It may seem like a no-brainer but there are a few tricks to baking up crispy frozen fries using a toaster oven. If you want to enjoy batch after batch of golden, crispy, oh-so-delicious toaster oven baked french fries, you are in the right place.
Why Your Fries Are Soggy
The enemy of crispness is moisture. Frozen fries have a lot of moisture (inside and outside) that is released during cooking.
When the fries are piled on top of each other and the pan is overloaded. This causes moisture/steam to get trapped making them soggy.
If you’ve been giving your fries plenty of space and they’re still not crisped to your liking, we can help!
With these 3 toaster oven tips, you can turn any frozen spud 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 The Fries On a Rack
As we mentioned earlier, frozen fries release moisture as they cook.
When they’re baked on a sheet pan, the air can only flow over the exposed sides. This means that the side facing the pan is just sitting in that steamy environment getting soggy.
The solution…the fries need to be elevated.
To elevate your fries, grab an oven-safe wire rack and set it inside of a rimmed sheet pan. Then spread the fries out in a single layer.
Cooking the fries on the rack (instead of the pan) will allow the oven’s warm air to easily circulate around all of the sides. Removing surface moisture and crisping the fries’ exteriors as they bake.
Rack and Pan Combos
Something like the mini baking sheet and rack combo in the Chicago Metallic Toaster Oven Bakeware Set pictured above is good for smaller ovens. That combo will fit about 1 to 2 small servings of fries.
If your toaster oven is larger and can fit a 9×13 pan (w/o handles) you can go bigger.
A small oven-safe baking rack and a quarter sheet pan (like our favorite one from Nordic Ware) are the perfect combo. You should be able to fit about 1/3 to 1/2 of a bag of frozen fries or tots on it.
Air Fryer Basket
In the last few years, toaster oven manufacturers have started incorporating an air frying setting into their ovens.
These air fryer toaster ovens usually come with a nifty mesh basket. The basket suspends food in the middle of the toaster oven similar to our rack and pan combos above.
We got this Cuisinart Air Fryer Basket from our local Bed Bath and Beyond.
It measures 10″ L x 11.3″ W x 53″ H and fits nicely in the 12 x 12 roasting pan that came with our Breville Smart Oven Pro (BOV845BSS).
The smaller pan and basket that came with our (discontinued) Oster Air Fryer Oven also fits in our Breville.
An air fryer basket or crisping tray is a great option if you aren’t able to find a rack that’s compatible with your usual toaster oven baking sheet.
Many toaster oven manufacturers sell air fryer baskets on their websites. And there’s no rule that you have to own a particular oven to buy the basket for it.
Here are some things we’ve discovered about using the rack and pan combo or an air fryer basket:
You can skip the extra oil because the frozen spuds are already coated in oil. Not a single tot or fry stuck to any of our baking racks or baskets.
Flipping isn’t a must. This fun discovery was made when we accidentally set the timer for the full cooking time (instead of half the time to flip our fries). To our delight, the never-flipped fries were perfectly browned and crisped on all sides.
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 countertop oven, the Breville Smart Oven Pro (BOV845BSS) 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.
About 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 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?
Maybe? Some toaster oven manufacturers allow the use of 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.
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.
Inspired, we tried a version of their Greek Fries you can check it out here.