- WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- Tossing the panko with olive oil will give the avocado fries a crunchier coating.
- Using a ripe but slightly firm avocado makes it easy to dip and coat the fries.
- Optionally seasoning the panko with tajin adds a delicious, savory flavor.
Despite my doctor’s displeasure, I can’t stay away from fried foods. I have a weakness for french fries, donuts, and all kinds of crunchy, golden-brown foods—which unfortunately translates into my devastatingly high cholesterol levels. They’re not a new invention, but I recently had my first avocado fries, and I won’t argue that they are as good as french fries – they are not – avocado fries are delicious, crispy and golden in their own way. It is brown on the outside and buttery on the inside.
You can of course fry an avocado fries, but for this recipe I decided to go with the oven or the deep fryer because let’s face it, when it comes to proper frying, I use french fries. And the truth is, with just a few thoughtful techniques, this truly non-fried snack simulates deep-frying well enough to earn it a nice place among the fried foods I’ve had.
There are two main steps to making great avocado fries. The first is to choose the right avocado, one that is ripe enough but not so soft that it falls apart when cooked. The second is to watch out for breadcrumbs for the crispiest, tastiest coating that mimics the equally golden-brown exterior of a fried food. After that, you’ll have to decide whether to use an oven or a deep fryer to cook them (short answer: use a deep fryer if you have one).
How to Pick Avocados for Avocado Fries
If you have a handful of soft, ripe avocados on your kitchen counter, this is not the recipe for it. It may be tempting to think that perfectly ripe avocados are always better for cooking and eating, but when it comes to avocado fries—when we need to be able to peel, slice, and coat the avocado before cooking—we want ripe fruit but on the firmer side.
The ideal avocado for this is an avocado that yields just a little with a glossy pale green flesh when you gently squeeze the fruit near the stem end. Once cooked, the slightly firm slices turn into exactly the buttery texture we expect from an avocado. Avoid rock-hard, unripe avocados; Not only will they be difficult to cut and core, but they can also have an unpleasant bitter taste.
The Road to the Best Breadcrumb Coating
You may be wondering: why panko and not breadcrumbs? Panko is more airy and less dense, giving a crispier coating than breadcrumbs. However, it’s important to shred some of the panko to reduce the overly large flakes. In my first few batches, the coloring was uneven, some parts of the avocado fries browned faster than others due to the very large panko chunks, exposing the stickier chunks to a more intense heat burst. A simple fix was to mash the panko by hand so we got pieces that weren’t as big as finished panko but not as fine as regular breadcrumbs.
What you do with it is just as important as the breadcrumbs themselves. The key to evenly frying is to mix the panko with the oil so that each breadcrumb is evenly saturated; The oil acts as a heat conductor and helps us successfully mimic the desired frying effect.
Second, if we can add more flavor to our avocado fries, one of our best options for making it is to bread it with breadcrumbs (well, apart from a tangy sauce). There are no hard and fast rules for how you should season your panko, and if all you’re comfortable with is salt and pepper, that’s fine – but it’s also a great opportunity to open up your spice drawer and have some fun. For a tangy, slightly tangy kick, I add tajin, a Mexican spice blend made from cayenne pepper, lime, and salt, to my panko mix. Just as lemon juice makes the guacamole sing, tajin gives a bright, flavorful pop that complements the creamy, buttery flavor of the avocado. No tajin? Stir in smoked paprika powder for an earthy sweetness or crushed Sichuan peppercorns for a little Malà spiciness. The possibilities are endless, and they make a difference: After testing several rounds, I didn’t want to go back to plain salt and pepper flavored breadcrumbs, so seasonings are optional in the recipe, but I highly recommend it.
Air Fryer vs. Oven
Thanks to the air fryer, preparing crispy food at home has become easier and faster. These small but powerful machines work like small convection ovens by circulating hot air quickly through the cavity, resulting in faster cooking and more even browning. While the fries you make in the deep fryer will never be as golden and crispy as the ones in the deep fryer, they’re pretty close. And the best? No need to put frying oil in a pan, wait for it to heat up, and watch like a hawk waiting for your fries to cook.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep fryer – I’ve also developed an oven method for these avocado fries. All you have to do is cook the avocado fries at 200F for 18 minutes—turning halfway over—until the avocado fries are crispy. It’s not as fast as an air fryer and doesn’t fry avocado fries evenly, but it will satisfy cravings for a crunchy snack.
- 1 cup panko (3 ounces; 85g)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (1/2 ounce; 14g) Tajín (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 medium ripe but firm Hass avocados (17 ounces; 480g)
- Chipotle mayonnaise, ranch dressing, hot sauce, or other condiment, for serving (optional)
- In a medium bowl, lightly mash the panko with your hands until it has a sandy consistency. Add tajine (if using), salt and garlic powder. Drizzle with olive oil, mix well.
- Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds, then place them flat side down on a clean work surface. Gently pull back the peel and discard. Cut each avocado lengthwise into 8 pieces. Working one avocado slice at a time, gently dip in the beaten egg, then remove and drain excess water. Pour into panko mixture, tossing lightly to coat well. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining avocado slices.
- Collage with four pictures: peel an avocado, slice an avocado, dip a slice in an egg, then dip in breadcrumbs
- Preheat the air fryer to 175°C (350°F) on the air fryer setting. Place 8 avocado slices in the airfryer basket and cook, turning, for 8 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Repeat with remaining avocado slices. Serve immediately with dipping sauces, if desired.