These flavorful jicama fries make a great alternative to French fries, and preparing them is effortless!
Simply microwave them briefly, then bake them in a hot oven. They will satisfy the need for a salty, savory snack.
If you love French fries but would like to try a good alternative, these delicious fries are a perfect choice. While not exactly the same as the original, they are very tasty and will satisfy that need for a salty, savory snack.
When I started making this recipe, back in 2014, I had to peel and slice the jicama. It's not at all difficult to do, but I'm still grateful that my life now is easier than ever - I buy pre-sliced jicama strips at Whole Foods. So all I need to do is briefly microwave them, then toss them in some olive oil and spices and bake!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make jicama fries. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Raw jicama: You can buy it whole and prep it by yourself, or buy it already cut into strips.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you worry about its relatively low smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you may want to reduce the amount you use, or the fries could turn out too salty.
Spices: Garlic powder and smoked paprika. Make sure the spices you use are fresh - a stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
So how do you make jicama fries? In this recipe, I start by microwaving the jicama strips to soften them. Then I add olive oil and spices and bake them in a hot oven until tender-crisp. The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
You start by peeling the jicama and cutting it into strips. As mentioned above, these days you can also find it in many stores already cut into strips.
Next, you microwave the strips to make them somewhat tender, then dry them with paper towels.
Toss them with olive oil and spices, then bake for about 40 minutes in a 400°F oven.
Microwaving the fries prior to baking them is optional. But keep in mind that if you don't microwave them first, the fries retain some of their crunch even when baked for a long time. I tried both versions, and we all liked the microwaved version better.
Frequently asked questions
Jicama is also called "Mexican yam" or "Mexican turnip." It's a root vegetable that's usually eaten raw with a sprinkle of lime juice.
The raw vegetable has a mild flavor.
It looks like a potato, but it's crispy, and I would say the taste resembles an apple or an unripe pear, but milder and not as sweet.
When cooked it becomes creamier, but it's still very mild in flavor, so it pretty much takes on the flavor of the seasonings you use.
Yes, absolutely. It's a good substitute. But you should be aware that in terms of flavor and texture, it won't be exactly the same. These fries are very flavorful, but they lack the delightful starchy crispiness that only potatoes can offer.
The challenge is not so much to get them crispy, as it is to make them tender on the inside. They tend to remain crunchy on the inside even after you cook them for a long time.
The method described here, of microwaving them first, then baking, is the best way I have found to get them relatively tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- Use melted butter instead of olive oil. It's so delicious!
- You can vary your spices. Ones that work well in this recipe include onion powder and just a sprinkle of cumin.
- Make them spicy by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to the seasoning.
Recommended main dishes
Jicama fries are very versatile! Just think of them as regular fries, and serve them with whatever dish you would serve with those. A few examples from my own repertoire:
As for a dipping sauce, although it's not strictly needed, you could try unsweetened ketchup. Or do as my Dutch dad does and dip them in mayonnaise. 😮And yet another tasty option is to dip them in guacamole.
You can keep the leftovers for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the fridge. You can reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power. Or better yet, re-crisp them in a low oven.
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Baked Jicama Fries with Olive Oil and Paprika
- 1 (1 lb.) raw jicama
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a ceramic rimmed baking dish (such as a 9 X 13 -inch baking dish).
- Peel the jicama and cut it into ¼-inch-thick fries. Or use pre-sliced jicama strips (available at Whole Foods and in many supermarkets).
- Place the jicama strips in a microwave-safe bowl. Add ¼ cup water. Cover and microwave for 8 minutes, stopping once to gently stir. If I use a large jicama I sometimes microwave it for up to 10 minutes total, as shown in the video. But 8 minutes is usually enough.
- Using oven mittens, remove the bowl from the microwave. Be careful when removing the cover - hot steam will escape. Remove the jicama strips to paper towels to dry.
- In a large bowl, toss the partially-cooked jicama fries with the olive oil and the spices. Arrange them in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
- Bake until browned and tender-crisp, about 40 minutes.