Oven-baked fries make less mess than deep-frying potatoes and use less oil, but they often turn out limp and sad. It is possible to make crispy fries in the oven, say hounds, if you use the right techniques.

escondido123 uses this method: Cut russet potatoes in finger-width pieces and soak them in water for half an hour, then dry them well on paper towels. Toss them in olive oil and lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer so they do not touch. Bake at 450ºF for 25 minutes, then turn them over one by one and bake for 25 minutes more. Turning them one by one, says escondido123, even though “it takes time and is kind of tedious,” makes the fries turn out “golden-brown and absolutely yummy.”

As an alternative, mamachef melts butter in a dark, uncoated metal baking pan in the oven and gently tosses potatoes in just enough flour to coat very lightly, then bakes at 400ºF for 45 minutes, turning halfway through. For extra flavor, add Parmesan and herbs to the flour. Or, for “ridiculously simple and incredibly crispy and delicious” results that aren’t fry-shaped, she recommends crash-hot potatoes.

Discuss: Is it possible to make CRISPY oven baked fries?

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