Holy crap, you guys. Trying to figure out what the different types of French fries are called is really hard. Everyone seems to have different names for the same thing, so I created this page to have a set of standard names that will be used to consistently throughout the site. I’ll add to the list as necessary, but know that what I have below is far from exhaustive.
In order from skinniest to thickest, they are:
Shoestring fries have their name for good reason: They are at most 1/8″ thick. You may know them as pommes frites, which is kind of silly, since that’s just the French term for what we call French fries. They’re typically served in a giant pile. They can be tricky to cook properly, but get a chef who knows what he or she is doing, and they can be truly wonderful.
These are among the most common fries in the country. At 1/4″ thick, they’re cut in a batonnet style, although because they’re fries, they’re often longer than a traditional batonnet cut (which tops out at around 3 inches in length). They go by many names, including standard, regular, and fast food fries, because they’re the ones most commonly found at fast food restaurants. If you’re eating French fries at McDonald’s, you’re eating “standard” fries. They’re sometimes called shoestring fries, but for the purposes of this site, we’re going to reserve shoestring for the style described in that section.
Made from whole potatoes and cut using a spiral slicer, curly fries are so called due to their helical shape. They’re typically seasoned, and the curls come in a variety of sizes and lengths.
Also very common, these are nearly identical to standard fries, with the exception of being thicker, as the name suggests. Their thickness is generally around 3/8″ to 1/2″, making them similar to a baton style cut (but again, these are longer because they’re fries). Sometimes the skin will be left on, and these are commonly called “rustic” fries, although on this site I won’t bother making a distinction.
For some reason, these always seem to end up being too limp, and sometimes actually soggy. They feel very childish to me, but I can’t figure out why. I think they’re like bendy straws in that respect—there’s nothing inherently wrong with bendy straws, but you feel silly using one in public. The same could be said for crinkle cut fries.
Waffle fries have the distinct advantage of being dense and having a large surface area. It’s easy for them to get crispy and stay fluffy, but they’re prone to bringing grease to the party. They’re certainly fun to eat!
These are great for making at home, because if you don’t own a deep frier (or don’t want to deal with frying), they bake up really nicely. The flip side is that they’re easy to both over and undercook, and I’ve had my fair share of pathetic steak fries in restaurants before.
Tater tots are deep fried cylinders of grated potatoes. They were developed in the early 1950s as a way to make use of leftover potato pieces.
The term “Tater Tot” is actually a registered trademark, but is often used as the generic term (similar to Kleenex, Xerox, and Band-Aid). Tater tots have a variety of creative names around the world.
Potato wedges are similar to steak fries in that they have the potential to be really good, but it’s easy to screw them up. I personally feel that they’re not ideal to pair with cheeseburgers because they have too much interior and not enough surface area.
Potato wedges are sometimes called Jojos, but this is technically incorrect. Jojos are potato wedges fried in the same vat as chicken, giving them a distinct flavor.