Leftover fries, no matter homemade or from a fast-food chain, tend to just not heat up quite right. Unless you’ve got an air fryer, even a conventional oven can sometimes lead to fries that are hard or dry. The microwave is the usual go-to when it’s time to rejuvenate yesterday’s side dish.
So, what is the best way to reheat fries in the microwave? Believe it or not, it can be done without risking sloppy, soggy, stodgy fries the next day.
The best way to reheat french fries in the microwave is to lay them on a few layers of paper towels, lightly coat them with oil, and heat them in a single layer for only 10-20 seconds, or until it feels like they’re the right temperature.
The Best Way To Reheat French Fries
The reason fries get so soggy in the microwave is because of the way it reheats foods. The microwave makes the water inside each french fry turn into steam, which sogs up the crust of the fry. If the fry had already gone cold before this, you’re basically piling sog onto sog; not a tasty combo at all.
To the benefit of everyone who just can’t finish a large fry, there is a way to reheat fries in the microwave. Keep in mind, they won’t be as crispy as they were the first day, this is a given. However, this method will at least rejuvenate your snack to a less sogged state than just popping them in without a care.
Step One: Let Them Sit
The first step is to prepare your fries for reheating. Take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. This is going to gently begin to reintroduce heat into the starch in each fry.
Step Two: Line Your Plate
Line a microwave-safe plate with paper towels. This is going to absorb your extra oil, and hopefully wick away excess moisture.
Step Three: Lay The Fries Out
The next step is crucial in reheating french fries in the microwave. You will want to arrange your fries in a single layer on the paper towels, taking care that none of the fries are touching each other. The reason for this is so that heat can travel between each fry evenly. Two fries touching could also just swap moisture around, meaning your fries will stay soggy.
Step Four: Pat Them Dry
It may seem odd, but give your fries a quick pat-down to remove extra moisture that might have accumulated on them while they were in the fridge. You don’t need to be excessive with it, just a quick once-over will help absorb some of the wetness.
Step Five: Add Your Oil
Give your french fries a light coating of oil. You can drizzle on olive oil, canola, vegetable oil, or any other neutral oil that you might have handy. For even coverage, you can also use a cooking spray.
Remember that you’re not trying to drown the fries, you just want them to have a thin, even coating. The oil will heat in the microwave, which will help your fries get crispier.
Step Six: Heat
Heat your french fries in the microwave for about 20 seconds on high. If you cannot control the temperature in your microwave, check them after 15 seconds, giving them more time if needed. Do not exceed 30 seconds total.
Step Six: Remove The Fries
Take your plate out of the microwave, removing the paper towels but not the fries. Your french fries will be hot; give them time to cool down for a minute or two, until you can feasibly pick them up for a bite.
This is the easiest and fastest way to reheat your fries in the microwave. Aside from when they were left to sit at room temperature, the whole process took nothing but a minute or two.
Reheating French Fries In The Microwave Using A Crisper Tray
If you use your microwave a lot, you could consider trying out the benefits of using a crisper tray. A crisper tray is specifically made to fit into most standard sized microwaves, and will keep everything crisp and delicious upon being reheated.
Of course, this makes them a natural answer to the fry reheating conundrum. Most crisper trays will come with their own set of instructions, so be sure to consult them before moving forward with your techniques.
The method for using a crisper tray is similar, however. The biggest difference here though, aside from using the crisper instead of a plate, is that the tray will need to preheat.
- Set your crisper tray into the microwave and preheat it for 3-4 minutes. This could vary depending on both your microwave and the crisper. This preheating process will move the heat directly to the surface of your fries.
- Arrange the fries into a single layer on the crisper tray, leaving even a small amount of space between each fry. If you have a lot of fries, you may need to do this in batches.
- Drizzle your fries with olive oil, just as you did before. Make sure they’re not soaked or saturated.
- Heat your fries for roughly 30 seconds. Once this 30 second session is done, check on them and assess if they need more time. If they’ve started to get crispy, flip them so they can crisp on both sides. You may need to flip the fries more than once.
- The tray will be very hot when you retrieve it from the microwave, so exercise caution here. Use an oven mitt, or remove the crisper using the attached handle, if it has one.
- Leave the fries to cool again and enjoy.
A crisper tray is an ideal way to reheat fries in the microwave. It is easy to use, and most can be found rather inexpensively online.
Why Do Fries Taste So Bad Cold?
French fries seem to have a sort of expiration date to them. It’s not that they’ll rot within minutes of being out of the fryer, it’s more that they’ll get unappealing as soon as they start to cool down. Anyone who’s eaten a cold french fry will tell you that the texture is nothing like that of a fresh one.
The reason french fries taste so bad cold is because of the starches in the potatoes. The anatomical structure of that starch is like a little balloon that gets filled up with water. This reaction happens at very high temperatures, like what you’d find in a deep vat frier or an oven.
The hot starches are fluffy, and ‘poofy’, which is why hot french fries have that soft, somewhat flaky, almost fluffy texture inside. The problem arises when heat leaves the starch balloons.
As the air around it cools down, water seeps out of the starch, rendering them whithered, gritty, and crystalline. The texture of this is nothing to write home about, to say the least. With nowhere else to go, the water can only go up and out: to the crust of the fries. Now damp, the outside of the fry gets soggy and soft.
Another factor is the heat. Heat heightens the flavor in food; it’s why iced coffee and hot coffee can taste slightly different. Learn how to reheat coffee without a microwave.. When fries are hot, the salty, fatty flavor that the human brain loves is given a power boost, making it seem even tastier.
French fries are a tried and true favorite, and are always the best right when you first get them. They’re crisp, salty, savory, and overall delicious. However, they don’t tend to stand up to reheating well at all, especially in a microwave.
The best way to reheat fries in the microwave is to lightly oil them, arrange them in a single layer on a paper towel covered plate, and heat them for about 20 seconds. This will make it so they come up just a bit crispier than if they hadn’t been oiled first.