I love French fries so much that I once moved my family across the U.S. to the potato capital, Idaho, for five years. OK, that is not really the reason we moved, but access to the best potatoes and French fries was a BIG bonus!
With two young kids in tow and a potato obsession, our family does eat a lot of French fries! National Geographic says that the average American eats about 30 pounds of fried spuds each year, so we aren’t alone in our French fry affair.
Surprisingly, as much as I love frozen nuggets and tater tots, I rarely buy frozen fries for my family. Too many sad, soggy ones turned me off from the convenience of pre-cut fries that have the potential to make weeknight dinners easier.
Yet now I have a tween who craves fast food and has a new interest in feeding herself by using the air fryer. So I set out on a quest to find a bag of French fries that is worth keeping in our freezer.
How We Selected the Frozen Fries to Taste Test
Oftentimes I ask friends or colleagues for their favorites before setting out on a taste test. This time I polled both my kids and then dragged them to a few stores with me.
First, I set my sight on fries that are readily available at big-box grocery stores. Then, I directed the kids to straight-cut fries seasoned with salt only to keep the playing field even—no extra seasoning, no crinkle cut, curly, or waffle fries. Together we picked up the following seven brands:
- Lamb Weston Hand Cut Style Fries
- Whole Food 365 Straight Cut Fries
- Ore-Ida Golden Fries
- Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries
- Alexia House Cut Fries
- Trader Joe’s Handsome Cut Potato Fries
- Alexia Yukon Select Fries
How the French Fries Were Taste Tested
I’m not afraid to deep fry food on a weeknight, but with my eye on convenience and my 11-year-old being able to feed herself occasionally, we cooked the fries in the oven on an unlined baking sheet and in the air fryer.
We made them in small batches and according to package instructions. Then, we tasted the fries both hot straight out of the oven and air fryer, and again at room temperature. My taste testers included my two kids and my partner.
The Best French Fries, Ranked From Meh to Yum
Two general insights from our taste test: Most frozen French fries are mediocre, bordering on the edge of terrible, but it’s not all bad news. Idaho remains the reigning queen of great potatoes—our top pick is made using potatoes grown in Idaho.
We were disheartened that the pricier brands, like Whole Foods, Alexia, and Trader Joe’s were some of our least favorite French fries. Our least favorite brands lacked salt, were stringy, dry as mashed potato flakes, and very pale and limp, even when cooked properly.
We ranked the seven brands from worst to best and gave each brand a score from zero (not great) to ten (delicious).
7. Not At All Worth Your Money: Whole Food 365 Straight Cut Fries (0/10)
6. A Little Too Earthy Tasting: Alexia Yukon Select Fries (2/10)
5. Not Worth an Extra Trip to the Store: Trader Joe’s Handsome Cut Potato Fries (2/10)
4. Tastes the Most Homemade—Not In A Good Way: Alexia House Cut Fries (3/10)
3. Just Okay, Not Great: Ore-Ida Golden Fries (4/10)
2. Would Eat Them Again: Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries (7/10)
1. Duchess of Idaho: Lamb Weston Hand Cut Style Fries (9/10)
Lamb Weston Hand Cut Style Fries were the only brand that my whole family enjoyed both piping hot and at room temperature. They were crispy and well seasoned on the outside and moist and fluffy inside.
I’d buy either of the Ore-Ida brands again—they shined when cooked in the air fryer—but the Lamb Weston fries are the ones that now make me feel excited about having French fries in the freezer. My 11-year-old didn’t say much during the entire taste test because she was busy enjoying these fries. And my 8-year-old exclaimed, “Now that’s a French fry!” after his first bite.