There’s no doubt that French fries are not just a fast food staple, they’re a straight-up necessity. Especially when you’ve got a craving, there’s nothing quite like the taste and crunch of a hot, fresh, perfectly seasoned French fry. Any fast food joint that features any measure of hamburgers or chicken sandwiches must offer fries to accompany their entrees.
But, not all fast food fries are made equal. For such a simple, theoretically easy thing, quality, taste, and texture varies greatly from place to place. Factors include seasoning, cooking methods, potato quality, and more, but the quest for the best fast food fries seems endless.
With all the options out there, how do you choose? Firstly, it does somewhat come down to preference. Some like them super crunchy and salty while others prefer them crisp and mild – or any combination of these things.
Second, it’s no secret that some fast food fries are better than others in terms of health. McDonald’s, for example, are known for being insanely delicious, but no one can convince you they’re at all good for you. Customers will continue returning for these French fries for the taste experience while completely disregarding their health for a quick minute – and that’s okay because they’re seriously good and everything is alright in moderation!
The great thing about fries is how versatile they are. Sure, plain fries are pretty universal and you can mostly know what to expect. But, between chili cheese fries, poutine, dips, seasonings, flavors, and cooking methods, there are also plenty of ways to mix it up and experience French fries differently.
This is especially great if you have your favorite French fries. If you regularly get fries from the same place as a snack, or you go back to them for a meal just for the fries, consider the other French fry-based things they have on the menu. If you already love their fries, chances are, you’ll also love them smothered in cheese and bacon.
Lastly, consider branching out. Crinkle-cut, curly, and waffle fries are different cuts that, despite still being French fries, offer unique textures and flavors.
Top Ten Best Fast Food Fries
- Arby’s Curly Fries
- Chick-Fil-A Waffle Fries
- Culver’s Crinkle Cut
- Five Guys
- Shake Shack Crinkle Cut
- Del Taco Crinkle Cut
- Popeye’s Cajun Fries
- Wingstop Seasoned Fries
You can pretty much expect McDonald’s fries to be on any “best-of” list when it comes to fast food French fries. From the perfectly cut, uniform shape of each French fry and the ideal level of crispiness and saltiness, you just can’t beat them.
They are cut from only the best potatoes and cooked to golden-brown perfection in a vegetable oil blend. They’re the perfect side to any meal on the menu, and some even like dipping them in ice cream from McDonald's! Doing so might sound strange, but it creates a perfect sweet/salty dynamic.
2. Arby’s Curly Fries
Curly fries are unique and they come with their own charm. The curly shape is popular among kids because it’s different and fun. Arby’s are sliced to curly perfection and fried until golden brown. Their snack size is great for any time of the day, or they make a great side to any meal.
Even the plain French fries are delicious on their own, but Arby’s does have a series of signature sauces, all of which add a little something extra when paired with the fries. These sauces include flavors like parmesan peppercorn ranch and a creamy cheddar sauce.
3. Chick-Fil-A Waffle Fries
Waffle is another style that offers a different way to eat French fries. Chick-Fil-A’s waffle fries are carefully cut into the perfect little waffle shapes with the skin left on. Not everyone prefers the skin being left on, but many enjoy the extra flavor it adds.
The fries are then cooked to perfection in canola oil, making them crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. These also make for a great snack on your own or they are included in many combos as a side to burgers, chicken sandwiches, and other meals.
Waffle fries are also superior to regular fries in several ways because of their shape. Firstly, they make dipping much easier and more convenient. Their shape also allows them to better absorb flavors and hold condiments, making them ideal for flavor additives, like poutine or loaded fries.
A&W is almost as famous as McDonald’s, but for a different reason. McDonald’s fries are thin, perfect, and uniform. A&W French fries are an entirely different style – they’re chunky, skin-on, and imperfect in appearance – and they’re delicious. Fries of this type are often on the dry side, but A&W has truly mastered this style of French fries.
A&W is also well-known for its efforts to be more sustainable and use healthier ingredients. This means you can eat their food with confidence, knowing you’re getting quality food from a thoughtful company.
5. Culver’s Crinkle Cut
Another popular style of the French fry is the crinkle cut. These are popular party because of their texture and flavor, but for many, it’s the nostalgia. Many frozen French fries from the grocery store are crinkle cut and have that signature flavor – they’re pretty good, but you can tell they were frozen.
May people enjoyed these in their homes growing up and to be served them at a restaurant comes with a bit of a heart-warming feeling. Culver’s crinkle-cut fries are a great way to enjoy this cut as they are a step up from frozen. They’re made to order every time, meaning they’re fresh, hot, and perfectly golden-brown.
6. Five Guys
Not only does Five Guys serve delicious fries, but they’re famous for absolutely loading you up with them. They just love to give you so many fries. Customers routinely report seeing staff dump an entire large cup full of fries into their bag… and then add more! Their generosity is much appreciated as most just can’t get enough of their fries.
Like everything else on their menu, the fries are cooked in pure peanut oil, giving them a slightly unique, signature flavor. Their original fries are unmistakable. If you want a little heat, they have a Cajun-style option as well. Order an over-the-top amount of spicy fries at your own risk, though!
7. Shake Shack Crinkle Cut
Shake Shack is another place that’s mastered the nostalgia of crinkle cut French fries. They cook them to crispy, crunchy, golden-brown perfection. They are cut exclusively from golden potatoes and cooked in oil with no trans fats.
Customers report that these fries taste exactly like ones their mom used to make at home with dinner, and that’s what they love about them. It’s the taste they know and love with a perfect dose of nostalgia, prepared promptly after ordering.
These fries are great plain but they also go well with cheese sauce and bits of Applewood smoked bacon for a flavor boost.
8. Del Taco Crinkle Cut
Our last resounding crinkle-cut success is the fries from Del Taco. They’ve become famous for a reason – they’re cooked to a golden brown and perfectly crispy every time. Del Taco serves a wide variety of things including burgers, tacos, and burritos. The fries go great as a side to everything on the menu.
They are also officially labeled vegan, meaning vegans and vegetarians don’t have to wonder if that’s the case. Most fries tend to be vegan as they’re just potatoes, but some are cooked in oils that contain animal by-products, or oil that was previously used to cook meat. These ones are guaranteed vegan right off the bat, so there’s no stress.
9. Popeye’s Cajun Fries
Popeye’s is doing something a little different with their cajun fries. Prepared thin, crispy, and golden brown, they’re then seasoned with a special Cajun seasoning for maximum flavor. French fries have a pretty universal taste, so any time there’s a special seasoning on them it makes for an interesting experience.
Cajun is a popular choice among those who like a good kick to their food. Spicy fries aren’t the most common, so Popeyes was smart to create an ideal option for those who seek it. They’d go well in a meal combo with a sandwich and an additional side of Cajun rice.
10. Wingstop Seasoned Fries
Wingstop is, of course, most known for its wings but they also have surprisingly delicious French fries. They use quality Idaho potatoes that are cut fresh, cooked until crispy, and tossed in their signature seasoning.
This seasoning is unique to them and offers a unique flavor sensation.
Whatever they put in there is so popular that customers have tried over and over again to replicate the flavor combination at home, but it’s never quite the same.
They offer blue cheese, honey mustard, and homemade ranch sauces for dipping.
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