Healthy Lunch Recipes

Crunchy Air Fryer Carrot Fries Are the Anti-Inflammatory Summer Snack Your Dips Deserve

Stock photo of freshly baked butternut squash fries with a maple aioli dipping sauce.
Sweet potato fries are so last summer, right? (Kidding—love you always, SPF.) Still, we're not opposed to giving our go-to starchy spud a little break—so long as it means swapping them out for with these crispy air-fryer carrot fries that come together in the blink of an eye. Loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, this healthy snack is the perfect excuse for sneaking some much-needed veggies into your summertime barbecue spread. Serve them as a side for a veggie burger, crunch on them on their own, or dunk them into homemade dips—any way you choose, these are a guaranteed win.

Best of all, this easy-as-pie recipe is fully adaptable and substitution-friendly. Don’t have one of the ingredients on hand? No worries—you can easily swap items and use what you already have in your pantry to spice these crunchy fries up. Plus, we’ve included a few DIY dip recipes, like vegan chipotle mayo and lemon tahini herb sauce, to pair with these fries. Talk about a match made in heaven.

The health benefits of carrot fries are impressive, BTW

As a child, you likely heard your parents urging you to eat more veggies because they’ll help you grow big and strong. Of course, we now know that they weren’t just on a sneaky mission to get you to eat more healthy foods. Carrots are among the top veggies with boatloads of health benefits that help support a balanced lifestyle.

Although this vibrantly orange veg can’t give you superhuman immunity or the vision of a nighthawk, it is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals that support healthy eyes, bolster your immune system, and help your skin glow. For one, according to the USDA, about one cup of carrots provides the entire suggested daily value of vitamin A, which is about 900 micrograms for adults and children aged four years and older. “It is difficult to say that eating 'x' amount of carrots will help eyesight, but in the context of an overall healthy diet, meeting your daily vitamin A requirements will aid in eye health," registered dietitian Katie Gallagher, RD, previously told Well+Good.

But that's not all carrots have to offer—they’re also a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient loaded with tons of heart-healthy fiber. Why is fiber so important, you ask? "Adequate fiber intake helps reduce risk of heart disease, control blood sugars, and improve digestive health,” Gallagher says. Fortunately, carrots have tons of it, aka about 3.5 grams of fiber per cup. On the other hand, frozen store-bought french fries have only about 2.9 grams of fiber per serving (100 grams) and offer no vitamin A—which is a real (ahem) eye-opener, IMO.

How to make crunchy air-fryer carrot fries


In a recent Instagram video by @eva.koper, Eva Koper shows how to prepare crunchy air-fryer carrot fries in four easy steps. She starts by removing the tops of the carrots and then cuts them into bâtonnets (the French knife cut for little sticks or thick-cut fries). Once the carrots are prepped, she puts them in a large bowl and sprinkles them with cornstarch. Pro tip: The cornstarch here helps absorb the remaining moisture on the surface for crispier, crunchier fries. However, you can also sub the cornstarch with arrowroot, which has a similar effect.

Then, Koper seasons the fries to her liking. In this recipe, Koper uses a mixture of spices like paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne, plus a little salt and pepper. To bind everything together, she adds a bit of oil, and into the air fryer they go. Cook for 20 minutes at about 400°F, until golden and crispy.

Now, as we mentioned before, this recipe is swap-friendly. If you don’t have all of these ingredients on hand, feel free to trade them for a mix of spices you enjoy most, like chili, turmeric, or even curry powder. And if carrots aren’t your jam, other veggies like taro and parsnip can also do the trick.

A few dips that pair perfectly with carrot fries

1. Vegan Chipotle Mayo

This plant-based sauce by My Vegetarian Family is the perfect way to add heat, acidity, and creaminess to the crunchy carrot fries. Made with a five-ingredient mixture of cashews, chipotle peppers, lemon juice, salt, and water and blended to form a luscious, creamy dipping sauce, this vegan chipotle mayo checks every box.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Tomato Sauce

Packed with anti-inflammatory tomatoes, this sauce is equally as delicious as it is good for you. A much healthier alternative to sugary store-bought ketchup, this tomato sauce is made in just one pot with ingredients like onions, heart-healthy olive oil, tomatoes, Italian spices, and garlic. Don’t forget to make extra, as you can use this simple sauce for a bowl of spaghetti or veggie lasagna all week long.

3. Lemon Tahini Herb Sauce

This easy dressing not only adds tons of flavor but it’s also made with ingredients that help fight inflammation and promote longevity. This Blue Zones-friendly lemon tahini herb sauce calls for tahini, garlic, lemon, almond milk, and dill for a tangy, creamy sauce that’s even better than ranch (yes, seriously).

Carrot fries recipe

Yields 4 servings

5 1/2 cups carrots
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp oil

1. Remove the tops of clean carrots, and cut them into large strips (1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by 2-2 1/2 inches). Place them in a large bowl.

2. Add the cornstarch, making sure all the pieces are fully coated.

3. Add the paprika, onion, garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper, and oil. Toss to combine well.

4. Air fry the carrots at 400°F for 20 minutes.

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