Currently, most of the anode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) suffer from the problems of capacity degradation and reduction of cycle life due to volume expansion and polarization. Here we have successfully prepared helical carbon nanofibers (HCNFs) using a simple ethanol flame method (EFM) and tested their electrochemical performance as anode materials for LIBs. The results show that HCNFs possess high reversible capacity (specific capacity of 622.9 mAh/g at a current density of 50 mA/g), good rate performance, and excellent cycling stability (specific capacity of 395.6 mAh/g after 100 cycles at a current density of 200 mA/g, Coulombic efficiency of over 98%, and capacity retention of 94.41%). HCNFs possess a unique helical structure, which provides a strong support space for the intercalation/deintercalation in LIBs, and effectively alleviate the volume expansion and polarization of the anode material. Additionally, HCNFs exhibit excellent electrical conductivity and chemical stability. The facile preparation route and superior properties of HCNFs make them potential anode materials for LIBs.