Cheesy fries go by many different names depending on the region, restaurant, or personal preference. Some of the most common names for cheesy fries include:
This is perhaps the most generic and common name for fries topped with cheese. Simply adding “cheese” in front of “fries” describes the dish in a straightforward way. Cheese fries is the predominant name used on most American restaurant menus when offering fries covered in cheese.
Nacho fries are very similar to cheese fries, but with a key difference – the cheese sauce used is of the nacho variety. The cheese sauce has a spicier, more flavorful Tex-Mex taste. Nacho fries are sometimes also topped with other nacho toppings like salsa, jalapeños, etc. Taco Bell popularized the term “nacho fries” when they added it to their menu.
Chili cheese fries
As the name suggests, chili cheese fries are topped with both chili and melted cheese. They are essentially chili fries but with the addition of cheese to make it more indulgent. The chili adds a meaty, tomatoey flavor that pairs well with the melted cheese. Chili cheese fries are a menu staple at many burger joints and pubs.
Animal style fries
Animal style fries were popularized by the fast food chain In-N-Out Burger. In addition to melted cheese, animal style fries are topped with In-N-Out’s signature Spread sauce – a special pink sauce that is tangy, savory and sweet. Onion and pickles are also common animal style fry toppings. Animal style fries distinguish themselves with the unique Spread sauce.
Carne asada fries
Popular in California, carne asada fries are topped with grilled steak, guacamole, sour cream and cheese. They originated from Mexican cuisine, combining fries with typical carne asada toppings. The mix of flavors and textures from the steak, creamy cheese and cool guacamole make these fries a standout dish.
Poutine is a classic Canadian dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. It originated in Quebec. The hot fries and gravy melt the cheese curds for a delicious combo. Traditional poutine uses fresh cheese curds that squeak against your teeth when you bite into them. French fries with just cheese can also be called “poutine” outside of Canada.
Disco fries contain cheese and brown gravy. They were popular late-night diner food in New Jersey in the 70s, where “disco” in the name comes from. Disco fries distinguish themselves from poutine by using a brown beef or turkey gravy rather than poutine’s traditional poultry or veggie gravy.
In Belgium, fries with cheese sauce are called “frites sauce.” The sauce is often a Belgian mayo-based sauce tailored to pair perfectly with fries. Frites sauce is creamy, eggy and salty – an ideal dip for piping hot, crispy fries. It’s similar to an elevated version of American cheese sauce.
Patatje oorlog means “fries war” in Dutch. It consists of fries with satay peanut sauce, mayonnaise, and onion. The name comes from the “war” between the sauce flavors on top. Patatje oorlog is a popular Dutch snack that can also be called “patat oorlogsaus” meaning “fries war sauce.”
In the UK and Ireland, sliced or french fries topped with cheese are often referred to as “cheese chips” or “cheesy chips.” This name distinguishing the fries from British chips, which are much thicker cut. Cheese chips make for a satisfying and indulgent treat at fish and chip shops across Britain and Ireland.
Queso typically refers to a Tex-Mex style dip made of melted cheese, tomatoes, chilies and other spices. Queso fries are fries smothered in this gooey, spiced cheese dip. The queso gives great saucy coverage and perfectly coats each fry with its smooth, cheesy deliciousness. Queso fries are a staple at Tex-Mex restaurants.
The term “cheezie fries” uses the slang spelling of “cheezie” to describe its blanket of liquid, artificial cheese sauce. Cheezie fries are quintessential ballpark, carnival and movie theater fare. They are almost always made with a bright orange, pumped cheese sauce rather than real grated cheese.
Chili cheese chip
In Australia, chili cheese fries are sometimes referred to as a “chili cheese chip.” Australians often abbreviate french fries to just “chips,” so the name means chili cheese fries. However, the chili is more likely to be a meaty Bolognese-style chili rather than American-style beef chili.
Loaded fries refers to fries that are loaded up with lots of cheese and any other number of toppings. BBQ pulled pork, bacon, sour cream, chives and many more ingredients can all factor into loaded fries. As long as the fries form the foundation and are smothered in toppings, the variations are endless.
French fry sandwich
While not their official name, french fries sandwiched between two buns like a hot dog could be described as a “french fry sandwich.” Halve a hot dog bun and pile the cheese fries inside for an incredible, portable meal. You can even stick a toothpick in it!
There are numerous hyper-regional names for cheesy fries as well:
- Fry sauce fries – Utah
- Cheese fry – Hawaii
- Cheese sticks – Canada’s Maritimes
- Shoestring fries “all dressed” – Canada’s East Coast
Popular restaurant chains also have their own proprietary names for cheesy fries items:
- Arby’s – Loaded Curly Fries
- Checkers/Rally’s – Cheesy Fries
- Wendy’s – Baconator Fries
- Steak ‘N Shake – Cheese Fries
- A&W – Cheesy Fries
Despite the many different regional and proprietary names, cheesy fries are generally characterized by:
|Base||French fries or potato wedges|
|Cheese Type||Cheddar, nacho cheese, cheese curds|
|Cheese Format||Melted, sauce, curds|
|Additional Toppings||Chili, bacon, onions, guacamole, gravy|
In summary, cheesy fries go by many descriptive names like chili cheese fries, poutine, or loaded fries. There are numerous regional variations as well as restaurant proprietary names. However, the core components of fries and melted cheese remain the same. The exact name used often comes down to local tradition or personal preference to describe this delicious, comfort food combination.