Upgrade Your Homemade Fries With A Salad Spinner

There's something about fast food French fries that is so elusive and difficult to replicate at home — namely, that crispy, crunchy texture on the outside. We know that moisture is the enemy of homemade crispy French fries, but you can take down this foe with the help of a simple kitchen tool: the salad spinner. Using a salad spinner to thoroughly dry those potatoes before you pop them in the fry oil may seem unconventional, but it can make a significant difference in both texture and crispiness.


Luckily, ridding the fries of that extra water content is quick and easy to do. Simply transfer your cut (and potentially soaked — more on that later) potatoes to a salad spinner basket. Spin the basket vigorously to remove as much moisture as possible from the fries. After spinning, pat the fries dry with paper towels to ensure they are dry to the touch. Now, you're ready to fry.

Not only is a salad spinner useful for getting rid of excess water, which is super important when making French fries for a few different reasons, but it also comes in handy in other ways. It can similarly help shake off excess oil from cooked fries, and it's also a useful method to season the fries, too.

The complex role of water in French fry-making

The salad spinner trick is a game-changer when you realize that water plays a bigger role than you think in the fry-making process. It's actually a common recommendation to soak your potatoes ahead of cooking for the crispiest outcome. Although it might seem counterintuitive, soaking the cut potatoes actually helps create a crispier final product with a light, fluffy inside. Here's why: The water draws out the starch inside the potato which, if left there, can cause your fries to brown more quickly, and ultimately end up sort of soggy.


Once you're done soaking, make sure to get rid of that excess water with your spinner or your fries may be doomed. Excess moisture on the surface of the potato creates steam during cooking, which prevents the exterior from crisping up properly and leaves you with limp fries. Another reason why you want the potatoes as dry as possible before frying is because water impedes the Maillard reaction, the complex dance between amino acids and reducing sugars that results in browning — or, in the case of French fries, the development of the golden-brown crust.

Take a final spin

Make sure to keep that salad spinner handy post-frying, too. It can help shake off any excess oil from your fries. Once you remove them from the fry oil, give them a few cranks in the spinner. You'll want to go a bit slower, or else you run the risk of ending up with something resembling chopped-up home fries.


After you have soaked, dried, cooked, and de-oiled your homemade French fries, you can give them a final spin, but this time, add in some seasoning. The salad spinner is the perfect vessel to help evenly distribute and apply your toppings. If you spin the potatoes with seasoning before frying, the herbs and spices could be burned off in the fryer. Instead, use some residual frying oil to help the spices stick to your fries. Keep it classic with salt, pepper, and a little Old Bay seasoning, or kick it up a notch with a dash of truffle oil, a sprinkle of cheese, or a drizzle of hot sauce. Fresh rosemary or thyme could also make for a yummy creation.

But you should be careful and spin lightly so that the centrifugal force doesn't cause the toppings to stick to the sides of the bowl. Think of it more as a gentle toss. This method will coat the fries evenly without the seasonings clumping together. Also, be sure that the basket is completely dry, or the powdered toppings will stick to the sides instead of to your fries.