How to make perfect hot chips at home

How to cook potatoes: French fries

Video copyright The New York Times 2016.

This isn't so much a recipe as a technique. Making chips at home might seem like a lot of effort but I promise this method yields excellent chips with a deep crisp exterior and creamy interior. And who can resist a wholesome, crisp and golden home-made chip?

The type of potato you choose is crucial to success. It must be starchy but also golden. A very white potato like a russet will dry out before it's golden.

Note that the potatoes need to cook for about an hour, so you'll want to start well before you're ready to serve.

Danielle Alvarez's home-made fries.
Danielle Alvarez's home-made fries. Photo: William Meppem


  • 1 kg large chipping potatoes (such as sebago, coliban or pontiac)
  • about 1 litre oil for frying
  • salt


  1. Cut the potatoes into medium-large chips and place them into a large bowl of water. When you're ready to start cooking, drain and dry the chips with a clean tea towel or paper towel.
  2. Put the chips in a large cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pot. They should only half-fill the pot. If they go any higher you must find a larger pot for safety reasons.
  3. Pour in enough cold fry oil over the chips to cover them by 5-6cm. Place the pot on the stovetop and turn the heat to the higher end of medium high. For the first about 20 minutes stir the every few minutes. But once they start to soften you'll need to mix them more gently to avoid breaking them. Allow the oil to bubble more rapidly and once the chips have softened considerably, turn the heat to high. This will crisp up the chips and turn them golden.
  4. When their exterior has hardened and they begin to float, you can mix them more frequently and if any have stuck to the bottom, carefully scrape the bottom of the pot with a metal spoon to release them. When the chips are deeply golden (total cook time is about an hour) lift them from the oil using a spider (a long-handled wire-mesh skimmer) and toss them in a bowl with lots of fine salt.
  5. Serve with my Cuban fish sandwiches, steamed mussels or alongside a delicious steak or hamburger.

Serves 4-6