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Frozen french fries have so many great things going for them. First of all, fries are a fast and easy side dish that go with almost anything. Another plus? When fries are on the menu, you don’t have to beg your kids to come to the table. Last but not least, they’re an easy way to satisfy your fry cravings without having to make a trip to a drive-thru. I don’t know about you, but that’s reason enough for me to keep a bag in the freezer at all times.
How I Chose the Frozen Fries
Out of the many different kinds of frozen fries to choose from, we set out to find out which ones actually cook up as deliciously as the picture on the bag. For consistency’s sake, I chose not to include any crinkle, curly, or waffle fries, or any big, thick, steak fry wedges. This was simply a test of straight-up fries (like the kind you’d get at a fast food joint). Some brands call them “shoestring,” others call them “straight cut.” Some are thicker than others, but all fit firmly within the “classic fry” category.
The most important lesson I learned throughout this long and tedious process: Don’t overcrowd the pan. The more room you can give the fries, the more likely they’ll cook up crispy outside and tender inside.
The Best Fast Food-Style Frozen Fries: Alexia House Cut Fries
Alexia’s shoestring (aka fast food-style) fries bake up perfectly crispy with rich potato flavor, perhaps due to the little bit of potato skin left on them. They’re already seasoned with sea salt, but sprinkle some more on top and you won’t be able to stop eating them. These are blessedly simple with just five recognizable ingredients (potatoes, oil, salt, apple juice concentrate to promote browning, and citric acid).
Buy: Alexia House Cut Fries with Sea Salt, $3.69 for 28 ounces at Target
The Crispiest Frozen Fries: Market Pantry Crispy Shoestring Fries
They’re not battered like those irresistible fries you get at brewpubs and ball games, but they sure look and taste like it. These shoestring fries cooked up the crispiest of the bunch, thanks to being tossed in some sort of starch mixture. It makes for a long ingredients list but, if you’re a crunch monster, these are for you.
The Best Thick-Cut Frozen Fries: Kroger French Fries
Somewhere between shoestring and steak fries, these thicker-cut sticks tasted the most salty and savory of all. The savoriness was so pronounced I had to check the label to see if they were doused with broth (they weren’t). Crispy on the outside, the interior texture was like smooth, salty mashed potatoes. Get these if you prefer the kinds of fries that are thick enough to soak up ketchup, malt vinegar, or gravy.
Do you have a go-to brand of frozen french fries you like to make at home?