Shoestring Fries: Thin, Crispy, and Delicious
With their thin, crunchy exterior and fluffy interior, shoestring fries are the ultimate indulgent side or snack. Whether you prefer them plain, coated in spices, or dipped in ketchup, shoestrings satisfy cravings with their iconic shape and taste. This guide covers how to make picture-perfect shoestring fries at home, tips for maximizing crunch and flavor, and the best pairings that make this side a star.
What Defines Shoestring Fries
Shoestring fries are named for their long, slender shape that resembles shoestrings. They are cut approximately 1/4 inch thick by 1/4 inch wide, resulting in a higher surface area for maximum crispiness. The thin profile also enables thorough cooking and seasoning. Shoestrings are differentiated from other fry styles like wedges, crinkle cuts and steak fries.
Choosing the Right Potatoes for Shoestring Frying
Starch content affects the crispness and structure of fries. The best potatoes for shoestrings have a lower moisture, higher starch composition. Varieties to look for include:
- Russet – The gold standard. High in starch with a fluffy interior when fried.
- Idaho – Very similar to Russets with exceptional fry performance.
- Maris Piper – A British favorite for fries with creamy texture.
Avoid waxier, moist potatoes like red or Yukon Golds, which won’t fry up as crispy. Ensure potatoes are fresh and firm.
Cutting Potatoes Into Perfect Shoestrings
A mandoline produces uniform shoestrings, though knife skills can also suffice:
- Wash and dry potatoes thoroughly before cutting. Leave skin on for added nutrition and texture.
- Square off sides of the potato to make flat, even surfaces for slicing.
- Set mandoline or knife blade at 1/4 inch and cut lengthwise into planks.
- Stack planks and cut again into 1/4 inch sticks. Separate any stuck pieces.
- Submerge in cold water for 30 mins to remove starch for increased crunch after frying.
- Pat very dry before frying to prevent splattering.
Frying Methods for Crispy Shoestring Potatoes
The two top methods for frying shoestrings are:
- Heat 3-4 inches oil to 325°F in heavy pot. Lower moisture batters can go to 350°F.
- Fry in batches to avoid lowering oil temp. Shoestrings will stick if oil too cold.
- Fry for 4-7 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Drain on paper towel lined tray.
- Use refined high smoke point oil like canola, peanut, vegetable. Avoid olive oil.
- Toss shoestrings in 1-2 Tbsp oil then spread on baking sheet in single layer.
- Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Monitor for desired crispness.
- Use parchment paper for easy transfer from tray.
Seasoning and Serving Shoestring Fries
- Toss fries in bowl with oil and seasoning like salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder.
- For loaded fries, top with cheese, bacon bits, scallions, nacho cheese, etc.
- Pair shoestrings with burgers, sandwiches, chicken tenders, fish sticks, hot dogs.
- Offer ketchup, mustard, aioli, ranch, barbecue sauce for dipping.
Crispy shoestring fries complete any meal. Adjust cook times and seasoning to perfect this beloved side dish.
Top 5 Shoestring Fry Tips:
- Blanch cut potatoes before frying to remove starch and boost crunch.
- Double fry for extra crispy fries – fry once at lower temp then again at higher temp.
- Use a wire skimmer or spider strainer to prevent fries sticking together when frying.
- Fry in small batches to maintain oil temperature for even cooking.
- Use a probe thermometer to monitor your frying oil temperature.
With the right prep and frying technique, you can enjoy restaurant-quality shoestring fries at home. This versatile side adds crunch and flavor to every plate!
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