From Truffle to Tater Tots: 20 French Fry Styles You Need to Know About

different styles of french fries

French fries, those crispy, golden fried sticks of delight, have become a beloved staple around the world. But where did they first originate? The answer is a bit more complex than you might think. Let’s peel back those starchy layers and explore the history of French fries.

The Controversy: French or Belgian?

Contrary to popular belief, French fries did not actually originate in France. Instead, we can trace their true origins to 17th-century Europe, specifically the region of Flanders, which spans parts of modern-day Belgium. It was here that fried potatoes first gained popularity. The name “French fries” itself is somewhat misleading—it doesn’t refer to the country of origin but rather to the technique used to cut the potatoes into thin strips (julienning).

Fryology 101: A Deep Dive into 20 Types of French Fries

Warm up your deep fryers or kick on your air fryers and get your condiments and dips ready. From classic to creative, here’s our list covering the 20 most popular varieties of fries and their unique characteristics:

1. Standard Cut Fries

These are the classic, straight-cut fries. Thin, crispy, and universally loved, they’re perfect for dipping in ketchup or ranch. These fries can be found practically anywhere including fast food restaurants, diners, fast casual establishments and beyond!

2. Natural Cut Fries

Retaining the potato skin, natural cut fries are thicker than standard cut fries. They have a hearty texture and a rustic feel. Purists will say these are only meant for ketchup, but no is policing your sauce choices, so go ahead and experiment with your favorite sauces.

3. Steak Fries

Thick, chunky, and satisfying, steak fries resemble mini potato wedges. Ideal for pairing with steak or burgers. Just don’t let these fries sit for too long or your will have a texture more along the lines of baked potato.

4. Curly Fries

Spiraled and seasoned, curly fries add a fun twist to the classic. Their shape allows for maximum crunchiness. The only downside is that these fries tend to get tangled up with each other which make make dipping and eatting a bit more challenging.

5. Shoestring Fries

Ultra-thin and delicate, shoestring fries are crispy but can get oily easily. Not the best for dipping or layering with toppings. Also don’t let them sit for too long or they will become extra crunchy.

6. Waffle Fries

Lattice-patterned and thick, waffle fries hold toppings like cheese and bacon beautifully. A favorite at fast-food joints.

7. Sweet Potato Fries

Made from sweet potatoes, these fries are slightly sweet, crispy, and nutritious. Dip them in honey mustard or spicy ketchup.

8. Belgian Fries (Frites)

Double-fried for extra crispiness, Belgian fries are a national treasure. Served with an array of sauces such as curry ketchup or mayo.

9. Tater Tots

Cute and nostalgic, tater tots are grated and formed into bite-sized cylinders. Perfect for snacking. It is not uncommon to find these filled with sweet potatoes instead of your standard potato.

10. Potato Wedges

Thick wedges of potato, seasoned and baked or fried. Hearty and great for sharing. These chunky fries pair nicely with a lot of sauces but a lot of people prefer to dip them in creamy garlic infused sauce.

11. Crinkle Cut Fries

Wavy-cut with ridges, crinkle cut fries hold onto seasoning. A hit at fast casual restaurants and diners. Pairs very nicely with french fry sauce, which is just a mixture of mayo, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, dill relish, mustard and a dash of hot sauce!

12. Tornado Fries

Spiral-cut and skewered, tornado fries are street food and carnival favorites. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Typically a serving is a single potato but dont let that fool you because it is a bit of task to eat the whole thing.

13. Truffle Fries

Elevated fries coated in truffle oil and sprinkled with Parmesan. A luxurious treat for foodies and the standard style at any hipster establishment. Most likely paired with an aioli sauce for dipping.

14. Pommes Soufflés

Thin, puffed-up chips made by frying paper-thin potato slices twice. Elegant and delicate. Pommes soufflées are best enjoyed on their own, as their delicate texture and crispy exterior need no anything else.

15. Cheesy Fries

Fries topped with melted cheese—often cheddar or mozzarella. Add bacon bits or jalapeños for extra flavor. Can be found with nacho cheese sauce on the side as well at many fast food establishments.

16. Home Fries

Cubed and pan-fried potatoes seasoned with herbs and peppers. A classic breakfast side dish typically served with omelets. These can be found at diners across the United States.

17. Loaded Fries

Piled high with toppings like chili, cheese, sour cream, and green onions. A hearty indulgence. There are some variations such as the infamous Animal Style Fries from In-N-Out Burger which are topped with grilled onions, melted american cheese and their thousand island sauce.

18. Poutine

A Canadian delight! Fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Comfort food at its best. They can be found in the United States as well, where they are usually called disco fries

19. Hash Browns

Shredded or grated potatoes fried until crispy. A breakfast staple alongside eggs and bacon. They can come in multiple varieties such as the easy to eat handheld version typically sold at fast food joints or the shredded type typically found at diners.

20. British Chips

These aren’t your standard chips per say. In the United Kingdom fries are known as chips but they aren't thin but somewhat similar to steak fries but they are typically seasoned with vinegar and served with battered and fried fish.

Whether you’re a purist or an adventurous fry lover, there’s a type of French fry for everyone.