Garlicky Oven Fries with Harissa Ketchup

By Kiersten | Last Updated: January 12, 2018

Garlicky Oven Fries with Harissa Ketchup

Garlicky Oven Fries with Harissa Ketchup
Yesterday I got laid off. I started this job in grad school and it’s been my safety net for a long time. When I worked at the library and layoffs were looming, I knew that if the worst happened, I always had this job. And when I started doing taxonomy work, this job was the steady income I needed to make freelancing a little less scary.

Losing your safety net is a pretty awful feeling. As much as I’ve contemplated quitting this job over the past few months (and oh, I thought of it often!), I could never really bring myself to do it. But maybe having a safety net was holding me back and keeping me from doing the things that I want to be doing. Like watching Real Housewives marathons all day in my pajamas while quietly weeping recipe development and blogging. And making Garlicky Oven Fries with Harissa Ketchup!

Typically I make oven fries the lazy way–I cut a potato into wedges, toss them with oil, and throw them on a baking sheet. Easy peasy. The wedges never get quite as crispy as they would if they were deep-fried, but that’s kind of what you expect with oven fries. They’re not crispy! They’re a little bit limp! But they’re healthier for you and that’s the trade-off you have to make. After hearing that Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe for crispy oven fries, I thought I’d give it a try. And guess what? They were crispy! Definitely crispier than my usual method.

I did make a few changes to their recipe–I used garlic-infused oil and I used a much less of it than the original recipe called for. If you’re cheap like I am, you probably avoid recipes with garlic oil. I can never justify buying a big bottle of oil when I know it will probably go rancid before I get around to using it all! And while you can make your own infused oils, that takes some time. Here’s how you can cheat and speed up the process:

Quick Garlic Oil
Use one large garlic clove for each tablespoon of oil. So, for this recipe, you’d use two garlic cloves and two tablespoons of oil. Mince the garlic cloves with a garlic press; if you don’t have a garlic press, smash the cloves with the back of a knife. But the garlic press is best! Put the garlic in oil and let it sit for as long as you can, then remove the garlic with a fork. And now you have garlic-infused oil!

Of course, you can’t have fries without ketchup. While I’ve made my own ketchups from scratch in the past, this one is a little bit easier–store-bought ketchup + harissa. Harissa is a spicy Tunisian chili sauce. You can make it yourself if you can’t find it at the store or, failing that, simply spike your ketchup with a pinch of red pepper flakes.


Garlicky Oven Fries with Harissa Ketchup

Garlicky Oven Fries with Harissa Ketchup Recipe

Oven fries that are actually crispy? Yes, it is possible! I used the Cook’s Illustrated method for making baked fries and infused garlic into the oil. Pairing the fries with Harissa Ketchup makes this everyday side dish something special.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 servings


  • 3 tbsp. vegetable, peanut or canola oil, divided
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, cut into evenly sized wedges (I prefer leaving the skin on)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. harissa (more or less depending on how much heat you can tolerate)


  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat to 475 degrees. Place minced garlic cloves in a small bowl and pour in 2 tablespoons of oil. Set aside.
  2. Place potato wedges in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let potatoes sit in water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry thoroughly with paper towels. (Very thoroughly! This is important.) Rinse and wipe out bowl.
  3. Grease a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with remaining tablespoon of oil. Return potato wedges to bowl. Use a fork to remove the garlic from the oil; discard garlic. Drizzle oil over potatoes and toss to coat.
  4. Arrange potato wedges on baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tightly cover baking sheet with foil; bake 5 minutes. Remove foil, then bake 10-15 minutes or until bottoms of fries are golden brown. Use a spatula or tongs to flip each wedge, then cook 5-10 minutes more until fries are browned.
  5. While fries are baking, make harissa ketchup by stirring together ketchup and harissa in a small bowl.

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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I know, I love fries too. I always want to be one of those people who orders the healthy side, but whenever we go out to eat, I inevitably get the fries. 🙂

I need to try this! I keep trying to make my oven fries crispy and never get them quite where I want them. I’d hate to go back to buying bagged frozen fries but I’m getting desperate after all of my failures at making crispy fries.

Make them! You can do it without the garlic too. The original recipe uses a LOT more oil, but I cut it down and it was just fine. These were definitely the best oven fries I’ve ever made.

I’m so sorry about the job, it is truly an awful feeling to lose your safety net. But you have a fantastic website and I think your plan to use this as an opportunity to pursue that without limits is wonderful and smart.

As for the recipe, well, I love ANYTHING with garlic and this looks divine!

Thank you! I definitely think that getting laid off was what I needed. Because I probably never would have quit on my own and it would have always held me back…

I am sure there are big things ahead for you and you have absolutely no need for a safety net. And now that you have given the world healthy-ish fries and amazing ketchup, the world owes you a good year in return.

I don’t think I can choose a favorite Housewives franchise. It’s like choosing a favorite child–you love them all for different reasons. 😉 OC was pretty good this year with all the Brooks drama. I felt so much secondhand embarrassment every time Vicki was on screen with him…

Hon, sorry for the layoff. I’m glad to read your positive tone and hope for the best for you. I feel like I’ve worked forever, right after I turned 21 and during my part-time stint in grad school. Wishing you luck in discovering what you want to be working towards!

I still have the taxonomy freelancing that I do, but that hasn’t been much lately. I’m hoping now I’ll have the time to network and work on my portfolio and do the things I need to do to get more recipe development work!

Sorry about the layoff, but I’m sure you have tons of other great opportunities coming your way and hopefully it will be doing more of what you love! These fries look great .. I love oven fries and I actually much prefer soft fries to crispy fries!

I’m so sorry about your job! Here’s hoping that this will be the open door to even greater opportunities and happiness for you. I am loving these fries and the ketchup. I think this might be just meal I was looking for this weekend.

Thank you! I sure hope so. I keep going through swings of optimism followed by crushing fear. Because now I don’t have any excuses for not putting everything into my blog and recipe development and if it doesn’t work out, I have no one and nothing to blame except for myself.

Wow, that was more depressing than I meant it to be! 😉

So sorry to hear about your job but I think you’ll be better off for it, even though it looks scary now. If you wanted to quit you weren’t happy, and your happiness is worth more than the money. Also? This looks yummy. 🙂

Thanks, Shell. Happiness is definitely worth more than money and it’s probably better that I have more time to do the things I really want to do rather than waste time at a dead-end job for another 4 years!

So sorry about your job:(

Everything happens for a reason….NOW you can work on creating a cookbook with all of your wonderful recipes and beautiful photos. I am ready to order my copy:)

OMG…red pepper flakes in ketchup!!! LOVE IT…I would have never thought of that, but I use red pepper flakes in everything else.

Sorry about your job. The best advice I’ve been given is it’s okay to be depressed today as long as you do something about it tomorrow. For me, being depressed means consuming copious amounts of carbohydrates, including french fries. Next time I’ll try this recipe to cut down on the next day guilt. But mostly so I can stay home in my pj’s instead of hitting up the drive through. Anyways…Good luck!!

that is such a bummer about your job – they are losing someone awesome! After chemo my mom watched Housewives over & over for days (literally) until even she was sick of them. Now we’re on to NCIS – if you get to that point, let me know and I’ll have an intervention for you 🙂

I am so sorry …. if I was closer, I would come over in my pajamas (’cause I’m still in them) and watch Real Housewives with you — any city and season. (except Atlanta — they’re just a tacky, hot mess).

I love, love, love oven fries. I haven’t ever shared a recipe because, after looking at your site, I realize we pretty much make ’em the same way (russet, sweet, etC). But oven roasted potatoes are one of my go-to sides nearly all year long.

Big hugs, Kiersten.

Aw, you have to watch Atlanta! They have the best one-liners. It’s several years old, but I still say “Who gonna check me boo? YOU?” to my husband at least once a week.

My fries (including sweet potato fries which I make more often) are always limp and soft too, but usually I don’t mind since I’ve always prefered the thicker, soft fries over the super crispy (or worse – burnt!) fries. I’d like to give this method a try though and see the difference it makes! Also, I love eating my fries with spicy ketchup too….sometimes I’ll just mix regular ketchup with chili powder, but now I have a bottle of Indian spicy ketchup that I love.
Good luck with the job situation….hopefully everything works out for the best 🙂

I’m so sorry to hear about your job… I do honestly think this is one of those things that seems bad and scary at the time but will be the best thing that could have happened! With nothing holding you back I think you are going to do amazing things 🙂
Your oven fries look amazing. I’m sooo craving fries now(and definitely not fried ones!)

Thank you! I’m feeling more positive about it as the days go by, with moments of panic now and then. 🙂 But I think this was what I needed. I love stability and I hate taking risks, so I probably never would have quit on my own…

I’m sorry that you lost your job. I can understand your fear because I was scared when I left my job to stay home.

You have a real talent with your writing and photography that I know that having more time to focus on your blog will allow you to grow and perhaps try new things you wouldn’t have done before. All the best!

Btw, the fries look GOOD! If it wasn’t so blessed hot today I would make them for dinner tonight.

Thank you, Kelly! I do think it’s for the best, because I know myself and I would probably never leave that job. It’s very hard for me to take leaps of faith, especially when the faith involved is believing in myself–ha!

So sorry about your job loss! 🙁 Hope something good comes along soon.
I have to try this. I might love fries more than any food in the world. In my head I don’t think that’s the case, but I only growl at people during mealtime if they try to take some of my fries. 🙂 It’s a sickness. Also, cast iron does a great job of crisping up potatoes.

Thanks, Shirley. I’m blogging full-time now and trying to get into professional recipe development. Which is most definitely not what I went to school for, but I enjoy it so much more.

I’m going to have to try potatoes in the cast iron skillet!

I tried this for the first time today and oh. My. Heavens!!! The very first crispy potato fries I ever made. Thanks so much!!!

I’m glad they turned out well for you! I always make my oven fries like this now–it’s not as easy as just cutting the potatoes and throwing them onto a baking sheet, but I think it’s worth the effort. 🙂

I just tried making it again today but forgot to run the 5 mins with foil sealed up, boo!! I didn’t even realize it until 10 minutes after eating. Now making a new batch to impress the hubby and kids!! Seriously, I was not a cook. I buy everything from trader joes and I heat and I serve. It’s gotten boring. Since I’m a teacher and get the whole thanksgiving week off, I have been obsessed over your blog and cooking nonstop. My husband is beyond amazed I haven’t stepped into the mall, yet! You’re my hero!!!

Aw, thank you so much! 😀 Believe it or not, my cooking used to be a constant rotation of overcooked stir fries, pasta, and boxed rices. I think anyone can cook, it’s just a matter of getting enough practice to be comfortable with it. If I can do it, anyone can. 😉

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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