A Sprinkle Of Sugar Is The Secret Ingredient To Crispy Baked Fries

Fries in a bowl
Fries in a bowl - PHIL LENOIR/Shutterstock

Do your fries turn out either soft and soggy or overdone and dried out from the attempt to get that desired golden crisp? Well, if you want crispy baked fries then you might want to consider adding a bit of sugar into the mix. Incorporating sugar into your fries recipe is fairly simple, whether you're using fresh-cut potatoes or store-bought frozen fries.

Before popping the fries in the oven, just sprinkle a little sugar over them. Alternatively, you can also soak your potatoes in a sugar-water solution before baking them, which should make for even crispier spuds. If you're afraid the sugar will make your fries too sweet, then consider balancing the fries out with some salt as well. A combo of both sugar and salt will make for a more complex dish, triggering different taste receptors.

While adding sugar to fries is easy to do as a home cook, it turns out that some restaurants use sugar in their fries as well. McDonald's, which is known for its crispy golden fries, dips its potatoes in a dextrose (a type of sugar) solution. But why does sugar help fries crisp? It's all in the science.

Read more: 20 Frozen Foods Costco Shoppers Swear By

Why Sugar Creates Better Fries

Fries with dipping sauce
Fries with dipping sauce - Veselovaelena/Getty Images

Sugar aids in the crispiness of fries, thanks to osmosis. At its basic definition, osmosis is the transfer of water molecules from an object with a high concentration of water to something that has a lower concentration of water. Both sugar and salt make vegetables sweat out their moisture. By drawing out the moisture, it makes it easier for your fries to crisp and brown as a result.

While salt on its own promotes osmosis, sugar also has an effect on the potatoes in a different way. Sugar also promotes a cooking process that you may be familiar with -- the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is responsible for that tasty caramelization and texture that you find in roasted food, which will really take those fries to another level.

With both the Maillard reaction and osmosis on display, it's easy to see the difference that sugar can make when baking your fries. However, it's important to not over-do it when adding sugar, as it may affect the taste of your fries -- a little sugar goes a long way. Likewise, check on the fries while they're in the oven to make sure you don't end up overcooking them.

Read the original article on Mashed.