Lightly Pickle Your Potatoes For Tangy Salt And Vinegar French Fries

If you're craving a mouth watering snack, a bag of salt and vinegar chips always hits the spot. But why limit the tangy flavor to just potato chips? The salt and vinegar combo can shine on nutritious alternatives like kale chips, and it can also be used to level up your basic homemade french fries. To truly give your fries the tang they deserve, go a step beyond dousing them in vinegar — instead, lightly pickle your potatoes before cooking.

This may sound complicated, but it can be accomplished in a few simple steps. First, boil pickle brine with your favorite accompanying seasonings (like salt, garlic powder, or dill) to make a more concentrated mixture. Then, after you've cut your potatoes to the appropriate thickness (using a mandoline slicer if you're going for shoestring fries), let them marinate in your briny liquid before baking, frying, or air frying. 

Once they're nice and crispy, top them off with extra seasoning or sprinkle on some vinegar powder. For a more potent tangy flavor, add malt vinegar or extra pickle juice, but be sure to distribute it through a spray bottle so your fries don't get too wet. Your finished fries will have all the same flavors and crunch as your favorite bag of salt and vinegar chips, with an extra boost of pickle-y goodness.

How to make salt and vinegar fries with pickle juice

While you can let your sliced potatoes soak up pickle juices for just half an hour if that's all you've got, allow them to sit overnight for optimal flavor. Before cooking, however, make sure you pat your marinated potatoes dry — we want our fries crispy, not soggy, after all. And if you're baking or air frying, make sure to place them on your baking sheet or air fryer basket in an even layer. If they're crammed in, the sides of the fries won't get enough heat exposure, so they won't develop that crunchy exterior.

Of course, the pickle brine you use will have a big impact on your finished fries too. If you want a classic flavor, pick up a jar of dill pickles — but if you want a tinge of sweetness, try a bread and butter version, and for a hint of heat, get some spicy spears or chips. You're just going to be using the brine for the marinade, but once your fries are done, you can also top them with some chopped up pickles for extra flavor.

And don't forget a yummy dipping sauce. Salt and vinegar fries are definitely delicious in ketchup, but their tanginess also pairs perfectly with a creamy dip like garlic aioli, chipotle mayo, or Gochujang mayo.