French fries can be made healthier.

How to Cook Fresh Cut Potatoes With Peanut Oil

by Natalie Smith

French fries are a long-time favorite side dish. Calories aside, the French fries that you purchase outside are typically high in sodium and fat -- including unhealthy trans fats -- due to the large amount of oil used in frying. Cutting your own potatoes and frying them in peanut oil at home yields a healthier French fry. Peanut oil is free from trans fats, contains heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats -- and has a neutral taste, allowing the natural flavor of the potato to come through.

Peel your potatoes with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Peeling the potatoes gives them a crisper texture after they fry.

Cut the potatoes in half on a cutting board with a chef's knife. Place each potato sliced side-down onto the cutting board and cut each potato lengthwise into about 1/2-inch wedge. A smaller, thinner fry has less potato and more unhealthy fried surface area.

Place the cut potatoes into a bowl filled with hot water. The hot water removes some of the starch from the potato, preventing the fries from becoming tough and chewy as they cook. Soak the potatoes for 10 minutes.

Remove the fries from the water and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Leaving too much moisture on the fries can cause the hot oil to pop, resulting in a mess on the stovetop and causing serious burns if the oil comes into contact with the skin.

Pour the peanut oil into a frying pan. You're going to need enough oil to cover the fries, but make sure you have at least 3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan, as the fries will bubble up when you add them. Heat the oil over low heat on the stovetop. The oil is ready when it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit on a cooking thermometer.

Carefully drop the fries into the hot oil, taking care not to splash the oil. Use the spatula to spread the fries into an even layer. This will help them to cook more evenly.

Allow the fries to cook until they're soft. You don't want to brown them just yet, only soften them. Once they're soft, remove the fries from the oil with a spatula -- and drain them on paper towels. Then crank up the oil to 400 degrees F. Place the fries back into the hot oil. Fry them until they're evenly browned and crisp enough for your liking. Remove them from the oil with the spatula and let them drain again on paper towels.

Add salt to taste and serve the fries warm.

Items you will need

  • Russet potatoes
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Paring knife
  • Chef's knife
  • Large bowl of hot water
  • Paper towels
  • Peanut oil
  • Frying pan
  • Spatula
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Serving platter
  • Salt to taste


  • The French fries will not have a uniform shape and size. This is normal. However, try to ensure that they are a similar thickness so that they cook evenly.


  • Do not touch the hot oil, and take care to avoid splashing it. Oil can cause serious burns.
  • Keep small children and pets out of the kitchen as you cook.
  • If the oil begins to smoke, remove it from the stove immediately. Smoking oil is in danger of catching on fire.

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

Photo Credits

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