Crispy Cajun Baked Fries (Oil-Free!)

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Crispy baked cajun fries with ketchup

We’ve made oil-free french fries before, but this new and improved method yields PERFECT french fries that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and tossed in a spicy Cajun-style spice blend for maximum flavor.

The result is crispy fries that aren’t dried out and have BIG flavor. Plus, just a handful of ingredients, no fancy equipment, and simple methods required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Russet potatoes, salt, and cajun spices

How to Make Crispy Baked Fries

If you’ve ever wondered how to make baked french fries that are crispy on the outside but not dried out on the inside, you’re in the right place!

The first secret is to boil the potatoes before baking them. After they are boiled until tender, you’ll cut them into wedges or strips for baking.

Our second tip: Don’t crowd the potatoes. When baking, you want to have plenty of space between them and ideally just cook one baking sheet at a time.

And the third? If you have a convection setting on your oven, use it! If not, it will still work, just bake for slightly longer.

Saucepan of russet potatoes in water

Cajun Seasoning

For seasoning these fries, we opted for cajun-inspired flavor!

Cajun food originated in southern Louisiana. It’s named after the French colonists (Acadians) who settled in the area after being forcibly removed from the Acadia region of Canada. (source)

Along with onion, celery, and bell peppers, cajun seasoning is one of the main ingredients used to add flavor to cajun cooking.

Cajun seasoning typically includes spices such as paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, and herbs such as thyme and/or oregano. You can learn more about Cajun seasoning (vs. Creole seasoning) and ways to use it here.

Our Cajun-inspired blend strays a bit from the traditional, skipping the onion powder and opting for smoked paprika for a more smoky flavor.

Bowl of cajun spices
Unbaked cajun fries on a parchment-lined baking sheet

We hope you LOVE these baked fries! They’re:

Crispy on the outside
Tender on the inside
Easy to make
Versatile
Flavorful
Comforting
& Delicious!

They make an amazing appetizer or side, especially served with ketchup or No-Honey Mustard Sauce. And they’d be a perfect companion to things like sandwiches, burgers, and more!

For quicker weeknight preparation, we’d recommend boiling the potatoes up to 3-4 days in advance and storing the unpeeled, cooked potatoes in the fridge until ready to make fries!

Parchment-lined baking sheet of oil-free fries with cajun seasonings

More Baked Fries Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Tray of Oil-Free Cajun Baked Fries with ketchup and fresh parsley

Crispy Cajun Baked Fries (Oil-Free!)

The BEST way to make perfect french fries that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and oil-free! Simple ingredients, BIG flavor, super versatile!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Baked french fries coated in cajun spices served with ketchup
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine French-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Southern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

POTATOES

  • 3 medium russet potatoes (scrubbed clean // organic when possible)
  • Water for cooking
  • 1 pinch salt

CAJUN SPICE BLEND

  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or sub fresh, minced)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme (or sub fresh, minced)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (omit for less heat)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and use the convection setting if you have it. This will allow the fries to become more crispy on the edges and cook faster. If you don’t have a convection setting, no worries. You’ll just bake for slightly longer. Convection simply speeds up the process.
  • Line 1 large or 2 small baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside (this is important or the fries will stick). (See notes for best way to cook large batches of fries.)
  • Wash and scrub your potatoes clean but leave the skin on. Add to a large saucepan or pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until a knife slides in easily and is easily removed — ~25-35 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. You don’t want them to be cracking or falling apart, but you do want them to be tender and pretty much cooked through. Remove from the water and allow to cool on a cutting board (~5-10 minutes).
  • Note: At this point you could store your boiled potatoes (uncovered) in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and then slice and bake. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
  • While potatoes are cooking, prepare your spice blend by adding all spices to a small mixing bowl and stirring to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, cayenne for heat, herbs to taste, smoked paprika for smokiness, or garlic powder for garlic flavor. Set aside. (Leftovers will keep sealed at room temperature for up to 3 months).
  • Once cooled to the touch, carefully slice potatoes into even, small wedges or strips. If the fries break apart in places, that’s okay and normal. These are secretly my favorite pieces because they get extra crispy when baked. Just try to handle gently to prevent much breaking. Using a sharp knife and handling gently is key here.
  • Transfer to the lined baking sheet(s) and sprinkle on the Cajun spice blend. Then lift one side of the parchment paper at a time to gently toss the potatoes, coating them with spices. This allows for more gentle handling than hand tossing.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping / tossing at the 15-minute mark to ensure even cooking. Turning the pan around can also help them cook more evenly. You’re looking for the fries to be golden brown and crispy on the edges. Keep baking until you achieve desired results!
  • Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper for added flavor. These fries are delicious on their own, but are also elevated with ketchup or our No-Honey Mustard Sauce.
  • Best when fresh, though leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in a 375 degree F (190C) oven. In our experience, these are not freezer friendly (unless the boiled, cut, and seasoned fries are frozen before baking — when cooked from frozen cook time will need to be increased).

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Ideally you would bake your fries on one large baking sheet that’s big enough to allow space between the fries so they aren’t crowding each other — this is important and is what helps them to crisp up. More than 1 pan in the oven at a time is okay, but it does usually mean cook time will be extended and the fries may not get as crispy. So in this instance, I would usually bake all the fries that I can on 1 large baking sheet, and if I have leftovers, I prefer to wait and bake them after the first batch is done for best results.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 131 Carbohydrates: 29.9 g Protein: 3.6 g Fat: 0.2 g Saturated Fat: 0.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.08 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 301 mg Potassium: 684 mg Fiber: 2.4 g Sugar: 1 g Vitamin A: 337 IU Vitamin C: 9.27 mg Calcium: 31.03 mg Iron: 1.81 mg

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  1. Sarah Johnson says

    howdy folks! I wanted these to work out, but they didn’t. :-( if you don’t have parchment paper, make sure you use an oil so that the fries don’t stick. they also don’t come is crispy like the recipe suggests- soggy and sad. good luck to everyone!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah! If you don’t have parchment paper, they will stick to your pan (I will make that more clear in the recipe). That or a silicon liner should work. As for getting them crispy, you just have to keep baking until they get crisp on the edges (high heat, baking for appropriate amount of time is key). Did you modify anything as far as ingredients or instructions go?

  2. Tiff says

    Made it with 1 giant sweet potato and WOW! Perfect! I was so inpatient to wait for a great super crisp but regardless, soft and fluffy interior and a just crisp enough exterior. I assume with white potatoes it would crisp faster/easier as they cook different from sweet potatoes. Still, I was a doubter it could be done oil free but it was done! Wow!!!!!!! Delicious with seasonings. Dipped in my daddy’s secret recipe BBQ sauce YUM

  3. Martha says

    I’d like to try nutritional yeast on these fries. How can I make nutritional yeast? I’ve never found the recipe for it. Thanks very much!

  4. Mafalda Braga says

    Absolutely fantastic method for crispy potatoes! I love the Cajun spice but I was so impressed by how crispy it was. It takes quite some time but amazing!

  5. Alex says

    Awesome recipe Dana! I made it for lunch today, hubby loved it so much he wants it for dinner too haha! As I’m writing, I am boiling new potatoes ;-)

    Thanks a lot and keep’em coming please!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried it, so we’re not certain. But we think it would be about the same. Let us know if you try it!

  6. Julie says

    Do you think I could steam the potatoes in my steam oven rather than boil. This recipe does look fantastic. I try to avoid using oil.

  7. E says

    sorry if it sounds silly to ask about boiling potatoes. the recipe says, “and cover with water by 1 inch.” does this mean the potatoes are only covered by 1” of water or the potatoes are totally covered in water with an extra 1” of water above them? i’m assuming the latter but wanna double check. thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Great question! The potatoes should be totally submerged with water, covering by 1 inch (over the potatoes). Let us know how it goes!

      • Deborah Berger says

        I don’t understand why you put “heat the oven” as the first step when you first boil the potatoes, then cool and peel and cut them. The oven would be heating for an hour without anything being baked. It’s like idling your car…
        I also find that boiling potatoes is far faster if you don’t cover them with water but rather steam them in little water. Saves energy, too.
        Just my 2 cents.
        Other than that I love a lot of your recipes, thank you so much!

    • Erin says

      Hi, I have been making these in the air fryer for months! I just cook them in the Instant Pot first (because it’s so quick!) then once they are cooled and cut into strips, put in the air fryer for about 15 minutes at 400.