Curly fries

Picture of curly fries
This curly fries recipe tastes just like the fries at Arby's and other restaurants. Honestly. I'm really proud of it. And the best part? I tried my hardest to make it easy to duplicate it so you can make curly fries in your own kitchen. :D

I spent a couple days in the Instructables test kitchen messing around trying to get it right. I tried different amounts of seasoning, I tried cornstarch instead of flour, I tried dregding the fries instead of using a wet batter, etc. After five tries, the following recipe was the winner.

And really, you don't even need to buy a special cutter and do curly fries. This batter and seasoning will work just as well on regular fries. :D
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Step 1: What you'll need:

Picture of what you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1(ish) cup water
  • 3-5 russet potatoes
You'll also want to get one of these fancy curly fry cutters.

Additional useful hardware:
  • a deep fryer or pan of oil at 350 F
  • a sheet pan
  • a baking rack
  • papertowels
  • a large bowl
  • a large-ish ziploc bag or other foodsafe plastic bag

Step 2: Cut the potatoes

Picture of cut the potatoes
Scrub your potatoes first - keeping the skins on is much yummier.

I found that the best way to use the cutter is to slice off maybe a half inch from one end of the potato. This will give you a nice flat surface area to get the potato to adhere to the prongs.

Also, bigger potatoes work better. Small potatoes result in less spirals.

Step 3: Soak the potatoes

Picture of soak the potatoes
Once the potatoes are cut, fill a large bowl or measuring cup with the hottest water you can get out of your tap.

Add the potatoes to the hot water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. 

There are two reasons we're doing this: crispier fries AND they cook faster in the oil later since they're cooking a little now.

Step 4: Make the batter + battering the fries

Picture of make the batter + battering the fries
Add your spices and flour into a large bag. Shake it well until it's all combined. Now you can start adding water. A little less than one cup gave me a great consistency. You want it to be a fairly thin batter. :)

Work the bag with your hands to get all the clumps out!

When the fries are done soaking, pull them out by the handfuls, shake off the excess water and dump them in the batter bag. (You might need to break up some of the longer spirals!) Shake the bag and massage it until everything is nicely coated.

Step 5: Frying

Picture of frying
You'll be frying them for 3-5 minutes in 350 F oil. 

Play around with the time a bit - three minutes was pretty much perfect for me. If I took it to five minutes they'd get dried out but look prettier.

Two tips for frying these:
  1. Don't crowd the basket. 
  2. Don't shake off too much excess batter.

Step 6: Let cool and eat!

Picture of let cool and eat!
When they're done frying, transfer them to a baking rack over a baking sheet lined with towels. This will let the excess oil drain off quickly and keep them from getting mushy. :D

Don't add any extra salt until you try one - they're pretty salty as is! Enjoy!
Ho0ksie1251 month ago
Why when I look something up, yours is always the best?
barsonbolian3 months ago

It looks great! But I have some questions:

How can I cut the potatoes into curly shape without this cutter?
How do I know the potatoes are done soaking?
Is it possible to just put the fries in a pan with an Inch of oil and fry them without the basket?

Thank you!

jessyratfink (author)  barsonbolian3 months ago

I've heard of people using spiral cutters for apples! The potatoes will be done soaking once they're very slightly translucent. :)

I wouldn't recommend frying them in that little oil if you do them curly-style - you'll end up with raw bits in the middle!

mmm, YUM!

kondzio293 months ago

In Poland we have these in McDonald's Great work! I will try to make them

ValZ110 months ago

Have you tried to bake these in the oven instead of a deep fryer? Trying something as bit healthier? What is the baking temperature and time?

jessyratfink (author)  ValZ15 months ago

I did - because it's a wet batter it's pretty tricky! I did lots of testing trying to bake them before I went to frying them, but they always turned out soggy and dry all at the same time.

I also prefer baking to frying, but just could get it to work in this case!

Though maybe a cornstarch + spice mix could make it happen, I just never tested it enough.

lbeach11 ValZ19 months ago

I am going to try and bake them in the oven tonight i will let you know how they good and if they are any better.

hythutyhrts6 months ago

ya like it does sound yummy and all but u know baking them will be better just saying + ive never gone to arbys. They say they make good curly fries. Have you ever tried the adventure city curly fries they where bomb! u guys should go there. just saying

Omg. These were amazing! Tried them last night with regular fries and they were bomb!!! We also made fried chicken tenders that paired nicely with theses! Thank you for helping me satisfy my Arbys craving! :)
HowToBen10 months ago

Just like at Arby's. But can you please make chicken tenders just like theirs? They are so f***ing good.

Been dazed and confused for so long it's...THE RECIPE!!!!!

I've been missing Arby's curlys for almost 20 years -last trip to Bennington, VT, when I hadn't still reached college- Here in Spain I've never found such a thing... GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

NetWt4Lbs1 year ago
Arby's curly fries are my weakness...thank you, now I can make my ownnnnn :-3
I have two questions can you do a minors baking contest and by cayenne do you me cayenne pepper
These look delicious, thank you for the recipes. By the way, I enjoy your website, never know what I will see.
ERMAGERHD I LOVE CURLY FRIES!! I'm going to try this with my apple curler http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/apple-peeler-corer-and-slicer and see if it works!
Did it work?
YES!!! It totally worked! And they taste sooo good! We <3 you jessyratfink!!!
curly fries.jpg
rmckenzie1 year ago
Or just cut up the fries normally. They still taste the same.
SinAmos1 year ago
I use an apple and potato peeler to make mine. ;)
pmahi1 year ago
I have to try this! looks yummy
nanaverm1 year ago
Looks great! I'd recommend soaking them in salted cold water for at least 2 hrs. This removes the formation of acrylamide, a carcinogen, when the potatoes are fried. Not a critical contributor to cancer, but still...
gafisher1 year ago
Oh, wow -- homemade curly fries and they look DELICIOUS! Do you work for my cardiologist? Can you write me a note for him! :-)
benoand191 year ago
This is my first favorite instructable
Expected to find a way to make them without a fancy cutter :/
One tip for CRISPY fries.... blanche the fries in the oil for about 45 seconds to a minute and then pull them out for another minute. Drop them back in the oil until they're cooked. That's the way restaurants all over the place get nice crispy fries with a soft, fluffy interior. Also, when you soak the fries, it should be in COLD water with a bunch of salt in it. This helps remove excess water from the fries and helps with the crispiness factor. At least half an hour... preferably longer anywhere up to 8 hours.
Be easier and cheaper to just buy them at walmart. Especially if you don't have the curly cutter
james.m.k1 year ago
They look great! Bet they taste just as good!

hunter9991 year ago
yummy yummy in my tummy!
Ryanoxpqz1 year ago
That is amazing! Almost the exact same thing is served at my school, and now I know how to make it for myself!
kretzlord1 year ago
I really think you need to have a cooking show jessy
good point these look delicious!
You can get a curly fries cutter on Amazon anywhere from $5.75 to $218 for a hoity toity one. I think I'll order a $5.75 one today!
this looks freaking delicious!!!! Thanks for another good recipe, Jessy!!!

Jayefuu1 year ago
Yay you did it :D
Datawolf1 year ago
The only trick is... to own a curly fry cutter. :-/
Well done Jessy. I am buying me one of those gadgets to make me these curly fries.
I gave you my vote.....you copycat!!

Thanks for sharing.