Patricia Wells' Fake Frites Recipe on Food52 (2024)

5 Ingredients or Fewer

by: Genius Recipes



21 Ratings

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 32 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6

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Author Notes

A trick for the best french fries you can make at home -- in the oven, using less oil than you'd put on a salad. Game on. Recipe from At Home in Provence(Scribner, 1999). —Genius Recipes

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

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Patricia Wells' FakeFrites

  • 2 poundsbaking potatoes, such as Idaho russets or Bintje, peeled and cut into thick fries, 3/4 inch by 3 inches
  • 2 tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil (up to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 pinchfine sea salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer in the bottom of a steamer. Place the potatoes on the steaming rack, place the rack in the steamer, cover, and steam just until a knife inserted in a potato comes away clean, 10 to 12 minutes. (The potatoes should not be cooked through, or they will tend to fall apart.)
  2. Transfer the steamed potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Carefully toss to coat evenly with oil. (The potatoes can be prepared to this point several hours in advance. Set aside at room temperature.)
  3. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes in a single layer to a nonstick baking sheet. Discard any excess oil or liquid. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake, turning so they brown evenly, until the potatoes are crisp and deep golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, season generously with salt, and serve immediately.


  • American
  • Potato
  • 5 Ingredients or Fewer
  • Make Ahead
  • Serves a Crowd
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Father's Day
  • Valentine's Day
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rose mccroskey

  • Starmade

  • Laura Albanese

  • Pat

  • Scott Citron

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

65 Reviews

spenlo May 28, 2022

Another easy and wonderful recipe! Thank you!

rose M. October 17, 2019

Most non stick baking sheets can’t be used @500 degrees. How about parchment paper on plain sheets?

Dannielle November 19, 2019

I always bake mine on parchment and it works for me. The parchment does get really crispy as well :)

Starmade May 19, 2019

I was intrigued by this recipe, but also had the problem that 10-12 minutes in a steamer turned the potatoes to mush. Of course (I reasoned) we are working with last season's russets and old potatoes cook faster. So on the next go I tried 4- 5 minutes steam time and let them dry a bit before tossing in oil. At least the oil stayed on the outside of the potato, but still found them a bit mushy in the middle when they'd attained proper crispness on the outside. I like the *idea* of the starch coating and a crisp result with less oil, as well as the short oven time in principle, but I am not yet convinced that roasting a raw potato at a lower temp for a longer time wouldn't give a better flavor result, at least with an old russet (a la tad's roasted potatoes I do mean to try this recipe one more time with a newer potato when these are available, just kissing it with the steam till I see the starch form, and preheating the pan they roast in as one other reviewer suggested.

Laura A. April 30, 2019

These were SOOOO good. I couldn't help snacking on them STRAIGHT from the 500-degree oven... worth it. Thanks for this recipe :) Not as good reheated, but what ever is.

patricia G. April 28, 2019

I steam the potato sticks and wait a while for a pellicle to form. Seem to recall I got the steaming idea from a documentary I once saw about MacDonald's fries. Once upon a time when I twice-fried my frites in tallow, the first fry was done at low-temp just to tenderize, not colour, the potato, and then the frites were lifted out in their basket to air-dry. Then they were fried a second time at higher temperature to crisp up. So the steaming plays some of the role of that first fry....

Pat April 26, 2019

Best oven fries. Steamed for 8 minutes and added oil. Let sit for 30 minutes and baked at 500. You can see and feel the starch. Came out browned and crisp with fluffy interiors. Best part, two teenagers thought they were swag!

Scott C. April 17, 2019

I'm sorry to report that my fries were entirely underwhelming. Like Alicia J. said, outsides were crisp but insides were gluey and tough. I also think baking the fries at 500º is way too hot. If I ever try this again I'll lower to temp to around 450º.

Julie April 17, 2019

How many carbs in these?

Jessie H. April 18, 2019

As many as are in the amount of potatoes you consume, nothing else in the recipe has carbs.

Laura E. January 29, 2020

all of them! But worth it

Alicia J. June 22, 2017

I used russet potatoes and followed all instructions. These did get crispy exteriors, but the texture inside was gluey and tough- too much starch. Cooks Illustrated method, par-boiling with baking soda- produced much better results.

BavarianCook February 7, 2016

I made these with Idaho Russet potatoes - perfect! Steamed them in a single layer and could practically 'see' the starch forming on the potatoes and then swirled them in small batches in olive oil. This recipe rocks!

Kirsten S. January 28, 2016

Totally works! I think I over steamed a bit but they were still undoubtedly the best oven fries I have ever made. The insides were so fluffy and the outsides were the golden brown that I thought only existed at MacDonalds. I could tell the second I took them out of the steamer that all that sticky starchy exterior would cling to the oil and make the perfect baking surface.

Lacey January 20, 2016

Okay this recipe is amazing. I have always just baked oven fries but I have to say steaming made all the difference in the texture. I've made these lots of times now and I love this recipe!

Nancy August 10, 2015

Have been making these delicious potatoes and see why booglix mentions the released starch as a good factor in taste and texture.
Am guessing this is why recipe says to transfer (and not rinse) the steamed potatoes to bowl for oiling.

Annette T. July 8, 2015

This completely redeemed the long overlooked russets in the pantry so much better than potato salad, crispy, not greasy, easy to prep early and have hot when needed. Can wait to try the leftovers with eggs and sausage.
Thank you

tessga June 28, 2015

I microwaved the russet potatoes in a paper towel covered glass bowl for 3 minutes (too hot to steam and have the oven on). worked great. I used grapeseed oil and fleur de sel to finish and cooked about 20 minutes, I tossed the potatoes halfway through. These were fantastic!

Picholine April 17, 2019

You are the genius! Easier and works for me!

Deejay J. June 16, 2015

If you're lazy, you can skip the steaming process and microwave them on high for 3-4 minutes.

Holly May 25, 2015

Mine turned out good in terms of taste. Fries can be crispier. I might have cooked it a little more than desirable during the steaming process even though I only steamed it for 10 minutes. Will try again and be more careful with the steaming process. And will try the preheat hot pan idea. Mine looked close to the picture.

VVV03 April 18, 2015

Okay. I must not be a genius, because I have tried this recipe twice and have run into problems both times. The first time, I overcooked the potatoes in the steaming process and ended up with some of them being really mushy during the baking process. This time, they stuck so badly. I'll admit, my kids still like them, but the end product looks NOTHING like the amazing photo attached to the recipe. It looks like a classic Pinterest fail photo. I may have to call it a day and give up on this one.

Anne W. February 22, 2015

Before I started, I read everyone's comments -thanks! I took into account my 2 week old Idahos, thickness of cuts and kept a careful eye on the steaming process. I did what one commentor did, preheated the pan with vegetable oil. When the fries hit the pan a little sizzle took place which is important in getting a nice crust. Mealy inside, crispy red-brown outside and so delicious! I took my share and tossed the fries in parmesan cheese and white truffle oil. Thanks for this healthier option for fries with minimal mess!

Ed W. February 14, 2015

I'd recommend keeping a very steady eye on them during the steaming process. Even cut thick, mine turned to mush by 10 minutes, and really disintegrated when I stirred in the olive oil. Trying to figure out what to do with them now, as they're not really mashed potatoes at this point. Going to hope for some sort of baked hash brown thing using the same oven method, and look forward to trying the frites recipe again with a severely reduced steaming time.

cookinalong February 15, 2015

Ed, I had the same problem the first time I made these. I think there were 2 reasons: first, I sliced the fries too thin, and second, I used what my local market calls "all purpose" potatoes because that's what I had on hand and didn't feel like getting the dog-sled out to go out and get the potatoes called for. Second time I used yukon golds and this time cut the fries thicker and left the skins on. Same steaming time called for in the recipe, and they were great. Although, like other commenters, I did them at about 425-450. One thing that I think helps prevent sticking is that I put the sheet pan, with a light coating of grapeseed oil, into the oven for about 5-10 minutes, then just dump the potatoes onto the hot pan and spread them around, shut the door, and proceed as the recipe directs. I think keeping the skins on makes the timing less fussy. Also, how old were your potatoes? If they've been hanging around awhile and have gotten a bit soft, that would make them turn mushy when steamed.

Patricia Wells' Fake Frites Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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