New York City Has Spoken: Here are Their Favorite French Fry Toppings

July 25, 2015

After reading Lucky Peach's article about french fry toppings around the world, which included mentions of the classics (poutine, chili-cheese, and wedges) and a little number called Shake Shake fries, we got hungry—and then we got curious. How do the good people of New York eat their fries? At first we took a casual office poll (Riddley is a firm believer in kewpie mayonnaise and furikake, while Caroline prefers hers a la milkshake), but we soon recognized the need for a larger data pool—so we took to the R train. While Caroline stood aside, citing her "inner introvert," the inner Psychology major in me systematically made my way down the entire subway car. The "study" yielded two significant findings:

  1. People get really excited when talking about french fry toppings (it is a terrific way to make friends).
  2. New York City is by no means a ketchup-only city (but yes, a lot of people like ketchup).

Of the 22 people interviewed, 40% (n=9) chose ketchup and only 9% (n=2) opted for ketchup's diner duo, mustard. Other answers included melted cheese (one vote for mozzerella; two for cheddar), Italian fries ("They've got Italian grated cheese, Italian herbs, and Italian seasonings. Get 'em at Shorty's on Madison."), ranch dressing (participant added, "Anything besides ketchup"), and worcestershire sauce. Only one participant was unmoved by the prospect of warm potato goodness ("I don't eat french fries. Thank God.").

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Getting hungry? Us too—here are some of our favorite things to slather, dip, and cover fries with:

What are some of your favorite french fry toppings? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo by James Ransom 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Juliann Downs
    Juliann Downs
  • Mary
  • zette
  • Claire
  • Barbara
I eat everything.


Juliann D. September 9, 2015
aioli, truffle mayonnaise, ice cream, salt, cheese
Mary September 3, 2015
Sir racha mayonnaise or chilli mayonnaise and fry in duck fat please.
zette July 26, 2015
With Mayonnaise mmmmmmm, also why hasn't anyone mentioned vinegar?
Seasalt & vinegar..or with fish& chips ....malt vinegar.
Also like to mix equal parts ketchup with mayo or equal parts vinegar & ketchup.
Claire July 26, 2015
I prefer tartar sauce.....what I also love with fish...
Barbara July 26, 2015
Caper Mayo...mmmmm
Dani July 26, 2015
Why did no one mention mayo fries? Classic.
Jo S. July 26, 2015
Aioli. How is that not even an option?!!!
702551 July 25, 2015
I have found that the best French fries do not need any sauce/topping at all. Properly seasoned, they are the best as is.

This is more noticeable if you fry potatoes in a shape that is not the standard French fry. The classic pommes soufflées (twice-fried potato discs that puff up) are a good example: you just need a little salt.

Heck, even a potato chip is essentially a fried potato. The best ones need no dipping sauce or flavoring.
702551 July 25, 2015
Heck, I've fried potato slices without going for the pommes souflées effect, and I found that the fry fat can be good enough to make sauces unnecessary.

The best fats for this: duck/goose fat, lard, and bacon fat. If you fry potatoes in any of these fats, you really don't want sauces. They are the best as is (with a little salt).

French fry toppings are for the Great Unwashed.
Sandra July 25, 2015
I like ketchup, mustard, smashed can jalapeños, and a splash of the jalapeños can juice! Delicious !!
Mayonnaise! Like the French!
Laurie July 25, 2015
I must be really a minority. No one mentioned my favorite: tartar sauce.
Cynthia W. July 25, 2015
Two dips, easy to make at home, hard to say which one is best. Stir half Maille mustard into half mayo. Stir half Heinz Chili Sauce into half mayo. Dip accordingly.
Maureen M. July 25, 2015
Jeff K. July 25, 2015
Beef gravy!
chez_mere July 25, 2015
Definitely yellow mustard. In this order... Blob of ketchup, blob of mustard side-by-side. Swipe your fry through the ketchup, then into the mustard. Sweet + vinegar punch = greatness