Coconut Oil French Fries

by Ann Marie Michaels on October 23, 2012

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Coconut Oil French Fries

Did you know French fries cooked in coconut oil are actually healthy? Yes, you heard me right! Coconut oil is a traditional fat that is really good for you.

When fried in coconut oil, French fries are healthy and nutrient-dense. And did I mention delicious?

However, there’s a special trick to this recipe — not just any coconut oil will do.

The Trick to Coconut Oil French Fries: Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil

I only use expeller-pressed coconut oil. If you use regular virgin coconut oil, you can’t get the smoke point high enough to produce a crispy fry. Expeller-pressed coconut oil is refined (although just as nutritious) and has a higher smoke point.

Also, and this is important, expeller-pressed coconut oil has no coconut oil odor or taste. So it’s just like using flavorless vegetable oil. Nobody wants to eat French fries that taste like coconut!

Coconut Oil French Fries

Where to Find Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil

You can find expeller pressed coconut oil on my resources page.

I get my expeller-pressed coconut oil delivered by mail in a 5-gallon bucket. Coconut oil has a really long shelf life — it will keep for years, and you can store it in the pantry.

When frying, you can use coconut oil multiple times. I just leave the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven and I strain it every once in a while. Since it’s stable at room temperature, you can leave it sitting on the back burner (with a lid on) for months and you don’t have to worry about it going rancid, like tallow or lard. Easy and economical!

What’s Wrong With Vegetable Oil?

Unlike coconut oil, vegetable oil contains almost no vitamins.

Vegetable oil (soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil) is a highly processed modern food. It is refined, bleached, deodorized, hydrogenated. Yuck!

French Fries fried in vegetable oil are really bad for you. Fry them in coconut oil, and you’re got a healthy side dish.

To learn more about why vegetable oils like canola and corn oil are bad for you and should be avoided, read this article: The Oiling of America.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is vegetarian and vegan.

I modified this recipe from the one in The Balthazar Cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks.

This recipe requires that you soak the potatoes in water for several hours or overnight (you could also parboil) and fry them twice. Both of these steps are critical in order to get a crispy (not soggy) French fry.

I have also made French fries with beef tallow. Those are actually my favorite, because they are much more savory.

Substitutes for expeller-pressed coconut oil: Beef tallow, palm oil, duck fat, or lard all are all healthy, traditional fats with a smoke point that is high enough to produce crispy French fries.

Coconut Oil French Fries

Ingredients

Russet potatoes, organic if possible (enough to feed your family — figure one large potato per person)
Filtered water
Expeller-pressed coconut oil (6-8 cups, or enough to fill a Dutch oven a third of the way) — where to buy
Sea salt — where to buy

Equipment

Deep-fat fryer, Dutch oven, or a stock pot
If using sauce pan or stock pot, you will need a candy thermometer — the kind that attaches to the side of the pot
Tongs
Cookie sheet, 1 or 2
Parchment paper, Silpat mat, or paper towels

Directions

1. Peel the potatoes and cut lengthwise into French fry size (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in width, and the length of the potato).

Coconut Oil French Fries

2. Cover the potatoes with filtered water and let sit for at least 30 minutes, and as long as overnight (in the fridge). I’ve tried this for as little as an hour and as long as 12 hours — and quite honestly, I couldn’t really taste a difference. I think an hour is sufficient, but you can do it ahead if you like and leave the potatoes soaking in the fridge overnight.
3. Put the coconut oil in a heavy pot or a deep fat fryer. If using a heavy saucepan or stock pot, attach the thermometer.

Coconut Oil French Fries

4. Dry the potatoes very thoroughly (if they are wet, it’s dangerous — as it can cause the hot oil to pop) with clean dish towels. Line a cookie sheet (preferably one with a lip) with parchment paper, a Silpat, or paper towels.
5. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (or the lowest setting). Heat the expeller-pressed coconut oil to 370 degrees, and then gently and very carefully, add some of the potatoes. Don’t overcrowd them. Watch for spitting hot oil and make sure there are no children around when you do this.

6. Fry for 3 minutes, then, using the tongs or the basket from the fryer, transfer the fries to the cookie sheet.

Coconut Oil French Fries

7. Wait until the coconut oil heats up again to 370 degrees, then add another batch of potatoes. Fry for 3 minutes, and continue in this manner until you have done all the potatoes.
8. Now it’s time for the second fry. Bring the coconut oil to 380 degrees (mine only goes up to 375, so that’s what I did) and then add some of the fries you cooked once.

Coconut Oil French Fries

9. Fry for 3 1/2 minutes this time, then transfer back to the paper- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet.
10. Sprinkle with sea salt. Don’t be stingy with the salt.
11. Repeat with the rest of the fries.
12. Transfer to oven to keep warm or serve immediately. With ketchup. A

To strain your coconut oil, let the hot oil cool a bit. Then strain it through coffee filters, paper towels or cheesecloth.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna October 23, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Hi AnnMarie,

what’s your opinion regarding acrylamide?

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cheeseslave October 23, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I am not convinced that it is an issue. I think it’s right up there with lectins.

A lot of people online are all worked up over lectins, but in reality, lectins are in pretty much all foods. You can reduce lectins by soaking/sprouting, and if you eat a balanced diet and have healthy gut flora, it won’t matter.

Acrylamides might be an issue if you ate French fries for breakfast lunch & dinner. But you don’t. You eat fried foods infrequently. Enjoy the fries.

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the 3volution of j3nn October 23, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Never tried coconut oil with deep frying, but I have used palm shortening, which is similar. I’ll have to get so e refined coconut oil; I only have virgin.

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Bebe October 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM

How do you like ordering from Wilderness Family? I have used some of their products but only whatever was available through Azure Standard. I have found (expeller-pressed) coconut oil at a local herb and supplement shop in five gallon buckets and am surprised how fast we go through a bucket!
Another option for deep-frying: if you have one, a regular carbon steel wok (not nonstick!) works nicely. Because of the shape it uses less oil and still provides great surface area.
Thanks for posting the technique for achieving crispiness. We are definitely having French fries this week!

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cheeseslave October 23, 2012 at 10:43 PM

@Bebe

I love Wilderness Family Naturals — that’s where I order my expeller-pressed coconut oil.

If you reuse your coconut oil, you won’t go through it as fast. Just strain it.

The wok is a great idea!

Reply

Linda October 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM

You say you buy it from Wilderness Family Naturals, yet your link takes us to your source list which does not include WFN for coconut oil, but instead, to Radiant life which only lists virgin coconut oil.

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cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Wilderness Family Naturals is listed on my resources page:

http://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/coconut-products?pid=1” target=”_blank”

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Charity Clarke October 24, 2012 at 6:41 AM

What do you do with the coconut oil once you are finished frying the fries? And if you dispose of it, how would you do that?

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cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM

@Charity

I reuse it several times (see the post). When I’m done using it I just throw it in the trash.

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Eva Niven October 24, 2012 at 7:17 AM

Coconut oil changes to a trans fat at high temps, is it different with this type of coconut oil?

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cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM

That’s a myth

Trans Fatty Acids Are Not Formed by Heating Vegetable Oils

http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/trans-fatty-acids-are-not-formed-by-heating-vegetable-oils

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nick July 15, 2013 at 6:33 AM

the comments on that article beg to differ. Seems to be a decent amount of research out there contradicting this.. not saying you are wrong, but it’s something to read more about. However I agree w/ your earlier statement.. just enjoy the darned fries.. for my part I think lard is the best choice.. but that’s just me

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Eva Niven November 21, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Thanks for the link. I’m very excited to try this now with squash fries. In the Gaps book it refers to olive oil converting to trans fatty acids at high temps and a friend mentioned the same with coconut oil. Thanks for the clarification, I will pass it on!

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Courtney July 25, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Yes but coconut oil can stand much higher temps than olive oil before breaking down

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Andy October 24, 2012 at 9:54 AM

It’s a good idea, but seems a little expensive to just use coconut oil. I fry them in tallow I rendered, it gives it a great flavor and it’s a lot cheaper!

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cheeseslave October 24, 2012 at 4:15 PM

@Andy

Yes I like using tallow, too. (That’s actually my favorite)

Expeller-pressed coconut oil is not expensive, especially if you reuse it like I do.

Reply

PeterNZ October 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Did you do or do you know of any research about Vitamins and high temperatures? How much of the vitamins will survive the high deep frying temperatures? Vitamin C for example is destroyed at temperatures above 70 deg Celsius. What about other vitamins? And which ones will survive a deep frying process?

Cheers

Peter

Reply

cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 9:50 AM

@PeterNZ

Vitamin C is not one of the main vitamins in coconut oil.

Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) and Lauric Acid are two of the nutrients in coconut oil.

Coconut oil is mostly saturated so it’s a great fat for frying.

Reply

PeterNZ October 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM

The Vitamin C was just an example. Many people say they make lemonade or other things from i.e. oranges. They claim it is healthy with all the Vitamin C. You look at the recipe and they boil it for 20 minutes. Sorry but then the Vitamin C is gone. Public perception often is “Has it lemons? Then it has Vitamin C!” So hence my question, how much of the nutrition is left in Coconut oil when heated to deep frying temperatures?
Sorry so far I read this post like “It uses coconut oil so it has vitamins”.

Cheers

Peter

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L. October 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM

What does expeller-pressed mean and what process does coconut oil go through to make it expeller-pressed? Also, why is it as nutritious as virgin coconut oil? Isn’t refining an oil generally not so great?

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cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 9:55 AM

“This [expeller-pressed] oil is mechanically expressed without the use of solvents or chemicals of any kind. It is an excellent quality food-grade coconut oil that is NOT hydrogenated and contains NO trans fatty acids.”

http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/category/expeller-pressed-organic-coconut-oil.php

Expeller-pressed is just as nutritious as virgin coconut oil — the only difference is that it’s not raw.

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Deborah October 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM

You shouldn’t restrict yourself to russets! I have made some great coconut oil fries with yukon gold. I love that buttery yellow color! I did the soaking and the double frying also. If I got a hold of some purple potatoes, I wouldn’t be able to resist giving those a try just for fun.

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cheeseslave October 25, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Good idea!

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Bebe November 28, 2012 at 8:25 PM

I have purple potatoes and was going to try those next! I got them from a local grower here in the Matanuska valley (Alaska) who always has a stall at the state fair in Palmer. This year I took advantage of an end-of-the-fair deal: fill a box with whatever produce was left at their stand for $25 and I filled it half way with purple potatoes! I have a few left, probably just enough to make a batch of fried potatoes for my family of seven!

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Neil Smith November 2, 2012 at 8:26 PM

I don’t understand your comments about Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil. We sell all sorts of coconut oils, and they all taste and smell different. That much I do understand. But I don’t understand how Expeller Pressed oil will take the smell and taste away.

What I do understand is that high heat, and hexane will take the smell away…

Can you look through this article I’ve just updated today, (before reading your post) and tell me if there is anything that wouldn’t agree with?

We’d love to help hear from again soon.

http://www.coconutoilshop.co.nz/2012/04/why-we-dont-sell-deodorised-oil/

Reply

kitchen appliances November 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM

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Reply

Bebe November 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Made these tonight, cross cut rather than frenched, and one of my teenagers said “the only thing wrong with these is that they are addictive”!

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cheeseslave November 29, 2012 at 10:59 AM

And what is wrong with that? :-)

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Bebe November 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Lol… not a danged thing!

Plus I happened to have a small jar of tallow and a little bigger one of lard that a friend rendered and gave to us so I combined them and will have to try the coconut oil next time. Having lard and/or tallow is a rare treat for us and it was so tasty. I happened to have both tzatziki and a smoked blue cheese dressing (the cheese is even made with raw milk!) that I’d made a couple days ago which were perfect dipping sauces for the potatoes.
I even ended up tossing the cubed moose steaks (lightly floured) in the fat after the potatoes were done… what a lovely treat that was, as well.

Reply

Maureen December 1, 2012 at 4:41 PM

The best and most flavourful french fries I’ve had were in France. Most cafes serve excellent fries. According to our research, they use peanut oil. Very tasty!

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Kathy Davis June 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM

…but the coconut oil is the health tip here! Look up the health benefits of coconut oil and you will be amazed!

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Meika May 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Thanks so much,

I absolutely love French Fries and have been looking for a way to keep them in my diet, on my natural food trek and change of lifestyle. I had read that the best coconut oil to get was unrefined, non-hydronated, however this type does not have a high smoke point, so I had got a little worried that I would never be able to fry them. After reading your post I now see how I can use this type for frying and maybe just use the totally natural for other purposes. Thanks again so much!!!

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Kathy Davis June 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I made french fries in coconut oil before seeing your recipe. Mine was so much easier…did not peel potatoes…just scrubbed and sliced. Skins are good for you! I did not soak potatoes prior to cooking. I used a shallow-ish fry pan…about 3/4″ oil, heated, added potatoes and carefully turned them occasionally. Mine were a medium brown and really tasty. I save the oil and made potato pancakes a few days later…great results!

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Nicolene March 24, 2014 at 7:25 PM

I did the same as Kathy, but I used organic virgin coconut oil. Everyone loved it and you couldn’t taste the coconut.

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A44 July 12, 2014 at 4:21 PM

I use virgin coconut oil, they do get crispy and actually there can be a TINY coconut taste but it makes them delicious.

If you want to go for extra health use purple potatoes.

Reply

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