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6 Best Fast-Food French Fries, According to Chefs

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Americans love French fries and we eat remarkable amounts of them—some report Americans eat over 40 pounds of potatoes every year. Even chefs in the top restaurants around the country, who you may imagine eat only the finest meals every night, are fast food fanatics. 

Don't believe it? They've already given us their picks for best burgers, now they're sharing their favorite fast food fries, and, big spoiler, you won't be surprised at the absolute classic top pick.

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McDonald's French Fries

Mcdonald's french fries

While Colt Taylor, chef and owner of The Essex and Los Charros Cantina in Connecticut is an In-N-Out fan for burgers, his fry loyalty lies elsewhere. "After living in L.A., In-N-Out reigns supreme as the overall fast food fave," Taylor said, "But when it comes to fries, McDonald's gets my vote. It's all about the potatoes—they use the Russet Burbank, which is perfect for creating a fry that's crispy on the outside and fluffy inside."

Quite a few chefs agree with this classic French fry pick. 

When it comes to french fries, "Mcdonald's is simply the best," says Jessica Randhawa, the head chef and creator of The Forked Spoon. "The potatoes are always perfectly cooked, always firm, perfectly salted, and have never let me down."

Chef David Gross, Executive Chef, The Standard, East Village, offers a tip to get fresh and slightly healthier fries at the Golden Arches, saying, "You can't go wrong with classic McDonald's fries (Pro tip: ask for light salt & they'll make them fresh for you!). I'm also a big fan of Sonic's tots with a strawberry slush."

Another vote for McDonald's comes from Sean Ferraro, chef-owner of Madison Avenue Pizza in Florida, who told us, "This might sound crazy, but I really love hot, fresh McDonald's fries. Maybe it's just the nostalgia of it but I really think that they taste amazing when they're fresh."

Ferraro explained why the fries are such a hit with chefs (and everyone else), "One of the things that I can tell you from a chef point of view is that one of the seasonings that they use for their fries is powdered beef stock, which gives them an incredible savory umami taste. Not many places season their fries like that and it makes them taste totally different than anywhere else." (Note: McDonald's actually uses a beef flavoring that is derived from milk and wheat, according to its menu.)

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Five Guys Cajun Fries

cajun fries
Kaley Roberts/ Eat This, Not That!

Jordan Buendia, executive chef at Rococo Steak in St. Petersburg, Florida told Insider that along with his Five Guys burger, the spicy Cajun fries are a must, "served hot and perfectly portioned."

Chef and author Allen Bixby agrees, explaining, "Favorite fast food fries are Five Guys, especially their Cajun seasoned. With their brief menu the fryers are used for little else, plus they soak and rinse the fries well for a really great product."

In-N-Out Fries

In-n-out french fries in holder on background
Courtesy of In-N-Out

The top pick for burgers gets a shout-out for their fries from Paris Baguette Executive Chef Andre Fuehr. "Twenty-plus years ago, I would have said McDonald's but not anymore," Fuehr told us, saying, "I would go with In-N-Out fries. I would prefer it if it was properly fried twice blanched and then crispy fried, but they don't do it that way, but at least I know it's a real potato. I believe everyone else has gone to a coated fry which can affect quality. Five Guys fries would also be my next choice."

Arby's Curly Fries

Arby's Curly Fries
Arby's / Facebook

Here's a pick we didn't see coming from private chef Kora Bruno, who told us, "Arbys is a very unpopular opinion but their fries are well-seasoned and flavorful. Something about them as curly fries makes them taste even better. McDonald's French fries are a classic with the right amount of salt. They are a go-to!"

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Checkers French Fries

Checkers seasoned fries
Courtesy of Checkers

It's all about the spice blend for some chefs, like Bar Rescue regular Brian Duffy, who told Insider his favorite French fry is from Checkers, as they "Have just the right amount of spice and salt, which is heaven."

Burger King French Fries

burger king frings
Burger King/ Twitter

Even Julia Child had opinions about French fries, and she shared them in 2002, in an interview on CNN with Larry King. She told the host she had a soft spot for McDonald's and In-N-Out, "But the Burger King's French fries are very good, I think."

Tanya Edwards
Tanya Edwards is a seasoned food and health journalist, who has held roles at Yahoo Health as Managing Editor and at Food Network as Programming Director. Read more about Tanya