A vote has been held and the verdict is in. Here are the best and worst fast-food fries according to the media and everyday consumers.
These crispy, savory, golden brown, and just downright delicious French fries have always been a crowd favorite. In fact, they’ve set the bar for all fast-food fries. Perhaps that’s why other establishments taste-test against McDonald’s fries when they want consumers to know their fries are really good.
So, what is it that makes McDonald’s French fries taste so yummy? They have a special flavoring that enhances their taste. According to the company, natural beef flavoring is what gives their World Famous Fries® that one-of-a-kind, easily recognizable taste.
2. Shake Shack
Depending on who you ask, Shake Shack has better French fries than McDonald’s. One Eat This, Not That! editor said “they taste like a real potato — perfectly crunchy and salty. That’s saying a lot for a crinkle-cut fry. I usually hate them.” A writer from BUSINESS INSIDER described them as golden and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and savory — with just a hint of sweetness. Other fans agree that these fries are way ahead of the competition despite the fact that crinkle-cut is their least favorite style of French fry.
FUN FACT: Shake Shack started out as a hot dog stand. Today they’re known not only for their crinkle-cut fries but for their burgers, too.
3. Burger King
Unlike McDonald’s, Burger King is more known for it’s burgers — namely the Whopper — than it is for it’s French fries. Perhaps that’s why consumers don’t rave about them as much as they do others. Still, they did have some (semi-) positive comments made about them. For example, BUSINESS INSIDER notes that unlike other fast-food fries, Burger King’s fries don’t have metallic undertones, plus they have the perfect amount of salt. On the downside, their core is too soft and a bit gritty.
As for the Eat This, Not That! editors, these fries were the worst. “We were not fans of the fake potato taste,” they said. They also said they tasted stale and didn’t have enough salt. One editor even said they had a bad aftertaste.
4. Five Guys
I’ve only had these fries once (perhaps I need to get out more), but the experience was one I’ll never forget. They came in a greasy brown paper bag (a lunch bag, not the grocery store sized bags) and were very tasty. Perhaps that was because of the peanut oil they fried them in. Or, perhaps it was because they used real, freshly cut potatoes. Or, maybe it was because they served me a heaping portion of them. Whatever the case, I’m not alone in my sentiment. One Eat This, Not That! editor voted them as her top pick. She said they “taste like actual potatoes; just the right amount of salt, the skin on them adds a nice flavor.”
5. Steak ‘n Shake
According to the TODAY Show, one of the things people love about Steak ‘n Shake fries is their crunchiness. Their thinness is also loved by many, including Thrillist senior food editor Matt Lynch. “It definitely makes it easier to say, ‘Oh fine, one more handful’ while inadvisably working your way through a 7×7 burger,” he wrote in an article. He also mentions, however, that their thinness also makes them more prone to becoming stiff and unpleasant more quickly as they cool compared to thicker fries. But, he does offer a simple solution to this problem: Eat them quickly!
Like Burger King, Chick-Fil-A is loved more for its sandwiches than its fries. As a result, consumers are split down the middle when it comes to the Chick-Fil-A waffle fry. Some say it’s too much like a potato and doesn’t have enough crunch. Others say they love its saltiness. Regardless of how you feel about them, you can’t deny that they have somewhat of a cult following. And, if you insult them in front of one of their followers, you just might get a tongue lashing — as did LA Times food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson, who referred to these fries as soft, mealy and mediocre. In response, Chick-Fil-A fans took to social media to sound off. Earlier this year Emmy-nominated Weather Channel assignment editor Ryan Sloane (@RyanFSloane) tweeted the following:
The news is stressful to follow these days. Lately, it seems as though any news headline is enough to set someone off. Wait a minute…WHAT DO YOU MEAN CHICK FIL A FRIES ARE JUST MEDIOCRE?! You’ve made a powerful enemy, LA Times
French fry power rankings lat.ms/2BzDEz1 pic.twitter.com/ar4P2AR67A
Who remembers Wendy’s fries before they switched to natural-cut sea salt fries? They may not have stacked up against McDonald’s fries at the time, but they were pretty decent — especially when it came to dipping them in your Frosty. Unfortunately, many consumers don’t care much for the natural-cut sea salt version. Some Eat This, Not That! editors found the fries to be a bit limp and underwhelming, while others loved them.
As for BUSINESS INSIDER, Wendy’s fries are a cross between a McDonald’s fry and a Five Guys fry, but with metallic, processed undertones. They also said they were a bit pungent, dry, undersalted, and had a texture more like mashed potatoes.
One advantage Arby’s fries may have over others is that there aren’t too many other establishments selling curly fries. Another advantage is their seasoning, which, according to Eat This, Not That!, some consider top-notch. With its blend of onion, paprika and pepper, it’s one of the spiciest fast-food fries out there. These fries are also batter dipped, which lends to their crispy coating. Wanna enjoy these fries even more? Lynch recommends topping them off with a combination of Arby’s Sauce and Horsey Sauce, Arby’s very own version of horseradish sauce.
According to The Patriot-News, the the largest newspaper serving the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area, Hardee’s French fries are the bomb dot com! Okay, those weren’t their exact words, but you get the point. What they did say is this: “We never saw this coming – Hardee’s plain fries rocked it out of the fast food park… The chain’s fries don’t pretend to be some all-natural hybrid; just a standard fast food French fry. They were hot, perfectly salted and tender with an ideal ratio of crispiness.”
Like others on this list, this establishment is more loved for its burgers than anything else. In fact, many people hate In-N-Out’s fries. Twitter user @ScottWamplerBMD said he was “delighted to see the LA Times dragging In-N-Out’s fries to Hell, where they belong.” Another Twitter user @elinashatkin agreed: “In & Out is a terrrrrrrrrible fry. Terrible. Glad to see it in the bottom.”
As for LA Times food columnist Lucas Peterson, he refers to them as “bland, crumbly little matchsticks that aren’t improved by any amount of ketchup, salt, cheese, or salad dressing you want to add to them.”
So, there you have it. These are the best and worst fast food French fries according to all the foodies out there. What do you think? Leave us a comment below.