Curly Fries

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Welcome to your foolproof guide for how to make Curly Fries! With the help of my secret weapon, a spiralizer, turn regular or sweet potatoes into crispy homemade French fries just like the fast food menu staple.

Curly fries in a white bowl.


 

Growing up in the Midwest, I had a distinct fast-food French fry hierarchy. Coming in third: Wendy’s skin-on fries. Second place goes to the beloved crunchy sticks, McDonald’s fries. And topping them all to earn the first place status in my heart (and stomach)? Arby’s curly fries, seasoned and oh-so-crunchy.

Delivering maximum surface area to amp up the crunch factor, plus infused with far more flavor than the plain-old-salt-only fries, these homemade curly fries deliver all the cravability I remember from the Arby’s order, just minus the trip to the drive-through or restaurant counter.

You can use a spiralizer for many tasks; making zucchini noodles or turning cabbage into perfect-for-slaw slices. But my favorite use for the best spiralizer (based on many trials in our test kitchen), this OXO model, is to create a batch of spiralized potatoes or sweet potatoes for fries. Namely, these zesty, crunchy Arby’s copycat curly fries.

Folks on Team Regular Fries: don’t miss my Homemade French Fries OR my obsessive, personally-researched-and-tested tome on The Best French Fry Cutter. But chances are the curly fry recipe below is about to convince you to switch sides!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for curly fries.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Equipment and ingredient notes

  • Spiralizer: As I mentioned, I swear by my OXO spiralizer, but any sturdy countertop model will do. For this recipe, look for a 1/4-inch (0.64 cm) blade, sometimes called the “fettuccine” blade.
  • Thermometer: Use a digital thermometer to help dial in the oil temperature.
  • Russet potatoes: Starchy Russets and Idaho potatoes work well for curly fries. Feel free to leave the skin on, just like Arby’s does (or peel if desired). Either way, give it a good scrub and trim the ends so the potato is stabilized in the spiralizer. Or substitute sweet potatoes.
  • Vegetable or canola oil: Opt for a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola, vegetable, peanut, or grapeseed for the best frying medium.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up, then top with a wire rack. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Fit the spiralizer with a 1/4-inch (0.64 cm) blade. Fit the trimmed potato into the spiralizer, then spiralize the potato completely. Cut any very long spirals into shorter pieces.
A potato being spiralized.
  1. Transfer the spiralized potatoes to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak the potatoes in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes (the longer the better).
Spiralized potatoes in a bowl of water.
  1. For deep-frying, In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 ½ to 2 inches of oil and heat to a temp of 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper. Add 1 cup of water and whisk until a batter forms, adding more water as necessary for a smooth consistency.
Batter for the curly fries being mixed.
  1. Drain the fries well in a colander, then transfer a single layer on a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Working in small batches, dredge the fries in the batter, turning until well-coated, then place on wire rack over the rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fries.
Potatoes being dipped in curly fry batter.
  1. Fry in batches until the potatoes are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes of total cook time (depending on the size of the batch and how consistent the oil temperature is).
Spiralized potatoes being deep fried.
  1. Immediately transfer to baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Transfer the cooked curly fries to the oven to keep warm. Return the oil to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining curly fries.

Do you need a spiralizer?

To make restaurant-quality curly fries, I recommend using a spiralizer for the perfect curly Qs! The OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Tabletop Spiralizer is the best spiralizer I’ve ever used because it stays in place and is tough enough to take on sturdy vegetables like potatoes. It’s what I use in my own kitchen, and it’s also great for zoodles and other vegetable noodles. You can buy the OXO spiralizer for $44.40 on Amazon.

Curly fries on a wooden cutting board with a side of ketchup.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My Homemade Curly Fries recipe makes four generous 2-cup side dish servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The easiest way to reheat curly fries is in an air fryer (an oven works, too).
  • Make ahead: The potatoes can be spiralized and stored in water up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Spices: We think the spice blend in the recipe card mostly closely matches the taste of Arby’s seasoned curly fries. But you are welcome to adjust as you see fit! Cumin tastes good in on the fries, if you love that flavor. Or, dial it all back and start with just a teaspoon garlic powder and a teaspoon onion powder.
  • Frying safety: Use a pot that’s large enough for the oil and potatoes. Be sure to allow space on top of the pot for oil to bubble up. You don’t want it to boil over.
  • Dipping sauces: Dunk your Curly Fries in ketchup, homemade ranch dressing, or even barbecue sauce. Whatever you love!
A pork burger with a side of curly fries.
A Pork Burger topped with pickled beets and feta mustard with a side of curly fries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to soak the spiralized potatoes for 30 minutes?

This helps remove excess starch prior to frying so you’re left with crispier results. Soaking the fries also prevents discoloration as well. Allow them to soak for ideally 30 minutes (if you’re short on time, as little as 10 minutes will make a big difference, however). Use a clean kitchen towel to dry them well before coating them in the batter.

How long should I fry each batch of Homemade Curly Fries?

The actual frying time depends on how much your oil temperature drops between batches. It might take anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes to fry your potatoes to crisp, lightly browned spirals during the later batches. Aim to keep the temperature around 375 degrees for the most predictable results. At or around that temperature, your curly fries will likely be done in 4 to 5 minutes per batch.

How can I prevent soggy curly fries?

Before you start frying, line a sheet pan with paper towels or a wire rack (this will help oil from pooling below the cooked fries). Once each batch is golden brown, use a stainless steel spider or similar heat-safe tool to remove the fries from the hot oil. Shake off the excess oil over the pan, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Season immediately with salt and pop the pan in the oven to keep warm and crispy.

More spud side dish inspiration

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Curly fries in a white bowl.

Curly Fries

Welcome to your foolproof guide for how to make curly fries! With the help of my secret weapon, a spiralizer, turn regular or sweet potatoes into the crispy homemade French fries just like the fast food menu staple.
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings (2-cups each)
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 271
5 from 23 votes

Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up, then top with a wire rack. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  • Fit the spiralizer with a 1/4-inch (0.64 cm) blade. Fit the trimmed potato into the spiralizer, then spiralize the potato completely. Cut any very long spirals into shorter pieces.
  • Transfer the spiralized potatoes to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak the potatoes in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes (the longer the better).
  • In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 ½ to 2-inches of oil and heat to 375 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper. Add 1 cup of water and whisk until a batter forms, adding more water as necessary for a smooth consistency.
  • Working in small batches, dry the fries on a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Dredge the fries in the batter, turning until well-coated, then place on wire rack over the rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fries.
  • Fry in batches until the potatoes are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes (depending on the size of the batch and how consistent the oil temperature is). Immediately transfer to baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  • Transfer the cooked curly fries to the oven to keep warm. Return the oil to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining curly fries.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Spiralizer: As I mentioned, I swear by my OXO spiralizer, but any sturdy countertop model will do. For this recipe, look for a 1/4-inch (0.64 cm) blade, sometimes called the “fettuccine” blade.
  2. Thermometer: Use a digital thermometer to help dial in the oil temperature.
  3. Russet potatoes: Starchy Russets and Idaho potatoes work well for curly fries. Feel free to leave the skin on, just like Arby’s does (or peel if desired). Either way, give it a good scrub and trim the ends so the potato is stabilized in the spiralizer. Or substitute sweet potatoes.
  4. Vegetable or canola oil: Opt for a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola, vegetable, peanut, or grapeseed for the best frying medium.
  5. Yield: My Homemade Curly Fries recipe makes four generous 2-cup side dish servings.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The easiest way to reheat curly fries is in an air fryer (an oven works, too).

Nutrition

Serving: 2cupsCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 8gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 12mgPotassium: 625mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 3638IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 5mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

    1. That’s great, Deez! I hope you love these. Please let me know if you have any questions about making them, I’m happy to help! – Meggan

  1. We’d get these from the food trucks at blues and jazz festivals in Kansas City. We liked them so much that I bought a spiralizer just for the purpose although there are plenty of other things it’s useful for. A couple of suggestions:

    1. Upon removing the fries from the cooker or pan, place them on a deep-fry draining rack over the paper-towel-lined sheet pan; they’ll be less oily that way.

    2. You might also consider adding a little baking powder to the batter. It’ll give you a crisper product with less tendency to soak up the oil.

    From a 30+ year veteran of annual fish fries.

  2. I also love Arby’s curly fries! This recipe seems perfect. Can they be baked instead of fried? If so, what instructions do you recommend?

    1. Hi Rachel! Thank you so much for your comment! I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t see why not. I would bake them in a 425 degree oven, about 20 minutes. I would remove any fries that have crisped up, stir the remaining and continue cooking in 5 minute intervals until they are done. Hope this helps! – Meggan

    1. Hi Chanel, yes! You can cut the peeled potatoes into spirals by hand, or use a handheld sprializer (I’ve seen them at Walmart and Target). Hope this helps! – Meggan

  3. I’m sorry but not frying them a second time is a crime. Say that to any Belgian guy/gal and you’ll get a slap across the face 🤣

  4. Sounds good, but step 3 is confusing, “Preheat oven to 200ºF. Heat vegetable or canola oil to 350ºF. Working in small batches, dry some of the curly potatoes on kitchen towel to remove excess water, then immediately drop in heated oil.” There’s no further mention of a preheated oven… Is it just for warming as you make the small batches?

    1. Hi, yes the warm oven is just for keeping them warm as you make the batches. Step 4 has “place in oven to keep warm.” But I can see how that might be confusing. These are deep-fried fries, not baked. Thanks! -Meggan

    1. Yes I don’t see why not! Care to share your specs on how you bake the regular fries? If not I’ll add this to my list of recipes to test so I can advise. Thanks Nadine!

  5. When I fry my sprial cut fries they don’t spread out they stay in a clump, what am I doing wrong? Should I soak them in water first?

    1. Hi Sandra, I don’t think soaking them in water will prevent them from clumping. What you need to do is pull them apart before you drop them in the oil (so they aren’t in a clump) and then not overcrowd the fryer (so they don’t clump together). Does that make sense? There are other reasons to soak potatoes in water, but it has to do with removing starch/changing the texture, not preventing clumping. Please let me know if you have any other questions or need more info! Thanks and take care.

  6. Thanks for showing the Chef Works thermometer. I needed a clip for mine (a different brand-pairs with my phone) so I ordered a clip. I somehow missed this post last year. My Mrs loves seasoned, curly fries. Thanks.5 stars

  7. That’s sound great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My daughter will love it most 🙂 she love french fired and now I will do curly fired for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!5 stars

  8. I’ve yet to use my spiralizer for curly fries (mostly because I’m still a little afraid of frying) but the picture of those loaded fries is making my mouth water so I’m going to have to try this. 5 stars

    1. Good morning Dave! It’s important to keep The Boss happy. 🙂 Yeah these fries are just outstanding. The kind of thing that requires lots of “recipe testing” if you know what I mean. 

  9. I want. I want it ALL 😛 Looks so good ..Love what you did with the fries there…the loaded one is killer.5 stars