Published September 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.
We compared fries made with these special pans and those made with a regular rimmed baking sheet to determine if this was a kitchen necessity.
Special “French fry pans” claim to improve crispness when you bake frozen fries (and other frozen foods where a crisp exterior is desirable) by allowing hot air to circulate through perforations in the pan. We baked frozen fries on three models—all made of dark, nonstick metal—and compared them to fries cooked on a regular rimmed baking sheet. The results were not pretty: Fries baked on these specialty pans were either pale and soggy or dehydrated, and in all cases less crisp than the baking sheet batch. Here’s why: Perforations allow moisture from the potatoes to release and evaporate, lowering the temperature of the pan. We’ll stick with a baking sheet for frozen fries.