Leftovers are a special way for you to leave a gift for your future self. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have come home after a long day at work, too tired to cook and not wanting to spend the extra cash on take-out, only to be shocked and excited to see a Tupperware full of leftovers in my fridge that I had forgotten about. However, sometimes our leftovers are a little trickier to make delicious all over again, and one of the biggest examples is french fries.
Fries are incredible, no debating that. But a soggy, limp fry that has been sitting in the fridge overnight can be about as unappetizing as a moldy piece of toast (unless you’re a crazy person like me who loves soggy cold foods). BUT! There are many ways to bring these fries back from the brink of disaster and we are here to show you all of our favorite ways to reheat them.
BANNED: Microwaving Fries
Please, if you learn anything from this lesson, let it be to never use a microwave to reheat fries. In fact, never use a microwave to reheat anything that is meant to be crispy. A microwave works by using safe, electromagnetic radiation to energize and excite water molecules to literally steam food from the inside out. While this is perfect for things like soup or even a piece of chicken, it can be devastating to anything crispy and can lead french fries to be limper and sadder than they were before being nuked. So please, DO NOT microwave your fries.
The Classic: A Hot Oven
The Delish team loves oven fries and think they don’t get the love they deserve. And just as an oven can turn frozen fries into crispy, golden rods of potato-y goodness, it can do the same for leftovers.
There are two key tips to making sure the oven method produces perfectly revitalized fries. The first is you must use a hot oven—in this case, we want 425ºF for a standard oven or 400º for convection. Secondly, make sure you spread the fries out into one even layer on a large sheet tray to avoid any pockets of under-doneness.
Now roast the fries for five-to-10 minutes until they have reached your required level of doneness. Make sure you give the fries a good shake-around about halfway through roasting so they cook evenly.If you want to go the extra mile, you can place them on a wire rack to ensure better heat distribution. Also, with a rack, you don’t even have to open the oven to shake them.
The Overachiever: Refry
Whatever method you use to make your fries golden and beautiful again, it will never stand up to simply dunking them back into some hot oil. We don’t think it’s the best solution for everyone, but if you have a ton of leftover fries and want to make sure they are just as good as the day you bought them, then refrying ensures you have A++ french fries.
In either a countertop fryer or in a dutch oven over medium flame, heat fry oil of your choice to 350º. Working in batches, fry your leftover spuds for two-to-three minutes until they are heated through and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate or bowl then serve. The cleanup for this method might be annoying, but you certainly won’t find a better way to make day old fries seem brand new.
The Modern Way: Air Fryer
An air fryer is about the closest you can get to achieving real refrying. The heat in the air fryer is circulated by one or many fans to ensure that each fry receives direct heating from every angle. Plus, there’s no preheating necessary, so not only does using an air fryer result in some of the best tasting reheated fries, but it’s also one of the quickest methods too!
Toss your leftover fries in a tablespoon of oil (vegetable or peanut oil work great here) then, just like with the traditional oven, spread a single layer of fries in the air fryer basket. Set the temperature to 375º and cook for three-to-six minutes until the fries have reached your desired level of crispiness. Honestly, with how well they reheat all types of food, if you don’t have an air fryer, you may just have to run out and buy one.
The Innovator: Pan Fry
This is probably the least common way to reheat fries but it will also give you surprisingly good results. So if you’re someone who doesn’t have an oven (or doesn’t want to turn one on), and doesn’t have enough oil for a total refry, this is the method for you!
Get a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat and swirl in a few tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add your fries in an even layer and fry for four-to-six minutes, flipping once halfway through. When your fries are crisped to your desired doneness, move them to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Not as painless as roasting or air frying, but still a convenient and effective way to reheat fries
Just Remember: Check Your Seasoning
By the time your fries have traveled from the restaurant into your car and through your reheating technique of choice, it can be hard for them to maintain the good levels of seasoning they may have had at the start. So, just before serving, pop a fry or two in your mouth and see how they taste, and don’t be afraid to add a bit of kosher salt or black pepper to put the perfect finishing touches on your now-reinvigorated fries.
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