Is there dairy in Arby’s curly fries?

Arby’s curly fries are a popular menu item at the fast food restaurant chain. Many customers enjoy the unique spiral shape and crispy texture of the fries. However, some may wonder whether the curly fries contain dairy ingredients.

Quick Answer

No, there is no dairy in Arby’s curly fries. The main ingredients are potatoes, vegetable oil, and seasonings. Arby’s uses a batter containing wheat flour, yellow corn flour, corn starch, rice flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices to coat the fries before frying.

Ingredients in Arby’s Curly Fries

Here are the main ingredients found in Arby’s curly fries, according to the company’s website:

  • Potatoes – The base of the fries is made from sliced potatoes.
  • Vegetable oil – The fries are fried in a vegetable oil blend, like canola and/or sunflower oil.
  • Batter – The batter contains wheat flour, yellow corn flour, corn starch, rice flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices.
  • Dextrose – A natural sugar derived from corn to enhance golden color.
  • Disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate – Maintains color and acts as a preservative.
  • Citric acid – Adds some tartness and acts as a preservative.

As you can see, the ingredients list does not contain any dairy products like milk, butter, cream, or cheese. The fries are fried in 100% vegetable oil.

Why Arby’s Curly Fries Contain No Dairy

There are a few reasons why Arby’s does not include dairy products in their curly fry recipe:

  • Cost – Vegetable oil is cheaper than using butter or other dairy-based oils for deep frying on a large commercial scale.
  • Safety – Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point than butter, which allows the fries to be cooked at high heat without burning.
  • Flavor – The unique flavor of Arby’s fries comes from the batter seasoning, not added dairy. Butter or cheese would overpower the other spices.
  • Allergies – Eliminating dairy avoids potential allergic reactions for lactose intolerant or dairy allergic customers.
  • Preparation – Using liquid vegetable oil makes the frying process faster and more efficient in a fast food style restaurant.

Arby’s Fries Are Not Vegan or Vegetarian

While Arby’s curly fries do not contain any dairy ingredients, they aren’t suitable for vegans or vegetarians. That’s because the batter contains egg.

The chain uses what’s known as a “tempura batter” to coat the fries before frying. This batter typically consists of wheat flour, corn starch, baking soda, and eggs.

Specifically, Arby’s reports that their batter contains “egg whites, citric acid” in addition to wheat flour, corn flour, sugar, salt, and spices.

The egg whites give the batter more structure so it can hold to the curly shape around the fries. So strict vegans or vegetarians who avoid all animal products would not be able to eat Arby’s curly fries.

Other Menu Items Containing Dairy at Arby’s

While the fries are dairy-free, Arby’s does use real dairy products in the preparation of some other menu offerings. Dishes that contain dairy include:

  • Potato cakes – Contain butter and sour cream
  • Jalapeno bite – Contains Swiss cheese
  • Smokehouse brisket sandwich – Contains smoked gouda cheese
  • Buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich – Contains buttermilk
  • Chicken cordon bleu sandwich – Contains Swiss cheese and ham
  • Parmesan roast beef sandwich – Topped with parmesan peppercorn sauce
  • Chicken bacon Swiss sandwich – Contains Swiss cheese
  • Loaded Italian sandwich – Topped with mozzarella and parmesan

Those with dairy allergies or dietary restrictions like veganism should take note that most sandwiches and some sides at Arby’s are not dairy-free.

How Arby’s Fries are Made

Arby’s uses a specific process to make those signature curly fries with a crispy exterior and fluffy interior:

  1. Whole potatoes are peeled, washed, and sliced into thin strips about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. The potato strips are rinsed in water to remove excess starch.
  3. The strips are soaked in a vinegar-water solution for several minutes to add flavor.
  4. The fries are dried thoroughly before coating to allow the batter to stick.
  5. Each fry is individually coated in the tempura batter containing wheat flour, corn flour, and egg whites.
  6. The battered fries are transferred by conveyor belt into the fryer filled with vegetable oil heated to 350°F.
  7. The fries are fried for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  8. Fries are seasoned immediately with a blend of spices like garlic, onion, paprika while hot.
  9. Curly fries are served warm and crispy in Arby’s iconic fry boxes.

The careful battered coating process is what creates those signature spiral curly shapes that Arby’s is famous for.

Nutrition Info for Arby’s Curly Fries

Here is the basic nutrition information for Arby’s curly fries, according to the company website:

Servings Per Order About 4.5
Calories 340
Fat 18g
Carbs 38g
Protein 3g
Sodium 820mg

As you can see, Arby’s curly fries are relatively high in calories, fat, and sodium compared to regular straight cut fries. That’s because of the batter coating and unique shape, which soaks up more oil when fried.

The curly shape allows for lots of crispy edges and surface area for seasonings to cling to. If you’re looking for a lower calorie option, Arby’s also offers an order of regular crispy straight fries.

History of Arby’s Curly Fries

Arby’s first opened in 1964 in Boardman, Ohio by Forrest and Leroy Raffel. The Raffel brothers wanted a unique menu different from typical burgers and fries.

The Arby’s name comes from the initials R.B., short for Raffel Brothers. But the chain didn’t initially offer their famous curly fries.

The curly fry was first added to the menu in 1988. Arby’s was looking for a new signature side item and tested out the unique spiral fries made with a special batter and frying process.

The curly fries were a big hit and quickly became a customer favorite. They provided a crispier, more flavorful alternative to regular french fries.

Over the years, Arby’s experimented with different batters and shapes. In 2017, they updated the recipe to make the batter lighter and crunchier after feedback from customers.

Today curly fries remain one of Arby’s most popular menu items. Many customers just can’t resist those spiraled potatoes spikes coated in bold seasonings.

Why People Love Arby’s Curly Fries

There are several reasons why Arby’s curly fries have attained cult status:

  • Unique shape – The spiral shape is fun, intriguing, and different from any other fast food fry out there.
  • Crispy exterior – The thin batter coating gives the fries a satisfying outer crunch.
  • Fluffy interior – The inside of the fries remains pillowy and potato-ey.
  • Seasoning – Arby’s uses strong seasonings like garlic, onion, paprika to flavor the curly fries.
  • Portion size – One order includes about 4.5 servings for a shareable size.
  • Nostalgia – Many people have fond memories going to Arby’s as a kid and receiving a big bag of piping hot curly fries.

The crunchy outside combined with soft inside, fun shape, and big portions make Arby’s curly fries a menu star.

Tips for Enjoying Arby’s Fries

Here are some tips to get the best Arby’s curly fry experience:

  • Ask for fries “light well” if you prefer them extra crispy on the outside.
  • Eat them immediately for maximum crispness before they get soggy.
  • Get a side of Arby’s sauce or ranch to dip the fries for added flavor.
  • Order a bigger size so you get enough to share or have leftovers.
  • Substitute curly fries instead of regular fries in any Arby’s combo meal.
  • Add bacon pieces or shredded cheddar cheese as toppings for loaded fries.
  • Pair curly fries with Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and milkshakes for a complete meal.

Always request a fresh hot batch if the fries have been under the warmer for a while. Enjoy Arby’s curly fries soon after ordering for the best texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Arby’s fries curly?

Arby’s fries are curly because the potato strips are coated in a specially formulated tempura batter before frying. The batter holds the potato strip in a spiral as it cooks, resulting in the unique curly shape.

Do Arby’s fries have milk in them?

No, Arby’s fries do not contain milk. They are fried in 100% vegetable oil. The curly fries only have potatoes, batter, oil, and seasonings.

Are Arby’s fries dairy free?

Yes, Arby’s fries are dairy-free. They do not contain milk, cheese, butter or any other dairy ingredients. The curly fry batter contains wheat flour, corn flour, and egg whites but no dairy.

Why are Arby’s fries so good?

Arby’s fries are good because of their unique crispy, spiraled shape and bold seasoning. The batter coating gives them great crunch while they remain soft inside. People love the fun curly shape and taste of garlic, onion, and paprika.

Are Arby’s fries vegan?

No, Arby’s curly fries are not vegan because the batter contains egg whites. Vegans do not consume any animal products, so they would not eat Arby’s fries cooked in egg-based batter.


Arby’s signature curly fries remain a beloved menu item thanks to their distinct spiral shape, crispy batter coating, and bold seasoning. The fries provide a crunchy, satisfying side to any Arby’s sandwich or meal.

While the curly fries do contain eggs, they are dairy-free and cooked in 100% vegetable oil. So those with dairy allergies can happily enjoy Arby’s curly fries without worry. Just be mindful of the higher calorie, sodium, and fat counts.

Arby’s curly fries will likely remain a staple menu item thanks to their unique taste and texture. Next time you visit Arby’s, order a piping hot batch of curly fries and experience this fast food classic.

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