“Would you like fries with that?”
This age-old fast-food query is almost always greeted with a “yes” answer, and in many cases that answer also comes with a sarcastic “duh” expression. That’s because the McDonald’s World-Famous Fries is basically a legend in the fast-food industry. It represents the best there is when it comes to French fries. It’s the French fries version of Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, and Michael Jordan. It’s the GOAT—the greatest of all time.
Some say it was even better back then, when McDonald’s used beef tallow to fry the fries. That was before people insisted that even fast-food joints were supposed to jump into the health food industry.
But even now, regardless of how McDonald’s fries their fries, it’s still better than the rest. That’s the general consensus, though you can always find contrarians here and there. These fries offer the perfect blend of saltiness and crispness, and somehow, eating these fries is addictive. And when you consider that you can get an order of French fries for $2.79, it’s a veritable bargain.
Of course, there are challengers. And to make sure that McDonald’s doesn’t just rest on its laurels, you can always try the other fries at other joints. Some are good enough that you won’t exactly find it a punishment to taste them.
Let’s start, shall we?
Five Guys French Fries (but not the Cajun Fries)
The brains at Five Guys sure stumbled upon the perfect way of having fantastic fries. First, they source their potatoes from various farms in Idaho. They never use frozen potatoes. Instead, they use freshly peeled potatoes that have been cut down into slices by hand. Then they double-fry the fries, and use premium peanut oil.
Of course, the quality of these fries depends on how you consume it. Order these fries for takeout, and you just end up with a rather soggy mess of grease.
But if you eat these fries right when you get them, it’s a glorious experience. Each bite is an absolute delight, with that ideal crisp on the outside and the hot buttery potato on the inside. Just get some Cajun seasoning, get about 5 packets of pepper, and experiment to get that taste you want.
Rally’s (AKA Checkers) Seasoned Fries
You go to McDonald’s for the burgers, and the fries is just an (important) afterthought. But the seasoned fries are why you’d want to go to Rally’s in the first place.
They mix in the right proportions of paprika seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder. They use plenty of batter, yet they also succeed in ending up with the perfect crisp outside and buttery inside without having issues with sogginess. These fries don’t trap the grease inside, and that’s quite a relief.
Popeyes Cajun Fries2
The Popeye chicken menu items have been dominating the fast-food headlines for quite a while now, and many consider their Cajun fries as a worthy competitor to the iconic McDonald’s fries. They’re great, especially with the Popeyes chicken sandwich.
You’ve got the exterior, seasoned with black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion. Try these fries while they’re crisp and hot, and they’re fantastic. What’s really surprising is that even if you get this for takeout, it’s still tastes great when it turns soggy later on. The smell is also terrific, and you don’t get that strange greasy aftertaste you normally do with other curly fries.
Wendy’s Hot & Crispy Fries
For the longest time, the Wendy’s fries weren’t all that good. But a recent change in their French fry recipe improved things a lot, which explains its presence on this list. Nobody really expected these fries to turn out so well.
The problem with the old recipe is that their skin-on potatoes had this weird earthy taste. Wendy’s tried to cover that up with plenty of sea salt, but that didn’t do the taste any favors.
With this new recipe, that earthy taste is gone, yet they still use skin-on potatoes. It’s great, as long as you eat it fresh. Wait too long, and that great taste mostly disappears.
It’s true that for most fast-food aficionados, McDonald’s offers the very best option when it comes to French fries. It’s just a tragedy, however, that today’s fans won’t be able to get the original version, which used beef tallow. You can make your own recipe of the McDonald’s French fries using beef tallow, but it’s just not the same.
In any case, if you’re ordering a burger (or just about any meal) from McDonald’s, it’s simply SOP to get the French fries as well. At least you know that when it comes to French fries, you’re getting the best there is.