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Grilled French Fries

Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

You may never bother with deep-fried potatoes again after tasting these grill fries. The biggest problem is fitting them all on the grill. The skins crisp up nicely so don't bother to peel them. Serve the fries with a flavored mayonnaise or plain old ketchup.

Technique tip: Use starchy potatoes (called baking, russet or Idaho); waxy ones and even all-purpose Yukon Golds won't work as well.


  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes, peels on and scrubbed well
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)



Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.


Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into sticks 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick, 1/2-inch wide, and 3 inches long (or for steak fries, go to 1-inch wide). As you cut the potatoes, put them in the water to keep them from discoloring; if they're not entirely covered by water, add more as needed (you can do this several hours ahead; leave the potatoes in the water at room temperature).


When you're ready to grill, drain the potatoes and pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels. Rinse and dry the bowl, then use it to toss the potatoes gently with the oil; add more oil if necessary to make the fries shiny. Sprinkle generously with salt and toss again.


Put the fries on the grill in a single layer directly over the fire, perpendicular to the grates. Close the grill and cook, turning as needed, until they develop grill marks and a knife inserted in the center of a fry goes through without resistance, 8 to 10 minutes total. Stay by the grill while these are cooking; you'll need to move and rotate them to cook evenly. Transfer to a dish or platter, sprinkle with more salt and some pepper if you like, and serve hot.


Cottage Fries- Cut the potatoes across into rounds instead of lengthwise into fries; if you've got a mandoline with a waffle-cut blade or an adjustable slicing blade on a food processor, use it, but set it no thinner than 1/4 inch.

Smoky Fries- When they're just about ready, sprinkle the fries evenly with 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimentón).

Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Cumin- Use sweet potatoes, and peel them before cutting. Check on them early and often; sweet potatoes cook faster than regular potatoes. When they're just about ready, sprinkle them evenly with a mixture of 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and garlic powder.

Excerpted from "How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food" by Mark Bittman. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt © 2018.

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