Pictured: French Fries recipe from CHOW
There’s no denying it: the fast food french fry is a masterpiece of lightness and crispiness. To try and improve on its exalted form would be to admit defeat—it can’t be done. Besides, you can probably fetch a batch by simply heading on down to your nearest drive-thru or takeout, any time, day or night.
So why on earth would you want make your own? Because if you want to experience the full on taste of real potatoes in your fries, you gotta stock up on a bag of Idahos and some oil. Also, when you make them the old fashioned way, there’s a whole range of shapes and sizes and styles to explore.
So before you whip out that deep fryer, here’s a breakdown of the quintessential homemade french fry cuts. There’s one for every spud preference.
1. Classic French Fries
A.K.A. the matchstick fry. Our technique takes these pieces through the oil twice: first through a pre-blanch, to help reinforce their surface crispiness, and then through a second run to make sure their insides get cooked fluffy. Eat these with a juicy burger for a dose of pure Americana. Get our French Fries recipe.
2. Curly Fries
Yes, you will need special equipment to get this springy, bouncy shape. But the investment is worth it for coils that are fun to eat and delightfully tender. Get the recipe here.
3. Shoestring Fries
These thin slivers are all about the crunch. Break out the julienne peeler or mandoline to achieve evenly-sized strands, and make sure to throw in a few herbs to boost the flavor. Get the recipe here.
4. Steak Fries
If you’re a big fan of fluffy, spudsy goodness that you can sink your teeth into, steak fries are the way to go. All you need is a sharp knife to get these hefty wedges. Get the recipe here.
5. Cottage Fries
A few shades thicker than chips, these simple fries simply involve slicing your potatoes into round medallions. You get a nice balance between chewy insides and crispy surface area with these flat shapes. Get the recipe here.
6. Home Fries
Home fries make oiled up potatoes acceptable to eat for breakfast. And as their name implies, these are the one kind you should be able to whip up while still in your pajamas. All it takes is a skillet and some seasoning. Get the recipe here.
7. Oven Fries
OK, so oven fries are not so much a style as they are a technique. But baked fries are great for when you want potatoes that cut down on the grease. Although you’re not going to get any deep-fried crispiness with these, they still pack plenty of spud flavor. Get the recipe here.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.