Tired of making boring, poorly seasoned fries? Wondering how it’s possible to get perfectly coated fries – even when you’re baking them?
Well, this article is for you. I have experimented with multiple popular techniques and tricks to find out what method rules supreme for seasoning your fries.
- Exactly how to get seasoning to stick to baked fries
- Exactly how to get seasoning to stick to fried fries
- Some useful tips for getting seasoning to stick
- The best store-bought french fry seasonings (sometimes I’m lazy too!)
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
How do you get seasoning to stick to fries? To get seasoning to stick to fries, immediately remove the fries from the oil and place them into a paper bag. Add your chosen seasoning, close the bag, and shake vigorously for 10-20 seconds. To get seasoning to stick to baked fries, apply the seasoning and oil before cooking.
How to get seasoning to stick to baked fries
You need to season baked fries before cooking them. Toss the french fries in oil and your chosen seasonings just before you put them in the oven. The oil acts as a glue for the seasonings, and it ensures a crispy finish.
As the fries cook, the oil soaks into them sticking your seasoning mix to the surface of the french fry. Don’t be stingy with the oil – the more you use the crispier the fries will be.
Taste the fries as soon as they come out of the oven and add more seasoning to taste. The steam from the hot fries should help the extra seasoning stick. If you’ve waited a bit too long, you can always lightly spritz them with some more oil.
Always season baked fries before cooking.
The best way to coat your french fries is to toss them, the oil, and the seasoning together in a big bowl. Then cook them. This will ensure an even coating.
Simply pouring the oil on and sprinkling the seasoning over will lead to an uneven finish.
The above method also applies to frozen fries and fries cooked in the air fryer.
Another option for homemade, baked french fries is to coat your raw french fries with a seasoned cornstarch slurry.
The idea comes from Cooks Illustrated who found that using a cornstarch slurry gave the fries a crunchy exterior. They didn’t mix any seasoning in with their slurry, but I decided to test it and it worked great!
To make the cornstarch slurry:
- Mix some cornstarch and water together in a bowl (3 tablespoons cornstarch, 3/4 cup of water).
- Microwave in 20 second intervals for around a minute, stirring the mixture every 20 seconds.
- After a minute, start using 5 second intervals until the mixture takes on a sticky, pudding-like consistency.
- Stir well.
- Mix in your seasonings of choice and coat your french fries with the mixture.
- Cook your fries as normal.
The first time I made this I had a bit of trouble getting the right consistency. The cornstarch mixture changed from liquid to solid VERY quickly in the microwave, so if you need to go over a minute go very slowly.
Don’t go overboard on the coating, you just want a thin layer. Too much cornstarch and you might affect the taste of the fries. The end result should be a well-seasoned, crispy fry.
How to get seasoning to stick to fried french fries
You should season deep-fried french fries as soon as you take them out of the oil. For the first few seconds, there’ll still be a lot of surface oil on the potato, which the seasoning can stick to.
As the fries cool, the surface oil gets absorbed back into the potato, and the outside will no longer be as sticky.
As you can see in the photo above, after only two minutes, the fries had lost their initial sheen that the oil gives them.
If you miss the initial stickiness, the best thing to do is spritz your french fries lightly with olive oil and then add the seasoning. Do not pour the oil on because this will lead to soggy fries and uneven coverage.
What you need is an oil spritzer.
These clever kitchen gadgets allow you to spray a super fine layer of oil all over your french fries. Enough to make the fries sticky, but not enough to make them soggy or change the flavor.
Once you’ve spritzed the oil, toss the french fries in the seasoning and serve.
Another option is to batter your fries in a seasoned batter before you fry them. I cover this in more detail later on.
Other tips for getting seasoning to stick to fries
Now you know the best times to season your french fries, but there are a few other tricks you should know about.
Use powdered seasonings
Using a chunky seasoning is one of the biggest mistakes people make when seasoning their fries.
A big chili flake won’t stick to a french fry, but powdered chili powder will.
Sea salt won’t adhere nearly as well as table salt.
Smaller flakes are more likely to stick.
To get the best coating on your fries, you need to get your chosen seasoning into a powder form. Icing sugar is the kind of consistency you’re looking for if you want to coat the whole fry.
How do I get powdered seasoning?
You can grind seasoning with a mortar and pestle, but this will take a while (and plenty of arm strength).
A better option is to use a dedicated spice grinder. They’re powerful blenders designed for grinding spices up into a powder-like consistency. A coffee grinder will also work. You can put any spices you want in there, so go wild creating your very own signature french fry spice blend!
If you’re not feeling very creative, you can buy a ready-made french fry spice mix that will be pre-ground to the correct consistency. I go through my favorite blends later in the article.
If you’re just after salt, then look out for popcorn salt. It’s salt that’s been ground extremely finely, so it sticks to popcorn (and french fries!). Make sure you check the ingredients before you buy any popcorn salt because sometimes they include extra flavorings you might not want on your french fries.
Toss in a paper bag or bowl
Most people simply sprinkle the seasoning over their french fries and hope for the best.
But sprinkling is an inferior method – it’s not going to give you anywhere near an even coating!
The best thing to do is to toss the fries in a paper bag.
As soon as your fries come out of the oven or fryer, put them into a paper bag along with a generous amount of seasoning, then SHAKE.
Shake as hard as you can for 30 seconds, and then tip the fries out. They should be perfectly coated.
The paper bag is important because it will soak up any excess oil or steam and you won’t end up with soggy fries.
If you don’t have access to a paper bag, the next best thing is to toss the fries and seasoning in a bowl with your hands, then scoop them out rather than pour them out. Any excess oil will fall to the bottom of the bowl, and you won’t transfer it to the serving dish.
Soak/parboil the fries in salted water before cooking (for homemade fries)
If you’re making homemade fries, chances are your recipe calls for you to soak them or parboil them in water. This helps to remove starch from the potato and ensure an extra crispy finish.
But, you can also add some salt to your soaking water to season the fries from the inside out. The potatoes will absorb some of the salt, meaning the finished fries will have a hint of saltiness even before you add any extra seasoning.
Batter the fries with a seasoned batter
Want extra crispy, extra seasoned french fries?
Make a seasoned batter and dip your french fries in it before frying them.
Flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper is my go-to dry mix for the batter. Then you just add an egg and some milk (or just plain old water) to make it sticky.
Here’s the recipe I follow when I’m making battered french fries.
If you don’t want to make a proper batter, an alternative is to coat your french fries in the spice mix just after soaking them (see this recipe). Drain the soaking water but don’t dry the potato slices. Then toss them in a spice mix with some cornflour.
The cornflour helps the coating stick and gives the fries an extra crunch.
Best store-bought french fry seasoning
You never know when you’re going to need some french fry seasoning, so I like to have a ready-made supply sitting in my cupboard.
These are my picks for the tastiest french fry seasonings.
Chef’s Fun Foods is another great brand. They make a range of gourmet fries seasoning with several different flavors. My favorites are garlic parmesan, wild buffalo, and salt and vinegar.
How To Get Seasoning To Stick To Fries
- 1 portion fries baked or fried
- 1 portion seasoning finely ground
How to get seasoning to stick to baked fries
- You need to season baked fries before cooking them. Toss the french fries in oil and your chosen seasonings just before you put them in the oven. The oil acts as a glue for the seasonings, and it ensures a crispy finish.
- As the fries cook, the oil soaks into them sticking your seasoning mix to the surface of the french fry. Don’t be stingy with the oil – the more you use the crispier the fries will be.
- Taste the fries as soon as they come out of the oven and add more seasoning to taste. The steam from the hot fries should help the extra seasoning stick. If you’ve waited a bit too long, you can always lightly spritz them with some more oil.
How to get seasoning to stick to fried french fries
- You should season deep-fried french fries as soon as you take them out of the oil. For the first few seconds, there’ll still be a lot of surface oil on the potato, which the seasoning can stick to.
- Place the fries in a paper bag, add the seasonings, and shake vigorously.
- If you miss the initial stickiness, the best thing to do is spritz your french fries lightly with olive oil and then add the seasoning. Do not pour the oil on because this will lead to soggy fries and uneven coverage.