Arby's Potato Cakes Review: The Return Of These Crispy Cakes Was Worth The Wait

Longtime Arby's fans know that curly and crinkle fries weren't always the potato of choice at fast food's most prominent roast beef restaurant. In 2021, the chain made the disheartening choice to discontinue its famous Potato Cakes from the menu, leading to hair-pulling and clothes-shredding from dedicated fans who loved having variety. It only took three years for the company to realize that a reintroduction was in order, and with fanfare befitting a beloved fried food, Arby's Potato Cakes have made what show business calls a roaring comeback, following a reappearance in Canadian locations earlier in 2024. The occasion is so auspicious, it's drawn the attention of film and TV icon Kyle MacLachlan to help with promotion.

In an industry where potatoes served as a single patty are usually available as a breakfast food only, Arby's had cornered the market on presenting hashbrown-style potato cakes as an alternative to a handful of fries or a cup of wedges. Is it possible to restore this popular Arby's item to its former glory simply by bringing it back to the menu? Or has something changed in its absence, a seismic shift in the public palate that can detect a flaw in the form Potato Cakes take this time around? In situations fraught with suspense like this one, there's only one way to find out for sure: Put the crunch on a few Potato Cakes and find out for myself.

These Potato Cakes are all potato, no cake

If the resurrected Arby's Potato Cakes look, smell, and taste familiar, it's because the original recipe is presumed to have been restored to its prior glory. Don't you love it when a company knows better than to mess with a formula that already works? There's no need to be tenuous about trying them out to see if you can taste a difference. You can jump in feetfirst and get back to the enjoyment you've been deprived of in the seemingly endless span since these taters found themselves on the wrong side of the chopping block.

All things considered, you'll get an array of ingredients in Arby's potato cakes that go beyond just potatoes: shredded potatoes, canola and possibly palm oil, salt, corn flour, that oh-so-sneaky "natural flavoring," and disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, a wordy chemical that helps preserve color. Fried crisp and salted for your pleasure, it's not the most homemade version of hash browns you'll ever have, but at least the ingredients are largely legible and recognizable as food.

Potato Cakes are priced similarly to Arby's other fries

In the past, Potato Cakes at Arby's have been competitively priced in line with the company's other fries, making it both easy for customers to afford whichever they prefer and difficult to choose from two equally-priced yet thoroughly distinct items. This time around, you can grab them in a two-pack for $3.19, three-pack for $3.89, and a four-cake arrangement for $4.29, depending on your location. 

How close are these prices to similar orders of both Arby's Curly Fries and Crinkle Fries? So close you can practically taste it! It turns out Potato Cakes are priced identically to the other potato-based sides on the menu, making it easy to transition back to patty form for anyone familiar with the format. And if you're new to the idea of having hash browns with lunch or dinner, you'll find the switch-over to be a workable choice that does nothing to alter your bill. It's almost as if Arby's knows its Potato Cake audience well enough to make the promotion as welcoming as possible.

These cakes are a limited-time celebration

As of July 1, you can grab a bunch of Potato Cakes at Arby's locations around the U.S. to enjoy at your leisure. If there is any justice in the world, Arby's will keep its treasured Potato Cakes on the menu for the rest of its existence. There's no feasible strategy that says removing them again will serve a purpose, other than to free up room in the freezer and space on the menu board. Oh ... and it would pique interest for another short-term release down the line, which would of course drive sales while keeping customers hanging on the edge of their seats.

Alas, there is no permanence in the fast-food world for Potato Cakes. Even the website lists them under the "limited time" section of the menu. Like other great things in life, it's best if you get in while the getting is good so you don't miss your opportunity. Limited time could mean anything from three seconds to infinity, though it's bound to be closer to the former than that latter. Consider these cakes a get-'em-while-they're-hot situation to avoid fast-food heartbreak down the line.

Potato Cakes return to the fried side dish line-up as a fan favorite

There's no comparison between Arby's Potato Cakes and its other potato side dish offerings, other than being made of the same humble tuber offered in fried form. Having a patty of crispy potato shreds allows you to divvy up your dining real estate as you see fit; a few big bites, several small bites, or a combination of the two — how you devour this delicious dish is entirely up to you. You can even create new shapes with strategically-placed bites — try doing that with a box of fries and see how far you get. And you can change things up with each visit, depending on how hungry you are and how much time you have to think about your Potato Cake Consumption Strategy (PCCS for the pros in the room).

Since Potato Cakes are nothing new on the Arby's scene, customers who haven't visited in a while may not even realize these treats were taken off the menu. Anyone who watched them disappear and wondered why it happened will be elated to find their side options expanded to their original breadth and depth. It's a natural transition back to a potato arrangement that worked perfectly well in the past. Arby's aficionados can only hope rational heads prevail and the chain opts for a permanent Potato Cake return before long. For now, this limited offer will have to suffice.

Potato Cakes' nutrition is essentially the same as an order of Curly Fries

Okay ... we are talking about fried potatoes here. There's bound to be a dearth of nutrition in these delicious cakes, which means enjoying them in moderation is advisable. When you do decide to indulge, know that a two-pack will add 247 calories to your daily count, with 127 of those from fat, which equates to 14 grams of fat. They come with 432 milligrams of sodium, which adds to the flavor but detracts from the nourishment. Split all of this in half and you're looking at about 123 calories and 7 grams of fat per cake.

While Arby's Potato Cakes aren't a food you're likely to add to your workout plan, what form of fries has ever been a healthy Arby's option? Similar to Potato Cakes, a small order of Arby's Curly Fries rings up at 250 calories and or 13 grams of fat. So you're pretty much trading your nutrition consumption one-for-one by substituting Potato Cakes, which is important information to have, considering time is fleeting, the offer isn't permanent, and having cakes over curlies or crinkles is a nearly-equal nutritional prospect.

Review: These classic hash browns take the cake

I knew when I saw the banner in the window announcing their reintroduction that I'd be tapping into something special sampling Arby's Potato Cakes once again. It's been a while since I've had them, even before they disappeared in 2021, but the core memory of pairing the delicate fried shell and fluffy interior with the chain's classic sandwiches is a touchstone for other fast-food dining experiences. It may sound grandiose, but having what amounts to giant french fries is no small crossroads for a budding fast-food fan; it sets expectations that are far-reaching and long-lasting. It would be best if Arby's put everything back in place where its Potato Cakes are concerned.

And that's exactly what the company has done. The new Potato Cakes are the same as the previous ones, a crispy sheath of golden goodness concealing feathery-white potato fluff that provides two distinctly different textures and flavors in a single bite. They were perfectly salted too, a crucial element in any potato cake experience, and one that can be overdone by enthusiastic fry cooks with an eager shaker hand. Not so with these prime patties. 

Anyone who was crushed by the disappearance of Arby's Potato Cakes would be wise to make plans for enjoying their return as often as possible before they skitter away again. And if by chance you're new to the whole Potato Cake brouhaha: Welcome to the club. You're going to love it here.

How I reviewed Arby's Potato Cakes

When Arby's shot up the flare to alert us to the Potato Cake revival, we raised our hands to be on the list to test them out and see if they're still everything we remember them to be. The release day was July 1, so we made plans to hit the drive-thru at opening time to grab our cakes and get to tasting. Luckily, Arby's doesn't hold the "breakfast only until 11:30" standard like other fast-food chains (we're looking mostly at you, McDonald's), and even if that were the case, potato cakes are hash browns, which are perfectly suitable for anytime dining. So having them at 9 a.m. with a cup of coffee felt entirely natural.

It was a challenge waiting until I got home to indulge, but photos of half-eaten potato cakes don't make for attractive imagery. The ride gave me time to admire the aroma anew and experience the excitement of my packet of potato bliss. After taking its portrait, I dug hungrily into the first cake and devoured it in a matter of minutes, dipped in ketchup and snapped up like it was going out of style — which it probably will, likely by the end of summer if trends hold. The other cakes weren't long for this world after the first was finished, with the results of this taste test proving to be more than satisfying.