Can You Microwave Frozen Fries?

The Wonder of Fried String Potatoes.

Burgers. Buffalo wings. Steak. Chili. Deep-fried and Breaded Jumbo Shrimps. Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. Any sandwich for that matter. And so many other dishes…

It is hard to eat any of these without a side dish to nibble on every other bite of your main.

And when it comes to sides, there’s just one reliable go-to: crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside fried spuds.

The only trouble with spectacularly delish fries is that it’s not really ‘fast’ food, especially if you’re cooking it at home.

Even if you buy those frozen pre-sliced potatoes, you would still have to wait half an hour to thaw it before deep-frying it for at least 15 minutes then let the oil drain out before you eat it.

The Wonder That Is the Microwave Oven

This is one of the best inventions of the 20th century because it has dramatically changed how we all prepare food.

Now, we can thaw frozen slabs of meat, boil water and re-heat leftovers in less than five minutes.

However, cooking a whole chicken in this appliance is not advisable.

So to make our lives a little less problematic, just-pop-in-the-microwave foods were also made: pre-packaged full meals (say, a roast chicken leg and pasta with marinara sauce), instant oats, brownie mixes, and the famous microwaveable popcorn.

But the question now is: can you microwave frozen fries?

To be honest, there is no one answer to that question.

Fortunately for you, everything you need to know about microwaving this particular food will be expounded on below.

YES, You Just Might Get It Right with This Tip

One of the details you need to know is that pre-packaged fries have been sliced, soaked in water, dried, and then fried to cook the inside before factories freeze, package in bags, and send to grocers.

When you cook it at home, you’re frying these for the second time, re-heating the creamy potato interior but giving it a crisp exterior.

This is why ‘twice-fried is the best!

Some swear that this can be achieved in a microwave.

As long as you have everything that is needed and you follow the instructions to a tee, you’ll be able to pull this off.

Prepare:

• Microwave-safe dish
• Baking / Parchment / Wax paper
• Oil – your preference
• Salt – your preference
• Fries – any commercially-bought potatoes

Directions:

• First, line the microwaveable dish with a sheet of baking paper. This paper helps absorb the heat from the oven, transferring it directly to the surface of the food.

• Evenly spread each fry on the lined dish. Make sure that no piece is on top of another. In a regular-sized microwave oven, you can probably fit 200 grams at a time.

• Set the oven to low and then nuke the potatoes for 30 seconds to a minute. This will help thaw the food a bit.

• Take the dish out of the oven and then drizzle a bit of oil over the taters. Using your hands, make sure that all surfaces of each potato string are covered with oil. Spread all of it evenly once more.

• Set the oven to high (350 degrees Fahrenheit and up) and cook your spuds for 2 minutes.

• Take the dish out once more to turn the potatoes on the other side (the part facing up should touch the baking paper this time)

• Set the oven to high again and cook for another 2 minutes.

• Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with salt to season, and then serve.

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total: 6 minutes

The Upside:

• It’s a relatively quick method.
• Because you won’t use a whole lot of oil, this is a healthier option.

The Downside:

• You won’t be able to cook a huge batch at one go.
Since you can only nuke as much as 200 grams at a time, that is just a little over one serving.
• Flipping the individual fry one at a time can finicky work.
• This method won’t work for fresh potatoes unless you plan to pre-bake or boil them.

YES, If You Get the Right Brand

Just like the most successful microwaveable product – the popcorn, there are pre-packaged frozen taters which you can pop into the oven, zap and enjoy in less than five minutes.

Manufacturers haven’t changed anything with the formulation of the fries.

They’re still cut potatoes, dipped in hot oil for a few minutes, and then packaged in boxes similar to those frozen TV dinners.

What makes this work is the packaging.

Designed specifically for microwave ovens, the interior of the box is lined with crisping sheets – similar to baking parchment – which will come in contact with all sides of each fry.

Once cooked, lift the top cover and enjoy!

Directions:

• Peel off the plastic covering.

• Place inside the oven.

• Set the oven to high (400 degrees and higher) for four minutes.

• When you hear the ding, it’s cooked.

Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total: 4 minutes

The Upside:

• Incredibly quick overall prep and cook time
• It comes in different variants: tater tots, crinkle cuts, hash browns, etc.
• It is already seasoned and comes in different flavors
• There is no need for vats of oil for deep-frying – another healthier option.

The Downside:

• A pack only contains 150g – this is just one serving.

NO, You’re Bound to Get Wet, Soggy Spuds

The truth is, the microwave oven can’t cook potatoes the way restaurants do.

If you want the real deal, you will have to follow the same process that pros do.

Deep Frying

The flavor and feeling people crave in the dish is brought about by salt and fat that is why many professionals and gourmands agree that this is still the best way to cook any potato dish.

Prepare:

• 500g of frozen fries
• 2 cups of vegetable oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
• Deep pot for frying
• Strainer
• Paper towels
• Bowl or any dish
• Salt

Directions:

• Thaw the potatoes for a minute or two.

• While you’re waiting for this to soften a bit, heat two cups of vegetable oil in a medium-sized pot. When you see bubbles on the side of the pot, the oil is ready.

• Put at least 250g of the taters into the oil. Stir it around a bit so the pieces won’t stick together and to make sure they aren’t crowded in the pot.

• After six to seven minutes, when the fries turn golden brown, strain them out from the oil and transfer them to a dish covered in paper towels. Let the excess grease drain. Transfer to a bowl.

• Do the same to the second 250g of potatoes.

• Season the two batches with salt.

Prep Time: 3-4 minutes
Cook Time: 12-14 minutes (for two batches)
Total: 15-18 minutes

Skillet Frying

This is almost the same as deep frying except that you won’t be using too much grease.

Instead of letting the potato slices ‘swim’ in oil, you’ll be pan-frying these.

Prepare:

You’ll be preparing the same materials and ingredients as above. The only difference is you’ll use a skillet and lessen the amount of oil to just half a cup.

Directions:

The step-by-step process is also the same. Most cooks will insist that deep-frying is the way to go but this is the next best thing, especially if you don’t have that much oil in your pantry.

Prep Time: 3-4 minutes
Cook Time: 12-14 minutes (for two batches)
Total: 15-18 minutes

Baking in a Convection Oven

If you want your fries healthier, pop them in an oven – specifically the convection type. This is also a better alternative to microwaving because it can properly cook food through and crisp it more effectively outside.

Prepare:

• 500g of frozen fries
• 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
• Baking tray/sheet
• Baking paper
• Aluminum foil
• Salt

Directions:

• Thaw the frozen fries for a minute or two. If it has warmed a bit, drizzle the oil over it, making sure every piece is greased.

• Line the baking tray with waxed paper and spread the potatoes on it evenly. Cover the tray with aluminum foil.

• Put the tray in a preheated 425-degree oven for 7-10 minutes.

• Check now and then to see if it’s golden brown. Once it is, pull the tray out and transfer the contents to the bowl.

• Season with salt and enjoy!

Prep Time: 3-4 minutes
Cook Time: 7-10 minutes
Total: 10-14 minutes

The Real Deal with Microwaving Frozen Fries

To be honest, a microwave oven is a must-have at home.

There is no doubt that it makes kitchen work in general faster and easier.

But when it comes to making crisp on the outside, fluffy inside, restaurant-style fries that will satisfy the taste buds, you will have to do it the traditional way – deep frying it or baking it in a conventional oven.

But if you’re in a rush and you’re OK with good enough taters to snack on, go ahead and try the tips mentioned above.

If you get the technique right, you’ll be nibbling on to-die-for fries any time you want it.

Last Updated on July 22, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.