Change up your typical potato side with these Crispy Baked Yuca Fries! They’re crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with a kick of spice. No frying and just a tablespoon of olive oil in the whole recipe!
Dear potato, I love you. But sometimes I just need a break. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, so this separation will only bring us closer together. Please forgive me for cheating on you with yuca.
It all started in Costa Rica when our chefs got me absolutely hooked on yuca. I was the only person in our group that didn’t speak Spanish but I took in what I could by watching them prep and cook it.
What is Yuca?
Yuca (sometimes called Cassava) is a root vegetable similar to the potato with a waxy outer skin and a starchy center. It is native to South and Central America and used quite widely in Latin cooking. Yuca is similar in shape to a sweet potato and can be found in the produce aisle. Although it’s similar to sweet potatoes and yams, it has a bark-like skin that you have to remove… which can be intimidating but we’ll tackle that together!
Before Costa Rica, my only experience with yuca was either in Latin restaurants or in tapioca flour (which comes from the cassava/yuca plant) but I had never attempted to cook it at home. The two most important observations I made from the chefs in Costa Rica were that a) the outer skin is easily discarded with a vegetable peeler and b) unlike potatoes, yuca must be boiled before it can be baked or fried.
So immediately upon arriving home I ran to the grocery store, dug through the potato section to find some yuca, spent 10 minutes trying to convince the cashier at the grocery store that I didn’t just find this strange root on the ground and that they did in fact sell it in their stores. Then I hit the kitchen and this is how these Crispy Baked Yuca Fries were born.
Dear potato, I don’t know how I feel about being exclusive. I would rather be in an open relationship with you and yuca. You can be sister wives and we can be one big happy family. I hope you can find it in your heart to understand.
How to Make Yuca
Like I said earlier, yuca takes a little more prep than potatoes. You have to start by removing the waxy, rough outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Chop your yuca in half, lengthwise and slice into fries. Place the sliced yuca in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes. After boiling, strain and rinse with cold water. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder and spread out on a baking sheet. Make sure there is a little space between each fry so they can crisp up! Bake for 15 minutes, flip the fries and bake for another 15 minutes.Print
Crispy Baked Yuca Fries
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- 2 large yucas
- 1 T olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Peel yucas with a vegetable peeler to remove waxy skin.*
- Chop in half and then slice each half into fry-shapes.
- Place sliced yucca into a large pot and fill with water.
- Heat on stovetop until water comes to a boil. Let cook in boiling water for 8-10 minutes.
- Strain yucca from water and rinse with cold water.
- Place yucca in a large bowl and top with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper and lightly toss to coat.
- Line onto a baking sheet (do not overcrowd) and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and flip.
- Place back into oven and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Serve warm.
*The inside of the yuca should be stark white. If there are black lines, discard and use another yuca.
- Serving Size: 4
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