I know what you’re all thinking- which generic fast food chain has the best day-old french fries? Good question. But of course that’s why I’m here, to bring you the facts. The soggy, day-old facts.
First, the method (remember, this is for science): One lovely afternoon my friend Bryce and I went to every french fry-selling fast food place in the immediate vicinity, ordering one medium fry and testing it (and by testing I mean eating) for flavor, saltiness, texture, and whatever else stood out. Then, we left all the fries in the car overnight. The next afternoon we partook once again, recording our observations and narrowing down
6. Carl’s Jr.
We start with the most surprising of the bunch. Surprising in two ways, actually. First, Carl’s Jr. had the best fries (upon purchase) of them all. At $2.11 they weren’t the cheapest, but the complimentary fry sauce more than made up the difference. The fries themselves were hot and crispy, perfectly golden-brown, and had the loveliest (if artificial) buttery flavor. Sure, they could have used a bit more salt, but the potato consistency (yeah, folks, we’re scientists) was spot on. The second surprise came the next day as we found out the wonder that was Carl’s Jr. apparently didn’t last. Crispy goodness turned into dry and chewy. Delicious buttery flavor turned into not buttery and not delicious. From best to worst in 24 hours. I know, I’m disappointed too.
5. Burger King
No surprises here. Bryce and I were wondering why we never went to BK for fries, and then our order came. Oh yeah, that’s why. At $2.32 (trust me, it’s a rip off) these were easily the most expensive. They were dry, they were bland, and they were thicker— which you think would be a good thing but it just made for a lot of weird texture. And I don’t know whether the order was smaller or whether the larger fries made them seem like less, but there was not enough french fry in that box. Day 2 wasn’t any better. They were even drier and anything close to resembling saltiness was gone completely.
Now for the most controversial review on the list. Let’s be real for a moment. McDonalds has the best fries. I know it, you know it and if you don’t then you’re rightly adhering to the silent agreement we all have not to talk about it. Ever. But here I must, for the sake of science. The first thing that must be noted (besides the obnoxious $2.01 price) is that Mac-D’s is really inconsistent. Where I had enjoyed the best fries two bucks can buy just a few weeks earlier, Bryce and I found our purchase to be old-tasting, bland, floppy and kinda cold. And a few weeks later I found the same thing. Begs the question, folks, whether or not it’s worth the risk. Either way, day two was actually more pleasant than expected. The inside wasn’t terribly dry, and the outside was a bit less soggy than the day before. Yum.
Wendys was about middle of the road for both categories. At $2.29, the fries were initially different. They weren’t exceptionally crispy and they weren’t deliciously salty or flavorful. The one thing they had going was the whole “real potato skin” thing that Wendys does, which I have to admit makes me feel like they’re a bit better quality. The second day there was almost no change. They were of course colder and less salty, but not entirely awful.
2. Jack ‘n the Box
Neither Bryce nor I saw this one coming. Did you know that Jack ‘n the Box makes a really good french fry? For an even $2.00 (now that is just satisfying) we got hot, crispy, salty, and delicious. Now, we did find that they weren’t all salted consistently— and that they had kind of a weird texture, though not necessarily bad— but overall they were kind of really good. And the second day, even though they were soggy on the outside and dry on the inside, we found that they retained a decent amount of flavor, something no fry had done yet.
We have a winner, folks. Now, at another even $2.00, Sonic didn’t impress initially. The fries were firm (but not crispy) and flavorful (but not salty) and they were sort of an odd white-ish color (not golden). Then came day 2. In the comeback of the entire series, Sonic’s day-old fries had retained their flavor and texture, and they were even still a bit moist inside. In fact they were the only french fry that we actually wanted another taste of the second day. And then we both realized we were eating day-old french fries, and promptly went and ate actual lunch.
Well there you have it, folks. Next time you’re wondering where to get a batch of french fries to eat a day later, you now have the hard data to back up such an important decision. You’re welcome.