Ah, French Fries: They may not actually be French at all, but they’re definitely one of America’s favorite foods! Nearly every restaurant serves those beloved deep-fried spuds, and frequently we’re left with some extra after we dine.
But can you actually salvage those leftover fries for lunch the next day?
I decided to put four different reheating methods to the test with some day old fries. These restaurant style fries spent nearly 24 hours in my home refrigerator, then came back from the dead in my air fryer, oven, microwave, and skillet. Which way was the best?
Here’s the breakdown:
When To Use
|Air Fryer (5 Minutes)||Fresh & Crispy!||Anytime you can!|
|Stovetop (5 Minutes)||Fresh & Smoky||When you don’t have an air fryer.|
|Oven (10 Minutes)||Evenly Hot & Slightly Soft||When heating larger quantities.|
|Microwave (1 Minute)||Soggy & Old||When you’re desperate or time crunched…|
Please note that you need to follow my steps below to achieve these results! Certain steps are important in each of the methods, and I’ll make sure you don’t miss anything.
Air Fryer Reheating
Best For: Any ReheatingTotal Time Required: 5 MinutesOverall Rating: A+
When my husband purchased an air fryer last year, I laughed and insisted we would never use it. Boy was I wrong! Not only is it great for heating up an assortment of items (especially frozen ones), but it works wonders on reheating leftover items, too. Although I couldn’t find any other sites that utilized an air fryer to reheat french fries, I just knew I needed to try it.
How to Reheat Fries With An Air Fryer:
1. Set your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and start it up.
2. Once the fryer indicates that it’s heated, put the leftover fries into the basket and set the timer for 5 minutes.
3. After 5 minutes, pull out the basket, then give them a quick toss to see if they are fully cooked (check to see that they appear crispy, brown, and hot).
4. If the fries are heated to your preferred crispness, dump onto a plate or into a bowl, then enjoy!
What Not To Do:
- Don’t put the fries in before the air fryer indicates that it’s up to temperature. That just prolongs the wait time!
- Don’t bother checking the fries before 5 minutes… they won’t be ready.
- Don’t use an oil fryer! These directions are only for air fryers.
This reheating method was hands down the best. Not only did it take mere minutes, but the fries literally tasted just as good as the day before.
Best For: Any Reheating (if you don’t have an air fryer)Total Time Required: 5 MinutesOverall Rating: A
I realize that air fryers are still relatively new on the market, and not everyone loves spending time in their kitchen like we do. Therefore, the next best reheating method is on the stovetop.
The two things to keep in mind to make this method really work are: 1) Use a cast iron skillet if at all possible.2) Do not listen to other sites that say to add oil into the skillet!
How to Reheat Fries On Your Stovetop:
1. Place skillet on burner and turn on to medium-high heat.
2. Spray skillet with a minimal amount of cooking spray.
3. Once the skillet is fully heated, add fries.
4. Flip fries every 30-45 seconds until they’ve reached your preferred crispness (I recommend 3 minutes total).
5. Use spatula or tongs to remove fries from skillet, turn off the burner, and shout, “Bon appetit!”
Added bonus! Garnish with salt, parmesan cheese, or ketchup to add a kick.
What Not To Do:
- Don’t add oil to the skillet! This adds more grease to the fries, makes them soggy, and it just doesn’t taste that great.
- Don’t leave the fries unattended! You really do need to flip or toss them frequently to prevent burning. I learned this the hard way, so don’t make the same mistake.
I really loved the flavor that the skillet added to these. If you have a well-loved, broken in cast iron skillet, then use it here!
Best For: Large Amounts of FriesTotal Time Required: 10 MinutesOverall Rating: B+
Although many sites raved about how great oven reheating worked, it fell short compared to the stovetop or air fryer for me. However, it did still work fairly well. So, if you have a large amount of fries to reheat, or if you’re reheating the fries and your entree, then this method will do the trick.
How To Reheat Your Fries In The Oven:
1. Put empty baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450°F.
2. Once oven is preheated, use potholders to remove baking sheet and spread fries out evenly on baking sheet.
3. Place baking sheet back in the oven for 7 minutes.
4. Check fries. If cooked to your preferred crispness, remove. If not, continue baking for 2 minute intervals until you achieve your desired result.
5. Once they’re done, retrieve them from the baking sheet with a spatula or tongs, then eat until satisfied!
What Not To Do:
- Don’t bother wasting time and energy flipping the fries while they cook in the oven. It didn’t help, plus it lets heat out of the oven. This just wastes electricity.
- Don’t add any oil! This makes the fries soggy and taste gross.
My major complaint with this method was that the fries really never felt crispy. Eventually they turn out overcooked, yet still slightly floppy. However, they didn’t taste awful, so it’s definitely a decent method to use.
Best For: Desperation/Lack of TimeTotal Time Required: 1 MinuteOverall Rating: C
Brutal honesty: I did not enjoy these fries once I reheated them. With that being said, there are time when you literally have no other option, and they still tasted better than cold fries, so if you’re hungry but don’t have the time or resources for anything else, then at least you’ll know how to do it.
How To Reheat Fries In The Microwave:
1. Place fries on microwave-safe plate or in other microwave-safe dish.
2. Heat on “high” for approximately 1 minute.
3. Remove fries, doctor them up with anything, and enjoy your instant lunch!
What Not To Do:
- Do not reheat in Styrofoam! It will melt and also emit gases. It’s just not safe.
- Don’t expect these to taste great… they won’t.
Other Cool Things To Do With Leftover French Fries
Them Up:Add some chili (great use of more leftovers!), cheese, or anything else that sounds delicious. If you’re feeling really adventurous, throw on some gravy and enjoy poutine!
- Make Hashbrowns: Chop up your fries and create your own hashbrowns!
- Whip Up Waffles:Use your waffle maker to turn those day old fries into waffle fries!
So, what’s the final verdict?
Honestly, if this post didn’t convince you to purchase an air fryer, then consider reading more about them. Otherwise, the stovetop and oven work well to reheat those leftover french fries. Whatever you do, don’t let those leftover fries go to waste, because they’ve got life for days!