How to Make Leftover Fries Crispy

Nobody will know they didn't just come out of the deep fryer.

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By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen

Fact: Leftover fries are an infrequent occurrence. But when you do take home a doggie bag, you want the fries it holds to taste like they’ve come straight out of the deep fryer, darn it. This can be challenging to accomplish. Pop them in the microwave, and they end up soggy. Bake them too long, and they emerge hard and dry. Luckily, we figured out a tried and true way to achieve warm and crispy results that’ll have you polishing off the whole pile in minutes.

For starters, when you stash the fries in the fridge, make sure you transfer them from the takeout container into an airtight storage container. And don’t let those leftovers sit in the fridge for longer than two days.

Before you reheat the fries, allow them to come to room temperature for about an hour. If you don’t have the foresight to pull them out of the fridge, don’t stress. Doing so simply helps them reheat extra-evenly later on.

Our favorite reheating technique is pretty simple. All you need is your trusty large nonstick skillet, olive oil and salt. Here’s what you do. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat just until it starts to shimmer. Think about covering the entire bottom of the skillet in oil, erring on the side of using more oil than less. The oil helps to “fry” the French fries a second time and get them extra crispy.

Put the leftover fries in the hot oil in a single layer, making sure not to crowd the pan. Work in batches if need be.

Cook the fries undisturbed until they’re warmed through, then toss in the skillet until they’re crisp. At this stage, you can choose to add a few fun extra toppings to your fries. Think: dried herbs like chives or oregano, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, truffle oil or Old Bay seasoning.

Remove the fries from the oil and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Taste one to decide whether or not you’d like to sprinkle on a bit more salt.

If you’re trying to quickly reheat a big batch of fries, we recommend you try our oven method: First, bring the fries to room temperature if you have time. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Crumple up a large piece of aluminum foil and spread it over a sheet tray so it covers the entire surface. The small bumps in the surface of the crumpled-then-smoothed foil will function the same way as a wire rack, exposing more surface area of each fry to the oven’s heat so they get extra crisp. Using crumpled foil in place of a wire rack is a great trick when you A) don’t feel like cleaning a wire rack or B) are baking something small that it might fall right through the holes in a wire rack.

Next, spread the fries out acoss the foil so they’re in a single layer, and spray them with cooking spray. Pop the fries in the oven and bake them until they’re golden and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the fries from the oven and taste test one to see if you’d like to top them off with some additional salt. Transfer them to a serving dish by grasping the foil (which doesn’t hold heat) and using it to funnel in the French fries. And don’t forget to break out the ketchup and fancy mayonnaise, like Guy's roasted garlic aioli.

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