Perfect Oven-Baked Spicy Garlic Fries

I am in love with these fries and in love with Cooks Illustrated for their never ending awesome cooking tips. This recipe was adapted from their January 2004 Ultimate Oven Fries. They recommend two steps that really make a difference: one is to soak the fries in hot tap water for 10 minutes to help remove some of the starch. The second is to cover the fries with foil during the first 5 minutes of cook time so they can steam. The result is perfect, delicious french fries without the hassle of hot frying oil.

The seasonings below are my preferred mix but this can easily be adapted to your taste. You can simply just season with sea salt and pepper or a little garlic powder or rosemary. Also, I don’t bother with peeling the potatoes…I cook ’em up with the skins on.

RECIPE: Perfect Oven-Baked Spicy Garlic Fries

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Jan. 2004 Ultimate Oven Fries Recipe


  • 3 potatoes (russet or yukon gold), washed and cut lengthwise into even-sized slices (I prefer about 1/4″)
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 1/4 teasooon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet  with 4 tablespoons oil; set aside.

2. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and seasoning mix. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.
3. Remove from oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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