Baking French fries in the oven is a great way to prepare these snacks without much oil. It’s a common practice to line baking trays with parchment paper, both for convenience and practical reasons. But, can you bake French fries on parchment paper?
Yes, you can bake French fries on parchment paper as it will prevent the fries from sticking to the tray or each other. It will also ensure an even heat distribution without the formation of hot or cold spots on the baking tray. This will make the fries crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Let’s look at this in detail now.
Why Is Parchment Paper Useful For Baking?
Parchment paper is a versatile and highly useful tool in cooking and baking.
It has been used by professional cooks for a long time. Since it’s readily available these days, home cooks have also started using it for cooking and baking.
Parchment paper is commonly used for lining baking trays and dishes. It prevents the food from sticking to the surface.
Lining the tray with parchment paper also makes cleaning up easier. Additionally, you can also use it for purposes like wrapping food and funneling or piping ingredients.
Parchment paper is available as rolls or in pre-cut form. It’s a non-sticky, grease-proof paper that can tolerate high temperatures.
The paper has a built-in silicone coating that prevents food from sticking to the surface.
Due to its multiple benefits and uses, parchment paper is an essential and convenient tool for bakers and cooks.
It simplifies work in the kitchen. It also protects the surface of the pan or tray from drippings and sticky residue.
Cleaning becomes much easier since you can lift the paper after use and discard it while the natural pan surface remains unaffected.
Most parchment papers are suitable for use at high heat. They can withstand high temperatures of 420°F to 450°F. Hence, they’re suitable for all types of baking needs.
Is Parchment Paper Really Necessary To Bake French Fries?
Traditional French fries were always deep-fried in oil. This cooking method makes the potatoes crisp up on the outside while cooking the insides. It creates the golden color and crispy texture of the snack.
However, deep-frying is not a preferred cooking method for most people as it uses a lot of oil. The fried items can soak up excess oil, increasing the calories.
Baking French fries is a healthier option because it uses less oil. Although there will be a difference in texture and color, it will still taste good.
Baking French fries also gives you the option to use exciting seasonings for flavor. The seasonings will infuse better because you add them to the raw potatoes before baking.
In the case of deep-fried French fries, the seasonings are sprinkled after frying the potatoes. They barely stick to the surface and don’t enhance the taste too much.
The preparation process for baking French fries resembles deep-frying, except for the last stage. Here are the steps:
- Clean and soak the potatoes to get rid of excess starch.
- Then, cut them into long thin fries, season, and brush with oil.
- Spread them out on a baking tray and place them in a pre-heated oven. Cook at 425°F to 450°F until they’re done.
Now, it’s a common procedure to line baking trays with parchment paper before placing ingredients. It makes cleaning easy. The parchment paper also prevents the food from sticking to each other or the tray.
Another benefit is that parchment paper lets the food breathe. Since air circulates around the food, the fries cook thoroughly and end up with a crisp exterior and soft interior.
Nevertheless, it’s not absolutely essential to use parchment paper for baking French fries. You can directly place the fries on a baking tray and bake them in the oven.
4 Benefits Of Using Parchment Paper For Baking French Fries
To prevent food from sticking, it’s a common practice to grease baking trays and pans and dust them with flour before adding the ingredients.
Parchment paper eliminates the need for this additional step. However, this is only one of its many benefits.
Here are some more reasons why you should consider using parchment paper when baking French fries in the oven.
1. Bakes Evenly
Baking pans made of certain materials develop hot or cool spots when heated. This leads to differential heating, which causes uneven cooking and results in parts of the food being undercooked or burnt.
Parchment paper eliminates this issue by neutralizing such hot spots. It raises the food above the metal surface, allowing air to circulate and preventing burning.
2. Prevents Sticking
When placing a large batch of French fries in the oven, the individual fries can stick to each other or the base of the pan. Using parchment paper prevents both problems.
The non-sticky parchment surface also prevents French fries from sliding across the pan and sticking to each other. It also eliminates direct contact with the base, thus preventing any chance of burning.
3. Makes Fries Crisper
One of the main differences between deep-fried French fries and baked French fries is their crispiness. Deep-fried fries are usually crispier because they’re cooked in hot oil.
Although it’s impossible to achieve the same texture with baked French fries, you can drastically improve the outcome using parchment paper.
Parchment paper creates a thin, airy layer between the baking tray and the fries. It allows the air to circulate around the food.
This makes the French fries crispy on the outside while the insides cook thoroughly and stay soft and moist.
4. Makes Cleaning Easy
When you use parchment paper to line a baking tray, you can avoid scrubbing the pan after use. It will trap the oil, grease, and other drippings and prevent them from reaching the surface.
By removing the parchment sheet, you can get rid of the sticky residue. The pan or tray will not need any deep cleaning. You can simply clean it with a mild detergent.
How To Improve The Texture Of Baked French Fries?
To improve the texture of baked French fries, it’s important to spread them out evenly on the parchment paper.
Don’t pile them up or place the fries too close as they will not bake, but just steam. Allow plenty of space between individual fries to let them bake thoroughly and crisp up.
Another technique to improve the outcome is to double-bake the fries.
For this, wait till the fries are cooked. Then, increase the temperature by 25°F and bake them again for 20 minutes. This will make them crunchier.
Can You Bake Frozen French Fries on Parchment Paper?
Yes, you can bake frozen French fries on parchment paper in an oven.
Place the frozen French fries neatly on a parchment-lined baking tray. Spread them out evenly, allowing enough space between the fries. Don’t clump them together, as they will end up steaming and not cooking.
Bake at 425°F to 450 °F, or as per the package instructions, till the French fries are slightly brown and sizzling.
Alternatives To Using Parchment Paper For Baking French Fries
For most cooking or baking needs, you can replace parchment paper with aluminum foil or wax paper. However, it will not produce the same results as when you use parchment paper for baking French fries.
Aluminum foil and wax paper don’t provide a non-stick surface for the air to circulate. Wax paper is not built for high oven temperatures. It can produce smoke and affect the taste of French fries.
If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil. Take care to spray the surface generously with cooking spray before placing the French fries to prevent sticking.