How To Fry Frozen French Fries In a Pan (Crispy & Golden)

Frozen French fries are a staple in pretty much any freezer. These tempting potato snacks come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, from crinkle-cut and shoestring to wedges and waffle fries.

While there are quite a few ways to prepare them, pan-frying is the fastest and most straightforward method to cook them to attain crispy golden-brown results in less than 10 minutes.  

Although, some varieties like wedges, curly, or waffle fries may take longer due to their unique shape. 

So, let look at some tips and tricks for frying frozen French fries in a pan. 

How To Fry Frozen French Fries In A Pan? (Shallow Frying)

Shallow-frying is one of the fastest and most common methods used to cook frozen French fries at home. However, it is preferable to use a cast-iron skillet or a wok pan that can accommodate enough oil necessary for the frying process.

frying frozen fries in a pan


  1. Heat approximately 3 to 4 inches of oil in a frying pan. The cooking oil should reach a temperature of about 350 – 375°F (176 – 190°C).
  2. Once the oil has developed a faint shimmer, it is hot enough and ready for frying.
  3. Carefully place the frozen fries in the oil. Allow them to cook until they are golden brown. This process typically takes between five to eight minutes, depending on the cut. 
  4. Remove the fries with a skimmer or a strainer and place them on a wire rack or over paper towels to remove excess oil. 
  5. Allow cooling for at least five minutes before serving. 

Read Also: How To Shallow Fry Any Food To Perfection! (Best cooking oils and temperature guide).

Regular Pan-Fried French Fries (Sauteing)

In this video below, I will show you how I fry French fries in a pan with just a little oil and get a deliciously golden crispy result.

If you don’t want to drench your fires in the oil, or maybe you don’t have any oil in hand, then don’t worry; you can fry your french fries on the pan just as you would when making regular pan-fried potatoes. 

Moreover, it keeps you health-conscious, uses only a drizzle of oil or a bit of clarified butter, and tastes as good as deep-fried potato fries.


  1. In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, pour a little oil – as you would when you saute something.
  2. Add frozen french fries, preferably in a single layer, and season with salt and pepper or any other seasoning you prefer. 
  3. Fry undisturbed until golden and crusty on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Keep flipping or stirring the fries and cook until golden on all sides.

If your frying pan is not large enough, fry in two batches – rather than crowding them. If you put too many fries on the pan, you won’t get them evenly brown and crispy, and you have to turn them over too often, which makes them go soggy and broken. 

Also, you don’t have to use the lid to trap in steam, which would help when using raw potatoes cook through, but most frozen supermarket fires are already pre-cooked, so using the cover would make them go soggy. 

Top Tip: Frozen fries often have a lot of water at the surface, making the hot oil splatter when adding to the pan. Let them sit out for 10-25 minutes before dropping them in the pan to minimize the splatter. This will bring up the temperature and allow the ice on the surface to melt and evaporate so the oil won’t splatter that much and there is less mess to clean up. 

When cooking straight from the freezer, you can always use a splatter shield

Do I Need To Double Fry Frozen French Fries?

Unlike traditional homemade fries, it is not a requirement to double fry their frozen store-bought counterparts. Although this method may be employed to attain crispier results, most frozen fries are, in fact, already pre-fried.

 Can You Fry Thawed Fries? 

thawed fries

Try to avoid thawing frozen French fries prior to pan-frying. When they are left out to melt, they become soggy due to the additional moisture. Despite the decline in flavor and quality, it is safe to cook and eat thawed fries. 

Be sure to keep an eye on them while frying since they will cook a lot faster than those fresh out of the freezer.

Best Oils For Frying Frozen French Fries 

Neutral cooking oils that can handle high temperatures are optimal for pan-frying. Some excellent options to use for this cooking method include: 

  • Canola Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Vegetable Oil

Check out the complete list of best deep-frying oils and cooking temperatures here: Best Frying Oils, Temperatures, And Cooking Times.

Can You Use Butter To Fry French Fries In A Pan? 

It would be best not to use butter for pan-frying French fries since butter cannot sustain the heat required for frying and will likely burn and start to smoke. 

However, if you really like the buttery taste and have some extra time on your hand, clarify your butter first. Clarifying butter will remove the milk solids and makes butter suitable for high heat cooking.

Here is an easy way how to do it: Super Easy Way To Make Clarified Butter Without Cheesecloth.

Spices That Are Made To Be Used On French Fries!

seasoning for fries

It is essential to avoid seasoning frozen French fries before deep-frying in the oil. Doing so can interfere with the hot oil, flavor, and overall quality. Instead, drain the oil or pat your golden-brown French fries with a paper towel to remove excess fat and then season to your liking. 

However, if you use an air fryer or oven, then season them before cooking. 

French fries do not have to be basic! I like to get creative with my spices to elevate the overall flavor of this popular side dish. 

Although if in a rush, I often just use a pinch of salt and paprika to season these fries fresh out of the frying pan. 

Some easy yet delicious seasoning ideas that are worth a try include: 

  • Cajun-Style – The spices you will need to make your version of this popular style include cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Several supermarkets and specialty food stores sell pre-made Cajun seasoning. 
  • Garlic and Rosemary – Toss your French fries with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary. If you have access to fresh rosemary, feel free to add it as a garnish. 
  • Truffle Parmesan – Lightly coat your fries evenly with truffle oil. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and dried parsley before topping with parmesan cheese. I also like to toss these into the oven or air fryer for a minute or two to melt the cheese slightly. 
  • Greek-Inspired – Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Then top with some crumbled feta cheese. 

Can You Reheat Cooked French Fries?

cold leftover french fries

Once cooked, french fries can last in the refrigerator for up to three days. Although, they begin to lose flavor and texture quite fast. You can reheat them in the air fryer, on the stovetop, using a skillet, or toaster oven, but don’t expect any amazing results. 

I would give the microwave a pass as they will just turn out soggy and horrible.

Healthier, Alternative Cooking Methods

You may use your air fryer or oven if you are looking for a healthier, minimal oil or oil-free alternative to pan-frying. 

Preheat either appliance to 400°F (204°C). Spray or lightly coat the frozen French fries with oil and seasoning. Then, allow the potatoes to cook for approximately twenty minutes, shaking thoroughly at the halfway mark. 

Check out the video below on how I made these delicious sweet potato fries in the air fryer.

In Conclusion 

There isn’t truly a faster and easier way to achieve crispy, golden-brown French fries than using a stovetop pan or skillet. Get creative with your seasonings and dipping sauces to elevate these tasty potato sticks even more.

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.