Arby's Secret Trick For Perfectly Soft Yet Crispy Curly Fries

If you ask Americans which fast-food establishment has the best french fries, you're bound to get a lot of different answers. A poll conducted by National Today (via DeseretNews) lists some of the top chains when it comes to fries, with McDonald's and Chick-fil-A in first and second place, respectively. The poll also features America's favorite type of fries, with regular-cut fries in the top spot with 21% of the vote. However, second place is curly fries, which secured 20% of the vote among the 1,000 people surveyed.

When it comes to curly fries, one chain reigns supreme among the many fast-food behemoths. First established in 1964, Arby's is perhaps best known for the humongous roast beef sandwiches it serves to hungry patrons. The chain is also notable for its unique fries, which are curly, crunchy, and coated in a curious batter that elevates these spuds to another level. Arby's fries are definitely unique, and they get this way thanks to the comprehensive three-step cooking process used by the restaurant.

How to cook the perfect curly fries according to Arby's

While lots of fast-casual chains keep their ingredients and cooking techniques under wraps to deter imitators, Arby's shared its french fry process with "Unwrapped," a television program that shows how different foods are made. According to an excerpt featured on YouTube, Arby's utilizes three distinct steps when cooking up its iconic curly fries.

After raw potatoes are cut into their curly shape using special machinery, Arby's curly fries enter step one of the process. At this point, fries are blanched for about 20 minutes, which entails dunking them into hot water, then cooling them immediately. Blanching serves two important purposes. It deactivates enzymes in the potatoes that could negatively affect the quality of the finished spud. Also, it creates the pleasing texture that Arby's fans know and love. According to James Kirkham, a representative from the processing plant where Arby's fries are prepared, blanching gives the fries a "nice baked potato interior." The second and third steps are up next, which is where the real magic happens.

Batter waterfalls and air knives

Once blanching is complete, the fries then get coated in the unique batter synonymous with Arby's. This batter consists of water, onion, garlic, salt, and various other seasonings. It's applied via a batter applicator, which creates a veritable "waterfall of batter" to ensure the fries are sufficiently drenched. Next, the spuds travel under a series of air knife blowers, which are devices that direct a stream of pressurized air onto the fries to ensure the batter is uniformly distributed.

During the third and final step, Arby's fries are subject to a hot oil bath. This frying process, which utilizes temperatures between 360 to 375 degrees, only lasts about 30 seconds. That means fries are only partially cooked before they're stored in a freezer to be shipped to individual locations. Fries are fully cooked at the restaurant to ensure each customer receives the freshest, tastiest curly fries possible. While it's not totally necessary to go to all this trouble to make a satisfying french fry, Arbys' commitment to pleasing its fast-food fans illustrates why people are so devoted to the chain.