Learn How to Make Yuca Fries (cassava fries) at home! Easy to bake in the oven or the air fryer, these soft, creamy, and golden brown fries are a healthy alternative to regular potato french fries.
Homemade yuca fries (yuca frita) are a classic Latin American snack you’ll easily fall for. They’re just as starchy and delicious as potato french fries, Sweet Potato Fries, and Carrot Fries. Learn How to Make Yuca Fries at home using these simple step-by-step directions.
There is a small learning curve when learning how to cook yuca fries (AKA cassava fries) for the first time but it’s easy to get a hang of. Once the cassava root is chopped, peeled, and boiled, the fries can be cooked in either the oven or the air fryer! It’s a healthy and creamy snack you can put out at parties and enjoy with plenty of dipping sauces.
What is yuca (cassava)?
Yuca, or cassava, is a root vegetable native to South America, Africa, and Asia. It’s a starchy vegetable (just like potatoes) and has a shape that resembles sweet potatoes. The outside is dark brown and waxy, while the inside is light in color.
Is cassava healthier than potatoes?
Yuca root is higher in calories, protein, and carbs compared to potatoes, but is fat free and loaded with vitamins A, C, and B. It’s also rich in fiber and, despite its higher carb content, has a lower glycemic index. This makes yuca the preferred choice over potatoes for athletes and people who are active.
How do you eat cassava?
Other than baking cassava into fries, the root can also be dried and pulsed into a flour, offering gluten free bakers and chefs a healthy alternative to other gluten free flour mixes. I use cassava flour in my Healthy Banana Oat Muffins and as a thickening agent in this Classic Pot Roast.
How to prepare yuca root for cooking
The skin of the yuca root must be peeled before cooking. I won’t lie to you – this can be a pain! It isn’t like peeling a potato; the skin is much tougher.
To peel the yuca root, put the vegetable peeler aside and pick up a sharp knife instead:
- Chop off the ends of the yuca root and discard. Cut the root into 3 or 4 segments.
- Score the edge of each segment, lengthwise. You want to make a shallow cut into the skin but not the inner flesh.
- Gently run your knife or thumbs underneath the flap of skin, working it slowly to lift it up as you turn the segment. The skin should slowly separate from the flesh.
After the skin has been peeled, chop each segment in half or quarters. Use your knife to scrape out the inner stem that runs through the middle. Chop the remaining flesh into fries and you’re ready to start cooking!
How to make yuca fries in the oven
Baking yuca fries in the oven is my preferred method because it’s much healthier than fried cassava. There is no excess oil and it’s mess-free! Plus, the results are just as delicious as the alternative. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Bring a pot of water up to a boil on the stove. Add the yuca fries and let them cook for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Drain the water. Dry the fries well before transferring them to a lined baking sheet.
Step 3: Sprinkle the fries with oil, sea salt, and chili powder. Bake until they’re golden and slightly crisp.
Step 4: Serve the yuca fries with fun garnishes and dipping sauces, then enjoy!
How to make yuca fries in the air fryer
Air fryer yuca fries are quick and easy. Plus, this method will produce extra-crispy results! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Peel, chop, and boil the yuca root as normal.
Step 2: Season the fries with oil, salt, and chili powder before placing them in an even layer in your air fryer basket.
Step 3: Air fry the cassava at 400ºF for 15 minutes. Shake the basket every few minutes to ensure every side becomes nice and golden.
Step 4: Serve the crispy cassava fries and enjoy!
What goes well with cassava fries?
Fried cassava goes particularly well with smoky seasonings, like chili powder, paprika, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, or smoked paprika. Dress the finished fries in fun toppings or garnishes like cotija cheese, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, or hot sauce. Serve spicy mayonnaise, chimichurri, garlic aioli, cilantro lime crema, or ketchup on the side for dipping and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
What does yuca taste like?
Just like potatoes, yuca tastes mild, creamy, slightly sweet, and nutty when cooked.
Where can I buy yuca roots?
This depends on where you live! Yuca root is available year-round in tropical climates, like in the Caribbean, South America, Central America, parts of Asia, and Africa. Most major grocery stores in the US carry yuca root in the produce or frozen foods section but if you can’t find it, check out specialty stores or Latin or Asian markets instead.
Can I use frozen yuca instead?
Absolutely. Frozen yuca is usually already peeled and cut, helping you skip this step. Boil and bake the fries as normal.
Can you cook cassava in the Instant Pot?
Yes! Instead of boiling the fries on the stove, you can quickly cook them in the Instant Pot before they bake in the oven.
To cook yuca in the Instant Pot, place the chopped and peeled segments into the pot and add enough water so they’re just covered. Seal the lid, close the pressure-release valve, and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes.
Afterward, quick release all of the pressure. Drain the water and let the cassava cool before cutting it into fries and baking.
How do you store leftovers?
Store the leftover yuca fries in an airtight container in the fridge. The best way to reheat them is in a skillet with a little oil.
More healthy snacks to try
- Chocolate Bliss Balls (Adaptogenic)
- Whipped Feta Dip
- Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Salmon Stuffed Mushrooms
- Gluten Free Baked Onion Rings
How To Make Yuca Fries
- 2 large yuca roots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp chili (substitute for paprika)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, let’s prepare the yuca!
- Using a sharp chef’s knife or the largest knife you own, cut ends of yuca off. Then depending on the size of your yuca, you can then cut in half (two larger pieces = larger fries) or three round pieces (=smaller fries). This will not affect the cooking times.
- Using a sturdy peeler remove all the brown waxy yuca skin. The yuca should be white/ light yellow in color and have no spots on them.
- Grab your chef’s knife again and cut the yuca in half (lengthwise) and each half into 3-4 thinner pieces to resemble ‘fries’. Do this with the remaining yuca.
- Give the yuca a quick rinse and add to the boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 450F degrees at this time. Line a large baking sheet or two if needed with parchment paper and set aside
- Using a rubber spatula remove yucca from water and place on a paper towel or baking sheet with rack to drip excess water.
- Transfer yuca to prepared sheet and sprinkle yuca with sea salt and chili powder. You can substitute chili powder for paprika, both work just as good.
- Bake for 30 minutes, turning yucca half way through.
- Store leftover yuca in an air tight/ zipper bag. Pan fry with coconut oil to re-heat