The perfect French Fry has been debated for a very long time. Fries come in so many different shapes, sizes, and varieties that it is hard to truly get a consensus on which reigns supreme. The basic French fry should have a crispy and crunchy exterior with a fluffy interior. Beyond that, they can take on any number of culinary preparations.
While “French” is in the name, it is commonly believed that the fries actually originated in Belgium some time ago. Claims of potatoes being fried date back to the 1600s, and since then, they have proven throughout history to be a remarkably popular food across the globe. Today, there are endless ways to serve them, and in this article, we share some of these popular ways to do so.
12 Different Cut Types
1. The Standard Cut
One of the most common cuts of the French fry is in the battonette cut, or rather roughly ¼” by ¼” by 2”. This cut offers a great surface area for frying, allowing the inside of the fry to get cut and the outside to get golden brown before darkening. This is the cut you will most often see in restaurants or other locations serving French fries.
These fries are often seasoned right after frying with salt; this is due to the salt adhering to the skin of the fry and giving a great flavor experience. The fries can be cooked by blanching at a lower temperature and then frying at higher heat, allowing the inside to be perfectly cooked and the outside to achieve peak crisp texture.
2. Steak Fries
The steak fry is a thicker French fry and is often eaten with meals that contain red meat or other savory and meaty dishes. They offer a thicker French fry experience and are often seasoned with the same seasoning as the meat they are served with. These fries offer more of a hearty fry experience, but expect them to be a little softer. Their size necessitates a longer cooking time, but they end up being an excellent addition to any meal.
3. Crinkle Cut Fries
A favorite for many, the crinkly cut fry is one that is popular amongst a large variety of people. Often shorter than the standard fry, these fried delights offer ridges that make picking up ketchup or other sauces they are dipped in easier. The fun texture is pleasing to eat and offers a great look that many love. Kids especially like these fries, as they are fun to look at and eat.
4. Shoestring Fry
The shoestring fry is the crispy fry lover’s dream. Long and super thin, these fries are known for their great shape that offers the crispiest of bites you can imagine with a french fry. The fries are cut thin for easy cooking and can take less than a minute to fry completely. They get their name due to their resemblance to a shoestring and are a popular pick for many french fry enthusiasts.
5. Matchstick Fry
Thinner and shorter than the shoestring, the matchstick fry resembles a match due to how thin it is, hence the name. These fries are also super crispy and can be eaten alone but also used as a topping on dishes. They are there for the wonderful taste of fry but also are used to add crunch or texture to a dish. They are an excellent option for those who love extra-crispy fries.
6. Waffle Fries
Waffle Fries are some of the most enjoyed and sought-after fries due to their unique shape. Requiring a mandoline or other cutting device, they are cut in a lattice shape, giving them a cross-cut look and texture. They are great at carrying sauces and can be seasoned heavily due to their surface area and overall great eating experience. They are an excellent example of how a cut on a potato can turn into one of the best overall French fry shapes around.
7. The Wedge Cut
Wedge-cut fries are similar to steak fries in that they are thicker but not as flat and hold a more angular shape. These fries are popular due to the surface area in which they can carry a dipping sauce and, again, can be seasoned heavily due to the surface area they provide. Wedge fries are also a great fry to bake, as they can be cooked to perfection in an oven, given their size. This can be great for those looking to avoid “fried” food, which is why so many like them.
8. Curly Fry
Oh, how popular curly fries are. Often associated with drive-ins and diners, these fries offer nostalgia and a fun eating experience for anyone who enjoys them. A crispy-salty bite of tangled potato will leave anyone excited for another bite. Look for these fries to be seasoned in a variety of ways and served in a basket wide enough to hold the nest of fried potatoes you will enjoy.
9. Cottage Fry
The cottage fry is popular across steakhouses and burger joints throughout the United States. They are round-cut fries with ridges. These fries are crisp on the outside and offer a super fluffy interior when cooked correctly. They can be seasoned in really anyway and are popular due to the fluffy texture within the fry itself. The next time you order a burger, try these fries, and you will not be disappointed.
10. Home Fries
The home fry is a breakfast staple found around diners and other eateries due to its complimentary flavor to famous breakfast dishes. They can be served outside of breakfast but are often served by frying and then mixing with cooked onions to be served alongside eggs. Lovers of home fries like to top them with ketchup, or hot sauce or even dip them into the runny yolk of an egg. They are THE breakfast fry, and their popularity speaks to how beloved they truly are.
11. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato fries are a popular form of a french fry. They are cut in the standard length of a regular fry and are often seasoned with salt but then served with a sweeter dipping sauce or drizzled with honey. The savory and nutty taste of the sweet potato really shines through with this preparation, and with the right sauce can be a truly delightful bite. Look for these to be served alongside entrees or on their own.
12. Potato Tornado
Definitely the craziest shape on this list, the potato tornado cut is a fun yet niche way to prepare a French fry. With this cut, a whole potato is cut in a spiral and then fried on a stick. This allows thin, crispy layers to be pulled off the skewer and enjoyed. Look for these at fairs and carnivals, and be sure to try them with the various seasonings many vendors top them with.
13 Types Of French Fry Preparations
1. Garlic Fries
Garlic fries are french fries that are topped with cooked garlic or even cooked in garlic-infused cooking oil. These fries are then seasoned with salt and often topped with chopped parsley and parmesan. To really send the garlic flavor home, they will often be served with garlic aioli to offer a delicious and luscious mouthfeel to the crispy potatoes. These are popular in many different restaurants, and you should try them when you have the chance.
2. Cheese Fries
Cheese fries are a staple of American fried food cuisine. The crispy, salty flavor of the fry pairs wonderfully with the savoriness of the cheese. Cheddar is often the most used cheese in the base of a sauce, but you can experiment with other types of cheese in order to make a cheese fry that suits your tastes. Any fry cut will do, but standard cut fries is the most popular way to go.
Truffle fries are a delicacy because they use the truffle oil to season them. Truffles are a hard-to-find ingredient that offers a very unique earthy yet savory flavor and aroma. Truffle fries are often tossed in salt, parmesan, and truffle oil right after they are fried. You could take it a step further and shave truffle pieces on top of them. This is the luxurious end of the french fry preparation, but it is one worth the try.
Animal-style french fries have been made popular by the West Coast-based fast food chain, In n’ Out. These fries come topped with cheese, grilled onions, and a dressing similar to thousand island dressing. The flavors of tanginess and savoriness give these fries a cult following and make them popular in many different restaurants.
Poutine hails from Quebec, Canada and is a popular dish there. Especially excellent during cold weather, poutine is a basket of fries topped with cheese curds and smothered with brown gravy. The gravy melts the cheese, leaving a gooey eating experience that is satisfying and filling. Poutine has different variations, such as adding onions or bacon, but the traditional way to go is still a delicious French fry option.
Chili Cheese fries are another french fry covered with cheese and a sauce. The fries are covered in chili, and topped with a nacho cheese sauce. You can get creative with toppings on this dish like pickled jalapenos, sour cream, and raw onions being some great additions to better the flavor. This is a messy dish for sure, but an indulgent one that pairs crispy potatoes with the savory and down-home feel of chili.
The British version of fries and chips is a fry sliced very thin and fried to a crisp. These fries are known to be crispy, hence the name, and are often served with fried fish. Chips are often seasoned with salt and vinegar as well. The acid from the vinegar balances with the salt and makes the crispy, fried potatoes extremely delicious.
Loaded french fries take their inspiration from a loaded baked potato. A thicker fry, such as a waffle fry, would be ideal for this recipe. You will fry the potatoes and then top them with cheese, bacon, onions, scallions, and sour cream. You can add other toppings if you would like, but using loaded baked potato toppings is key.
9. Disco Fries
Think poutine but with mozzarella instead of cheese curds and you've got disco fries. This recipe was popular in the Garden State (New Jersey) and has been a hit ever since. A favorite of the disco crowd in the 70s and 80s, these fries were a late-night snack after a long night out on the town. Sometimes cheddar is swapped for mozzarella, but shredded cheese sets it apart from poutine.
Root vegetable fries have recently gained popularity as a healthier alternative for some. Parsnip, carrot, yucca, and jicama have all been used to make a fry that has the same quality as a regular, potato-based french fry. What sets these apart is their different flavor profiles, allowing for new combinations or twists on classic preparations.
Made popular in Korea, honey butter fries are quickly becoming a favorite of french fry eaters around the globe. The fries are cooked and seasoned as usual, then combined with the honey butter dipping sauce. This sauce is made from butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, and honey. Once combined, it can be poured over the fries as well. The sweetness of the honey plus the umami from the soy sauce makes these fries unforgettable once eaten.
12. Patatas Bravas
A Spanish potato dish meaning “spicy potatoes,” patatas bravas is a dish where potatoes are diced, fried in oil, and served with a spicy sauce. The sauce can vary depending on who makes it, but a key ingredient is the smoked paprika in the sauce. This smoky flavor adds an excellent depth to the fried potato dish, making it popular.
13. Aussie Fries
Made popular by Outback Steakhouse, these fries are a rendition of the classic cheese fry. The fries are topped with Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar, chopped bacon, and ranch dressing. The ranch's creaminess and the bacon's smokiness pair perfectly with the crispy potatoes. This dish is often served as a side to a burger or other pub fare.
25 Types of Fries
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