What Are Curly Fries?

Whether you’re at Arby’s or your local diner, a piping hot order of curly fries is ecstasy for the taste buds. But what exactly are these fries?

Essentially, they’re regular french fries cut into a spiral shape and then seasoned with a blend of paprika, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. This gives them a unique flavor that sets them apart from straight fries.

Potatoes

The wavy or curly fries that you get at Arby’s are made from potatoes cut into the spring-like helix shape using a specialized spiral cutter. You can also cut your own wavy fries at home by threading slices of potato on a skewer and then cutting them into thin, curly strands using a knife or mandoline slicer.

Russet potatoes work well for these fries, and you can even add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the seasoning mix for an extra kick of flavor. For the best results, make sure that the potatoes are well-dried before coating them with batter.

If you choose to deep fry your wavy fries, be sure to use a large pot that’s suitable for frying, and heat the oil over medium high heat until it reaches 350 F. Before adding the potato strands to the oil, blanch them in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan and ensure that the fries cook evenly.

Oil

If you’re making your fries at home, there are a number of oil choices available to you. Peanut, safflower and canola oil are all good choices for French fries because they have high smoke points that allow them to be used at higher temperatures without breaking down or creating harmful byproducts.

Whether you’re using homemade or store-bought oil, it is important to keep in mind that cooking oils degrade over time, so you need to replenish your stock regularly. If you’re a frequent fryer, it may be more cost-effective to invest in an electric deep-frying system that lets you use a single pot for multiple batches of fries.

Curly fries are typically seasoned with a specific mix of spices, usually including paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. This flavor profile, which was pioneered by the industrial food manufacturer Simplot and embraced by Arby’s and other fast-food chains, gives the fries their distinctive look and taste.

Batter

Unlike regular fries, curly fry dough is coated in batter before being fried. This enables them to cook at a lower oil temperature and turn crispy at the same time. The batter also contains spices and seasonings that give them a different flavor profile from regular fries.

The twisted shape of curly fries gives them more surface area than flat fries, which means they can take up more of the seasonings and coatings used on them. They can be seasoned in many ways, including with garlic salt, cayenne pepper and chili powder.

Baked curly fries can be healthier than fried ones, but it’s still important to watch the amount of oil you use. It is especially important to avoid using any oils that contain trans fat, which was removed from the food supply in 2018. Ideally, choose non-hydrogenated oil for best results.

Seasonings

Curly fries are different than your typical French fry, in both shape and seasoning. The curved ringlets are typically coated with a golden-brown coating and seasoned with a mix of garlic and onion powders, fine cornmeal, paprika, and cayenne. The popular Arby’s version has a special seasoning blend that is copycatted by other restaurants.

Homemade curly fries are surprisingly easy to make. The trick is to get the right potatoes and a good, reliable seasoning. Using a spiralizer makes the process even easier, and can turn what may have been an otherwise boring appetizer into something your friends will talk about for years to come. Serve with ketchup, or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy! —Sarah Fletcher, The Kitchn. June 12, 2016. CC BY 2.0.

Cooking

You can make curly fries at home using a deep fryer. Begin by heating the oil to 350 F or 400 F. Once it is hot, dip a fry in the batter, letting any excess drip off. Then, put it in the fryer and cook until golden brown and crispy.

Another method for making seasoned curly fries is to cook them in the oven. This is a great way to avoid the added fat of frying and still get crispy, wavy fries.

Whether you choose to deep fry or air fry your seasoned curly fries, they are sure to be delicious! They make a great side dish for almost any protein, or even just as a snack with a movie night. Just be sure to serve them with a dipping sauce like ketchup or homemade ranch dressing.

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