Why Frozen French Fries Taste Almost As Good As Homemade Options

French fries are an easy supplement to any dinner, but making homemade fries is a multi-step process that a lot of us just don't have the time for. It's much easier and quicker to grab a bag of frozen fries — perfect for a weeknight meal. Luckily, there's a large variety of frozen fries to choose from. And rest assured if you're serving frozen fries — they're just as good as the homemade options.

Frozen french fry brands like Ore-Ida and McCain go through a lot of effort to make their fries taste as close to the real deal as possible. This might be through adding certain (often natural) enhancers to amp up the crunch factor, and sometimes additives like xantham gum to ensure a pillowy center. For example, if you check the label on a bag of Ore-Ida extra crispy fries you'll find ingredients like cornstarch and baking powder, the combination of which creates a satisfying crunch. 

"This is no longer an art, it is a science," McCain's Regional Quality Assurance Manager Bruce Hagelstein explains to Quality Assurance Magazine. He adds, "The potato is one of the most difficult vegetables to process because of its physiology," and outlines how they have to take steps to keep potato from turning black, to ensure a crisp exterior by gelatinizing the starch, and to ensure a uniform color. With most well-known frozen fry suppliers, each stage of the process is subject to quality checks, both internally and by the USDA. 

Even professional chefs prefer to use frozen fries over fresh

You might be surprised to learn how many restaurants use frozen rather than fresh-cut fries. Making french fries involves prepping potatoes, slicing, soaking, blanching, and double frying. The complexity of the process has even been known to cause some chefs to quit their jobs. The technique often involves freezing the fries at some point, so you can feel justified in meeting the ordeal halfway. Some brands of frozen french fries beloved by chefs both at the restaurant and at home are Lamb Weston, Ore-Ida, and Simplot Foods.

If you don't want to mess up your frozen french fries, you can zhuzh them up using a few tricks that make fries taste even better. In a restaurant, the frozen fries would most likely be deep fried, but that's not your only option to attain restaurant-quality fries. Air-fried french fries are a game changer. You'll get the crisp without turning on the oven or deep frying. In a conventional oven, placing your frozen fries on an open rack allows the hot air to circulate all the way around the fry, allowing it to get crispy on all sides. And make sure you season with salt right after the fries come out of the oven — your salt will have a better chance of sticking. Knowing how much care has gone into their production, you can be satisfied when you whip up some frozen Fries: the perfect blank canvas for your culinary imagination.