Sweet Potato Fry Nests Recipe

Fermented sweet potato fries, you ask? Oh yes, you can certainly ferment sweet potato fries. Here’s how.

| September 2019


A French chef once explained to me that although he prided himself on from-scratch cooking, he never made fries in-house. “It’s impossible to do them right in a kitchen this size,” he said. He went on to explain that the only way to get a really great French fry was to soak the potatoes for at least 36 hours before frying. Essentially, all great fries (like all great food, in my biased opinion) are fermented before they’re fried. The fermentation process eliminates the risk of a harmful compound called acrylamide from forming during cooking and greatly improves the texture of the final fries. There are two options here, baked and deep-fried. Unsurprisingly, the fried version is greatly preferred by my friends and family, but the baked version does come out crispy and better than the vast majority of restaurant shoestring fries you’ll ever order. And like any great French fry, this is definitely not health food. Enjoy with ketchup or poached eggs and kale.

Yield: Approximately 20 fry nests


  • 1 large sweet potato (2 pounds, or 900 g), spiralized, skin on
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons (28 g) kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) filtered water
  • 1 quart (940 ml) high-heat oil


  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a quart (1 L) jar.
  2. Mix the salt into water until dissolved and pour the brine into the jar, ensuring that there is a thin layer of brine over the sweet potatoes.
  3. Using your preferred method, submerge your veggies and cover your jar.
  4. Place your jar on a small plate or bowl and allow to ferment at room temperature for 5 to 7 days.
  5. Drain the liquid from the sweet potatoes and spread them out in a single layer on a large kitchen towel. Pat dry.
  6. Pour the oil into a 3-quart (2.7 L), heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). While you’re waiting for the oil to heat, continue patting the sweet potatoes dry. Pull them apart and pile them up so that each long strand becomes a little nest. There will be a few odds and ends. Those can be made into their own piles of similar size to the single-strand nests.
  7. Line a platter with paper towels.
  8. Once the oil temperature hits 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), it’s time to start frying. Working in batches, use a spoon to lower each nest into the oil. Fry 3 or 4 nests at a time to avoid overcrowding. Fry for 45 seconds to 1 minute. If they’ve started browning, they’ve gone too long. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place them on the paper towels.
  9. Allow the temperature to return to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) before frying the next batch. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried. The oil can be reused for other purposes for several days.

Variations: Add the zest of 1 small lemon and 2 teaspoons of dried sage leaves to the jar before adding the sweet potatoes for fermentation. Discard the seasonings before frying.

For baked nests: Toss the drained sweet potatoes with 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of olive or melted coconut oil. Separate into nests and bake them on parchment paper at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius, or gas mark 6) for 15 minutes or until crispy.

Also from Ferment Your Vegetables:

ferment-your-vegetablesFermented vegetables are a great, healthy addition to anyone's diet. Abundant in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and more, research continues to reveal the many ways that these foods positively contribute to our well-being. From kimchi and sauerkraut to pickles and kvass, fermented foods have been part of the human diet for millennia — and are rightfully reclaiming their place at our daily table. The idea of fermenting vegetables at home can be intimidating for those who have never tried it before. The truth is, it's quite easy once you learn just a few basic concepts. In Ferment Your Vegetables, author Amanda Feifer, fermentation expert and founder of phickle.com, serves as your guide, showing you, step by step, how you can create traditional, delicious fermented food at home, using only simple ingredients and a little time. No fancy starters or elaborate equipment required. Ferment Your Vegetables will make beginners wonder why they didn't start sooner, and give veteran fermenters loads of new ideas and techniques to try at home. All aboard the probiotic train!

Reprinted with permission from Ferment Your Vegetables: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Making Your Own Pickles, Kimchi, Kraut and More by Amanda Feifer and published by Quarto, 2015.



Learn at Home!

Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020.


Become a Fermentation Member Today!


Discover how EASY and HEALTHY crafting your own money-saving fermented masterpieces can be. 

Transform mealtimes like never before and stay healthy at the same time with a one-year membership to Fermentation for only $29.95. Learn to regularly include fermented food and drinks in your diet naturally, combat bad bacteria and strengthen your immune system.

Fermentation will open up your world to the foods you can eat to improve your health. You'll learn how to make them, how they originated and what tools and ingredients you'll need to create your own delicious fermented foods and drinks. Become a member today and save as much as 25% off the newsstand price!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter