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Types Of Fries: The Complete Guide

Types Of Fries

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If you’re like most Americans, you have probably had french fries within the past few weeks. Whether you’re a fast food regular, a dedicated diner customer, or a food truck fanatic, french fries are probably on the menu at a lot of restaurants that you may frequent. They may not be healthy food, but they are a great little treat.

There are many different types of fries, many of which can be distinguished by how the potatoes are cut. Waffle fries, curly fries, steak fries, and home fries all have a place in our hearts. Fries can also be adapted to fit almost any cuisine, such as by seasoning them with curry powder and serving them with a yogurt sauce for an Indian fusion flare.

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Why Are Fries So Popular?

French fries – also known as chips in the U.K. – are a simple, absolutely delicious food. They are made from three basic ingredients (although more can be added): potatoes, oil, and salt. The process to make them is simple – cut potatoes into a desired shape, dry them, fry them, and then season them while hot. If you choose to use frozen fries, then having hot and crispy fries is an even faster process.

French fries got their name from the style of cooking – french-fried potatoes. This name may be traced back to the early 1800s when Thomas Jefferson wrote that he had potatoes served in the French manner. Over the years, “french fried potatoes” was shortened to french fries or simply fries. 

Fried potatoes have long been a staple food in the United States. In the 1940s, they were commercialized with the introduction of frozen pre-cut fries that could be easily fried or baked. Fast food chains like McDonald’s expanded their popularity, as it became a common side dish for burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.

The appeal of french fries isn’t a mystery. They’re crispy, salty, delicious, and a perfect complement to various dipping sauces (even beyond ketchup). It is little wonder, then, that Americans consume a LOT of french fries. On average, Americans eat 30 pounds of french fries each year.

For restaurant owners, having fries on the menu is a pretty easy choice. They’re economical, which means that they tend to have a high-profit margin. Fries are infinitely adaptable, capable of being fancied up to be served alongside a perfectly cooked steak – and dressed down to be food truck or stadium fare. They can be served at any meal. The most important reason to have fries on your menu, however, is that people love them.

Different Types of French Fries

At its heart, french fries all have the same basic ingredients: potatoes, some type of fat, and a seasoning. Yet there are so many different ways to make and enjoy fries, from cutting them in different ways to unique flavorings. Read on to learn more!

Standard Cut Fries

Standard Cut French Fries

A basic french fry is a simple baton shape. These fries don’t require any special equipment and have just the right shape for a balance between crispy outside and soft inside. They can be served with any number of seasonings and dips, or used as a base for another dish, like poutine.

Hash Browns

While some may argue about whether a hash brown qualifies as a fry, it contains the same basic elements: potatoes fried in oil. Hash browns are made by shredding potatoes, forming them into a patty, and then cooking them until crispy. They are most often served with breakfast.

Steak Fries

Steak fries are a thicker cut of french fries. They are often served alongside main courses other than burgers and hot dogs – such as a steak or a more upscale sandwich. These fries are perfect for anyone who prefers a lot of potato interior compared to the crispy outside.

Crinkle-Cut Fries 

Crinkle-cut fries are any type of french fries that are cut into a crinkly shape. These ridges give a bit of extra crispiness, plus a place where seasoning can nestle. These fries are often served at chains like Raising Canes.

Bistro Fries

Bistro fries are a slight variation on the classic french fry. They are made by cutting the potato into a standard fry shape, although the skin is usually left on the potato. The fries are soaked in water for several hours before being dried and fried, which removes some of the starches and makes for a much crispier french fry.

Truffle Fries

Truffle fries are typically made with truffle oil, rather than truffles themselves (which are a type of rare, expensive mushroom that grow underground). Truffles have an earthy, woodsy flavor that many people love. These fries usually come with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs to compliment the truffle flavor.

Cheese Fries

Let’s face it: one of the few things better than combining carbs and cheese. Often found at fun places like amusement parks, beach snack bars, or ballparks, cheese fries are a great option. They can consist of any type of fry, topped by a cheese sauce (typically canned, although it could be homemade for a more elevated version of a classic).


Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries are a bit controversial, as some people believe that they aren’t really fries at all. They typically have a sweeter flavor than fries made with white potatoes and are often paired with a spicy or sweet dipping sauce.

Shoestring Fries

Shoestring fries are cut into very small pieces, typically ⅛ inch to ¼ inch in width. This gives them a high ratio of crispy exterior to soft interior. They are often longer in length and aren’t as uniform as matchstick fries.

Matchstick Fries

Matchstick fries are – you guessed it – fries that are cut into the shape of matchsticks. They are similar in size to shoestring fries but are cut into a uniform shape. Given their small size, matchstick fries pack a lot of crunch. They are the perfect option for people who love the exterior of fries but aren’t huge fans of too much potato-y interior.

Pommes Souffles

Pommes souffles are a French style of fry (unlike almost every other fry that is typically made in America). These fries are almost potato chip-like in appearance and texture. To make them, potatoes are cut into coins, and then fried twice – first at a low temperature to form a crust, and then at a higher temperature to puff the potato into a ball shape.

Tater Tots

As with hash browns, there may be some question as to whether tater tots qualify as a french fry. These little nuggets of shredded potatoes are fried and seasoned until golden brown. They can be used in any way that french fries are used – and even in more fun dishes like “tot-chos” (nachos made with tater tots instead of tortilla chips).

Potato Smiles

Found in the frozen food section, potato smiles are sort of a combination between a french fry and a tater tot. The base is typically a mashed potato, which is then shaped into a circle with a smiley face. They can be a great addition to a kids’ menu. 

Battered Fries

One of the main reasons that people may send fries back to the kitchen is that they are limp or soggy. Battered fries can ensure that your restaurant’s fries are extra crispy. Like fried chicken, the potatoes are tossed in a batter before being deep fried. This gives the fries extra crunch.


A Canadian dish, poutine is made from a base of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Poutine is unique from cheese fries or even loaded fries, as you get a nice squeak from the cheese curds that plays well with the saltiness of the gravy. It is an excellent option for restaurant menus, as patrons will be delighted to try a little something different.

Waffle Fries

Waffle fries are incredibly popular thanks in large part to Chik-Fil-A, the chicken fast food chain that popularized them. These fries are cut into a lattice shape before being deep fried. This unique shape makes them easy to hold, plus the extra surface area means lots of crispiness and plenty of room for seasonings and dips.

Wedge-Cut Fries

Wedge-cut fries are a variation of steak fries. They are typically thicker than a steak fry, as they are made by cutting a potato into wedges. The skin is usually left on with wedge fries, which gives them extra texture. Like steak fries, they tend to have a higher ratio of fluffy potato to crunchy exterior.

Patatas Bravas

Often found on Spanish tapas menus, patatas bravas consist of some type of fried potato that is served in a bowl with a spicy tomato-based brava sauce. Of course, many restaurants take creative license with the dish and may serve the fried potato cubes or wedges with a different sauce, like a garlic aioli. This dish is a more upscale – and often more flavorful – way to serve fries at your restaurant.

Loaded Fries

Traditionally, fries were a side dish – but there is no reason that they can’t be a meal. Loaded fries consist of a base of french fries that can be topped with almost anything, from chili and cheese to bacon, sour cream, and cheese, to In-N-Out’s animal-style fries with American cheese, fried onions, and special sauce.

Curly Fries

Curly fries are french fries that are cut into a spiral shape. They are typically seasoned with a spice blend that includes cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper, which gives them a signature reddish-orange hue. The shape of these fries gives them plenty of room for crispy edges and plenty of seasoning.

Cottage Fries

Cottage fries look a bit like a thick potato chip. They are often found in pubs and are made by slicing potatoes into coins and then frying them in oil before adding seasonings. If you want to add a more unique french fry to your menu that is still fairly straightforward, then cottage fries are a good option.

Home Fries

Home fries are usually only found on breakfast menus. They are usually made by frying small potato cubes in oil, often with onions, garlic, and seasonings. These potatoes are perfect to serve alongside or underneath eggs.

Potato Tornadoes

Potato tornadoes aren’t seen on a lot of menus – but they’re a lot of fun. Essentially, a potato is cut into a spiral shape while leaving the potato itself intact. The spiralized potato is then fried, often on a skewer, resulting in a fun shape and tons of crispy goodness. These fries are most often found on boardwalks since it’s easy to walk and eat a french fry on a stick – but there is no reason that you can’t introduce it to your menu!

Want to Put Fries on Your Menu? We’ll Help You Serve Them in Style.

No matter which way you slice ‘em, fries have a place on almost every menu. They’re highly customizable, always popular, and relatively inexpensive to make. Having the right disposable products – such as custom wax paper and napkins to absorb any grease – can ensure that your customers leave happy.

Based in Michigan, Budget Branders works with independently owned restaurants and food trucks across the United States. We offer premium quality disposable products, including custom plastic cups, custom ice cream bowls, custom coffee cups, custom coffee sleeves, custom plastic stadium cups, custom ripple cups, custom soup bowls, and custom sandwich bags. We price our products fairly and sell them in quantities that every food service business can afford.

If you’re considering using branded disposable products in your restaurant, we are happy to help. To learn more or to request a quote, contact us today by pressing the live chat button, or sending us a message online.


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