Discovering that your once perfectly crisp and golden French fries have become soggy can turn even a great day sour. This sad discovery has left countless people hoping for a remedy, and as a result, many fries have been tossed.
Hot crispy fry lovers are in luck: It’s absolutely possible to bring even the soggiest french fry back to life with these reheating methods.
Spoiler alert: It does not involve the microwave. While it may be your first instinct, microwaved fries will lead to disappointment, and the same goes for reheating fried chicken. Consider this your warning.
We’ve all been there. Someone orders fries and can’t finish them, only to take them home as leftovers. Inevitably, the crispy goodness of French fries goes soggy.
Many fried foods lose their luster on the trip home from the restaurant, but why is that? Here are a few possibilities:
If your fries are soggy right out of the fryer, the temperature of your oil might be too low.
This problem often occurs due to the cooking process. If a deep fryer runs at an improper temperature, the fries (or whatever other deep-fried delights you’re cooking up) sit in the oil longer, allowing them to absorb more oil.
The hotter the oil is, the crispier the fries will be. If you have a deep fryer at home, patience is crucial when cooking fries.
Whether you’re cooking frozen fries at home or ordering fries in a restaurant, the fry basket mustn’t be over-filled with fries.
You’ve likely heard the phrase: don’t overcrowd the pan. The same goes for fryer baskets and baking dishes. Each side of your fry needs to contact that hot oil to get the perfect crispness.
With fried foods, moisture is the enemy. Moisture content drastically affects the texture and taste of food. It’s behind what’s making your fries soggy and much less appealing.
When taking fries home from the restaurant in to-go containers, residual heat from your fries leads to condensation, which also leads to greater sogginess.
Excess oil can also lead to fries going limp and soggy. Wrapping your fries in a napkin before placing them in your to-go container will absorb excess oil and prepare your fries for successful reheating.
Too Much Moisture from Oil Can Cause Your Fries to Become Soggy
There are multiple methods for breathing life back into your soggy fries. Whether you’re an amateur cook, microwave maverick, or a professionally trained chef, it’s possible to reanimate your fries and achieve the perfect crunch.
One easy way to bring your fries back to life is by putting them in the air fryer. These machines work by circulating extra hot air. This rapid circulation makes the food crisp. It provides all the crunch of deep frying but without the oil.
Simply place your soggy fries in the air fryer basket and select the correct setting. Within minutes, your fries will return to their golden glory.
If you’re on the fence about air fryers, take heed: they’re definitely worth the investment. Re-crisping soggy fries alone makes the purchase worth it.
Pros: Fast, easy, returns fries to near-original crispy goodness.
Cons: Requires you to have an air fryer.
Using an Airfryer Can Quickly Make Your Fries Crispy Again
If you haven’t gotten on the air fryer bandwagon, then the oven method might be for you. Although it takes longer than the air frying method, using your oven can also bring your soggy fries back to crispy perfection.
Spread your soggy fries on a baking sheet, being sure to spread the fries out so they’re not touching. You want that heat to hit as many sides of your fries as possible. Using crumpled tin foil or oven-safe grilling racks can also help separate fries and ensure all sides are heated.
Turning Those Cold Soggy Fries into Hot Fries with a Crispy Exterior
Set your oven to 425. Once it’s preheated pop the baking sheet in the oven and get ready for some crispy goodness. Use a spatula to flip the fries halfway through baking to ensure an even crunch.
Pros: Similar to crispiness as fries reheated in an air fryer, ovens are readily available in most homes.
Cons: Takes a while to reach crispiness.
Similar to the oven method, this tactic for crisping soggy fries involves your oven’s broiler. This method is suitable for fries that are a touch too soft for consumption.
If you’re unfamiliar with the broiler on your oven, there’s not much to it. The broiler setting on your oven uses the upper heating elements. The resulting high temperatures (which can reach 550 degrees) are great for finishing things like vegetables or adding an extra crunch to many dishes.
To broil your soggy fries, place them on a baking sheet. Consider using an oven-safe grilling rack to ensure the heat hits the fries evenly.
But be forewarned: your broiler works quickly, and it’s all too easy to burn your dish with this setting. Keep a close eye on the oven (and your precious fries) while using this method.
Pros: A very quick method for fries needing just a little extra crispiness.
Cons: Requires close attention to prevent burning. Not great for very soggy fries.
Pan frying isn’t the best option for reheating fries, but it can work in a pinch. Simply heat a few teaspoons of oil in a frying pan. It doesn’t take much oil. Make sure the oil gets very hot before adding the soggy fries.
Once the oil is hot, add your soggy fries. To ensure maximum crispiness, resist flipping the fries throughout the process. Ideally, you should only need to turn them once or twice.
If you have a lot of soggy fries, resist the urge to pour them all into your pan at once. Again, you want to make sure there’s enough space for each fry to come into contact with that hot, rejuvenating oil.
When your fries have become crispy (usually around five to ten minutes), place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Add a pinch of salt and enjoy while they’re still hot.
Pros: Easy and fast. Great for a smaller number of fries.
Cons: Fries can become overly oily.
So, you’ve got a deep fryer at home. First of all: Nice.
Another method for bringing your soggy fries back to life is by deep frying them a second time. Simply heat oil in your deep fryer and place fries in the basket. Drop them in and in a few minutes, your fries will once again be crispy.
Be sure to place your hot fries onto a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Cons: Can lead to excess oil on fries, and requires a deep fryer.
There are Many Different Ways to Restore the Crispiness of Your Fries
Before I wrap up, if you’re interested in making the perfect homemade fries, check out the video below from Ethan Chlebowski. He’s worth subscribing to on YouTube - he has great content. His strategy is to boil and then fry twice to get the perfect crispy fry. It sounds unusual and watch the video for details, but here’s how it works:
Perfect homemade fries as done by Ethan Chlebowski
Here are some commonly asked questions regarding soggy French fries.
While it’s a common misconception that microwaves cook food “from the inside out,” there are still scientific reasons why your microwave fails to achieve your fries’ formerly crispy glory.
The waves in microwaves heat the water molecules within your food. Convection ovens, on the other hand, circulate hot air around the food, which leads to a crisper shell.
Yes! You can reheat sweet potato fries using these techniques. It’s also great for other appetizers like onion rings, mozzarella sticks, or fried macaroni and cheese.
The best method for bringing soggy fries back to life is the air fry method. It doesn’t add excess oil to your already-fried food, and the super hot air creates a very nice crunch.
Baking in a convection oven is also a strong option for those without an air fryer. Although it takes much longer, it produces similar crispiness.
At times it may seem as though your fries have reached an unsalvageable level of sogginess and these methods don’t work. Good news - you can repurpose fries that are beyond saving. Get creative. Use leftover fries in breakfast casseroles or skillets to add potato goodness to your breakfast.
Chop leftover French fries into smaller pieces and fry them up with onion to create an easy breakfast hash. Whip up a sausage gravy and serve it over reheated fries. The sky’s the limit.