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How do you make McDonald's-type fries?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have unsubscribed from this thread, and won't be returning looking for further replies; move along, folks, there's nothing to see here. :lol:

Every recipe I can find tells you how to make fries that are "nice and crispy"... but I HATE crispy fries. The best fries I've ever had are from McDonald's; pale, smooth, not mushy but totally non-crispy, not mealy or greasy. Can anyone tell me how to make fries like that? We've got the frozen pre-cut potatoes from Ore Ida for now, and we're using beef lard because it gives the best flavor; I'd truly appreciate knowing how to combine the 2 into tasty fries. Thanks!! :roll:

(Who's Omni? You can find me here: Every Topic in the Universe(s?))
post #2 of 29
I'm sorry, you've completely thrown me a curve ball with that one! The best fries you've ever had are from McDonalds?:confused: The beef lard I agree with but I like a much thicker fry. Cooked twice for a crisp surface with a light, fluffy centre.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Someone? Anyone? We've got professional chefs here, and I've never had crispy fries in a restaurant, so I know you know how to make non-crispy ones... can't you share the secret with a non-chef? ;)
post #4 of 29
The only time I've made non-crispy fries is when I started them in oil that wasn't hot enough...turned out all bendy like McD's. Hated them. Maybe make crispy fries then leave them for an hour in a baine marie? hehehe. That could be the secret
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
It's STILL a secret, since I don't know what a baine marie is. :lol:

Do you by any chance have any idea how hot the "not hot enough" oil might have been?
post #6 of 29
Hi Omni

This is a bain marie, its 2 pots in one:)

3x 1/1 65 GASTRONORM CONTAINER Pan+Lid for Bain Marie 3x 1/1 65 GASTRONORM CONTAINER Pan+Lid for Bain Marie (item 230126930802 end time 10-May-07 16:26:22 BST)
post #7 of 29
McDonalds used to cook their fried in beef tallow and cottonseed oil. Now they use veg oil but compensate with "natural flavour" added to the fries. They continue to use russets, which are frozen.

My guess is, the fries are blanched (fried at lower temperature until technically cooked but not crispy) a little longer than usual, then frozen. They spend less time in the fryer at the restaurant and therefore don't crisp up as much.
post #8 of 29
What I meant by baine marie is those big stainless steel food warmers over hot water which keeps food at temperature in fast food places (I've prob got the wrong word) but anyhow once something crisp goes in there it generally comes out soft like McD's fries.

Unfortunately I'm not sure what temp I used for the fries - I used frozen shoestring fries, was in a great hurry with famished kids, and when I put them (the fries not the kids!) into the oil they only went to a slow bubble, not a nice furious boil. So I kept them in there until they were halfway presentable. That's the kind of temperature - hehehe very precise I'm sure
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #9 of 29
McDonalds uses artificial beef flavoring in their fries. They're okay, I guess. But I've tasted so much better and crunchier fries before that I've found no point in going to McDonalds in the first place. If you want to make McDonalds fries, cut them into french fry shapes (juilienne, I suppose, but thicker, only relatively thin) Fry them in vegetable oil on 350 degrees in a large pot with oil no more than half way through that you add artificial beef flavoring to, just a teaspoon maybe, and top with endless portions of salt. I heard that burger king fries are cooked in coconut oil as well.
Meet Austin- destroyer of all picky eaters. He's watching you...
Meet Austin- destroyer of all picky eaters. He's watching you...
post #10 of 29
McD's primary french fry supplier is Simplot, and Simplot adds other ingredients and also alters the sugar and starch content of their fries to account for seasonal/growing differences in order to produce fries which meet McD's specifications for product consistancy (ref: "Fast Food Nation", by Eric Schlosser)

I think your best bet is to check out the Simplot website and have a look at the ingredient list for their fast food style fries, and pick something similar from your grocery store.

Blue Ribbon 1/4" Shoestring:
Simplot Foods

And get a deep fat frying thermometer.

Also, have a look at Eric Schlosser's book too. One of the chapters involves him going to Simplot to check out the french fry making process for McDonalds fries.

Disclaimer: I do not work for McDonalds or Simplot! My kitchen does have frites on the menu but we cut ours fresh and blanch them ourselves! Harumph!
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
It's easy to get fries that taste exactly like McDonald's fries; just fry them in beef lard... that much we've managed to already do. :chef:

It's avoiding crispiness, and of course mealiness and underdone-ness, that's tricky; we've tried 350 degrees, and many other temperatures, and have yet to hit that magic combo of time and temp that'll produce fries that are cooked through but not crisp.

Does anyone have any ideas? This is driving me nuts!! :crazy:
post #12 of 29


Omni... McDonalds fries and those of other fast food places as well as any kitchen that produces that type of fry are coated with various substances that are synthetic to one degree or another. Here is the thing... its a secret. McDonalds fries use a secret coating in the same way that all the others do. The other important aspect of their fries - and other commercially produced fries - is that they are freezer to fryer, meaning they hit the hot grease frozen. There are a number of reasons this effects the final product but I am just not going to go into it right now. If you want to know buy the book "How to read a French fry". A GREAT read. And the last thing that they have going for them that you don't is a commercial sized fryer. You might have a deep fryer, but it is not a 40 pound gas fryer that gets NO significant drop in temperature when you drop a bunch of frozen fries in it. I don't know if this is what you want to hear but I do know that the McDonalds recipe is a closely guarded secret.
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
People have made non-crispy fries at home by accident, without "secret coatings" or industrial equipment, so it IS doable... we might try a bit of microwaving 1st to get the interior a little cooked and perhaps sidestep the mealiness issue. :roll:
post #14 of 29

Am I confused?

Omni, I guess I am confused buy your question. If you want "McDonald's" fries... I assure you it is a closely guarded secret. You were very clear in your initial post that McDonald's fries were the best in your opinion - an opinion that I certainly do not share - and that you want to recreate their results. I am sorry my friend but the coating industry is VERY strict about this and to be sure McDonald's considers it to be paramount to their business plan.

If you want to learn more about French fry coatings read this paper, which is very informative. Towards the bottom you will find the discussion of coatings as opposed to other batters and such. If you want to get truly science geek then you could search out the food grade shellacs and such that are used on French Fries, but I get the feeling that what you want is an easy answer.

Food Product Design: The Great Cover-Up: Batters, Breadings & Coatings

The easy answer is that there are two ways to achieve your stated goal

1) Learn food science in a very serious way... get a job with McDonald's and steal their secret coating formula.


2) Accept that a perfectly cook French fry does not necessarily need to be made with chemicals and insect secretion.

If you just want fries that are not burnt to the point of being crunchy.. that is another thing. And one that I think has been answered before in this thread. You need to blanch your fries let them cool then cook them again.

Get your oil to about 250 degrees and cook the potatoes in any old shape you like until they are tender. Remove from oil and drain. Bring your oil up to a temperature of 375 (some say even hotter) and recook your spuds. You will not have mealiness and the outside will be as crispy or not crispy as you like. How you want the exterior is a matter of you figuring out the exact right timing of your personal equipment.

That being said Omni... I am getting the feeling no answer anyone can give you is going to be good enough for you. You want to make a McDonald's fry at home and --- you can't. If you want to make a very nice Pommes Frites then just follow the recipe above or as stated all over the web.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Cookingwithfat, all I need is something like:

"Cook the fries at 300 degrees for 5 minutes and they'll be cooked through and non-crispy."

The information provided in the responses, although fascinating, doesn't help me, nor do temperatures without times.

If someone here knows how to cook non-crispy fries, I don't mean guesswork but has actually cooked them deliberately in a specific way, and can give me exact instructions, that'd be great; if not, the answer I need isn't on this forum, and I'll move on to another cooking site. Fair enough? :o
post #16 of 29

fair enough


I think I was clear in my last post that you would not be getting the information you need here. Frankly, I don't think you are going to get it anywhere. The fry you are looking for is a secret and if you really want to reproduce it then you are going to need to do some experimenting. Now, I know your profile says "can't boil water" yet you are talking like you know a thing or two about working in a kitchen, or at least you REALLY love food. I mean, for crying out loud, you are the kind of person who has taken the time to figure out that McDonald's used to use Beef tallow to cook their fries and have started doing the same... Now you want to say you just want a cooking time and temperature. Frankly, that seems counter to the person you seem to be.

The person who uses beef tallow to make fries is the same person who is inquisitive enough to do some experiments with timing and temperature.

If your not.. fine.. here is how you make the fries you want.

Buy a 40 pound LP deep fat fryer.

Fill it with 40 pounds of rendered and clarified beef fat. Frankly, I prefer duck fat... but, if you insist go with the cow.

Peel and cut 10 pounds of Russet Potatoes to 1/4 inch thickness

Heat the fat to 250 degrees and cook half of your potatoes for 10 minutes.

Remove from fat and let drain and cool.

When cool toss them all in a mixture of 90% AP Flour and 10% finely ground corn meal and freeze them.

Repeat the process with the remaining 5# of potatoes. Why would I have you cut 10# when you could get the job done with only 5# - or for that matter a half pound - you may ask? Because I feel like having you peel a ton of potatoes and get real Zen about what it is that you are doing this for and frankly, 5# is not enough for you to get the full feeling of why you are engaged in this process.

Once the potatoes are frozen heat your big *** commercial grade deep fat fryer up to 375 degrees and drop as much as you want into a basket.

Now here is where things get complicated... because you see, even McDonald's screws up the fries from time to time, which is why they put alarms on their fryers. Their employees will wander off to talk on the phone... do whatever it is they do in the bathroom... or just space out in ADHD land... until.. whoa! the fries got burned. You... and I mean YOU, must watch these fries and FIGURE out the EXACT right time that works for YOU, as your commercial grade deep fat fryer is going to be different from mine.

Watch them closely, with a kitchen timer - or any darn stopwatch you please - until they are the color you want them to be. You see, COLOR is the key here. Pull them out... put them in a large bowl and throw in more salt then you are comfortable - because that is what McDonald's does - and toss them... eat 'em. Enjoy.

If they are the color you want, but too crispy, use less corn meal.
If they are the color you want, but to limp, use more corn meal.
If you find that your fries are cooked too much: cook them less.
If you find them cooked to little: cook them more.

Now, if you are not willing to purchase a commercial grade deep fat frier then buy one of those little guys at walmart but.... you are going to need to do all the experimenting for yourself!

If you don't want to go to all the trouble from above do this...

Go to McDonald's
Purchase an order of French Fries of a size to suit your taste.
Take them home.
Put them in your freezer.
When you are hungry next pull them out and reheat them.

If you want them to be extra soggy, they just microwave them. (I am under the impression that you are ant-crispy so maybe this is the way for you.)

For a little extra crispiness, drop them in your newly purchased 40 pound industrial deep fat fryer.

Good luck and let me know how things work out.
post #17 of 29

and another thing...

Not being a smart alec as in my previous post, you should know that all you need to do is cut the fries to the thickness that you desire.. blanch them at 250 degrees for about 7-10 minutes (you NEED to figure this out for yourself as I don't know how your fryer works.) Cool your fries and then reheat them at 350 degrees. If you increase the temperature your fries will be more crispy... if you decrees the temperature they will be more limp. This will not produce a "McDonald's french fry" however it will produce a delicious fry that I think you will enjoy.

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Cookingwithfat, you have WAY too much time on your hands, LOL!!

If you'd known a proven procedure for making non-crispy fries, you'd have said so 10,000 words ago; your belated offering is guesswork, not to mention far too elaborate for beginning cooks... and the claim that an industrial frier is necessary to create fries that aren't crispy, when every home cook has produced such fries by accident in a regular frying pan, is just plain ridiculous.

I wasn't aware that you had psychic knowledge of the full cooking wisdom of every member of this forum; if you do, you could've saved us all alot of time by saying so days ago... and if you don't, please stop monopolizing this thread so that other people will feel comfortable telling what they know.
post #19 of 29
Omni ...

Reading this thread it seems that you've been given numerous suggestions and techniques that will give you the result you want. In short, if you've got the taste down to where you like it, the rest is really up to you to experiment with time and yemperature. It's really that simple. No one can give you the answer since everyone's stove, fryer, thermometer may be somewhat different. Here's what I'd do: get your oil up to 350-degrees, put in a certain amount of fries, say 6-oz, fry for ten minutes. Now look at the results, taste the results, feel the results. Adjust time, temperature, and amount of fries until you get the results that YOU like.

I work in photigraphy. When using film, we'd have to calibrate the exposure index. If we wanted perfect results, rather than "close enough" we'd start at a certain EI, make several exposures that were greater and lesser around that point, and check the results. Then, when we've found the best exposure, we'd then calibrate development time, developing more or less to get that to be precise. Then, once we had the proper exposure and development time for a given emulsion, we were set - unless we used a different camera or light meter, as each could produce different results. NO two were exactly alike.

Now, say I found the perfect combination, and gave those results to a buddy who lived across the country. S/he could use my results as a starting point, but if greater precision was needed, s/he'd still have to run his or her own tests. The cameras would be different, the way the development chemicals were mixed might be different, as might the quality of the water (harder/softer), his or her timer may not be exactly as mine.

Now, go out, get some fries, and experiment until you get the results you want. Oh, and by the way - your idea of soft may not be the same as someone else's idea of soft. So even if someone gave you exact times, temperatures, precise amounts of fries and oil, they may still not get results that satisfy you. You may still prefer your fries to be more or less crisp.

In another thread I asked about baking a frittata. I got several suggestions and ideas, and one or two recipes. The rest is up to me. Tonight I made a frittata following a recipe that I was given. The results didn't satisfy me. But it was a starting point. Now it's up to me to experiment a little with times, temperatures, and amount of ingredients to get exactly what I want, using my equipment, my ingredients, and the amount of ingredients that I have on hand. It will take a while to perfect the recipe for my situation and tastes. I may have to make the dish a few more times in order to get predictable, repeatable results.

post #20 of 29

Non crispy fries...


OK, I'll tell you how McD's DOES it and how they end up soggy. (my definition of "non-crispy")

The secret is: You fry them like normal, drain them and let them SIT.

Doesn't take long. Make a normal batch, drain them and leave them under a heat lamp for ummmm... maybe 5 to 10 minutes... that should do it.

<blea> IMHO

April :D
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Shel, I've never seen a recipe, for fries or anything else, that gave an essay like the ones I've gotten on this thread instead of proven cooking times; you're not going to convince me that there's something magical about non-crispy fries that means that no normal recipe can be given for them.

April, I've had McDonald's fries that went from the oil to my mouth in less than 30 seconds, and they weren't crispy; that's why they RULE. :smiles:
post #22 of 29
Omni, why not just buy them from McDonalds when you need a fix? Life is surely too short to spend a lot of time trying to recreate something like a fry. :smiles:
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
You're absolutely, totally, 100% correct, Indianwells, life IS too short to make that sort of effort to produce fries; that's why I thought it'd be a smart idea to ask skilled cooks how to make them... silly me!! :lol:

This has gotten way out of hand; all involved must have better things to do than write pages of essays that don't get me any closer to being able to drop the trial and error and just plain cook a dish. I'm canceling my subscription to this thread, and will no longer return here to read it; I'm going to look elsewhere for the answer to this question.
post #24 of 29
Too bad she unsubscribed. I could finally put the 4+ years of McD's experience to good use with that question...

I consider this a lost opportunity. :P
post #25 of 29
If you feel up to it, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

post #26 of 29

see ya..

I have to say, I have never seen anything like that. I mean, short of showing up at Omni's house and cooking the f*$king fries for her, there was no way to satisfy her. Yea, ok ... I may be a bit of a smart a#* but I think I pretty much spelled it out and frankly it was not guess work. I went upstairs, after the night was over, and worked on producing a coating that was McDonalrd's-esq and then explained it... wow.. there is just no pleasing Omni.
post #27 of 29
Awwww don't tell me we can stop talking about soggy fries now :cry:
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #28 of 29

A better fry

I surprised that no-one has mentioned the fact that the cut fries (russets only please) need to be soaked in ice water for at least 1/2 hr., then dried before frying at 280 degrees for about 3 minutes. The time can not be more accurate than this because of the variables of: fry thickness and size of fryer. Following the 1st cooking, the fries will be white and extremely limp. After cooling on a drip screen, the fries are then cooked a 2nd. time at 375 degrees. It should go without saying that the oil needs to be very clean lest it smoke or catch fire. Also dirty oil produces a bad tasting fry. Again, time is variable, but about 2 minutes. Drain, salt and serve immediately.
post #29 of 29
I'm not sure on the thickness of McD's fries, but guesstimating, I'm gonna go with about a 1/4in thick stick tops. Barring the fact I didn't pay too much attention during all the videos, the fries are blanched once of course, but the final fry is done about 350 for 3 min 10 seconds... THAT much I do remember exactly. You shake the fries after 30 seconds, then don't touch till they're done. If you want them slightly limp, then I'd pull them anywhere between a max of 30, to probably 10 seconds early. Drain em, salt em, enjoy.

3oz = small
4oz = medium
6oz = large

P.s. Yes, I spent WAY too much time working there cause I was too lazy to get a better job.

Any other specs you want?
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