Skip to Content

How many calories are in deep fried homemade fries?

When it comes to fried foods like french fries, calories are a major concern for many people. Homemade fries can provide a lower calorie alternative to restaurant fries, but they are still fried in oil which adds a significant number of calories. Determining the exact calorie count requires looking at the specific ingredients and how the fries are prepared.

Factors That Impact Calorie Count

There are several key factors that influence the calorie content of deep fried homemade french fries:

  • Type of potato – Russet potatoes are commonly used for fries and contain around 163 calories per 8 ounces. Sweet potatoes have fewer calories at about 114 per 8 ounces.
  • Portion size – More fries equals more calories. A typical fast food large serving of fries is around 5 ounces.
  • Peeling – Leaving the potato skins on adds fiber and nutrients but also calories.
  • Cut size – Thin cut fries absorb less oil than thick cut.
  • Frying oil – Different oils have varying amounts of calories per tablespoon. Canola oil has 124 calories while olive oil has 119.
  • Frying method – Double frying makes fries crispy but also increases oil absorption and calories.
  • Added ingredients – Salt, seasonings, cheese, or other toppings add extra calories.

By choosing lower calorie options for each step in the fry making process, you can reduce the overall calories. However, no matter what, the act of deep frying adds a lot of calories.

Calorie Count by Type of Potato

One of the biggest factors effecting calorie count is the type of potato used. Here is a comparison of common potato varieties:

Potato Calories per 8 ounces
Russet 163
Yukon Gold 161
Red 168
Sweet 114

As you can see, sweet potatoes provide the lowest calorie option at just 114 calories per 8 ounce potato. Russet potatoes are one of the most popular types used for fries and contain a moderate 163 calories per 8 ounces.

Calories Based on Portion Size

The number of fries you cook up also greatly impacts the total calories. Here is a look at estimated calories for different portion sizes of homemade fries:

Portion Size Estimated Calories
1 cup 220
2 cups 440
3 cups 660
4 cups 880

As shown, calories scale up quickly as you increase the portion size. A typical single serving is around 1 cup of fries. Making a double batch with 2 cups would approximately double the calories to 440. Fast food large serving sizes are often 3 cups or more.

Calories for Thin vs Thick Cut Fries

Going with thinner fry cuts can reduce the calorie count compared to thick fries. Here is a calorie estimate based on cut size:

Cut Size Estimated Calories per Cup
Thin – 1/4″ wide 210
Medium – 1/2″ wide 220
Thick-Cut – 3/4″ wide 260

Thin cut fries absorb less oil during frying than thick cut. This leads to a lower calorie count per cup. Going with a thin 1/4″ cut can save around 50 calories per cup compared to a thick 3/4″ cut fry.

Calories by Type of Frying Oil

Choosing a frying oil with less saturated fat can also help minimize calories:

Oil Calories per Tablespoon
Canola 124
Peanut 119
Sunflower 120
Olive 119
Vegetable 120
Coconut 117

Oils like canola, peanut, and sunflower contain around 120 calories per tablespoon. In comparison, a tablespoon of butter contains 100 calories, and shortening or lard contains 110 calories. Choosing unsaturated vegetable oils can modestly reduce the calories added during frying.

Calories Based on Frying Method

How the fries are fried also impacts their calorie content. Double frying is a technique often used by restaurants to make fries extra crispy. Frying twice absorbs more oil, which means more calories. Here is a comparison:

Frying Method Estimated Calories per Cup
Single fry 220
Double fry 260

Double frying can add around 40 extra calories per cup compared to a single fry. However, it also gives fries a signature crunch.

Calories in Homemade Fries vs Restaurant Fries

Homemade fries tend to have fewer calories than restaurant fries due to less oil absorption. Here is an estimate:

Fries Source Estimated Calories
Homemade 220 per cup
McDonalds 340 per 3.2 oz serving
Five Guys 670 per cup

As shown, a single portion of homemade fries contains around 220 calories. Fast food fries range from 340 calories at McDonalds to a hefty 670 calories per cup at Five Guys. The precise oil, fryer temperature, and cooking method make a big calorie difference.

Low Calorie Fry Cooking Tips

Here are some tips for lightening up your homemade fries:

  • Use sweet potatoes or peel russets to remove some starch and calories
  • Cut fries thin, around 1/4 inch wide
  • Choose an unsaturated oil like peanut or canola oil
  • Use a fryer thermometer to regulate oil temperature around 325-350°F
  • Fry just once for a shorter period to reduce oil absorption
  • Drain fries well on paper towels to remove excess grease
  • Skip the salt or use a salt substitute to limit sodium
  • Avoid heavy additions like cheese, bacon, ranch dressing, etc.
  • Portion to 1 cup per serving

Healthier Frying Alternatives

In addition to tweaking your standard frying method, you can also consider some alternative cooking techniques:

  • Baked Fries – Cut potatoes into fries, toss with a small amount of oil, and bake in the oven. Saves calories from reduced oil.
  • Air Fried Fries – An air fryer mimics deep frying with little to no oil. Creates a crispy texture with up to 70% less fat.
  • Microwaved Fries – Nuke cut potatoes for a few minutes until soft, then finish cooking in a skillet with a light coating of oil.

While these methods don’t exactly replicate the flavor and texture of deep fried fries, they provide a lower calorie substitute to still enjoy the salty potato flavor.

Conclusion

When making deep fried homemade french fries, the calorie count can range quite a bit based on the ingredients, prep, and cooking method. On average, a single portion of around 1 cup of homemade fries fried in canola oil contains approximately 220 calories. For the lowest calorie fries, choose sweet potatoes, cut them thin, fry in an unsaturated oil just once, and portion control the serving size. With some adjustments, you can still enjoy crispy fries without going way overboard on calories.