Introduction: Shoestring Fries

Picture of Shoestring Fries

Also known as matchstick, skinny, or thin fries, shoestring fries are one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes!

What you'll need to achieve maximum results for these mini fries:

3 lbs of russet potatoes (4-5 potatoes)

paring knife
Mandolin vegetable slicer with julienne capabilities
large bowl
salad spinner
deep fryer or large heavy bottomed pot & fry thermometer
frying oil of choice
paper towel or clean dish clothes
slotted spoon

Step 1: Wash 'n Go

Picture of Wash 'n Go

This is a 'chose your own adventure' step (right out of the gate!). I like to leave the skin on my potatoes. You may not like doing that. Either way is fine. If you're going to leave the skin on, wash the taters and use a paring knife to remove any bad spots and/or 'eyes'.

If you'd prefer to remove the skins, you can skip the washing and eye removal and just peel away!

Step 2: Turn Up the Heat

Picture of Turn Up the Heat

Fill up your fryer with oil and turn it to 365 degrees F. If you're going the pot on stove route, put a heavy bottomed pot on a burner and add 2 inches of oil. Wait until you're almost ready to get frying and turn the burner to medium/high heat and check it until your thermometer reads 365 degrees F. That's the skinny fry sweet spot.

Step 3: How to Use a Mandolin

Picture of How to Use a Mandolin

To julienne the potatoes, I used the Progressive Professional Mandolin and it was by far the easiest one I've ever tried. Whichever mandolin you have, choose the settings/blades for julienne. You will want to end up with long pieces of potato that are 2-3" x 1/8" x 1/8".

Using all the mandolin's safety options, slice up all your potatoes.

Step 4: Swish and Rinse

Picture of Swish and Rinse

Fill a large bowl with cold water and swish/rinse all your potato slices. This removes excess starch.

Step 5: Spin & Pat

Picture of Spin & Pat

Put the swished slices into a salad spinner and go to town removing as much water as possible.

Then place the spun tater bits onto paper towel or clean dish towels and pat them with another towel to make the slices as bone dry as possible. The more water you can remove, the fewer splashes when putting them into the oil.

Step 6: Making Shoestring Fries

Picture of Making Shoestring Fries

Now comes the fun part. The frying!!

Prepare a place to put the freshly fried fries to drain, like a baking sheet or cutting board. Line it with 3-4 layers of paper towel and set aside.

Fry just a handful of tater pieces at a time to ensure each bit gets evenly fried. They're ready to remove from the oil when they are a light golden brown. (The will continue to cook a bit after being removed from the oil.)

Repeat the handful process until all your slices are crispy little shoestring taste treats.

Step 7: Serve & Enjoy!

Picture of Serve & Enjoy!

Once all the shoestring fries are done, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and serve with a delicious ketchup or mayo dip.

Happy Yum!!!


mcgary911 (author)2015-12-06

I don't have a spinner, but could blot the heck out of them. Would putting them in a warm (170 or so) oven for a few minutes help dry them out a touch?

Laral (author)mcgary9112015-12-06

I have a spinner. I never use it. I just bunch up a kitchen towel around semi-dry items and swing it vigorously into the sink. The tremendous centrifugal force generated dries things much better than any spinner. Even for things that start out 'dry', the towel ends up soaking wet.

mcgary911 (author)Laral2015-12-20

I made these today for some football friends. They turned out great. I did the towel spin thing, but did it in the front yard, just in case I had towel failure.....the results would have been bad. IT seems neighbors laughed, but my friend said that water was flying out of the towel. It works!.

About 10 minutes at 365 made some very tasty fries. Good instructable.

Laral (author)mcgary9112015-12-27

That's hilarious. Please do a video of you spinning the towel outdoors and publish it here. :) You don't have to do that. Just swing it hard aiming it down at the sink a few times. You actually generate just as much, if not more force this way as with spinning it all the way around.

Prettychef (author)2015-07-21

Now I need only a DVD! Thanks for sharing.

Laral (author)Prettychef2015-12-06

What would the DVD be for???

IzNoGuD (author)Laral2015-12-10

i guess a movie DVD?

Laral (author)IzNoGuD2015-12-10

Yeah, probably something mundane like that but it seems funny the way it was phrased. :)

aNakedCupcake (author)Laral2015-12-07

Laral, I was wondering the same thing!

Laral (author)aNakedCupcake2015-12-07


headstack (author)2015-12-06

love shoestring fries!

Those little beauties are 1/4"x1/4" though, not 1/8" x 1/8", those would cook into crackly sticks in about a minute and be a bit dry.

I forget if the Benriner mandolin with the gate wide open and using the julienne blade makes a suitable cut, but it would be a bit smaller than your nice fries.

Our mom's trick was to use a clean paper shopping bag with a few loosely crumpled paper towels to drain the fries.

Shake lightly, remove paper towels and discard, sprinkle Kosher salt, shake once more, pour contents into a heap on a platter to reserve in a warm oven... Repeat.

william1370 (author)2015-12-06

Mandoline is correct but I believe in french its pronounced like mandolin.

Big Sonia (author)2015-12-06

Use pig fat instead of oil and your fries will be lighter (less soaked) and taste better.

TwinkletoesKat (author)2015-07-21

Nikko's Kitchen also did this on YouTube but with a twist to make them taste like McDonald's Fries! Check them out

Laral (author)TwinkletoesKat2015-12-06

Why would you want them to taste like McD's soggy greasy undercooked fries? :) Homemade are SO much better.

_diyMATT (author)2015-07-20

I make terrible shoestring fries. I do all the same steps as you tool. Maybe I need to look into my temperature more. I'm missing something small I just can't seem to put my finger on it.

I was surprised you didnt twice fry, but it looks like yours are perfect without the extra step.

Laral (author)_diyMATT2015-12-06

Temperature is everything. Just get an inexpensive deep fry thermometer. Before I got one, I either undercooked or burned my fries. With the thermometer I get perfect fries every time.

23BABYGIRL (author)_diyMATT2015-08-06

greetings I think your missing the salad spinner takes out the extra water . If you don't have one double up on the bounty or dedicate a towel just for that hand towel works well. Happy frying !

milesduggan (author)_diyMATT2015-07-21

Temperature is KEY when cooking anything in oil. You can always coat them lightly in oil and bake them. I try to avoid consuming too much fried food. Good luck!

_diyMATT (author)milesduggan2015-07-21

yep, I think I might have gone too high, like in the 400 range.

Thanks. :)

milesduggan (author)_diyMATT2015-07-21

Unless you have a fryer that has auto temp control it is kinda finicky. I use a frying thermometer in my cast iron and it's pretty easy. Depends on the type of oil you are using as well. Don't give up, just do a little research, and you'll be frying easy in no time. :)

tecton47 (author)2015-12-06

When I was a full-time cook we had a trick that made french fries incredibly crispy. Prepare as explained above and then first drop them into 250° oil. After 3 or 4 minutes take them out, allow them to cool for one minute and then drop them into the 370 degree oil (not all at once unless it's a small batch. As explained above you need to keep the oil hot.) Cook until golden brown. This method makes the outside pop up and get extra crispy.

There are a ton of variables on a cooking project like this - - how much moisture are in your potatoes to begin with, how accurate is your grease thermometer or how long should you let them cool based on your kitchen's temperature. Just play around with it until you find what works best for you. If your first batch isn't perfect I'm sure your dog would be more than happy with them.

Laral (author)tecton472015-12-06

Double frying works well for fries the thickness of English 'chips' but would probably make these thin fries like those 'potato strings' that come in a bag or can. I think single frying would be enough in this case. Like you said, 'tons of variables', including thickness. :)

Laral (author)2015-12-06

Mmmm. Those look delicious. Have to get a mandolin…

CobyUnger (author)2015-07-22

Yes please.

sunshiine (author)2015-07-22

They look so perfect~ thanks so much for sharing~


dark8587 (author)2015-07-21

those look delicious

mikeasaurus (author)2015-07-20

Maximum surface area = maximum fry = maximum tastiness!

jessyratfink (author)2015-07-20

I think my mandolin is going to see some action tonight! These look so good :D

About This Instructable




Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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