Perfectly crispy golden French fries seasoned with Cajun spices, these homemade Cajun Fries are just the side you need for your burgers, pulled pork, hot dogs, bbq’s, family dinners or backyard parties! We’ve got you covered for all the tips and tricks you need for achieving the crispiest fries and for a homemade Cajun seasoning that is the perfect blend of flavors!
What Does Cajun Mean?
Cajun is a term that refers to a style of cooking and a culture and ethnic group in Louisiana who are descendants of French settlers (known as “Acadian” which is where the term Cajun comes from) who immigrated to the area from Canada in the 18th century. But Cajun culture, which developed over time in Louisiana, in addition to French influence, also includes African and Native American influences. This unique blend of cultures is reflected in Cajun cuisine which is known for its spicy and robustly flavorful foods including popular dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, and crawfish étouffée.
What is Cajun Seasoning?
Cajun seasoning is a blend of spices that is commonly used in Cajun cuisine (including the dishes mentioned above) and while there is no standard “recipe” or ratio of ingredients, Cajun seasoning commonly includes a combination of paprika, garlic and onion powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne, black pepper and salt. Some Cajun blends, depending on how they’re being used, can also include celery seed, coriander, and mustard.
While it’s obviously popular in traditional Louisiana dishes, Cajun seasoning is enjoyed throughout the U.S. as a popular all-purpose seasoning. Delicious and versatile, it’s used in a whole host of dishes including grilled and roasted meats, seafood, and vegetables. Today we’re using this seasoning blend to make some fabulous Cajun Fries.
What are the Best Potatoes for French Fries?
The best potatoes for fries are ones that have a high starch content, a low moisture content, and a fluffy texture. This combination is what yields those perfectly crispy, golden-brown fries. To achieve perfect fries there really is no better choice than Russet potatoes. While you can use other varieties like red potatoes or Yukon Golds, these have a lower starch and higher moisture content which will result in fries that softer and less crispy.
What is the Best Oil for Making French Fries?
Using the right oil is as critical as choosing the right potatoes. The most important thing is to choose an oil with high smoke point. That will prevent it from burning and degrading (and becoming toxic!) at high heat and giving your fries an unpleasant flavor. From a health standpoint my favorite oil for cooking over high heat is avocado oil, but it’s expensive and you need a lot of it for frying French fries. Peanut oil is one of the most popular choices for making fries and is widely used by fast food restaurants. Another popular choice is canola oil. Either choice will produce great fries.
Cajun Seasoning Recipe
The first thing to do is to make the Cajun seasoning. This can be made well in advance and stored in an airtight jar for up to 3 months (it’s also a fabulous all-purpose seasoning blend!).
To make the Cajun seasoning, simply combine all of the herbs and spices and blend them to a powder in a spice/coffee grinder, blender, small food processor, or with a mortar and pestle.
Cajun Fries Recipe
In order to get those perfectly crispy fries, there are some key steps to follow:
- Choose the right potato. That means one with a high starch content, a low moisture content, and a fluffy texture. Russet potatoes are the standard.
- Cut the potatoes uniformly. This is critical for even cooking. Depending on whether you prefer thin or slightly thicker fries, aim for 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a mandolin slicer helps ensure uniformly sized fries.
- Soak the raw fries in water. This is fundamental for removing excess potato starch which prevents the fries from sticking together and also ensures the fries are perfectly crispy. Soak them in water for at least 2-3 hours or let them soak in the fridge overnight. Drain and rinse the potatoes and then blot them thoroughly dry with paper towels.
- Choose the right oil. That means one with a high smoke point. The most popular choice is peanut oil. Canola is also a good choice.
- Preheat the oil to 325 degrees F. Fry the potatoes in small batches to avoid overcrowding and fry for 2-3 minutes until pale and softened. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and let them cool to room temperature.
- Fry the potatoes twice: Increase the oil temperature to 375 degrees F. Carefully add the fries, again frying in small batches, until they are golden brown and crispy, another 2-3 minutes or longer if needed. Remove with a slotted spoon, place them on a baking sheet or roasting rack, sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning while they’re still very hot and toss to evenly coat.
- Keep them in a warm oven. Have the oven preheated to 200 degrees F and immediately place the hot fries in the oven to keep warm while you’re frying up the remaining batches.
Follow these steps and you’ll have perfectly crispy, golden, and delicious Cajun fries!
How to Make Oven Baked Cajun Fries
Alternatively you can also bake your Cajun fries. Follow Steps 1-4 as written above. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the fries in a bowl, drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of oil, and toss or stir them to evenly coat them with the oil. Add the Cajun seasoning and toss or stir them again to evenly coat them with the seasoning. Lay the fries out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake the fries for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 425 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until done, turning the fries over with a spatula twice for even browning.
Dipping Sauces for Cajun Fries
Cajun fries are delicious on their own but if you’re a dipper there are a number of sauces you can use such as Cajun aioli (simply make a base aioli sauce and add some Cajun seasoning to it), ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, creamy cilantro dressing, fry sauce, big mac sauce, honey mustard sauce, chipotle mayo, and of course ketchup (for a bit of kick try adding some hot sauce to your ketchup).
- 4 large Russet potatoes (about 2 pounds) , washed
- peanut or canola oil (see your fryer's instructions for the quantity needed; or see below for oven instructions)
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or more for more heat)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Make the Cajun Seasoning: Place all the spices and herbs in a spice/coffee grinder, blender, or small food processor (or use a mortar and pestle) and blend until it is a powder. Set aside until ready to use or store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Wash the potatoes and peel them if desired. Cut the potatoes into uniform sticks, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in width (using a mandolin ensures uniform sizing). Soak the fries in a bowl of water for at least 2-3 hours to remove excess starch or place in the fridge overnight. Drain and rinse the potatoes and then blot them thoroughly dry with paper towels.
- If using a deep fryer:Preheat the oil in the deep fryer to 325 F. Preheat the oven to 200 F. Fry the potatoes in small batches to avoid overcrowding and fry for 2-3 minutes until pale and softened. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and let them cool to room temperature. Increase the oil temperature to 375 F. Carefully add the fries, again frying in small batches, until they are golden brown and crispy, another 2-3 minutes or longer if needed. Remove with a slotted spoon, place them on a baking sheet or roasting rack, sprinkle with the seasonings while they’re still very hot, tossing to evenly coat. Transfer them to the oven to stay warm while you finish the remaining fries then serve immediately.
- If using the oven: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Follow everything in Step 1. Place the fries in a bowl, drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of peanut or canola oil, and toss or stir them to evenly coat them with the oil. Add the Cajun seasoning and toss or stir them again to evenly coat them with the seasoning. Lay the fries out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake the fries for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 425 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until done, turning the fries over with a spatula twice for even browning. Serve immediately.