It can be very tempting to try and learn how to reheat fries despite the almost-universal consensus on reheating them being a huge no. This isn’t just because they’re cheap or that you can cook another batch in only a couple of minutes. Rather, it’s more because fries are pretty difficult to reheat.
Everyone is familiar with the taste of cold fries that have been left out in the air for too long (15 or so minutes): chewy, soggy, and just unpleasantly greasy. When that happens, most people’s instinct is to just throw them away.
If you see this as a waste (and it is, fries are one of the most commonly wasted food in restaurants), here are ways to give your leftover fries a new lease of life.
How to Reheat French Fries
1. What Kind of Fries Can Be Reheated?
First thing that you need to know is that not all fries can be reheated. The deciding factor for this is the size of your fries.
For example, fast-food fries from McDonald’s are usually very thin. This is to maximize the heating efficiency inside of the deep fryers. If you try to fry this type for a second time, they would typically turn soggy.
In addition to that, the oil that is used in most fast food restaurants is of the cheap, low-quality type. When they are reheated, the off-taste of old oil would come out and make the fries taste rather icky.
That’s not to say that you cannot reheat fast-food fries. All we’re saying is that it just won’t have the same taste or texture as when it was first fished from out of the fryer. With the correct techniques, you can restore the taste somewhat to them.
The best type of fries to reheat are thickly-cut ones like steak fries. When they are fried for the second time, these large cuts can retain more of the original flavors.
Another important factor is the type of potato that the fries are made from. If you buy the fries from restaurants, it’s unlikely that you would know. However, if you made the fries yourself, keep in mind that the starchier the potatoes, the better it is for reheating.
Starchy potatoes include cultivars like Russet potatoes (also known as “Idaho potatoes” in the U.S) and Kennebec. Both types are characterized by being mealy, dense, and have a low moisture content. All of these properties make them perfect for reheating and fries made from them won’t become soggy when they’re given a second fry.
Besides french fries, you can also effectively reheat mashed potatoes and other recipes made from these cultivars.
2. Methods of Reheating Fries
There are many methods that you can use to restore your fries: refry it, reheat in an oven, an air fryer, or — if you’re desperate enough — a microwave.
We do not recommend using a microwave unless you have no other option available since it can dehydrate the fries to the point of unappealing. Worse, if it was fast-food fries that you were trying to reheat, the microwave could make the oil taste grossly bitter and sour.
Regardless, if it is done correctly, it is a very quick way to reheat your fries. Microwaving usually only takes one to two minutes.
The best way to reheat french fries is to refry them using the Belgian method. In Belgium, fries are cooked two times to give them a pleasantly mellow interior and a delectably crisp shell. It is entirely possible to emulate this process with leftover fries to great results.
There are certain caveats, though: refrying isn’t for every kind of fries (especially not the fast-food types.) It should only be done with thickly-cut steak fries or homemade fries for best effects.
If you merely only want to reheat the fries, using either an oven or an air fryer would do the trick. Using any of them will net you crispy fries in a couple of minutes and are our top recommendations if you’re looking for a batch of decent reheated fries.
The Best Ways to Reheat Fries
1. How to Reheat McDonalds Fries
We reckon most people would be looking for ways to bring their fast-food fries back to life for a second serving, so let’s deal with this question first. The best way to do it is to reheat it on the stovetop.
Drizzle a thin layer of oil (canola, vegetable, or extra-virgin olive oil) onto a skillet and heat it up on medium-high heat. When the oil starts bubbling, put your fries in and let them cook. Every three to five minutes, stir them.
Shut down the stove until they become crispy or golden. The actual cooking time will vary depending on how thick the fries are.
Extract the fries and let them sit for about five minutes before serving.
If you need to reheat a lot of fries and can’t seem to fit them all inside of the skillet, separate them into batches and cook them individually. If the skillet is too crowded, the cooking process would be very inefficient due to trapped steam.
2. How to Belgian Fry
Belgian frying is quite complicated and will require you to either have a high-sided dutch oven or a countertop fryer.
Put in some cooking oil (you can use any type that has a high smoking point like canola oil or sunflower seed oil) and heat using medium-high flame until they’re bubbling. If you want to be exact, use a thermometer to know when the oil reaches about 300°F.
Add in your fries and allow them to cook for three to five minutes. As always, the cooking time can vary depending on how thick the fries are.
When the fries are done, extract them all and place on a paper towel-covered plate. The paper towel will soak out all of the excess oil. Let them rest for five minutes before serving.
3. In Oven
For this method, using a traditional oven or a toaster oven would be fine.
First, lay out a baking sheet and cover up the top surface with aluminum foil. Put the baking sheet (do not add fries in just yet) into your oven of choice and preheat both the oven and the sheet to 400 or 450°F.
Once the preheating is done, take out the hot baking sheet with safety gloves and deck out your fries on it. Be careful to arrange it in an orderly manner and don’t pile them up, make sure that there’s only a single layer of fries on the whole sheet.
Place it back inside of the oven and bake for a few minutes. The exact timing depends on how much fries you got on the sheet. Usually, two or three servings of fries will need seven to ten minutes inside of the oven to reach the right temperature.
Because of its sizable cooking chamber, an oven is great if you need to reheat a lot of fries at once.
The oven is a very versatile reheating tool. With it, you can reheat other recipes using pretty much the same principle. For example, this is quite similar to how you would reheat lasagna in the oven.Not just baking, the oven can be converted into a broiler, too. As a broiler, your oven can be used to reheat corn on the cob — which can be used together with fries quite well.
4. In Air Fryer
The best part of reheating fries in an air fryer is that there’s no need for extra oil. Fries are loaded with enough oil and fat as it is, so this method will work out well if you’re trying to be health-conscious. There’s also the advantage of the air fryer being very versatile: you can cook just about any type of fries with it.
Place the leftover fries in the fryer’s cooking chamber in a single layer with plenty of space in-between to maximize the flow of hot air. If you have a lot of fries that you need to reheat, separate them into batches. Do not cook them all at once.
Power on the air fryer and cook at 360°F. How long depends on the type of fries you got. Thinly-cut fries from McDonald’s will take only three to four minutes. Thicker steak fries or potato wedges will need up to six minutes inside of the fryer.
5. How to Reheat Fries In Microwave
Like we said before, we do not recommend using a microwave to reheat your fries unless you literally have no other options. Microwaved fries do not have the best reputation for tastiness or texture.
But if you must, place the fries you got onto a microwave-safe plate. Then, cover up the plate with napkins. Microwave the fries in 30-second bursts until they are adequately warm. Take them out and allow them to rest for five minutes before serving.
Though it may seem like it, the microwave isn’t always the worst reheating method that you can possibly use. As you can find in our other guide on the best way to reheat rice, it can work quite well for certain types of food.
So that’s how to reheat fries right in the comfort of your kitchen! Though they’re cheap and simple enough to remake, throwing them away when they can be reheated and enjoyed for a second time seems like an unnecessary waste.
We hope that you have gotten the information you need out of this short guide.
If you want to hone your reheating skill further and with other kinds of food, we got that covered, too. Here are a couple of similar reheating guides you can check out:
- Can I Reheat Fried Chicken? — Best Ways to Reheat Fried Chicken: fried chicken and fries go together like milk and cookies. There’s nothing else that can complement your salty fries like a cut of crunchy, juicy chicken. You can learn how to reheat your fried chicken in this guide.
- How to Reheat Steak: steak isn’t something that you can have every day. Not only is it expensive, it also takes time and effort to prepare. So, if you have a leftover cut of steak, it would almost be criminal to throw it away. Not to mention, it also goes together quite well with fries. You can reheat it using the methods outlined here.
- How to Reheat Prime Rib Slices: prime rib — whole or sliced — is yet another kind of food that you don’t want to waste unless you absolutely have to. When thrown into the fridge to preserve overnight, you can reheat it later and make an extra meal out of it easily. This article can show you how.
- Easy Ways to Reheat Rotisserie Chicken: succulent and tender, rotisserie chicken is a beloved recipe for the occasional special dinners. If there’s leftover, reheating rotisserie chicken is easy. Just follow the instructions found in the article there.
- How to Reheat Frozen Crab Legs: crab legs can be seriously addicting. Its sweet, buttery taste has enamored quite a few eaters. If you’re wondering how to deal with leftover crab legs, this guide can show you exactly what you have to do. Contrary to popular’s belief, it’s quite simple and safe to reheat crab legs.
- The Best Way to Reheat Chicken Wings: just like fried chicken, you can’t go wrong pairing fries with chicken wings. Fries — with its crispy texture and savory taste — can add new dimensions of mouthfeel and flavor to your chicken wings. Depending on the sauce and seasoning, your wings can also make the fries taste better, too. Find the best reheating methods for leftover wings here.
- Is It Safe to Reheat Salmon — Best Ways to Reheat Salmon: not all seafood can be reheated. Fortunately, this list does not include salmon. As long as you store it properly, you can easily and safely reheat leftover salmon. Just follow the exact guideline here and you can plate that refrigerated salmon cut in no time.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.