Because every day should be a fry-day.
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We get it. You love French fries—but the thought of standing over the stove or a deep fryer, fussing with a giant pot of sizzling oil doesn't exactly entice you to try making them at home.

The good news? When done right, easy oven fries can give their deep-fried counterparts a run for their money. So go ahead and crank the heat—or fire up your air fryer—as you follow these six smart rules of thumb.

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French fries with herbs
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1 Think thin.

Thick-cut steakhouse fries have their place. But if it's crispy little batons you're craving, your best bet is to use half- to quarter-inch slices, which will yield fries with a more even ratio of crispy skin to soft interior, thanks to the Maillard reaction. Slicing fries by hand is easy with a little practice—but if you're a real stickler for consistency (or just eat a lot of fries!), invest in a dedicated fry slicer.

RELATEDThis Is the Best (and Only) Way to Make Potatoes in Your Air Fryer

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2 Soak…or steam.

Oven fries are easy—but adding just one extra step to the prep process can have a tremendous effect on their texture. Some cooks swear by pre-soaking fries in cool water for 30 minutes, a process which draws out water and starch from the spuds, making them less susceptible to steaming (and sogginess). Others insist that a quick steam before the trip to the oven achieves the same results—plus extra tender centers.

kitchen towel

3 Dry and dry again.

Whether you steam or soak, make sure to give your fries a thorough toweling off before sending them into the oven—or better yet, pat them off and then let them air dry for another 15 minutes. Water + heat = steam. Steam = sogginess. And, again, sogginess is the enemy.

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4 Crank it up.

Say it after me: hot, hot, hot! Before you get down to business, crank your oven up to 450 degrees and preheat your baking sheet—this is one of our favorite hacks for roasting vegetables. The tray should be blazing hot before your potatoes hit it. Then, bake the fries for 15 to 20 minutes, toss them around, and turn the oven to 500 degrees for the final 10 minutes of cooking.

Spicy Molasses-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

5 Make room.

Your spuds just want some space. Because even heat and air circulation around the surface of the fries is essential to achieving crispy exteriors, cramming them onto the baking sheet haphazardly is a surefire way to get inferior results. Instead, aim for one even layer with at least a quarter inch of space between each piece.

RELATEDHow You Arrange Your Oven Racks Can Make You a Better Cook

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6 Seize the seasoning.

French fries without salt are like soft serve without sprinkles. This is no place for moderation.

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7 Add garlic and herbs.

This is a little bonus for those who like to add aromatics (we love rosemary and garlic) to your oven fries. If you're feeling fancy, sprinkle some herbes de Provence and flaky sea salt, too. To avoid ending up with burnt-on garlic flavor, you can sauté minced garlic with herbs just until it starts to take on a golden color. Strain the oil from the solids—this way, you can toss the flavored oil with your potatoes and add those aromatics to your perfectly crispy potatoes at the end.

Oven Fries With Garlic Aioli
Credit: Bob Hiemstra

8 Our Favorite Oven Fries

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Now that you're a pro and making oven fries, try your hand at making these incredible delicious Oven Fries With Garlic Aioli. As you roast the potatoes in the oven, you'll mix up an easy dipping sauce made from mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and salt.