The Quest for the Perfect Curly Fries

It’s been more than 10 years since our family made the decision to stop eating “fast food.” Other than Zeb, who goes on occasion with friends from school, the rest of us have been McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and all the rest – free! Choosing to eat healthier and going along in a broad way with Ted Nugent’s theory on eating~If I don’t grow it or kill it, I don’t eat it, (not a direct quote, but my take on his approach in a nutshell) we strive to eat only food that I prepare with as little “processed” ingredients as realistically convenient. You like how I phrased that? Not a lawyer out there who could have done better!

This isn’t to say that we don’t occasionally order a pizza, go out to a restaurant a few times a year, or indulge in a store-bought baked good every once in a while. We do. For the most part, however, we are trying to live better by making better food choices, staying active, and practicing – Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Cutting out fast food wasn’t all that difficult, because we didn’t make much of a habit of it in the first place. There was one thing , however, that I did get a hankering for every now and then, and almost went off the wagon and indulged in — Seasoned Curly Fries. I don’t know what it is, but just the thought of those twisty, curly, crunchy, highly seasoned rings of potato, make my mouth water.

For a long time I just sucked it up, took a deep breath, and put any thoughts of heading to one of the 100’s of fast food restaurants that are within 20 miles of our home and eating seasoned curly fries until I threw up, out of my head. Then, after years of torturing myself, I thought, why am I so stupid? What’s stopping me from making these wonderful tidbits of heaven right here at home. And so began my quest for the perfect seasoned curly fry.

As Michael Pollan said, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”

The first step was to look into what I needed for the “curly” part. This was easy — a curly fry cutter. No problem. I love gadgets, am always looking for an excuse to go shopping or surf the internet for products, and I was sure that I could find more uses for it than just cutting potatoes (but really, what more could I possibly want to cut). In no time at all I had my handy-dandy curly fry cutter and began researching copycat recipes as well as other blogger’s take on curly fry seasoning and techniques.

It took more attempts than I care to admit and more potatoes than I could possibly justify, but I think I have finally got it. The only drawback or glitch (if you want to call it that) is that these need to be eaten right away. So what’s so bad about that? Nothing really, but I remember the ones we used to pick up on the fly would stay crispy even when cold. Of course I attribute this to some of those pesky preservatives and additives they douse their food in that we are trying to avoid, so maybe this is just the way they were truly meant to be. They are crispy when hot and I suppose that’s all that matters.

Seasoned Curly Fries

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 Bottle of Beer or Water
  • 3 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 3 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 3 tsp. Paprika
  • ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1½ Cups Flour
  • 5 Large Potatoes
  • Vegetable or Peanut Oil for Frying


  1. Peel your potatoes or if leaving the skin on, scrub them clean.
  2. Cut potatoes or run through a curly fry cutter.
  3. Place prepared potatoes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water; allow to sit 15-20 minutes.
  4. Combine flour and all spices in a large bowl.
  5. Slowly begin adding the beer or water until a fairly thin consistency is reached. You don’t want the batter to be too thick, but then again you don’t want it too thin either.
  6. Whisk until the batter is smooth.
  7. Heat oil to 375° in a deep fryer or fry pan with at least 2″ of oil.
  8. Drain the potatoes and pat dry.
  9. Place potatoes in batter, in two batches.
  10. Allow excess batter to drip off and place fries in hot oil.
  11. Allow fries to cook 6 – 8 minutes.
  12. Remove from oil with slotted spoon, allowing excess oil to drip off.
  13. Place on paper towel lined plate and serve immediately.

Cooking Note

If you really want the batter to stick to the potatoes and like a thick coating on your fries, after you drain the water from the potatoes and pat them dry, dredge them in flour before placing in the batter.

Although these fries are tasty, I like to prepare a salt shaker of the spice mix and sprinkle additional spice on the fries when they are removed from the oil. This really makes the flavor stand out.


Recipe by:  Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Cooking 2018

Although I say this is my recipe for curly fries, I admit I am sometimes lazy and just make “seasoned fries.” They pretty much taste the same, less the curls.

Eating seasoned fries takes me back to the days when we were carefree and ignorant of how bad fast food is for you, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.


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