At only 170 calories per serving, Crispy Baked Carrot Fries are the perfect healthy side dish to satisfy your french fry cravings without the guilt. These surprisingly delicious, seasoned carrot fries are made without the hassle (and excess oil) of deep-frying, and they taste like sweet potato fries!
FRIES MADE FROM CARROTS?
If you had the guts to tell me a few years back that I would some day dare to compare roasted carrots to the absolute glory that is french fries, I probably would have died offended on the spot. I don’t blame you if you feel this way, too, but hear me out.
I’m not going to waste your time by going into detail about how much I love real french fries– that’s not what we’re here for– but trust me when I say that they’re one of my favorite indulgences… to a degree that’s borderline outrageous. So for me to accept anything other than a glistening golden spud fresh from the fryer requires a certain sort of refinement, you understand? You can’t just slap any crinkle-cut, freezer-bag, thrown-in-the-oven potato stick in front of me and expect me to be happy about it.
But apparently, you can put a special sort of roasted carrot on a plate for me and I won’t even miss the real thing. Who’d have thought? Definitely not I, hater of carrots.
Here’s the deal: I don’t know what kind of magic goes on when you cut a carrot into thin sticks, toss them in a bit of oil (and some spices, if you like seasoned fries) and roast them in the oven, but, yeah, there is definitely magic going on.
Their natural sweetness amplifies as the sugars in the carrots caramelize, while the watery, vegetal flavor dissipates in the oven. The previously crunchy carrots soften, but as they continue to bake and brown (and as the cornstarch does its job), they crisp up again on the outside while keeping a soft interior. When they’re pulled from the oven, they look just like sweet potato fries, and they taste so much like them that you could definitely trick someone into believing they weren’t carrots at all.
Or really quite surprisingly healthy for how delicious they taste.
ARE CARROT FRIES ACTUALLY HEALTHY?
I try not to throw the word “healthy” around here, because I know that different people have different dietary needs and yadda yadda. However, I think that pretty much everyone can agree that roasted carrots have fried potatoes beat on the “my doctors would approve of this” meter.
For reference, a serving of these carrot fries (which is pretty large– half of the entire recipe, in fact) clocks in at only 170 calories per serving.
While these Crispy Baked Carrot Fries might look and taste like sweet potato fries, you’re lightening things up a lot by opting for carrots over sweet potatoes. A pound of carrots is equal to less than half of the calories of a pound of sweet potatoes, and less than half the carbs as well. Add to that the fact that these are baked, not fried, and you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been eating these all of your life.
(More info available in the nutrition label in the recipe card below!)
SEASONED FRIES FOR EXTRA FLAVOR AND CRUNCH
You can definitely make these baked carrot fries without any extra spices, but I think a bit of seasoning goes a long way in enhancing their flavor and balancing the sweetness. I like to use smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper, but you can also add in garlic powder, onion powder, and even a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like your fries with a kick.
I also use cornstarch with my seasoning mix, which helps to further crisp up the exterior of the fries as the cornstarch absorbs excess water from the carrots and creates a more craggly, crispy crust.
CAN I MAKE CARROT FRIES IN THE AIR FRYER?
I generally bake mine, but if you want to break out the air fryer, you absolutely can for this recipe. There’s no need to make adjustments: air fry them at the same temperature for about the same time and you’ll get great results!
CAN I USE COOKING SPRAY INSTEAD OF OIL?
No. I mean, technically you can do whatever you want, but if you want truly crisp fries and not just limp carrots, you do need to use some oil. It’s worth it.
As far as what oil to use, this is up to you. Try to use oils with a relatively high smoke point (or at least over 425 degrees F, as that’s the temperature we’re cooking at.) Refined coconut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil are all great options, among others! Extra virgin olive oil will probably burn at this temperature, so avoid it if possible.
WATCH THE VIDEO: HOW TO MAKE CRISPY BAKED CARROT FRIES
MORE SIDE DISHES TO LOVE
- Loaded Mashed Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
- Browned Butter Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
- Charred Broccoli Salad with Hot Honey Dressing
- 1 pound medium carrots
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Chopped cilantro or parsley
- Sauce or dip of choice to serve (See note)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut carrots into thin sticks and combine in a large bowl with oil, cornstarch, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until browned in spots and crisp, flipping halfway through. Toss the hot carrot fries with chopped or cilantro or parsley and extra salt, if desired. Serve warm with dip.
For the batch of carrot fries pictured here, I made Cool Sriracha Sauce for dipping. To do so, I combine sriracha, lime juice, greek yogurt, and salt and pepper, to taste.
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