How To Cut Potatoes Into French Fries (5 Styles) (2023)

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French fries always seem like a good idea. There’s simply no resisting their crispy, salty, mouth-watering goodness.

But what if you don’t feel like leaving the house or supporting a fast-food restaurant chain to get your fried potato fix?

Put on your apron, grab a few ingredients, and we’ll get to work. Making french fries is easier than it seems. And the ones you make at home will most certainly be a healthier, more cost-effective, and tastier alternative to the mass-produced chain-store variety.

I’ll walk you through how to cut potatoes into whichever variation of french fry you’re craving, so you can get on with frying up some potato-ey deliciousness.

In This Article

5 Ways To Cut Potatoes For Delicious Fries

Standard, Shoestring, and Steak Fries

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The steps you’ll follow to cut standard, shoestring, or steak fries are the same. The only real difference will be the thickness of the end product.

Wash and dry your potatoes, taking extra care if you choose to leave the potato peels intact. Really scrub those potato skins to remove caked-on dirt from the exterior.

If you’d prefer that french fries come out without potato peel, now is the time to peel the potato.

It’s important to determine the thickness of fry that you are trying to achieve. Standard fries should be ¼ inch thick, shoestring fries should be about ⅛ inch thick, and steak fries are typically ½ inch thick.

Because it’s challenging to cut round objects safely, you’ll want to stabilize the potato before slicing. They have a tendency to roll around the cutting board otherwise.

To stabilize the potato, cut through the potato lengthwise to create a slice equal to the thickness of your desired french fry. For example, if you were aiming for standard fries, cut off ¼ inch sliver of the potato.

The cut edge of the potato is flat and perfect for stabilizing the potato for the rest of your knife cuts.

With the potato cut side down, continue to slice the potato lengthwise into wide slivers that match your desired thickness.

Then, stacking about two slivers at a time, cut side against the cutting board, cut those slivers lengthwise into strips of potatoes that will resemble the french fry you are after.

(Video) How to Cut Potatoes into French Fries

Potato Wedges

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Potato wedges are a variation of french fry that typically keep the potato peel attached. However, if you are not a fan of fries with peels intact, feel free to peel the potato.

Wash and dry your potatoes, taking extra care if you choose to leave the potato peels intact. Really scrub those potato skins to remove caked-on dirt from the exterior.

Cut the potato in half lengthwise.

With the cut side against the cutting board for stability, cut each of those halves in half again, lengthwise.

Finally, with the rounded edge against the cutting board, cut those potato quarters in half again, lengthwise, using the apex of the potato as your starting point for the cut.

You will be left with potato wedges rounded along the bottom that come to a triangular peak that crisps perfectly, whether fried or baked.

Crinkle-Cut Fries

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For this type of french fry, you will need a crinkle-cutter tool.

An optional first step is to peel your potato if you dislike french fries with potato skins.

Wash and dry your potatoes, taking extra care if you choose to leave the potato peels intact.

The steps are similar to cutting straight, shoestring, or steak fries. Your first goal is to stabilize the potato. Using the crinkle cutter tool, cut off a ¼ to ½ inch thick sliver lengthwise from the potato.

Roll the potato onto this cut edge, and continue to make ¼ to ½ inch crinkle-cut slivers with the tool, lengthwise, along the entire potato.

Stacking about two slivers high, crinkle side down, use the tool to cut those slivers into ¼ to ½ inch thick crinkly rectangles.

The fries that are cut from the edges of the potato will have one side that is crinkle-cut and one side that is the rounded edge of the potato, but once it is fried up, they will still taste delicious. So it is not worth discarding these potato bits!

Waffle Fries

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For this type of french fry, you will need a crinkle-cutter tool.

Waffle fries are found with and without potato peel attached, so it is a matter of personal preference whether or not your peel your potato. If you prefer your french fries to be without potato peel, begin by peeling your potato.

Wash and dry your potatoes, taking extra care if you choose to leave the potato peels intact.

These are the only potatoes that we are discussing today that are cut along the width of the potato into rounds.

Using the crinkle-cutter, push down through the tip of the potato.

(Video) How To Cut Potatoes For French Fries

Rotate the potato 90 degrees, and push the crinkle-cutter tool through the potato, about a ¼ inch inward from the initial slice.

This may take a few tries to nail because the thickness of the fry will depend on the size of the divots in your crinkle tool. Your goal is to create these window-like squares in the potato round without cutting through the lattice.

Continue slicing the potato into rounds with the tool, rotating the potato 90 degrees after each cut.

Curly Fries

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For this type of french fry, you will need a Spiralizer with ¼ inch cut attachment.

If you prefer your french fries to be without potato peel, begin by peeling your potato.

Wash and dry your potatoes, taking extra care if you choose to leave the potato peels intact.

Using your chef knife, cut off the tips of the potato on either end.

Attach these flat ends to your spiralizer and twist the crank until your potato is completely spiralized into curly fries!

No matter which cut of french fry you opt for, you can be sure that once they are fried and salted, they will be utterly delectable!

The Gear You’ll Need

A Sharp Knife Is A Safe Knife

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When cutting fries, or anything really, it’s important that your knife is sharp before you start slicing.

With a sharp knife, you’re less likely to injure yourself because little force is required to make each cut. That means you can cut with more control, and it’s less likely for the object you’re cutting to slip or roll mid-cut.

Also important, make sure your cutting board is stable on your countertop.

Do not use a warped cutting board that refuses to stay put. A stable surface will prevent shakiness or slippage that could result in injury.

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(Video) How to Make French Fries

Pro Tip: A damp but rung-out paper towel underneath the cutting board will keep it in place.

And remember, take your time!

You’re not being filmed for the Food Network (even though sometimes I like to imagine I am), so you don’t have to show off your fancy knife skills.

Go slow, be safe!

Frequently Asked Questions

What potatoes are best for french fries?

Starchy potatoes, like russet or Idaho potatoes, are best for frying due to their low moisture content and denser texture.

Do you have to soak french fry potatoes before cooking?

Ideally, yes. Soaking peeled and cut french fry destined potatoes in cold water overnight will leach out excess starch. This way, your fries won’t stick together in the fryer, and you can achieve super crispiness across the entirety of each fry.
However, I would be lying if I told you I’ve never skipped this step before.

Do you peel potatoes for fries?

Peeling the potatoes is an optional step that is up to preference only. You may opt to keep the peels intact to provide nutrients, but make sure to scrub the potatoes well under warm water before cutting.

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How To Cut Potatoes Into French Fries (5 Styles) (8)

(Video) French Fries│ French Fries recipe │KFC Style French Fries│Potato Fries│Potato Chips

How To Cut Potatoes Into French Fries

  • Author: Jasmine Mattey
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: about 25 standard fries per large potato, variable for other cuts 1x
Print Recipe

Description

Learn step-by-step how to cut a potato into any kind of french fry.

Ingredients

Scale

  • 1 Potato, medium or large

Instructions

For Standard, Shoestring, and Steak Fries

  1. Wash and peel (optional) the potato.
  2. Cut a sliver equal to the thickness of french fry that you desire. ¼ inch for standard fries, ⅛ inch for shoestring fries, and ½ inch for steak fries
  3. Stabilize the potato with the cut side down, and continue to cut slivers of equal thickness lengthwise along the entirety of the potato.
  4. Stack these slivers two-high cut side down, and slice into strips of equal thickness dependent on french fry thickness.

For Potato Wedges

  1. Wash and peel (optional) the potato.
  2. Cut the potato in half lengthwise.
  3. With the cut side against the cutting board for stability, cut each of those halves in half again, lengthwise.
  4. With the rounded edge against the cutting board, cut those potato quarters in half again, lengthwise, using the apex of the potato as your starting point for the cut.

For Crinkle-Cut Fries

  1. Wash and peel (optional) the potato.
  2. Using the crinkle cutter tool, cut off a ¼ to ½ inch thick sliver lengthwise from the potato.
  3. Roll the potato onto this cut edge, and continue to make ¼ to ½ inch crinkle-cut slivers with the tool, lengthwise, along the entire potato.
  4. Stacking about two slivers high, crinkle side down, use the tool to cut those slivers into ¼ to ½ inch thick rectangles.

For Waffle Fries

  1. Wash and peel (optional) the potato.
  2. Using the crinkle-cutter, push down through the tip of the potato.
  3. Rotate the potato 90 degrees, and push the crinkle cutter through the round, about ¼ to ½ inch away from the previous slice.
  4. Continue this alternating slicing and rotating method until the potato is completely cut.

For Curly Fries

  1. Wash and peel (optional) the potato.
  2. Cut off the tips of the potato on either end.
  3. Attach flat ends of the potato to your spiralizer and twist the crank until your potato is entirely spiralized.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Knife Skills
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Belgian, French, American

Keywords: how to cut potatoes, how to cut french fries, how to make french fries, how to make fries at home

FAQs

What is the appropriate cut for french fries? ›

Cut Classic French Fries by Hand

Slice into approximately ⅜-inch slices. This is halfway between ¼ inch and ½ inch. Then lay each potato slice down and slice again in even strips to make individual French fries.

How do you cut a potato step by step? ›

How to Dice Potatoes
  1. Step 1: Slice a strip off, lengthwise, so the potato sits flat on the cutting surface. ...
  2. Step 2: Slice the potato into uniform pieces, while holding it with your non-cutting hand. ...
  3. Step 3: Cut each round into sticks, or “batons”.

How do you cut potatoes easier? ›

Cut into thirds lengthwise, you'll end up with three long potato sticks. Keeping the slices together, rotate the potato half 90° and slice all the way across with four long cuts. This should leave you with 12 large potato chunks. Repeat this process with the other half of the potato.

How many different cuts of fries are there? ›

While julienne and baton are the most typical cut, here is a delicious accounting of the different types of fries. There are 30 different types of fries for you to try! Bistro Fries: Served at bistros in metal holders, these “frites” are usually fried twice for extra crispness.

How many cuts of french fries are there? ›

There are at least 15 types of french fries

There are at least 15 different styles of fry in existence: standard, waffle, thick-cut, belgian, curly, steak, shoestring, crinkle-cut, sweet potato, cottage, side-winding, tornado, wedge and smiley face, in addition to tots, if you count those as fries.

What style of fries does McDonald's use? ›

Our World Famous Fries® are made from quality potatoes, including Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet, Umatilla Russet and the Shepody. The suppliers we work with first peel, cut and blanche the potatoes. They then dry, partially fry and quickly freeze the fries for our restaurants.

What are McDonald's fries called? ›

The fast-food giant uses what they call "premium potatoes" to make their fries. The potatoes consist of different varieties, like Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody.

What style fries are McDonald's? ›

McDonald's World Famous Fries® are made with premium potatoes such as the Russet Burbank and the Shepody. With 0g of trans fat per labeled serving, these epic fries are crispy and golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Why do you Soak potatoes in water before making french fries? ›

The soaking, Mr. Nasr said, is the secret to the crisp texture of the fries. It draws out the starch, making them more rigid and less likely to stick together. The cooks fry them twice, first blanching them until slightly limp in peanut oil heated to 325 degrees, and again in 375-degree oil to crisp and brown them.

Why do you Soak potatoes in water before cooking? ›

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes. Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch activating it, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

How early can you cut potatoes for french fries? ›

You can cut, soak, and parcook the potato sticks up to 2 hours ahead. Refrigerate the potatoes until you're ready to do the second fry. Then be sure to heat the oil to 375° before adding the parcooked potatoes.

How long should I keep potatoes in water before frying? ›

Don't soak cut potatoes longer than overnight.

If keeping potatoes in water for more than an hour, refrigerate. However, don't soak them any longer than overnight—after that, the potatoes start to lose their structure and flavor.

How long do you let potatoes sit in water before frying? ›

Throw them in a pot or large bowl and cover them with cold water, then let them soak for at least two or three hours. Soaking the sliced potatoes is the fundamental first step of making proper french fries.

How long can you soak potatoes in water for fries? ›

Allow them to soak, 2 to 3 hours. (You can also stick them in the fridge and let them soak overnight.) When you're ready to make the fries, drain off the water and lay the potatoes on 2 baking sheets lined with paper towels. Blot with paper towels to dry them.

Should I soak potatoes in water or salt water? ›

Why use salt water for soaking potatoes? There's moisture naturally found in potatoes, and moisture is drawn to higher concentrations of salt. (This is a process called osmosis.) So, if you put the potatoes in a salt water bath, that will help draw out some of their moisture, resulting in crispier fries.

How long should you soak potatoes in salt water? ›

Dissolve the salt in a large bowl filled with warm water. Wash but do not put holes in the potatoes. Add potatoes to the salt water so they are completely submerged. Soak for a minimum of 2 hours.

Should you salt potatoes before frying? ›

Salting before frying will prematurely breakdown the oil. Oil is the most expensive part of the formula for costing out making fries from scratch. Anything that shortens the time the oil can be used and can't be filtered out is not a good thing.

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