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Best Potatoes For French Fries [2024] – Starchy vs Waxy Potatoes

Norah Clark
French fries in a cone.

As a chef, I am highly qualified and experienced to tell you about the humble potato and what's best for desired outcomes.

The best deep-fried chips are made from Russet potatoes and Maris Piper potatoes. Maris Piper is mainly limited to Western Europe and the United Kingdom. The Russet is the best for French fries worldwide.

They are now a standard ingredient in modern cuisine that each renowned culinary school has a several lessons on potatoes and cooking methods.

I'm not suggesting you go to culinary school to learn how to cook french fries, but, you should be aware there are some subtleties associated with the cooking process, such as deep-frying the potatoes.

It's essential to buy the right kind of potato to get even close to making the ideal French fries. 

Today, there are a few hundred varieties of potatoes available in the market, making it highly confusing.

Read on as there’s plenty to know about potatoes in general and the method of deep-frying the most delicious fries.

Starchy vs. Waxy Potatoes

Potatoes are generally classified into two major categories, and there is a third that can be placed in between.

The two categories are more commonly referred to for their sugar content and being sticky potatoes.

Based on their attributes and characteristics, each variety can be used in a variety of recipes, and some varieties are suitable for almost every cooking method, also known as all-purpose potatoes.

Waxy Potatoes: Ideal For Boiling Baking, Roasting, or Boiling

On one end of the range of potatoes are the waxy potatoes. The distinctive characteristics of these potatoes are their low starch content and high levels of moisture.

Also, they can maintain their shape when cooked or heated, this is why the majority of cooks don’t use them to make mashed potatoes. The waxy potatoes are distinguished by thinner skins and have a more creamy flesh than starchy potatoes.

Most often, potatoes that are squishy are smaller with a round shape. This is because they are generally harvested at a significantly older time than their starchy relatives.

This grouping includes the majority of red-skinned potatoes as well as many varieties of purple, blue, and fingerling varieties.

Waxy potatoes are ideal for any potato cooking, including frying. Also, you can use them for boiling, baking, or roasting but more starch is needed to make better French fries.

Waxy potatoes come in many varieties, but the most well-known instances include New Potatoes, Russian Banana, Red Bliss, French fingerling, and others.

Starchy Potatoes: Best For Deep Frying

As the name implies, these potatoes are characterized by an extremely high amount of starch but less moisture.

Starchy potatoes are unable to hold their shape. They are also extremely absorbent. This makes them perfect for deep-frying, and French fries, in particular.

You may be familiar with the most popular type of starchy potato--the Russet--the most appropriate potato for cooking French fries.

There are numerous alternatives available and we’ll go over them in detail in the subsequent sections.

All-Purpose Potatoes: Best of Both Worlds

All-purpose potatoes, also known by the name the floury potato, provide the best of two worlds. They’re neither too starchy, nor too watery.

They’re perfect for virtually any type of cooking method, including frying. The most well-known variation is an all-purpose potato called Yukon Gold.

The two kinds of potatoes you can use to attain the highest level of French fries are:

  1. Russet Potato
  2. Maris Piper Potato
1. Russet Potato

The Russet is the most classic of potatoes. It looks exactly the way they draw them in cartoons. 

Imagine the perfect portion of fries with a golden brown with a crisp shell and a soft inside. These are the traits of well-cooked French fries.

 

The Russet is also renowned for its high nutrients.

It is high in antioxidants and fiber as well as numerous minerals and vitamins. However, potatoes with a high starch content tend to be more calorific, and if you're watching your weight, perhaps not the best choice.

Here’s a chart that contains the most significant nutritional data for medium-sized Russet potato. It is then in comparison to the daily value of a diet that is 2000 calories.

Per 1 medium-sized potato Russet Potatoes
Calories 169
Grams Mg Daily Value %
Fat 0.2g 0%
Protein 4.6g 6.2%
Carbohydrates 38.5g 14.4%
Sodium 11g
Fiber 2.8g 11.2%
Vitamin C 12.1mg 15.2%
Vitamin B6 0.7mg 52.5%
Potassium 888.2mg 44.4%
Manganese 0.3mg 16.7%
Calcium 27.7mg 2.8%
Magnesium 49.0mg 16.3%
2. Maris Piper Potato

The British are famous for their love for potatoes. They have potatoes for all seasons along with a myriad of specialty dishes. Also the British are familiar with their potatoes and they use the Maris Piper for making their French fries.

Maris Piper has been around since the 60s. Highly in the UK, not so popular in other regions of the world. This is the reason we suggested Russet instead since it’s readily available worldwide.

Characteristically, the Maris Piper is almost identical to Russet with only minor distinctions. both variants are distinguished by their fluffy texture, which enhances the flavor of cooked fries.

The nutritional chart below for Maris Piper potatoes compares them to a normal medium-sized Russet potato that weighs about 175 grams.

 

Per 1 medium-sized potato Maris Piper Potatoes
Calories 138
Grams Mg Daily Value %
Fat 0g 0%
Protein 3.5g 6.2%
Carbohydrates 30g 14.4%
Sodium 754.0mg
Fiber 1.8g 7.2%

How To Make Perfect Deep-Fried French Fries

I know that these days, fries aren’t a daily staple. However, every now and then, we crave French fries.

If you’d like to achieve a new standard in your cooking of French fries, follow this recipe for close to the perfect chip.

Step 1: Wash your Russet or Maris Piper potatoes thoroughly.

Step 2: Cut your potatoes in half and peel them. Based on the kind of potato you pick, you might opt not to peel them. In terms of cutting, it is recommended to cut the potatoes similar to the fries you order from a take-out restaurant; this adds a dimension of satisfaction in the end.

Step 3: One of the key elements for the best French fries lies in the soak time. Most experts recommend soaking them for at least 24 hours. 

To prevent your potatoes from becoming oxidized and losing their color, you should add one tablespoon of vinegar per gallon.

Step 4: Dry the potatoes with an absorbent paper towel or at the very least, rub them on the pan on a sheet to drain all water. If you’re not in a rush then you can use an air-tight cooler for drying potato skins for a couple of hours, or even overnight.

Step 5: Bring a deep pan of oil to a moderate temperature and fry your potatoes at a moderate temperature in the oil. The time it takes to cook them will depend on their size. The most reliable way to tell when they are ready to remove from the heat is to see if they stretch without breaking.

Step 6: Cool your fries before their second fry. 

Step 7: Once cooled, put them back in the now sizzling oil until they are crisp and golden.

Step 8: Salt and enjoy!

If you love McDonald’s French fries, then you should take a look at Morgan Hipworth’s recipe – he claims they’re tastier than the original McDonald’s French fries.

FAQs

What Is The Best Oil For French Fries?

Even if you’ve completed all the steps required to prepare your perfect French fries, your result might not be satisfactory if you haven't used the right oil.

Oil is a key ingredient during deep-fried cooking. Different types have distinct smoke points. You want an oil that can withstand extreme heat. If the smoking point of the oil is too low then your fries won’t be crispy.

The best oil to use is neutral and won't alter the taste of potatoes. If you don’t have a neutral oil, you could make use of any of the well-known oils known for their ability to withstand high temperatures – such as peanut oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil.

There are other options such as sunflower or vegetable oil, but they’re not always as potent. You can read my guide on the best oils for deep frying for more information.

Why Re-use Old Oil For Deep Frying French Fries?

The ideal oil for French fries is the one that has been allowed to degrade to a certain level. Also, it is recommended to use the oil once or twice before filtering.

Interestingly, brand new oil will not stick to your fries as well as oil whose molecules have been broken down. This means less crispiness.

How To Reheat French Fries To Make Them Crispy Again?

It is a popular belief that old fries aren’t good enough to eat because they’ve lost their crispness and a significant amount of their flavor. It could be due to fast-food chains selling inferior quality products that are ruined if you don’t consume the fries within 30 minutes.

However, there is an easy and quick method to warm your fries and give them a some of that crispiness back:

  • Step 1: Take your leftover fries and cut them into pieces.
  • Step 2: Using a heavy-bottomed pan, warm a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. 
  • Step 3: When you are sure that the oil is heated sufficiently, add your portions of French fries and cook them until they are crispy once more. This should take no more than five to ten minutes. It is contingent on the amount of moisture that is in the potato since it was first cooked.

When the fries are ready, remove any excess oil using paper towels and serve them immediately. Naturally, you can’t expect the same level of crispiness through this process, but it can certainly make them crisper than they were before.

Why Double Fry French Fries?

Double-frying can be used with other foods when you need to get to that perfect crust for your food. The method of frying is drying out the food ingredient.

Also, the first frying is intended to cook your potato thoroughly. The second will give it the perfect crispness.

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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