Last week, Wendy’s quietly began rolling out a brand new French fry recipe at some of its restaurants nationwide. We’re thrilled about this. While Wendy’s is well-loved at Uproxx Life, we all pretty much agree that their French fries are a weak link. In our last French fry ranking, fast food’s most underrated chain showed its clay feet — coming in at 11 out of 15, where we concluded that their fries are “Middling. At Best… overly salted…often limp and soggy…” etc.
I stand by that review. Wendy’s OG fries don’t deserve to sit in the bag alongside their delicious cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches. If you’re looking for a crispy delicious and dippable side to eat alongside your burger, you’re better off getting the spicy nuggets than an order of those abominations. So it gives me no small measure of joy — and validation! — to write that Wendy’s new Hot & Crispy French fries remedy many of the problems I had with the original recipe.
According to Wendy’s, the Hot & Crispys were crafted to retain each fry’s heat and crispiness, hence the name. I find that dubious, considering the Hot & Crispys look about the same as Wendy’s OG fries, just a little thicker and a little lighter in color. Does the “holds its heat” claim check out? To investigate, I set a stopwatch to check the fries at different timed intervals, from fresh out of the bag to 20 minutes after being served to a full 40 — which is roughly the amount of time it takes for you to get food delivered via UberEats, Postmates, and the like.
Check our multi-stage review, below!
Wendy's secretly changed their fries & they're amazing
— Anthony 🇵🇷 (@Timcantcookeggs) September 2, 2021
The new Wendy's fries 🤤🤤🤤😍😍😍😍😍
— Baby Cakes 🤤🤤 (@keyysheisty95) September 2, 2021
Hot & Crispy French Fries
PART I — Fresh Out Of The Bag
The new fries are a beautiful golden color, reminiscent of McDonald’s but more than twice as thick with some skin on the edges which adds a nice earthiness to the flavor. They aren’t over-salted like the OG fries, and they’re indeed molten hot and buttery on the inside and wonderfully crispy on the outside. They don’t suffer from that instant sogginess that the OGs had.
The crispiness gives the French fries a sort of double flash-fried vibe — they’re crispy but not fried to the point that they’re burnt or crunchy. This is a good thing, because you get a very potato-forward flavor that makes them good enough to eat on their own without the need for a dipping sauce.
The exterior of the fry is very light, it’s a significant improvement over the OG recipe and it’s worthy of revamping our entire fry ranking just to give it its proper spot.
After I ate a handful, I put the fries back in the box and watched the clock.
PART II — 20 Minutes In
Unfortunately, the heat has all but disappeared but these fries are magically just as crispy as they were fresh out of the bag. That’s pretty amazing. Somehow the fries taste a lot saltier now than they did when they were hot, though. It’s almost overwhelming, but still way less salty than the OGs.
As far as lukewarm fries go, these still taste pretty good. 20 minutes is enough time to turn a delicious French fry into a bad one but these hold up nicely in the flavor department and aren’t in the least bit soggy.
Back in the bag they go!
PART III — 40 Minutes In
Whoops, I’m 20 seconds late! Another 20 minutes in and the crispiness is almost completely gone. Surprisingly, a few of the fries still hold up, and almost every bite still supplies an audible crunch, but the mouthfeel is mostly mushy and at this stage, the grease is much more noticeable and severely impacts the flavor.
So I can’t say that these fries still hold up in the flavor department after 40 minutes, but they’re certainly crispier than almost every other fast food French fry that isn’t battered. And what fry has broken the 40-minute barrier? Few, if any.
The Bottom Line:
These aren’t McDonald’s good but I struggle to think of a second fast food French fry that is better. Wendy’s French fries jumped up from being forgettable to essential and that’s a win for everyone. Skip the third-party delivery, but if you’re in the drive-thru they’re a must.
Hot & Crispy French Fries will be the nationwide standard at all Wendy’s restaurants by mid-month.