Learn the secret to baking crispy frozen fries and tots in your toaster oven. Includes tips, examples, topping ideas and a mouthwatering recipe for toaster oven Greek fries.
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It’s no secret we’re
obsessed ‘er passionate about helping you cook potatoes in your toaster oven.
But when it’s 100 degrees outside, we know you need a better way to satisfy that crispy-carb-loving-creature inside you.
Enter Frozen Fries, the best answer to the question “How do I make a batch of fries when it’s so hot I’m sweating just standing still in my kitchen?”
The Problem Is
If you’ve baked frozen fries in your toaster oven before you’ve probably ended up with sub-par spuds. Burnt edges. Soggy centers.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
With these 3 tips, you can turn any frozen spud from a soggy dud into an addictive crispy treat.
- The first tip immediately ups your crispy fry game.
- The second will put your toaster oven’s best feature to use.
- And the last one is something we never knew was possible with frozen fries.
Tip #1: Put Your Fries On a Rack
This revelation was inspired by the new Breville Smart Oven Air Toaster Oven (affiliate link).
Have you seen this beast?
It’s got a steep price tag (almost $400!!) but is like five appliances rolled into one. In addition to the usual toaster oven cooking functions, you can use it for air-frying, dehydrating and slow cooking.
The air-frying feature is what grabbed my attention.
It uses a nifty mesh basket to suspend fries in the middle of the toaster oven. Then a super-convection fan circulates intensely heated air around them.
Looking at the setup made me realize that even though we’re using a regular convection toaster oven (without a fancy basket, air-frying feature or super-convection fan) we had still been baking our fries all wrong.
They needed to be elevated.
Why Your Baked Frozen Fries Get Soggy
If you place frozen fries directly on the pan, the side facing the pan will release and trap moisture under the fries making them soggy.
Just like with baked potatoes, using a rack allows a conventional toaster oven’s warm dry air to circulate around the fries. This helps to remove surface moisture and get the fries crispy.
Extra bonus – because the frozen spuds are already coated in oil no additional oil is needed to prevent sticking. Not a single tot or fry stuck to any of our metal baking racks.
Even better, you don’t have to flip your fries!
This fun discovery was a total accident.
While testing a batch we did something I’m sure you can relate to: setting the timer for the full cooking time instead of half to flip them.
To our delight, the fully-cooked-but-never-flipped fries were perfectly browned and crisped on all sides.
Pan & Rack Combos
The mini baking sheet + rack combo in the Chicago Metallic and Nordic Ware toaster oven pan sets are great for making fries. (We found our Nordic Ware set near the appliances at our local Ralph’s, it was just $14.99!)
Sets this size are perfect for baking a 1-2 serving batch. With the exception of the muffin tin in the Chicago Metallic, both sets fit in our smallest toaster oven.
If your toaster oven is larger and can fit a 9×13 pan (w/o handles) you can go bigger.
Speaking of Nordic Ware…we recently received an email about them from Susan (the reader who asked the genius metal ramekins question).
She had emailed to share about a coated rack she owned where the enamel had started to chip off and a roasting pan that cooking spray had gunked-up.
Susan wanted to pass on the helpful knowledge that cooking spray and broiling pans might not be the best mix and described an awesome customer service experience where Nordic Ware went above and beyond for her, replacing both the rack and pan!
Tip #2: Convection Is A Frozen Fry’s Best Friend
Baked fries won’t ever taste as good as fried but with your toaster oven’s convection fan they get pretty darn close.
Crispy on the outside, tender and fluffy on the inside.
Seriously, even the frozen sweet potato fries were crispy. Anyone who’s baked the moisture bombs that are sweet potato fries knows that getting them to crisp up is a near miracle.
If this is your first time using your toaster oven’s convection fan know that it can require a few adjustments to the cooking time, temperature and maybe the rack placement too.
Our main toaster oven (the Breville Smart Oven Pro) has three adjustable rack placements.
I like to use the bottom placement for delicate convection baking (like lemon olive oil cupcakes) and the middle placement when we’re going for a crispier texture.
To find the right mix of cooking temperature and time with the convection fan on we baked a batch of straight cut frozen fries.
• With the middle rack placement
• Using a rack/baking pan combo
• Reducing the instructed baking temperature from 425F to 400F.
The directions said to cook the fries for 17 to 22 minutes.
13 minutes in we started checking for doneness. After 16 minutes the fries were cooked through and crispy.
Cooking with your toaster oven’s convection fan may be faster or slower than ours.
Always start with lowering the temperature 25 degrees and begin checking for doneness about 2/3 to 3/4 through the recommended cooking time. Adding more time until the fries are just how you like them.
Tip #3 – Raid The Spice Rack
Do you season your fries before or after baking?
If you struggle with getting spices to stick to freshly baked fries try adding a little oil and your favorite spice blend before baking them.
Place the frozen fries in a bowl and toss with 2-3 teaspoons of oil. You can also spray them with oil if you prefer that instead.
Add seasonings and toss to coat.
Place a baking rack on your sheet pan. Spread fries in an even layer on the rack and proceed with the package’s directions for cooking (with adjustments for convection if using).
The first time we tried this, we weren’t sure if the oil and seasoning would drip into the bottom of the pan so we popped a toaster oven silicone baking mat under the rack.
After cooking the fries the pan had a little of the seasoning on it but no oil.
Can I line the pan with foil?
Some toaster oven manufacturers recommend using foil. Others warn against it.
We suggest you check your manual or contact the manufacturer for specific instructions on using foil in your little oven.
How To Make Your Fries Taste Ah-Mazing
Not only can you season them before baking but you can turn your favorite frozen fries and tots into a restaurant-level treat that’s perfect for the grandkids next visit or a Netflix date night in.
This article from Food Network has 50 different ideas to get you started. With directions for things like Indian Sweet Potato Fries, Beer-Cheese Fries and loaded Thanksgiving Fries we have a feeling you’ll find a few fun ideas to make this summer.
Inspired, we tried a version of their Greek Fries using 8 ounces of crinkle cut frozen fries, a baking rack, and the convection setting on our toaster oven.
The seasoned fries were flavorful on their own but the crumbled feta, yogurt sauce, and veggies took them to a whole new level of YUM.
And the best part was how the fries stayed crispy even piled high with toppings!
Crispy seasoned fries topped with a Greek yogurt sauce, fresh veggies, and crumbled feta.
- 8 oz frozen crinkle cut fries
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (like grapeseed or avocado)
- 1/4 teaspoon each dried oregano, cumin, garlic powder, fine sea salt, black pepper
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (non-fat, 2% and whole milk will work)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta about 1oz
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
- fresh parsley chopped
- lemon wedges
In a large bowl combine frozen fries, oil, and seasoning. Stir well to coat.
Arrange fries in an even layer on a small wire baking rack. Place rack in a pan and cook in your toaster oven according to the package directions. While the fries bake prepare the yogurt sauce.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in parsley. Taste and add salt, pepper, and more garlic or lemon as desired.
Place half of the baked fries on a plate, dollop with half of the yogurt and sprinkle with half of the toppings. Create a second layer with remaining fries, sauce, and toppings.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and add lemon wedges for squeezing. Then dig in!