Even though their name sounds very international, french fries are about as American as any food can be -- they're deep-fried, they're the quintessential vehicle for ketchup (America's favorite condiment, hands down), and they're made from one of the country's most bountiful crops, potatoes. However, while french fries are so popular in the U.S. that they can be found on most menus, those who know fries know that the standard, mediocre orders stand worlds apart from the outstanding examples (Credit: Facebook/Boise Fry Company).
So what makes a perfect fry? There's the crunchiness element for sure -- that crisp exterior texture that holds up against the impending threat of sogginess. Then, the soft, fluffy interior, filled with potato that's cooked through but not dried out or raw-tasting. The color also comes into play -- the best fries have that undeniable golden-brown hue. When all of these elements come together, they create the perfect fry that needs no condiments.
Creating this list was no easy feat, as fries are so prevalent in the U.S. and there are so many varieties to consider. To start things off, we compiled the "best of" fries lists from publications across the country and noted fries that have won awards for their excellence in the past two years. Then, we consulted The Daily Meal's knowledgeable editorial staff and network of acclaimed experts and contributors to get their take on the nominations and help to narrow down the choices. From there, the 15 best fries in America emerged.
For the purposes of this list, only standard potato fries are being considered, not including sweet potato fries. While yucca, avocado, and other alterna-fries are certainly delectable, this list accounts only for the classic spud-derived variety. By the same token, some fries on this list may come doused in white truffle oil and accompanied by the likes of smoky tomato ketchup, but they made the list because the fries are outstanding on their own.
- Molly Aronica, The Daily Meal