RANKED! The Best Fast Food French Fries
French fries are more than just a wingman for burgers and steaks. They rank among the world’s greatest inventions and our love of them is perhaps the one thing that binds the human race together. Just saying the word “fries” can bring a smile to the lips of hardened men. Who knew that an ugly little spud found in the dirt would transform into the most popular item in fast-food history?
Today we brutally rank the best (and worst) french fries in the world of fast food. Did your favorite fry make it to the top of the greasy crisp heap? Find out below.
Photo: Cathy Scola (Getty Images)
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10. Burger King
Maybe we’ve just had (several) bad experiences, but Burger King french fries are the worst. If you've always wanted to eat an old sponge that somebody found in a downtown gutter, then cut up into strips and sprinkled with cheap salt, go to Burger King right now and order a small fry. Personally, we’d rather eat the old sponge than go back to Burger King to ingest whatever it is they're passing off as fries these days. Too harsh? Nope, not for last-place fries. Let the shit-talking begin.
Photo: Burger King
It’s sad that one of the only fast-food places to offer real potato french fries fresh cut before your eyes comes in nearly dead last on this list. Perhaps it’s years of conditioning telling us that a real potato tastes like an old sock, but that doesn't quite explain the failings of In-N-Out's soggy toothpicks. Sure, they're a nice palate cleanser between bites of burger, but they also look like the pale, lifeless carcass of that alien found near the crash site at Area 52. If wild internet diatribes are any indication, people want to like ‘em, they just don’t.
8. Carl's Jr. (Hardy's)
Much like Wendy's, Carl’s Jr. (and Hardy’s) cranks out a flavorless medium-cut fry with the occasional potato skin left on for character. Rumor has it that there's a rift between the two faces of this national franchise, and we wouldn't be surprised if it was over the french fry recipe. Pure mediocrity is not for everyone.
Photo: Carl's Junior
Going down the gullet like a salty matchstick, even a generous slathering of ranch won’t help these fries much. Wendy’s changed their recipe a few years back in an attempt to look more natural. But the new face-lift sacrificed flavor. While not the worst fries you’ll ever encounter, expect to leave behind the loose ones found at the bottom of the bag. What a shame.
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)
The balls on A&W to build a fast-food franchise around America’s fourth favorite root beer deserves a slow clap. And while the real standout here is their fried chicken, the french fries hold their own in a modest, workhorse kind of way. They’re thin (maybe too thin) and not super flavorful, but they don’t call attention to themselves. Like a good third-string field goal kicker, they'll knock down those 35-yarders all day.
Arby’s does curly like a champ. These kinky grease coils are tossed in Arby’s special blend of Donald Trump-colored spices and come with an entourage of questionably delicious special sauces for dipping and dripping. These fries consistently hog the Arby’s menu spotlight...although half of that is due to the rest of the menu being a total what's-what of failed foodstuffs.
4. Shake Shack
While achieving near-gourmet levels of flavor (for a frozen fry), Shake Shack’s fries don’t outshine their burgers, but they artfully enhance the experience as the perfect assist-man a la Scottie Pippen circa 1995. They don’t possess the superstar power to fill the seats on their own, but with an even golden crisp and delightfully rationed seasoning of salt, they’re solid enough a la carte to have a winning record.
Photo: Shake Shack (Facebook)
3. Five Guys
Five Guys elevates the normal take-out tuber to another level of gorgeousness. Biting into a handful of these fresh-cut spud fingers will transport you from the oily doldrums of a fast-food counter to a sit-down joint worthy of grandma’s 90th birthday party. We’re talking a class-act french fry you can bring home to mom.
Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor (Getty Images)
The king of the fast-food french fries never strays far from the throne. The smell alone has lured innocent pedestrians in by the billions, and everything from the size to the texture and flavor has set the standard for what a fry should be. McDonald’s knows what they have on their hands, which is why the formula has changed very little over the years. Let's hope they keep it that way.
Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket (Getty Images)
1. Jack in the Box (Curly Fries)
Say what you will about Jack in the Box’s shadowy past, their curly fry game is on point. According to their website, these fries have “been around the block.” Meaning, even if the burgers rise and fall more epically than the Roman empire, these curly fries will stand the test of time like Bruce Willis’ hit single "Respect Yourself." We all know what Willis really meant: respect the fry.
Photo: Jack In The Box