, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy a side of hot and crispy fries every now and then!
You can use a deep-fryer or even a pan filled with some oil to fry frozen fries.
Heat up some oil over medium heat until around 375 Fahrenheit. You can tell the oil is heated when it begins to glisten or if you stick a wooden spoon and it begins to bubble.
Once heated, add your frozen fries and cook until they’re at your desired crispness or golden brown. This will usually take around 5 to 6 minutes.
Once done, remove your fries from the oil and lay them on some paper towels to drain the oil. Lastly, season with salt and pepper and serve.
The healthiest alternative and efficient way to properly cook frozen fries would be by using an air fryer. Air frying does not require oil, but you may spray some oil just for extra crispness and flavor. However, from experience, air-fried frozen fries are just as crunchy without any oil.
All you have to do is add your frozen fries into your air fryer and cook them for 20 to 25 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit. Be sure to toss them halfway to ensure they are cooked thoroughly. Once they’re cooked, salt them, and they’re ready to be enjoyed.
Some people suggest pre-heating your air fryer to quicken the cooking method, but if you do not have time, this step is optional.
Tips on Cooking Frozen Fries Well
- Preheat the baking tray. To get extra crispy fries, many suggest preheating your baking tray while your oven preheats too.
- Toss frozen fries in oil. After you’ve preheated your tray, tossing your frozen fries evenly in olive oil will also bring extra crispness and fluffiness when cooked.
- Season your fries. If you’re feeling adventurous, spice up your frozen fries by adding some seasoning. My go-to seasoning would be paprika powder. Some other seasonings that you can add are garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and more.
- Salt immediately after cooking. Frozen fries often do not come salted. Be sure to salt them immediately after you cook to get the best results.
How to Reheat Cooked Fries
You’re bound to have leftover fries; either you cooked too much, or you brought them home from a restaurant. No problem. When reheated properly, they’re a great snack or side that should not go to waste.
There are so many ways you can reheat your cooked fries, from air frying to even microwaving them.
While they will never truly become crisp and golden as before, you can follow our methods below to achieve the best reheated cooked fries.
My personal favorite way of reheating fries is by using an air fryer. It is quick, simple, and does a great job.
Similar to cooking them, place your fries into your air fryer and reheat them at 400 Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.
Occasionally toss them around to reheat and crisp them evenly. Once reheated to your desired temperature, your fries are good to eat.
While you shouldn’t cook frozen fries in a microwave, microwaving is an easy method to reheat leftover fries.
Just place and spread out your fries on a microwave-safe plate. You may also lightly drizzle some oil, but it’s optional.
Microwave them on high for 20-seconds at a time until they have reached the right temperature.
If you have one at home, use a crisper tray. The crisper tray absorbs heat well and allows your fries to brown, making them slightly crispier and crunchier. It’s also great for reheating other foods such as pizza or pastries.
If you have a little more time to spare, the best way to enjoy reheated cooked fries would be ones that have been reheated in the oven.
The oven reheats your fries evenly and also gives them their crispiness. Reheating fries in the oven would be similar to how you would cook them.
Just line a tray with baking or parchment paper, and evenly spread your leftover cooked fries. Bake in the oven at 400 Fahrenheit for about 5 to 8 minutes until heated thoroughly.
Tips on Reheating Cooked Fries Well
As your fries have already been cooked and have probably cooled down, they may have lost some of their moisture and become slightly dry over time. Also, if you’ve had a bite of your cold fries, you might realize that it has an unpleasant cardboard texture.
A quick fix would be sprinkling a dash of olive oil, around 2 tablespoons, to your fries before reheating with your method of choice. The oil will bring back moisture to your fries, making them slightly moist and enjoyable to eat when reheated.
How Long Do Cooked Fries Last?
Fries don’t usually last long in my house, as everyone is quick to eat the whole plate!
However, you do get leftovers occasionally. So it’s good to know how long cooked fries can last before it’s bad and no longer safe to eat.
Properly stored, cooked fries can last up to 3 to 5 days in the fridge and up to 10 months in the freezer. Afterward, they may still be safe to eat but may no longer be at their optimal quality. It’s best to consume cooked fries as soon as possible.
To store cooked fries, keep them in a clean airtight container. Preferably one with no residue odor as fries absorb smells easily. When you’re ready to eat your leftover fries, just follow one of the easy reheating methods that you’ve learned from this article.