What's the Best Way to Reheat Fries? I Tried 5 Different Methods

Reheating French Fry Methods

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Reheating French Fry Methods
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To Roast or to Refry?

Were your eyes bigger than your stomach this time around in the drive-thru? Can't finish your french fries? Afraid to stick them in the fridge because you're not sure about the best way to reheat them? If all these highly specific questions apply to you, I've got some hot new research for you, because I've been there.

To find the best way to reheat fries, I grabbed some McDonald's fries and let them get cold. Then I tried five different methods of making them hot and crispy again, but only one reigned supreme. Here are my findings.

Reheat Fries in an Air Fryer
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

1. How to Reheat Fries in an Air Fryer (Best)

Recommended reheat time: 4 minutes

This is what air fryers do, y’all. If I had to give somebody an example of a reason to own an air fryer, I’d probably cite their ability to make cold food taste crispy again. And I’d probably use fries as an example.

As I expected, the air fryer fully slayed the competition. My fries were crunchy on the outside, still soft on the inside, and they didn't lose much flavor or seasoning. If you own an air fryer, don't even consider any other methods.

Reheat Fries in the Oven
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

2. How to Reheat Fries in the Oven

Recommended reheat time:  Let your oven preheat to 325, then 12-15 minutes

There are a lot of different theories about how to reheat fries in the oven. Oven methods range in time and temperature, but I heard a rumor that if you stick fries in a single layer on a cookie pan while you preheat the oven to 350, they should be perfect by the time it reaches temperature.

I tried, and it was just about perfect. My fries were a little bit overdone, but when I tried this again at 325, it worked perfectly. This might depend on your oven, but I endorse this method thoroughly if you don't have an air fryer.

pan fried french fries reheated
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

3. How to Reheat Fries on the Stove

Recommended reheat time: 3-5 minutes

Though this uses less oil than refrying them, my fries ended up even more oily when I gave them a simple pan fry. The consistency was nice and crunchy, but I found myself a little bit grossed out by how wet and dense the fries felt.

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fries reheated by refrying
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

4. How to Reheat Fries By Refrying Them

Recommended reheat time:  3-5 minutes

It stands to reason that you could just fully toss your leftover fries back into some hot oil. This method works decently well and gives you a great consistency, but I felt like a true basket case wasting this much oil and finding a way to make McDonald's even worse for you. I discovered that refrying them strips them of salt, too, so you might need to re-season. 

You'll want a paper towel-lined plate at the ready. These are oil bombs.

Related:  8 of the Best Frozen French Fries, Ranked

fries reheated in a microwave
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

5. How to Reheat Fries in the Microwave (Don't)

Recommended reheat time: 30 seconds

You really shouldn't be doing this. There's a reason why fries made our list of "Foods You Should Never Reheat in the Microwave." It doesn't work. If you're in the business of reheating fries, you probably already know just how rubbery and inedible they become when you microwave them. 

Usually there's a window of about 30 seconds after you microwave something where the texture is right, but when it comes to french fries, this isn't the case. Microwaves can't make things crispy, so unless you want chewy, tough potatoes, skip the microwave at all costs.

Related:  French Fry Showdown: The Chain That Beats McDonald's