The Ultimate Guide to French Fries: From History to Recipes
The average American eats around 29 pounds of french fries each year. Canada has the largest producer of frozen fries in the world. In Belgium, where the population is 11.5 million, there are over 5,000 fry vendors.
Our point: People love fries.
And, how can we blame them? They're salty and crunchy, and come in so many delicious forms, from classic hand-cut to sweet potato. So what's the story behind this fave food? We created this guide– with history and cooking tips– for all you fry fanatics.
The (debated) origins of fries
Gather round the fire for storytime, kids. Fries are a staple on burger restaurant menus around the world. How'd that happen? Let's go back to the beginning. Some say the first fry entered the world in 1680. The story goes that in one (francophone) Belgian town, the locals loved fried fish. Then, one winter, the local river froze over and people started fry potatoes to replace their usual go-to. Just like that, the fry was born. But, wait, why is it called the French fry? The Belgians have an explanation for that too. American soldiers were stationed there at the time (WWI) and gave the dish its misleading name.
As you might've expected, the French have found some holes in this story. One culinary historian says that the timeline doesn't add up because potatoes weren't even introduced to the region until around 1735. Many French believe the fry entered the world in the late 18th century as the pomme Pont-Neuf— fried potatoes made by vendors on Paris' oldest bridge.
While it's hard to find or agree on the exact origins of the french fry, one thing is for sure: the world loves 'em.
The different types of fries
These fries are cut directly from potatoes with a knife or similar tool. They may also be referred to as shoestring fries, because of their thin, string-like shape. They're usually thicker than other types of fries, and this gives them a memorable texture and flavor. This is the classic fry, and if you're craving them we know just the burger restaurant to visit.
Thin strips of potato that are shaped into curls. Think of them as the classic hand-cut fry's cool cousin who's visiting from Montreal. They're great with cajun seasoning, and the spiral allows dipping sauce to cling in the many creases. Let's be real, the best reason to order curly fries is that they’re fun.
Sweet potato fries
Made from sweet potatoes, these fries have a sugarier taste and creamier texture than the classic. To lean into the sweetness, add a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg to them. Otherwise, it’s a great option when you’re craving that sweet-salty contrast.
Zucchini fries are a (slightly) healthier twist on their spud relatives. Hey, you're eating a vegetable. They’re made from thinly sliced zucchini that is then dipped in a batter, rolled in breadcrumbs, and fried. The result? A delicious alternative to traditional fries.
Tips and tricks for perfect fries every time
We've made a few fries in our day. Here are a few tips and tricks when you're in the mood to get fryin'.
- Start with cold potatoes – this ensures even cooking and helps them crisp up nicely.
- Soak your fries in cold water before frying – this removes the excess starch and helps them stay crispy.
- Fry twice – frying fries once won't get you the desired crispness, so make sure to fry them twice for optimal crunchiness. The first fry is at a lower temperature usually around 300F and the second fry is at 350F to finish it off.
- Use a high smoke point oil – vegetable oil or canola oil are both great choices for fries as they have high smoke points.
- Season your fries – don't forget to season fries with salt, pepper, or whatever spices you like before frying!
Fries! They're a burger's best friend. They're salty, crunchy, and golden, and you can't stop ordering them from your favorite burger restaurant. Curly fries, hand-cut fries, sweet potato fries— the options are as endless as your love. And, while the history of fries is debated, one thing is for sure: better fries are in your future 🔮🔮.
Satisfy Your Fry Craving at BFF
BFF isn’t your typical burger n’ fries joint. Our food helps to remove barriers and unite people from different backgrounds over memorable and nostalgic flavors. With quality ingredients and creative combos, we aim to be your (tastebuds’) BFF. Stop by one of our locations in Ottawa or Toronto.
Order takeout or delivery directly through our website, and tag us in pics of your fave BFF foods @burgersnfriesforever.