The Best Fast Food French Fries, Ranked

Are you in search of the best fast-food fries? If you're a french fry fanatic, you've probably tried different chains and realized that not all fries are made equal. So what constitutes a great batch of fries? Let's dive into the details.

Quality ingredients are key in the creation of these finger foods. Some chains shamelessly reheat frozen fries, while others pride themselves on slicing fresh potatoes daily. Flavor also varies by restaurant. Some keep it classic with salt, while others pile on the seasonings. And when it comes to fries, you simply can't ignore texture. In a 2014 survey by Red Robin, 81% of people prefer their fries crispy rather than soggy, with at least a quarter of individuals digging through the basket to find that ideal fry. But quality and texture aside, a third of these Americans wouldn't sacrifice that last fry for anyone — not their partner, child, or even a famous celebrity. After all, a perfect fry is a hot commodity.

While tastes may vary, there's a general consensus of which fast-food chains have the best french fries. We've scoured the scene, trying a hefty dose of fries and gathering the opinions of others to compile this list of the best fast-food fries. So get those condiments ready because when you're done reading, you'll be hungry for fries — and know exactly where to find them.

12. Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: Freddy's Fries

Freddy's Fries should come with a disclaimer. You see, they're closer to shoestring potatoes than anything else. If that's your thing, you'll absolutely love them. However, we found their size and texture disappointing. They're super thin, and with so much surface area, they lack that soft, fluffy center.

We're definitely not the only ones who feel this way. According to one Tripadvisor review, "the fries are quite possibly the smallest fries in the history of the world. They tasted decent, but you have to grab a half dozen or more at a time because each one is so small. The novelty wears off quickly when frustration sets in. I much prefer a standard cut french fry."

Freddy's Fries aren't amazing on their own, but they make an excellent crunchy addition to your burger. Just lift that bun and top your patty with these skinny potatoes. You'll be enhancing both the burger and the fries.  

11. Arby's: Crinkle Fry

Arby's is well-known for its curly fries. But to diversify its menu, the restaurant launched crinkle-cut fries in 2021. It's good to have options; crinkle-cut fries offer something unique while still resembling standard french fries. Their deep ridges are perfect for scooping up extra sauce. And with less coating than curly fries, the potatoes retain their piping hot temperature longer. Crinkle-cut fries also have a crunchier exterior with a much softer center.

But unfortunately, the crinkle-cut fries haven't received as much love as their curly counterparts. As one Reddit user put it, "After eating about half the fries, I would've bet my life that they went to the grocery store and bought frozen fries." We all know exactly what they're talking about. There's something about frozen fries that is a dead giveaway. Perhaps it's the extra hot, crispy outside contrasted with a slightly cold middle. 

We're unsure whether these fries are actually defrosted. And although they do remind us of school cafeterias, we can't help but love that crinkly quality.

10. In-N-Out Burger: French Fries

In-N-Out prides itself on its quality and gets bonus points for using fresh potatoes sliced in-store. But the "Fresh cut" marketing tactic isn't fooling us. Perhaps because the potatoes are so fresh, there's no time to blanch them. Soaking potatoes before cooking them enhances the taste. Skipping this step could explain the cardboard-like texture you often get from In-N-Out fries. And it's a good thing they offer salt packets. These fries always seem to need ... something.

However, there is something that keeps us coming back for more In-N-Out. It may be their nostalgic-like quality and the company culture. In-N-Out puts out happy vibes — and good burgers. Let's be honest; nobody is coming here for the fries alone. But alongside a delicious cheeseburger, the fries automatically taste better.

Plus, there are sneaky ways to upgrade these fries. If you want them a bit crispier, order them well-done. And if that's not enough, order your In-N-Out fries animal-style. They'll be topped with grilled onions, melted cheese, and something resembling Thousand Island dressing. With all those extra goodies, it's easy to overlook some inadequacies. So try animal-style and don't be scared to get your hands dirty. It'll be worth it. 

9. Taco Bell: Nacho Fries

These are nacho-average fries. Taco Bell's Nacho Fries stand out because they're slightly thicker and coated with tasty Mexican seasoning. Served with a cheese dipping sauce, it provides a nice change of pace from the usual ketchup.

However, the fries have some serious pros and cons. The fry size feels perfect — there's no need to grab a handful, and each fry is satisfying solo. But where Taco Bell falls short is its reliability. On one Reddit thread, a consumer posed the bold question, "is this the most inconsistent item of all time?" Another chimed in, "When they're fresh and heavily seasoned, they are ... heavenly." Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Many complain the Nacho Fries are far too soggy and lack enough flavor. It really depends on the day and location, making the Nacho Fries quite the gamble.

Taco Bell is also quite flighty with the fries. They keep disappearing and reappearing on the menu. In a 2022 investor meeting, Taco Bell CEO Mark King stated, "we offer fries half the time," but also noted the company was considering bringing them back "permanently on to the menu" (via CNN). So if you see the Nacho Fries on the menu, try them for yourself (and keep your fingers crossed that they're tasty). Why not live a little, right? Or, as Taco Bell puts it, "Live Más."

8. Chick-fil-A: Waffle Potato Fries

If you enjoy waffle fries, you'll love Chick-fil-A's. According to a 2019 Chick-fil-A article, Waffle Potato Fries are the chain's most-ordered item — beating out even its beloved chicken products. It was also voted the No. 1 fast-food item in America by The Ringer. When we tasted them, we weren't at all surprised. They had an addictive quality that kept us reaching for more. If we knew how to, we'd make Chick-fil-A's waffle fries at home.

Their funky size and surface area are perfect for dipping. You've basically got a fried potato as a spoon to scoop up as much sauce as you'd like. So go to town with those condiments, or even use it to shovel up Chick-fil-A's Chicken Chili.

It's hard to imagine anyone not loving these fries. However, if you like to keep it classic, the crisscross shape might not suit you. And let's get real, each waffle fry is significantly larger than a regular fry, meaning there's a lot less quantity-wise in one serving, lowering its shareability. So if your friends are hungry, keep a watchful eye on those waffles.

7. KFC: Secret Recipe Fries

Steak fry lovers are mourning the death of KFC Wedges. It's hard to find a fast-food chain selling solid steak fries. So when the company rolled out its Secret Recipe Fries, we were sad to hear they would replace the wedges. Instead of being excited by a new fry addition, many have rebelled against the Secret Recipe Fries.

But after shaking off some disappointment, we mustered up the appetite to try KFC's Secret Recipe Fries and were pleasantly surprised. These fries contain a blend of herbs and spices reminiscent of KFC's fried chicken. They also have a battered coating much more akin to chicken strips than any other fry on this list. They're still not wedges, but all in all, they were delicious.

If you try them, you just might enjoy them. They're skinnier than their predecessor, but they have just as much — if not more — flavor. And if you don't believe us, the Fast Food Geek corroborates this, "I myself am a big fan of loading up boardwalk fries with seasoning salt, and to me, the KFC Secret Recipe is an even better coating on potatoes ... and by evidence of my fingers being dredged in the stuff, they are very liberal with the coating."

6. Wendy's: Hot & Crispy Fries

In the past, Wendy's fries were nothing to write home about. However, they've gotten a makeover throughout the years — and deservingly climbed the ranks. In 2010, Wendy's went for a natural cut, leaving the skin on, and started using sea salt. And in 2021, the company introduced its "Hot & Crispy" fries. While they may look deceivingly similar to the previous version, these potatoes have a crispier coating and are fried differently. The result is a crunchier batch of fries that stays hotter longer.

But what really completes the Hot & Crispy fries are Frosties. People have been ordering fries with milkshakes since soda shop days — dipping a fry or two in their shake out of curiosity. However, it wasn't until 2014 that Wendy's Tweeted, "If you don't dip your fries in your #Frosty, you aren't living life." This solidified the idea that fries go well with Frosties — and it turns out, there's science to prove it.

Salt and sweetness don't compete for flavor. In contrast, they can actually enhance one another. A 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that there are additional sugar receptors on the tongue that are only activated with salt. So, when you eat something salty, these tiny taste buds pick up on the sweetness of the meal. Salty and sweet are some of the most crave-worthy flavors out there. So go ahead ... indulge in this finger-food favorite. Those taste buds are just waiting to be activated.

5. Jack in the Box: Curly Fries

You know when you're approaching a Jack in the Box because it has a very specific — and intoxicating — smell. A big part of that mouthwatering aroma comes from the chain's curly fries. After all, when you order a meal, the staff often upsell you with a side of curlies — and it's an easy sell. These fries are beautifully battered on the outside and come perfectly seasoned.

If there's any criticism, it's that there's too much coating and not enough going on underneath. In a 2010 review by Brand Eating, the blogger described that "Jack's Seasoned Curly Fries are deep-fried to a crisp and are sliced fairly thin. While almost crunchy, they can be a bit on the dry side inside. Their seasoning is spot on, with just the right amount of seasoning and salt for most."

We don't feel they're overly fried, but we'd agree with the rest. And while they don't quite reach that top spot on our chart, Jack's Curly Fries are a fast-food favorite. So if it's between Jack's regular or curly, we say curly all the way.

4. Popeyes: Cajun Fries

What really elevates Popeyes fries is the Cajun seasoning. We got lost in the paprika, chili, garlic, and black pepper flavors. Other fast-food seasonings can't quite compare. One Reddit user definitely agrees: "When it comes to all those chains, you really need ketchup or something ... to complete the fries. However, Popeyes fries are seasoned with many other spices that make them extremely enjoyable, even without sauce."

When it comes to flavor, Popeyes may be in a league of its own. Unfortunately, the quality can be hit or miss. It's not all that uncommon to get a batch of soggy spuds. So should you sacrifice texture for flavor? Absolutely not. Avoid overly soft fries by ordering them well-done. Problem solved.

There's a reason so many copycat recipes exist. When done right, Popeyes Cajun Fries are phenomenal. They are one of the few fast-food fries you can eat sans sauce. But, when feeling extra indulgent, we still love dipping them into Popeyes' buttermilk ranch dressing.

3. Five Guys: Regular Fries

Let's start with what we love. Five Guys prides itself on being a natural fast-food chain. The restaurants don't use freezers, meaning their fries are sourced from fresh potatoes, with some branches displaying the potato farm's name on a whiteboard (per USA Today). If you walk into a Five Guys, you'll know exactly where today's fries came from and see stacks of real potatoes. The overall message is, "Our fries are naturally delicious, and we have nothing to hide."

When you look at the actual fries, it's obvious they're fresh and sliced in-store. Being a natural-cut fry, the skin is still attached. But instead of just leaving a small portion for visual effect, many Five Guys' fries have the whole length of fries covered. When you bite down, you'll get to tear through a bonus layer of crispy skin before reaching the pillowy-soft center. And as another plus, these fries come in huge portion sizes. Fries are meant to be shared, and it's apparent Five Guys feels the same way.

However, the Regular Fries didn't reach the top spot for a reason. Five Guys' fries are delicious, but they still lack that wow factor, and even the Cajun version is a bit lackluster. If you're more about the texture than the seasonings, Five Guys has your back. But if you're a flavor fiend, keep the salt handy.

2. Burger King: Classic Fries

Is BK the king of all french fries? Well, Burger King's fries do consistently rate high among consumers. In a 2014 survey on Statista, 10% of Americans polled said Burger King had the best fries of all. Yes, McDonald's may have taken the first-place prize, but this runner-up does many things right.

For one, Burger King fries have the thickness of a hand-cut fry but with the smooth exterior of a skinny fry. So if you're not into potato skins but like a thicker fry, Burger King is the answer. Secondly, they strike the perfect balance in the texture department. Burger King's fries are crisp on the outside and like a soft, baked potato in the center.

The only real complaint people sometimes have is that they're not salty enough. But even that is debatable. On Reddit, one diehard fan has no doubts that Burger King has the best fries, saltiness and all: "They always taste fresh. They are rarely ever soggy. They are so thick, so they have a nice mouth feel. They go good with everything. I don't understand the hate behind them. People say they don't salt the fries, but they do and it's a perfect amount. We have just grown accustomed to sodium-loaded fries."

1. McDonald's: World Famous Fries

It feels appropriate that the gold medal goes to The Golden Arches. In a Mashed survey, over 40% of Americans said McDonald's had the best fries. And no, we're not just agreeing with the masses. We genuinely believe McDonald's deserves the title of "best fast-food fries." There's nothing quite as reliable as McDonald's fries. Regardless of which branch you visit, these skinny sticks are consistently salty, crispy, and piping hot.

McDonald's is synonymous with fries, and the numbers speak for themselves. According to a 2018 Fox News article, 7% of potatoes grown in the States wind up in McDonald's, and the chain sells roughly a third of all restaurant fries sold in the U.S. annually. That's a whole lot of potatoes.

McDonald's is so confident in its fry-making abilities that it even trademarked the name "World Famous Fries." While it may come off a bit cocky, the company is right. Everyone knows McDonald's fries. The company is the golden child of golden fries, and they live up to our expectations ... every single time. Even if you wanted an underdog to snag the No. 1 spot, we had to stay true to our taste buds. Because when biting into a McDonald's fry, we know what you're thinking ... "I'm lovin' it."

Static Media owns and operates Daily Meal and Mashed.