Photo: P Maxwell Photography (Shutterstock)
“Leftover French fries” are a divisive topic. Some people claim to have “never heard of them” while other, more realistic people (reluctantly) accept them as a takeaway option and are happy to argue about the “best” way to warm them up.
Without question, my hot air fryer is the best deep fryer I own, but not everyone has the shelf space for a small, powerful convection oven. My other go-to-fry mitigation strategy includes a Waffle maker, but there’s another incredibly easy way to get fries going again: just heat them up in a dry coated pan.
The method used by Chef John of Food Wishes fame and seen in the video above is easy. Place the fries in a non-stick pan, making sure each one is in contact with the pan surface. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, swirling every 30-45 seconds. Make sure that the fries come back into contact with the pan after each turning.
I tried this with some (13) french fries that had been in a take away container in my fridge since Friday night. It worked well. The fries got hot and crispy on the outside – instead of crispy. I dipped them in Russian mayo. You were good.
I still prefer the air fryer method – it’s much more practical and better gets rid of that “remaining” flavor – but that’s barely a second. As promised, the heat of the pan will drive away the moisture and allow the oil to wander and creep around the outside of the potato, making it crispy.
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One thing to keep in mind: Chef John means business when he says to use medium to high heat and keep the fries moving. Hanging on a fryer for too long will result in a seared, burnt roast, and that’s not what you want. (Burnt fries are still better than cold and mushy fries, but hardly ideal.)