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Hand dipping a fry into the lemon aioli dip

French Fries with Rosemary and Lemon Aioli

Prepare the Lemon Aioli a day ahead and soak the potatoes at least 4 hours for an easy starter or snack.
Course Starters
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword aioli, french fries, garlic, lemon
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
soaking 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 4


  • deep fat fry thermometer
  • balloon whisk


French Fries (begin 4-24 hours ahead)

  • 4 pounds (about 3 large potatoes) russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • cold water to cover
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil or peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Lemon Aioli

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable, grapeseed, OR light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


Prep the Potatoes

  • Cut the clean potatoes into 1/4" or 1/2" thick sticks. Add the potatoes to a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Place the bowl into the refrigerator and soak the potatoes from 3 hours to overnight.

Make the Lemon Aioli

  • In a large stainless steel bowl set atop a wet kitchen towel, vigorously whisk together the garlic, salt, black pepper, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and the egg yolks.
  • In a slow and steady stream, whisk in the vegetable oil.
    Once all of the vegetable oil has been added, whisk in the extra virgin olive oil the same way. Whisk the mixture until it resembles a thick yogurt- this should take about 10 minutes.
  • When the whisk leaves trails (or ribbons) in the aioli, add the lemon zest to the bowl. Continue whisking until the aioli is nice and thick, or slightly looser than mayonnaise would be.
    Place the aioli into the fridge while you prepare the french fries.

Make the French Fries

  • Drain the potato water in a colander and rinse them under cold, running water.
    Once drained, arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with paper towels and pat dry with more paper towels. Make sure to dry the potatoes as much as possible.
  • Preheat the frying oil to 300°F.
    Line a second sheet pan with paper towels for draining the fries. Have a large stainless steel bowl nearby for tossing the fries in seasoning as they finish draining.
  • Par-cook the french fries in batches- to avoid crowding the pan- for 3-5, or until they are tender. They should have no color on them (save for the skin) when you remove them from the oil.
  • When the fries are finished par-cooking, carefully transfer the fries from the pan to the sheet pan to drain. Allow the fries to cool completely while you par-cook the remaining potatoes.
  • Once all of the fries have been par-cooked, increase the oil's temperature to 375°F.
  • Fry the french fries in small batches and use your spider to shift the fries around so they don't stick together. Fry for 4-5, or until the fries are golden brown and rise to the top of the oil.
  • Remove the finished fries from the oil and place them on a paper towel lined pan to drain away any excess oil.
    Toss the drained french fries in a bowl with a pinch of salt, a pinch of chopped rosemary, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper to coat them evenly.
  • Transfer the seasoned fries to a cooling rack set atop a sheet pan and keep them warm in a low-temperature oven- this will ensure your fries stay as crispy as possible while you fry the remaining batches of french fries.
  • Serve your french fries while hot, with a sidecar of the Lemon Aioli. Pour some of your aioli dip into a prep bowl for dipping the fries in.


Prefer to use an immersion blender? Transfer the mixture to a container tall and wide enough to fit the immersion blender and mix until the aioli is light and thick. 
To make an aioli using a food processor or a blender: drizzle the oil in slowly while you mix the rest of the ingredients on low speed.
If you don't think you'll finish the whole batch, just freeze the cooled, par-cooked fries in freezer storage bag and fry them up later.
The aioli will make about a cup. It's a great salad dressing, or as a substitute for hollandaise sauce.
Use the aioli within 3 days, tops. Be sure to keep refrigerated until you're ready to serve it. 
Serving foods made with raw eggs to babies, the elderly, or to people with compromised immune systems is not recommended.