Today, July 13th is National Fry Day, and to celebrate we've compiled a list of the 10 best fast-food french fries in America. They cover a wide range of styles, so if you can't find a spud you like here, just give up. The one criteria used was that they must stand on their own merit. Seasoning is fine, but add-ons like chili or cheese could not be factored in. Did your favorite make the cut?
Photo credit: Aleks Dorohovich, Flickr
KFC's potato wedges should actually fall somewhere between 3 and 5 on the list, but because they aren't exactly fries, I felt they had to be resigned to the last slot. Spoiler alert: at least they're still ahead of Burger King.
"We start with lightly battered Potato Wedges and season them with savory herbs and spices for a full flavor. A great addition to any KFC meal."
I hate In-n-Out. The food is fine, but it was so overhyped by California friends that unless it tasted like having sex with Kate Upton feels (in my imagination), there was no way it could keep up. And they didn't. I'm sorry, but when your big shtick is to cover everything in caramelized onions and 6 pounds of mayo/ketchup/relish sauce, it means your food isn't that great. Yes, the burger is better than a McDonald's cheeseburger. No it's not good enough to warrant you wearing that stupid t-shit. The fries, while obviously better Animal Style, still hold up on their own though. Fresh potatoes will always cut the mustard.
"Fresh hand-cut potatoes prepared in 100% cholesterol free vegatable oil."
It wasn't long ago that I thought the fries were Jack in the Box's weak point. At best they were ho-hum. A few years back though they switched up the recipe and the results were a crispier fry that tastes a whole lot more like potato instead of just fried oil. Plus, this may be one of the best french fry related "commercials" to ever grace the internet.
"There ain't no freakin' french fries!"
A&W is more famous for their delicious draft rootbeer served in a frosty mug than anything else, but their fries are no joke. I normally order them with chili and cheese, but when I've got no time for the mess, the spuds alone are well worth it. They're always light and perfectly crispy. If there's one thing the world needs, it's more A&Ws.
"Golden, crispy, and piping hot. There's nothing like a good fry."
Other than the fact that Chick-Fil-A dips their fries in a vat of gay-hate, they're absolutely delicious. There aren't many fast-food joints waffle cutting their fries, and that's really a shame. That added surface area isn't just for more fried goodness, it's a ketchup dream catcher.
"Waffle-shaped potatoes with the skin. Cooked in 100% canola oil until crispy outside and tender inside."
For a long time Wendy's fries were perfectly inoffensive. They had a decent crisp to them while the inside was tender to the point where you could squeeze the potato out of the fry if you were so inclined (which I was). The new model, however, is top notch. Leaving the skin on is always a bonus, and sea salt just puts them over the edge. Adding tiny litte single serving packets to under-salted fries is now just embarrassing when you know Wendy is out there with giant salt rocks on her taters.
"Let's face it—everybody's got fries. Wendy's has got something special. Naturally-cut from whole Russet potatoes, cooked skin-on, and served hot and crispy with a sprinkle of sea salt for a taste as real as it gets. You've had fries. Now try some Real fries."
Five Guys may have an unwarranted reputation for serving some of the most unhealthy fries in the world, but damn are they good. Hot, crisp, and by some sorcery not that greasy. Throw the modifier "cajun" on anything an you have my attention, but it works especially well with french fries. Five Guys also gets bonus points for giving you an overflowing cup in a bag and having malt vinegar on hand for dipping.
"Our fries are just plain potatoes cooked in 100% peanut oil."
When I was a kid, Arby's curly fries didn't do it for me. As I turned into a full-sized human though I quickly began to appreciate how perfectly seasoned and aggressively twisted they were. The seasoning alone is well worth it, but the curl makes them perfect for dipping. You could probably hold at least 3 packets of Arby's sauce or ketchup on a single fry. In fact, I think that's a challenge. Today is officially Arby's day in all of your offices.
"Perfectly seasoned ringlets, fried to a golden brown and served hot make these the perfect side item to any meal."
McDonald's technically has the best fast-food fries in the universe according to Zagat. Thankfully for you, I'm not a Zagat. Mickey D's fries are delicious though, even if I can't pinpoint why. They used to be cooked in an oil/beef fat mix, which gave them their signature flavor. Eventually that was deemed unhealthy so they switched vegetable oil with beef essence. Unfortunately the vegetarians ruined that for the rest of us too. Even still, the fries still taste like childhood happiness. What can I say, I'm lovin' it.
"Golden on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. Made with quality potatoes and cooked in our Canola oil blend for zero grams of trans fat per serving. Now that's an epic bite."
Rally's has the mack daddy of all french fries. If gourmet chefs weren't too arrogant to serve french fries without calling them frites, these are what they would make. OK, that's probably not true. There are no whole, hand picked, elf chopped potatoes here. Nope, just a bag of frozen fries turned into tiny slices of batter-dipped heaven. They're coated in plenty of amazing seasoning and fried to a perfect crisp. It's the batter that makes all the difference though. You just can't beat it.
"Secretly seasoned. Famously good. Hot, crisp and made just for you."