Fast Food Review: NEW! Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt

Wendy’s new Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt don’t taste as natural as a freshly pulled, dirt-ridden Idaho spud, nor do they taste like the ocean – which, thanks to a rude introduction to surfing at the age of 18, I am very familiar with – but that’s OK. These are some solid fries, and after years of subversion to hamburgers on fast food menus everywhere, I can’t help but think ‘ol Dave is smiling down us and saying, “Thank God they finally got this fry thing right.”

As you no doubt know by now, Wendy’s has embarked on a crusade to bring the humble, often overlooked fry to the forefront of their marketing strategy. Whatever your opinion on the “old” Wendy’s fries, if you’re a fry fan, you have to admire the balls of a company willing to build a marketing strategy around a side item.  A small order of fries will set you back $1.39, but considering the amount of fries you get in a “small” order, this is comparable to most fast food fry purchases. The first thing I noticed about the fries was their moderate size. I hadn’t had Wendy’s fries in years, and remember fat, steak-like fries that never seemed to crisp up. I understand they’ve updated their cut since my 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 “natural” element of the fries – the skin – could be seen on some of the fries, a good sign that the fries at least matched the advertisement.

As you saw in my video from Monday, my first bite in the warm, crispy fries was pleasant. They were everything I could have asked for: warm, crisp, salty and brimming with that natural earthy sweetness of a potato. Dirt, or residue from the ocean for that matter, was not present (thank goodness). Texturally, there was some difference in the crispiness and size of the fries, but that’s to be expected, and the thing that counted was that very few came out at overly crunchy and none came out as downright soggy. Interestingly, I found the surface area to be remarkably grease-less, and found the salty nature of the fries to compliment the sweet ketchup quite well.

Now, I know what you’re asking; Could you taste the difference with sea salt? In all honesty, no. I noticed a difference in the fries appearance with salt, and found the salt level to be desirable, but I don’t know if the “sea salt” lent anything in terms of flavor. But then again, I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who can truly distinguish “sea salt” with table salt given the chance, and I’m not sure the majority of American could either. Remember, this is not suppose to be an exotic, coarse and smoked sea salt that runs you a pretty penny in Williams Sonoma, but for what it’s worth I didn’t find the salt objectionable nor did I find it mind-blowingly awesome. Still, you have to realize we’re dealing with an extremely well executed menu item here in which simplicity rules, and which the potato – both from a textural and flavor standpoint – shines. Strictly speaking, I find these to be among the best fast food fries available, and considering the national range of Wendy’s, a strong contender to McDonald’s infamous fries. Needless to say, I ain’t subbing a side salad on my future combo meals at Wendy’s.

The Frosty Dunk

As for the prerequisite Frosty dunk? For an extra 99¢ it’s not like I was about to skip out on a small Frosty, and even though I’ve never “gotten” the whole dunk experience, I took one for the team and dumped several fries into the creamy drink. Good, but not great. I guess there are some fast food crazes which I will never get – new product innovations and all.

Pros: Crispy exterior with warm, fluffy interior. Solid amount of fries in small order. Salt makes me happy. Salt plus ketchup makes me very happy. No wimpy-limpy fries in batch. Not overly oily on outside, and not dried up inside. Potato skin. 5 grams of fiber per small serving makes it possible to reach your daily allowance based on a balanced diet of Froot Loops (Now with fiber, don’t you know) and French fries.

Cons: OK, so it doesn’t taste of the French seashore or the Idaho plains, but so freaking what? Not being able to enjoy properly with a frosty, resulting in me consuming frosty as is, which leads to severe brain-freezage during a Utah snowstorm. DO NOT LIKE. Knowing my local Wendy’s is getting killed a week into Chick-fil-A's opening next door (not gonna lie, went there for a sandwich afterwards).

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 8.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: 1.39 for small order

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)

More Info: Wendy’s.com.
Nutrition Facts:
Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt (small order)
Calories: 320
Total Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 380 mg
Total Carbs: 41 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g (!?!)
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 4 g

69 comments on “Fast Food Review: NEW! Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt

  1. maxchain says:

    C’mon, America. Cut it out. Don’t do that to your fries and Frosties.

    • Heather says:

      Don’t worry maxchain, with these new things I will NOT be dipping fries in my frosty again. Well, unless I get the fries at McDonald’s that is.

  2. Justin says:

    I thought these were horrible. Bring back the old fries PLEASE!

    • Rob says:

      Completely agree. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that I might not eat at Wendy’s because of the new fries. These things are AWFUL! Bring back the old fries or at least give an option of choose them.

    • Millgiass says:

      You’ve got to be kidding. The old fries were not even real cuts of potatos. They were MOLDED from pure starch. On top of that they were discusting. Utterly the worst fast food fries I’ve ever had.

      The new fries are a big improvment. BETTER than McDonalds, and a contender for Burger King. Although they still dont stand up to Arbys or Rallys. It is a vast improvment. Still maybe they should cut back on the salt.

  3. Adam Bomb says:

    I thought they were pretty solid, but nothing amazing. Then again, I’m not sure they should stand out too much. I was satisfied. Now, if Wendy’s could only get rid of the limp fry syndrome…

  4. Manavee says:

    I also felt they were pretty good, but not great. However, they were served to me lukewarm, and I imagine they may be a lot better if they had been hotter. On a side note, does anyone else find that Wendy’s tends to have a lot of temperature control issues? It just seems like I get more lukewarm stuff from there than from other fast food joints (but then every once in a while, Ill get fries that are burning hot).

    Back to the fries: I also didn’t taste the sea salt much; if anything, they tasted somewhat undersalted. Overall, though, they were better than their old fries.

    The new bacon guac burger I got there with the new fries was just OK. Also served to me lukewarm.

  5. Canadian Jill says:

    I stopped by Wendy’s the other day, oblivious to the fact that they had changed their recipe, and I was so sad to learn that they had changed their recipe ;) The new fries were okay, nothing special, but I still prefer the old recipe!

  6. J.B. says:

    Terrible.

    They are basically McDonald’s fries without any of the taste and for 40% more than they used to be.
    This is the kind of thing that drives people away from a company.
    It is a good scam if they can pull it off, or it will be the beginning of the downfall of the company.

    Wendy’s needs to do some serious upgrades of their stores.
    All of the stores I frequent are old and outdated and need to be either updated, or torn down and have new ones built.

  7. Seeker says:

    There must be a number of crappy Wendy’s out there. Than again seeing as how these are from the same reports, that’s not all to surprising. What is funny though is how the Wendy’s I frequent has just won another award for customer service and consistently expected quality, which they deliver upon.

    So yeah, your Wendy’s sucks. Make a complaint to the regional office and get new management, or deal with it. Worked for both a nearby Taco Del Mar and Quizno’s.

  8. Shannon says:

    I heard somewhere that putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth will alleviate or prevent brain freeze.

  9. Q says:

    I tried them today… the ones I got were way too salty for my liking.

  10. Scott says:

    Off topic, Froot Loops rock! Sounds like a new diet craze: Froot Loops and Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt.

    Speaking of healthy foods, eh hem, I think Wendy’s chose Sea Salt, not because of its flavor qualities, but because it’s extolled by chefs everywhere as being healthier, somehow, than Iodized salt. I, personally, believe that the health benefits of Sea Salt are marginal or non-existent at best. It’s also supposed to have a more complex flavor, with soft notes of seagul, whale, and seaweed, and hints of algae, Gulf Oil plumes, and other “nutrient rich” run-offs from far inland.

    The potato, however, is the second most nutritious naturally grown food item (even over brocolli and brussel sprouts). The first? Sweet Potato! Anyways, a diet rich in potato is actually healthy for you. Need evidence? Look at what happened to the Irish when they ran out of potatoes.

    Hence, Sea Salted (healthy) potatoes (healthy) with Froot Loops (healthy now with fiber) in the morning? Eat up, kids!

  11. rob says:

    The “sea salt” thing is purely a gimmick geared towards people who are marks for “natural” foods, there is no reason to think a “sea salted” fry will taste any different at all from one that is regularly salted, nor is there any difference whatsoever health wise.

    As far as iodized salt goes, sea salt may or may not be iodized.

    • Adam Bomb says:

      Agreed. And iodized sea salt is apparently available, though I’ve never seen it. Iodine is necessary for good health, so people who are all gung-ho about sea salt should make sure they’re getting iodine somehow if they’re swearing off regular iodized table salt. Iodine deficiency can cause some nasty health problems.

  12. somesteve says:

    These are really good fries. I was really impressed with them. This is coming from a guy whose had many fries in my life. Good job, Wendy’s.

  13. Jimburger says:

    I’ve had them 3 times in the last week or so….was driving cross-country a d other than being slightly over-cooked the first time I had them..they’re really good. I was surprised, but they actually have a real potato taste. Better than Mickey D’s and tons better than those nasty, kruchy things at BKing..
    Good improvement…continue to think Wendy’s is the best fast food around…

  14. Bill says:

    Wendy’s fries have always been their downfall; awful, limp and chewy. These fries are a big improvement, but they don’t hold a candle to McDonald’s (Off topic: Has anyone else noticed that McD’s fries have gotten REALLY salty lately?).

    Kudos to Wendy’s, for realizing they had a problem.

    • Millgiass says:

      I disagree about the not holding a candle to McDonalds. They are far better than McDonald’s synthetic potato substance fries. McDonalds is literally the worst fast food fry, period. (use to be Wendys but now that they are using actual potato they have moved up in the world.) I’ve had cheap save-a-lot fries taste better. lol

      • MarkyMerk says:

        Are you kidding? McDs has the best fries of all time, period. If you don’t like McDs fries, I think you need to get your taste buds checked.

  15. J.B. says:

    Tried them again tonight to give them a second chance and they were even worse.

    I am losing faith in Wendy’s and the people running them.

  16. [...] Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt reviews: Grub Grade We Rate [...]

  17. somesteve says:

    Wendy’s is awesome. They are run by solid people.

  18. Wendys LOVER says:

    Why!!!??????

    Well I love wendys , is my FAVOURITE fast food place ever , AND me and my husband loved wendys mainly cus their fries….
    The NEW FRIES SUCK!!!!!!!!!!
    The old ones are just perfect and tasty . Idk why in the world they changed their fries they were the best fries in all fast foods places i ever been too …
    The new fries are just exaclty like every other place like mcdonals and BK .. I think is super cool for a food place to be unique .. and them old fries were unique cus no one made the as good as them…
    NOW WENDYS IS JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER FASTFOOD PLACE…
    :(

    Well i really hope they bring them old fries back cus i wanna TROW UP when i eat the new ones… ewww…

    Sincerely,

    Wendys customer :)

    • Millgiass says:

      You are insane. =) How can you say “exactly like” when they A) taste better than McDonalds frys. Which are wholly synthetic like Wendy’s old fry recipe. (molded from pure starch rather than cuts of potato.) And BK fries have an ENTIRELY different taste from BOTH of them. Your taste buds must be defective.

      If you ask me the old Wendy’s fries were pathetic, literally the worst fries you could get. And I often opted NOT to get fries there. They tasted more like the box they were packaged in than anything.

      They changed for a reason. The old fries were awful and they wanted to boost sales and it’s working because now when I ask around at Ohio State University the consensus is that the new fries are far better.

      • Heather says:

        Milli–you may not get this as I am replying over a year later, but I noticed you keep saying that the old fries were molded from potato cuts. I don’t know about that, but what if they are? Lots of people love Pringles chips even though they are pressed together. In fact, I think I read that the FDA or someone forced Pringles to stop calling themselves potato chips because of the way they are made. But I still love them, and they are unique, unlike other chips made from potatoes. Anyway, I know it is just a matter of taste. But for me, Wendy’s old fries and McD’s fries were some of the best. It just depended on my mood which one I liked better. Oh, and I forgot to mention Chic Fil A’s waffle fries. Try them if you have a Chic Fil A near you. They seem pretty potato-y to me, so you might just like them.

  19. Beccaboo says:

    I liked the old ones better. I tried them for the first time last night and the ones I got didn’t have ANY salt on them. I like my french fries salty…

    I’ll give them a second chance though.

  20. Sendin’ love from Logan, Utah! The new Chick-Fil-A is the bomb dot com. Natural cut fries? Meh.

  21. GarE says:

    I confess I haven’t tried them yet. I always thought Wendys’ old fries tended to be a bit floppy, though. I hope the new ones are less so.

    The best fast food fries I’ve ever had are DQ’s. Their burgers and fries are VASTLY underrated. They’re extremely good. However, I’ve found that you need to go to a newer DQ. If you hit one of the older DQs, their food sometimes isn’t very good at all. But the newer DQs serve hot food that’s made fresh when you order it, and it’s far better than any of the Big 3′s burgers and fries, imho.

  22. Infinity_ says:

    Looks like Wendy’s has finally developed a winner when it comes to their French Fries. I’ve gotten to try these twice now, and they are leaps and bounds better than their old fries. I haven’t got the chance to dip THESE in my Frosty yet, hahaha, but I’m sure it would be quite delicious. I DID however, get to try these new Fries with Wendy’s cheese sauce, and it was quite the treat. Where I would have given their old Fries about a 3, these receive a strong 7.5 on the 1-10 scale. Its been a long time coming!

    • Millgiass says:

      Agreed, you must have a more refined pallet than most of these people. I have a feeling that the people screaming for the old fries are just doing so out of fear of change rather than taste. Because the old ones tasted like a soggy cardboard box.

  23. K.M. says:

    These new fries are going to make me stop going to Wendys… Horrible!! – over cooked, over oiled, and over seasoned. Coworkers of mine actually threw them out before finishing. Such a poor -poor choice by Wendys. BRING BACK THE ORIGIONAL FRIES!!!!!!!!

  24. Chris says:

    We know it’s cheaper not to peel the potatoes first. Bring back the old fries anyway, and we’ll pay you for peeling them and making them RIGHT (the old way). We know when it’s real, and we know when it’s right, and these new cheap-o fries just ain’t right!

  25. Matt says:

    the old fries were very very poor…. a lot of the time they were soggy/not crisp… and they had little salt and flavor in them.

    These new fries are GREAT and they are really improved from the old ones.

  26. Vincent says:

    The old fries were horrible.

    The new fries are next to Godly.

    If they change back, I stop dining there. End of story.

  27. ARod360 says:

    The new fries are horrible!!!! Wendy’s just lost it’s #1 spot among the top 3 (BK, McD’s)

  28. Joseph says:

    I hate the new fries! The old ones were so much better!

  29. Dave says:

    The new fries are the worst I will never be back till they bring the old fries back. Thanks for taking a good thing away.

  30. Chris Redfield & Erika Nicole says:

    My girlfriend & I both hate the new fries. We are severely disappointed in the new ones. Why, why, why?! Well, as one person said, They just wanted to take something that was just fine and make it better, but it didn’t happen. Hopefully this will be a trial run that Wendy’s Execs will later on figure out was a failure. I can speak for the both of us. We hate them. Now we are forced to go buy fries elsewhere. There’s an Arby’s right there next door to Wendy’s. So convenient. We’ll take the Arby’s fries instead from now on.

    • Adam says:

      Yo do know that Arby’s is owned by the same folks who own Wendy’s, right?

      • Chris Redfield & Erika Nicole says:

        Had no idea. Wow.

        Well, I guess those folks are still getting our money somehow. I’m alright with that. As long as SOMEBODY gives us some good fries. Guess that’s why they are next to each other. Nice.
        I don’t like super salty fries. My girlfriend does. We still both agree that the old ones were better tasting. I think it may be the sea salt. Who knows.

        Off Topic: the comment above about the temperature hit a nerve. We’ve also been saying that for a while now. They can never seem to give us hot fries & burgers. Weird.

    • Mim says:

      ARBY’S owns WENDY’S

  31. Richard says:

    On a scale from 1 thru 10, I give the new fries a negitive
    5. I went to Wendy’s twice, and both times the new fries were hard
    as a rock! I thought I’d break a tooth eating them. Will NOT be
    going back until the old fries come back.

  32. Mama Sue says:

    Ok I tried the new fries today. What an utter
    disappointment!!! They were cold, over-salted and limp. The old
    fries were much, much better. At least give me a choice!!! I used
    to hit the drive thru just for an order of fries. Not
    anymore!!!

  33. Joshua says:

    I have to agree… These new fries are terrible. Not sure who they did their market research with, but they must be missing taste buds. I have been a dedicated Wendy’s customer for over 20 years (I don’t eat anyone fast food) and have to say, I will not be back unless they change the fries back to the original. Why mess with perfection, they were the best fries in fast food.

    Get it together Wendy’s!

  34. Sally says:

    The new fries are horrible, and I have stopped going to Wendy’s now!

  35. cust tom er says:

    The new fries suck! They taste like dirt with salt. Please go back to old fries

  36. Kelly says:

    I didn’t like the new fries at first but I think they are pretty good now. I like the new potato flavor they have instead of just fat and grease… it adds a darker flavor and lends itself well towards dipping sauce.

    Do I think they are as good as other fries? No. But I like that they are trying something new.

    But they aren’t as limp and squishy as they were before :(
    I do like squishy fries. That makes me the only one on the planet apparently.

  37. scott says:

    The new fries suck air! bring back the old ones.

  38. Zhi says:

    We just tried the new ones.

    They had no taste. Really, no taste at all. They were pretty awful, and after all the hype it just made them worse.

    Admittedly we never liked the originals either, but, what are they DOING to these fries? Seriously? I mean, I make my own (amazing) fries using the cold oil method (cut plain old russet potatos into 1/4″ slivers, cover with canola oil, and then start the stove and boil for about 20 minutes until very golden brown then pull out and sprinkle with salt) and I’m really wondering what, exactly, they’re doing to the poor potatos. Is there some sort of flavor extraction machine they’re running them through, so they taste like nothing (or cardboard, in husband’s opinion)? They vaguely resemble potato but taste nothing like potato. How does one cut up and fry a potato and have it come out tasting like… solidified air with salt?

  39. Josh says:

    The new fries are terrible. I don’t know if its the salt or what, but they taste awful.

  40. MarkyMerk says:

    The new fries are bad. There is no potato taste there. They’re overcooked, are overly crunchy and over salted. The peelings left on the fries actually taste horrible when the fries are cooked so long.

    I miss the old fries with the powder-fine salt. This new fry thing is pretty terrible. They should have learned from BKs over-engineered fries from the 90s not to mess with a good thing.

  41. ACS says:

    I’ve given the new fries a couple chances in various locations. All were equally bad to my taste. I’ve stopped going to Wendy’s as a result, and won’t be back any time soon.

  42. [...] has been talking about Wendy’s new Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt. I thought about going out and grabbing [...]

  43. nhooks says:

    I hate the new fries!!!! It has stopped me from going to Wendy’s as much. I use to always pick Wendy’s over Burger King and Mc Donalds because between the others it was the best all around! Now, I decide if I really prefer a good burger (burger king) or some good fries (Mc Donalds). I undstand evolving with the times and making addions but I don’t think you should mess with the basic staples that have made you so successful in the first place!!! If it’s not broke….don’t fix it!

  44. Suzanne says:

    I like Wendy’s but I absolutely hate the new fries! I’ve tried them several times at different locations and they all tasted awful. I won’t be buying them anymore.

  45. Jason says:

    I was actually excited when the new fries came out. Then I ate them. Awful. Soggy, cold, and tasteless. And it was the same from all three Wendy’s in my area. I thought that it might just be one of the franchises getting it wrong, but they were the exact same level of awfulness at each place I tried. I liked, but didn’t love, their old fries, but these things rival Burger King in awfulness (although for different reasons). I hadn’t realized that Arby’s bought out Wendy’s, but that would explain things. Arby’s is the worst fast food restaurant in existence. I think they’ve given me food poisoning at least 3 times.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Well,I tried these ”sea salt fries.” They weren’t too impressive. I say some were with too much salt.Infact,too much! I say I like McDonalds better. Who agrees with me?!

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous (Not my real name)

  47. John Hoffman says:

    Terrible fries; bitter, cold, tasted like old lard. Mcdonalds got you beat hands down!

  48. AnonS says:

    I have always loved McDonald’s fries since I was a little boy. Nothing in my book could beat them.

    I will say that when properly cooked the new Wendy’s fries taste awesome the best. (I am not just saying that because I work there)

    A key thing with these fries is employees really need to follow procedure.

    Each batch of fries cooked has a five minute hold time in which they can be sold. Once the fries go past the five minutes under the heat lamps the quality and taste suffers. Employees should not drop a large quantities of fries unless they are really busy for a period of time.

    Once the five minutes are up the fries need to be discarded and a new batch needs to be cooked. If you don’t trust your local Wendy’s to always have fresh fries (especially during late night) you can request them to cook your fries fresh and they are required to comply with the request.

    If they don’t there is a number on the back of the receipt to call about your visit. (Trust me if negative feedback is left the management team will know about it as it filters down from the top to them.) If they don’t hand out a receipt all the time ask for it.

  49. The fries are the nastiest fast food creation I have ever had. I will eat Taco Bell before one of these “natural cut” jokes pass my lips. Wendy’s will not get another dollar from me until they once again have edible fries.

  50. Niko says:

    @ Millgiass

    The people have spoken: The new fries are overwhelmingly unpopular (more unpopular than New Coke). FACT.

    Also, nearly 100% of fast food fries are Russet potato. You are lying telling people that the old fries were molded from starch. LIE.

    The new fries are not natural; they are deceptively called “natural-cut.” In FACT, the new fries are bathed in THREE chemicals
    now, whereas they used to only have one chemical bath.

    Don’t take my word for it. GOOGLE: “DailyTech – Wendy’s New ‘Natural’ Fries Caught Using Chemical Stew.”

    The new fries have caused my family and my friends to emotionally declare they will NEVER eat at Wendy’s ever again. People are reacting passionately. Over french fries! This scum-bag corporation almost went under in 2005; now they will fall for sure if they don’t bring back the Classic Fries. Idiots.

  51. wookiee h says:

    I thought Wendy’s new fries were great. Everyone else must be eating different fries or something, because these were better than McD’s (which I love), and waaaay better than the crap fries at BK

  52. mark says:

    these fries are the some of the worst fries ive ever had and i am a 185 pound 12 year old

  53. mark says:

    i say bring back the old fries now or i will start a protest

  54. Heather says:

    How terrible are they? It has been over a year, and here I am, still looking for protest groups on these things. They are beyond bad. And no, despite what the author says, I do *not* admire Wendy’s for these fries in any way. Why would I admire stupidity? They had perhaps the best or second best fries for a fast food place (along with McD’s–it just depended on my mood) but they dropped them for no good reason. I still don’t eat at Wendy’s as much as I used to do. And, apparently, seeing some pretty recent comments on here, I am not the only one who *still* feels this way about those blasted *new* fries.

  55. MP says:

    Sigh. I REALLY wanted to like Wendy’s new fries, but I loved their old ones & they were my favorite fast food fries. I tried the Natural Cut fries 3 times in the exact same location whom IMO has an extremely solid record for consistency. I purchased them all during normal lunch hours. The first batch was overdone, burnt-crisp tasting with no soft middle texture at all – it was like over-salted potato shoestrings. The second batch was soggy, undercooked, mushy, oversalted and the most narrow & smallest pieces were overly cooked, burnt tasting and crispy. The 3rd batch was the same as the first.

    I used to always get fries from Wendy’s like it was mandatory. It’s been a year & I haven’t bought them since. Not that I really care, but they actually made them more unhealthy. They ruined what was a solid institution for gimmick buzz words. I’m sorry but it still bothers me.