Fast Food Review: French Fries from In-N-Out

I wasn’t planning on downing a whole order of In-N-Out french Fries on a recent (and late night) run at the fast food chain’s Centerville, UT location last weekend. After all, this being my first ever In-N-Out experience, I was already going Double Double “Animal Style,” and 1 a.m. hardly seemed like the time to be throwing useless carbs into my body.

But my buddy Todd said I just had to try them, and hearing that they were “like McDonald’s fries, only better” I couldn’t resist going for the full number 1 combo. After consuming each and every last bite of my burger and fries, they will have to constrain me from quitting school and blowing my entire life savings at In-N-Out. Yes, it was just that good. Being an east-coast native, I’ve long heard the “word” about In-N-Out, but until actually trying their amazing burger and fry combo, I didn’t exactly know what all the hype was about. And while I now list their Double Double as my all-time favorite burger (read Ryan’s review here) I can’t help but marvel at their fries.

Of course, what’s a great burger without great fries? At In-N-Out, we know a french fry is only as good as the potato it comes from. That’s why we use the highest grade potatoes and ship them fresh from the farm. Then we cut them right in the store, one potato at a time. And cook them in 100% pure, cholesterol-free vegetable oil.

I have to admit, I am a real “fry” guy, even though I only buy a good 2-3 orders of fries a month  – fast food, or otherwise. I’ve sampled fries made with duck fat and sea salt, sweet potato fries dusted with brown sugar and paprika, and classic, boardwalk-style fries that are hand cut at the ballpark. But I always seem to come back to McDonald’s fries as the gold standard, which is why, when hearing about In-N-Out’s fries, I just knew I had to jump at the chance.

In-N-Out’s fries look a lot like McDonald’s. They have the same skinny disposition (although a bit fatter), and have the same tan complexion, with some fries having a bit of the potato peel still on the end. The fries are cut in-house and in-sight, and are fried fresh in pure vegetable oil. Normally, this can lead to a boring tasting fry if not fried correctly, but in the case of In-N-Out, the fries retain a remarkable degree of consistency. Unlike some orders of McDonald’s fries I’ve had in the past, I didn’t find any terribly limp pieces or burnt fries, and found the batch to be warm, slightly crispy, and savory.  I liked the bits of potato peel that some fries still had, and the incredibly light seasoning. Most of all, I liked the moisture retention inside of the fry, creating a light but flavorful interior. These were fries in which the potato was the true star, and the natural earthy sweetness – like you’d find in a freshly opened bag of Lays chips – makes eating anything less than the whole order impossible.

I love me some fries, and while these are definitely of the simplistic variety, I can more than appreciate the freshness and taste. While I think they could use more salt, there are of course salt packets and plenty of ketchup containers to go to town with.  Above all, these fries strike the ultimate balancewarm and not too crispy on the outside, while fluffy and packed with flavor on the inside. I won’t go so far as to say they are the best batch of fries ­I’ve ever had, but I really feel like they are up there.

I realize Ryan has previously reviewed the “Animal Style Double Double,” but I want to take a minute and declare my love for it.  Before visiting In-N-Out, I had never had a fast food cheeseburger (shocking, I know, but remember I’m the ‘chicken guy’) but the sweet-salty-fatty awesomeness of the Double Double has converted me. You know how some people ask what your “death row meal” would be? I’m thinking about five of those babies.

Pros: Hand cut and fresh as all get out. Slightly crispy exterior yields to a fluffy interior. Packed with earthy potato sweetness. Loves ketchup like Romeo loves Juliet. One of the healthier french fry options around. Good value.

Cons: Limited availability nationally thanks to In-N-Out's shipping philosophy. Waiting in a long line at 1 a.m. Could benefit from a bit more salt.

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 8.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: 1.35 for single order (5.75 as part of Number 1 combo)

Overall GrubGrade: 9.25/10

More Info: InNOut.com
Nutrition Facts:
In-N-Out French Fries (one order)
Calories – 400
Fat – 18 grams
Saturated Fat – 5 grams
Cholesterol – 0 milligrams
Sodium – 245 milligrams
Carbs – 54 grams
Dietary Fiber – 2 gram
Sugar – 0 grams
Protein – 7 grams

29 comments on “Fast Food Review: French Fries from In-N-Out

  1. Sebastian says:

    If you think that’s good, you should try Five Guys.

  2. James says:

    In-n-Out is coming to Texas. Yay! They’re building a whole new distribution site in Dallas. Their first restaurants are all in the Dallas area, though. Boo!

  3. Shannon says:

    Is that a photo of Adam? There aren’t any In N Outs near me, but if I ever see one, I will be sure to try their food.

  4. Adam says:

    @Sebastian,

    That’s what everyone keeps telling me. Now that I’m more of a “burger guy” I will have to compare.

    @Shannon,

    Yep, that’s me.

  5. Josh says:

    Good lord do I love In-n-out…recent 4 day trip to Cali…I had In-n-out 5 times…some shots are here in my FlickR
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_macphotos/sets/72157624122527621/

  6. sophia says:

    Dude. What’s with the splenda? Curious. Did you sprinkle that on your fries or were they dessert? Haha!

    I loved In-N-Out burgers….but I’m not a fan of their fries. It’s too…natural for me. I think fries is one of those things that needs to taste not too much like potatoes.

  7. Adam says:

    Coffee, lol. Couldn’t handle any caffeine at 1 AM, so i was going decaf.

  8. Crusader says:

    I have neither In N Out or Five Guys in my neck of the woods. I feel burgerly-challenged. How does Fatburger measure up?

  9. 4x4, Animal Style says:

    Awwww, only a double-double? You have to go 4×4, all the way. It’s worth it. That’s right up there with last meals for me, or it wouldn’t be my username. My heart feels special every time I get one, out of the good taste. Then again, that might be my arteries clogging, but who cares? (Don’t worry about my weight; I’m only around 155.)

    Another thing with the fries, they are pretty good if you order them traditionally, but I get mine well done and also animal style. It not only makes them warmer, but a little crispier, too. Add that to cheese, onions and the animal sauce, the animal style is the the Montague/Capulet family feud to overshadow and dominate the love between Romeo and Juliet (the ketchup). Is it messy? Yes, but worth the mess, especially if you’re eating in-store. Some would argue that’s too many topics (for both the fries and the burgers)- fine for you, but I like complexity and lots of flavors in my food. I can see how you would think it might be gross (it does look it, I admit) or spoils the burgers, but it doesn’t; it actually values the burger more, because you can still taste it through all of that stuff.

    I like McDonald’s fries, but to even mention them in them same breath as these babies is just wrong. At least, McD’s modern fries, that is; the old ones, well, they come close…

    I go totally secret menu, too, adding in a Neopolitan shake. Considering it’s about the same price as a regular fountain drink, at least at my location, it makes too much sense not to, unless you dislike shakes.

    This whole thing has made me hungry for In-N-Out. I need to go back soon.

  10. Bensly says:

    I used to think that Five Guys were pretty good. But after a local burger place opened up (Burger Monger – http://www.burgermonger.com), I had to have a change in opinion.

    One day I will make it out west to try an In-N-Out.

    • J.B. says:

      That looks great, but in all fairness, Five Guys and this place are not the same.
      Completely different price points.
      Looks delicious though.

  11. James says:

    I personally think Fatburger is rather inferior to both In-n-Out and Five Guys. YMMV.

  12. Mattitude says:

    I will need video proof that the “stringbean” in that picture actually ate all of that without turning green.I am just joking around,but I have had this myself and nearly felt like road kill for two days,but it was worth it! I miss In-n-Out since they are not where I live now!

  13. Q says:

    I dunno what you’re friend is saying In N Out fries are pretty different from McDonald’s fries! While both are good, the texture and taste are completely different!

    I find In N Out fries are a bit more starchy and tend to be drier since they are fresh potatoes fried to crispness. They’re also more consistent.

    McDonald’s fries have beef flavoring and are fried frozen! Nom nom nom! I like them better, but my experiences with them have been wildly inconsistent. They are actually also available “well done.”

    My all time favorite fries are from a local joint call the Oinkster though… Belgian style!

  14. Ronald says:

    I’ve always considered the fries at In-N-Out to be among their weaker offerings. But I suppose people that don’t live around In-N-Outs tack on extra points just because of the “limited availability” aspect.

    In all honesty, it’s a brilliant marketing strategy. If In-N-Out expanded across the country, people will quickly see that’s it’s just average fast food and not some mythical deity of godly sustenance.

    • TJ says:

      I agree completely, well said. I’m an In-N-Out fan too, but primarily for their burgers, which are reasonably priced for their quality.

  15. Donkey says:

    I like to get the fries “well done,” meaning that they leave them in the oil longer to get crispier… some times the fries don’t taste like they’ve been cooked enough…

    Get the burgers with a whole grilled onion– they grill a slice just for you, rather than getting the tiny little crumbled onions…

    In and Out also has the peppiest people all the time, sometimes even to the point of being annoying when you’re there at 12:45AM and have a headache.

    As for the comparisons between Five Guys and Fatburger– they’re opening Five Guys in CA now, and I just had my first in FL this past summer… I think the burger patties are too well done (and they indicate why on their website), though their fries are really good if you like them tasting like a baked potato. Their sizes are pretty big too, if that’s important.

    Fatburger– I’ve had them long ago as immortalized by Ice Cube– they were once really good back in the day, but they’ve been long passed up on the West Coast as being the best place for a commercial burger. Even in 93, everyone would say to me (I was in So Cal): “What? You’re from NorCal? Oh, You gotta go to In-and-Out…”

  16. SPM says:

    There is no comparison between 5 Guys and In-N-Out, 5 Guys is a glorified, overpriced cafeteria burger. In-N-Out beats 5 Guys in both quality and price.

  17. […] into them, and my buddies liked them as well. Also, my friend Todd – a fats food fanatic who introduced me to In-N-Out a few weeks ago – called me to tell me he thought these were “amongst the best […]

  18. HaloEleven says:

    In-N-Out’s burgers are consistently great, but the fries are hit and miss. The batch you show in your picture look great. But they can also be greasy and limp. Not my favorite.

    On the other hand, 5 Guys fries are consistently great (and generously portioned). Unfortunately, I think the “build your own burger” concept is a mistake and the buns are always soggy because the completed burgers are wrapped in foil while piping hot(?!?). Blech.

  19. […] childhood days, but I was still taken aback my their pristine cut, which reminded me a lot like the In-N-Out fries. Thicker than McDonald’s fries, they gleamed with a moderate to heavy coating of salt. The […]

  20. so i’ve had my chances to eat at in and out and i’ve always said no…but that picture of the burger with the oozing cheese is making my heart cry!!

  21. Matthew Streb says:

    In N Out ALLL THE WAY BABY

  22. The Papa says:

    Not a big fan of the fries, but that burger is heaven.

  23. […] my mouth.Then again, that’s what you’d expect from a cult icon like In-N-Out’s Double Double Animal Style.Nonsensical Promotional ImageBut something from Wendy’s? Meh, not so much. So pardon me if I […]

  24. jon says:

    theyre cooked in safflower oil, not vegetable. and if they need salt it is provided 🙂

  25. Jordan says:

    My In and Out much be messing up my fries or something.

    Because I think In and Out may possibly have the worst fries of any fast food chain.

    They are terrible.

  26. Mark says:

    In-n-Out burgers are awesome! One unlisted item you can ask to add to your burger (or on the side) are chili peppers (whole or sliced). They are very spicy and add a lot of extra flavor to the burger.

    Five guys…meh. I don’t care for their burgers so much.