Yuca fries that are easy to prepare and baked in the oven for a healthier twist. They are naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and most of all, crispy on the outside and soft inside. A great way to give French fries a break while making a great side for grilled or barbecued meats. If you would like to find out more about yuca, read our cassava article.
Have you ever heard of yuca? Also known as cassava or manioc, it is a starchy root vegetable very popular in South America, especially Brazil.
I grew up eating it in many dishes but one of my favorites is yucca (known as aipim frito or mandioca frita in Portuguese).
But our yuca fries recipe is not your ordinary recipe. Ours are healthy Yuca Fries because instead of being deep-fried they are baked.
All the flavor is still there, but those extra inches to your waistline are kept at bay!!! How cool is that?!
Yuca Fries Recipe
This is a simple fries recipe. All you have to do is peel the yuca, boil, cut into sticks, and bake till crispy.
Then serve them with ketchup, rosé sauce (made with mayo and ketchup), chimichurri, avocado sauce, or a cilantro mojo. It is up to you!
They make a great snack, appetizer, or side for grilled meats, this picanha roast, and the famous Brazilian feijoada or this vegetarian feijoada.
If you are not familiar with this ingredient, Yuca, cassava, or manioc is a tuber that has a waxy outer skin and a starchy center. It is native to South and Central America, and also the Caribbean.
The vegetable itself is becoming more and more popular in gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30 diets. It makes a great sub for potatoes fries or sweet potato fries.
Another great way to put this veggie to use is to make yucca chips which process differs a little from making our baked yucca fries. It yucca is also peeled but not boiled. Instead, you have to soak the chips thinly cut with a mandolin, pat dry and then fry.
What is yuca?
For those who may not know, yuca or cassava is the third-highest source of carbs in the tropics, consumed by about half a billion people all around the globe, and capable of growing in poor soils.
It is a widely consumed vegetable root or tuber, and in fact more common at even the American table than one might imagine, as you can learn further in cassava article.
Yuca vs. Yucca
We are making crispy baked yuca fries -- NOT yucca fries or yucca root fries. Why?
Yuca and yucca are 2 different things!
Yuca (pronounced yoo-cuh) is the root portion of the plant. Its derivatives, such as tapioca flour and pearls, are made from powdered root.
On the other hand, yucca (spelled with double c) is an ornamental plant containing fruits, seeds, flowers, and flowering stems, but NOT the edible root of yucca. You can find this spiky flowered plant in Southern and Western parts of the US, including Florida, New Mexico, and California.
How does yuca taste like?
It’s starchier and chewier than potatoes and has a lighter flavor (mild, slightly sweet, somewhat nutty flavor).
It is more versatile than potatoes because you can make both savory and sweet dishes with it while potatoes go well in savory recipes. If you like potatoes, you will love yuca!
How to tell when yuca is bad?
The outer layer or peel must be firm and waxy.
Moreover, when you peel the yuca root it should be completely white. If it presents dark or brown spots, lines, flecks, the root has gone bad and you should discard it.
How to cut and peel yuca or cassava?
Cut off both ends of the yuca root.
Depending on the length of the yucca, cut the root into 3 to 4-inch rounds.
Using a large vegetable peeler or sharp knife, place the root upright and peel the outer layer. I find it easier to peel it after soaking the root for about 10 minutes.
Is yuca root the same as cassava?
Yes, yuca, cassava, or manioc is the same! It’s a starchy root vegetable or tuber that has a waxy outer skin and a starchy center, used in many Latin dishes. It is native to South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
What can you do with yuca root?
You can apply many cooking methods to cook yuca such as boiling, roasting or baking, and frying.
Use to make cassava fries, chips, soups, mashed yuca, stews such as shrimp bobó (bobó de camarão), cassava cake, cassava flan, and more.
How to Make Fried Yuca?
- After peeling and cutting the yuca into rounds, boil it into a big pot of boiling salted water and cook until it is fork-tender.
- Let it cool, remove the inner woody root, and cut it into fingers.
- Then pat dry and either fry or bake. Serve with a sauce on the side!
How to Fry Yuca Fries?
To deep-fry, heat enough oil to cover the yuca sticks in a heavy-bottom pot (over medium-high heat) or a deep-fryer (to reach 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C). Then fry them in batches, turning once, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain over paper towels.
Can I Make Cassava fries in the Air Fryer?
Yes! For this, spray both the air fryer basket and the yucca fries with cooking spray. Then cook them at 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C for 13-16 minutes or more depending on their thickness, flipping yuca halfway through. Leave enough space between them to cook evenly.
If cooking frozen yuca fries in the air fryer, add them to the basket and let them cook for about 8-10 minutes, and shake the basket. Then spray them with the cooking spray and follow the directions above.
Soaking the root for about 10 minutes, make it easier to peel.
Use either frozen or fresh yuca to make these fries. The frozen one will cook just a little faster!
Be sure to cut the fries in even pieces so they cook through evenly.
If frying yuca fries, use an oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and avocado oil. This prevents the oil from burning before the fries are cooked, giving them a bitter taste.
If baking them, make sure to toss them with a high smoke point oil as well.
How to make yuca fries
STEP 1: CUT & PEEL
- If you are using fresh yuca/cassava: Cut off both ends of the yuca root. Depending on the length of the yucca, cut the root into 3 to 4-inch rounds. Using a large vegetable peeler or sharp knife, place the root upright and peel the tough, waxy brown skin and also the pinkish-purplish layer under the brown skin. SEE PIC. 1 I find it easier to peel it after soaking the root for about 10 minutes.
- Skip this process If you are using frozen yuca/cassava since it is already peeled and divided into sections.
STEP 2: BOIL
- Place fresh or frozen rounds in a pot with enough tap water to cover and a good pinch of salt, and let boil over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until fork-tender and the ends start to split open a little bit. SEE PIC. 2 Depending on the thickness of the rounds, it may take extra 5-10 minutes to get fork tender!
- Remove from water using a slotted spoon and drain well with a paper towel. When they are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and remove the thin, woody stick that runs through the middle. SEE PIC. 3
STEP 3: BAKE OR FRY
- Then, cut them into sticks (about ½ to ¾-inch thick).
- To Bake: Preheat oven to 425º F (about 218º C). Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried cilantro (optional), and distribute them in a single layer onto a baking sheet. SEE PIC. 4 Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once. Yuca Fries are done when they are lightly golden brown and also crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. Season with more salt & pepper, if desired. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top and serve with ketchup, Jalapeño-Lime Aioli, chimichurri, or your favorite dipping sauce.
- To Deep-Fry: heat enough oil to cover the yuca sticks in a heavy-bottom pot (over medium-high heat) or a deep-fryer (to reach 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C). Then fry them in batches, turning once, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain over paper towels.
- To Air Fry: Spray both the air fryer basket and the yucca fries with cooking spray. Then cook them at 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C for 13-16 minutes or more depending on their thickness, flipping yuca halfway through. Leave enough space between them to cook evenly. If cooking frozen yuca fries in the air fryer, add them to the basket and let them cook for about 8-10 minutes, and shake the basket. Then spray them with the cooking spray and follow the directions above.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Be aware they won’t be as crispy as when they came out from the oven.
Freeze them in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then transfer them to a freezer bag for up to 6 months.
Other dishes made with Cassava or yuca:
Use yuca to make fries, chips, soups, mashed yuca, stews, and more such as the following:
In addition, use its derivatives such as tapioca to make:
What to Serve with Yuca Fries?
- Grilled chicken legs with bacon
- X-tudo burger
- Garlic pork loin roast
- Grilled baby back ribs with chipotle bbq sauce
- Beef brisket
- Feijoada recipe
- Vegetarian feijoada
- Picanha roast
PIN & ENJOY!