It’s safe to declare that French fries are the most quintessential pair to a burger. These carbo-loaded crunchy snacks are delicious and if for any reason, you’re trying to cut fries out of the equation, there are a few other choices.
There are at least nine easy alternatives if you don’t like fries. Onion rings, potato chips, sweet potato fries, mushroom chips, apple chips, zucchini chips, mozzarella sticks, banana chips, and carrot fries are some frequent replacements. They can also taste much better than your plain old fries.
See how many picks you have? Join us and see if these alternatives are right for your taste. We’ll show you how to prepare them and when are they the best. We’ll even teach you what you can do to change them to your taste.
Here we go!
Why Would You Want to Replace Fries?
If you’re here, you’re likely looking for a way to replace fries. While we love French fries and always have a bag of them ready, some people don’t want them.
For starters, fries, especially fast food fries, can be quite unhealthy. The mix of carbohydrates and fats can result in a massive amount of calories. For people trying to lose weight fries are a significant adversary.
One large serving of McDonald’s fries, for example, has 490 calories. It’s a solid 66 g of carbohydrates and 23 g of fat with 400 mg of sodium. That’s almost a quarter of your daily allowance for calories and your day’s worth of carbs.
If you can cut that down to at least half, you’ll be good to go. For people going on some special diets fries are not a good choice. People taking low-carb and ketogenic diets can’t overeat carbs in their daily intake.
People who also have current health conditions would need alternatives to fries. Diabetics and people with kidney issues would need less salt in their foods. The last thing you want is to have too high insulin level and too much cholesterol.
There’s also a matter of flavor. Some people like eating salty foods, so fries are not the best in taste. They can be very salty outside but bland on the inside.
If you’re not happy with French fries as the partner to your perfect hamburgers, it’s ok! You have other choices too.
1. Onion Rings
Onion rings are one of the better and more conventional options in this list. Made of fried onions dipped into a delicious batter, they’re some of the least celebrated foods out there. In places where the fries are the king, the onion ring is there to be delicious support.
Onion rings don’t get as much love as they deserve because of different reasons. Some people like it because it’s soft and savory without being too rich in carbs, and some like it because it’s a delicious onion bursting in flavors.
There are some that don’t like the idea of eating an onion as a side dish. The modern acceptance of onion rings, however, made it a very viable side. It’s savory, sweet, and delicious, all at the same time.
Three components make an onion ring a delicious French fry replacement. It’s the onion, the batter and the technique. These three components make for a superb onion ring recipe.
First, you want your onion to be large and sweet like Vidalia onions. You want them to be around a 0.5 to 1 inch (1 – 2.5 cm) thick. Soak them in buttermilk for around an hour to give them a stickier surface with tangy flavor.
When it comes to the batter, you have a pick between two different styles. There’s a crunchy tempura-style batter using baking powder, carbonated water and beer. There’s also the thicker, heavier combo of flour with eggs dipped in beer.
If you want the style that most fast foods use, the first style is the right pick. It’s still up to your taste preference. In any case, you want to season your flour with at least salt, pepper and garlic powder.
As for cooking, use neutral oil at 350 °F (180 °C) until they’re golden brown.
2. Potato Chips
Potato chips are unhealthy if you’re not making them yourselves. They’re still delicious and works great with your delicious hamburgers. If you don’t want fries, these thin potatoes can sate your hunger.
Potato chips are fantastic for people who want that extra crunch but not too much volume. They’re perfect if you’re having a big burger as it is. They give you that potato taste without being too heavy.
If you’re going to pair up chips with your burger, we recommend using the best potatoes for the job. Russet potatoes, Idaho potatoes, or Yukon gold are great picks. These are the same potatoes that big chips companies use for their products.
Wash the potatoes in icy water as you slice them, drain. Rewash them in salty water and soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain them until they’re completely dry, then pat off with a paper towel.
Fry your potato chips in 380 °F (190 °C) oil. Once they start becoming golden brown, transfer them to a paper towel or a wire rack. Season them with salt and your choice of spices.
Here’s one pro-tip: if you have a dehydrator, dry your potatoes with it after soaking in salt water. This will make them extra crunchy.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, fry your potato chips to half done. Let them cool and once everything is par-cooked, cook them again.
3. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are a new surprise to Americans but have been around for a long time. In the Philippines, sweet potato fries are street food, deep-fried and cooked with brown sugar. In Korea, people sell them as Goguma sticks — thin cut fries.
These make for some of the most delicious snacks that would taste awesome with burgers.
Why would you want sweet potato fries? Sweet potatoes are less starchy than potatoes, so you get some sweetness with every bite. They are also rich in vitamin A, which is great for eyesight.
What makes these better than potatoes is their taste. Unlike potatoes, sweet potatoes are still delicious even without salt and pepper. You can also make them sweet or savory, depending on your tastes.
To make proper sweet potato fries, cut your sweet potatoes into ½ × ¼ inch (1 × 0.5 cm) fries. Season them with salt and pepper, together with other spices. We love putting some sugar in there to balance the saltiness, along with some paprika.
Create a thin batter — 1 cup (120 g) of cornstarch and ¾ cup (167 ml) of sparkling water. Drop your seasoned sweet potatoes in the batter and let them sit to remove the excess mixture. Fry them in 375 °F (190 °C) oil until crispy and golden brown.
To make them extra dry, leave them in a 200 °F (90 °C) preheated oven. Let them sit in the ambient heat.
4. Mushroom Chips
For people looking to be a bit healthier, mushroom chips are an excellent fry replacement. They’re freaking amazing because they’re a low-calorie, low-carb option. They’re rich in protein and potassium and have a lot of fiber to boot.
Mushrooms are super tasty. If you fry mushrooms, they can take as much of the seasoning as possible. You don’t have to salt them to death as they’re already savory, full of rich umami flavor.
If you’re looking to find an alternative for French fries, mushroom chips are some of the best. Do you want to try them yourself? Here’s how you do it.
Buy yourself the best fresh mushrooms you can find. The best picks are oyster mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, or your common button mushrooms. Separate them into single pieces and slice thin.
In a zip bag, combine mushrooms, 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, 2 tbsp flour and seasonings. Close the bag and shake them well, making a thin outer coat.
From here, you can either bake them at 350 °F (180 °C) or deep fry them in 375 °F (190 °C). Bake them for one hour or fry until crispy. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
If you want to improve on your mushroom chips, a good tip is to use fresh mushrooms. Don’t wash them, but instead pat them with a damp cloth. Water can make your mushrooms bloated, and they won’t cook.
5. Apple Chips
Apple chips are another one of those healthy replacements for French fries. They’re sweet, delicious, and full of flavor. Eat them sliced and raw, and it’s a kid’s meal; eat them baked or fried in chip form, and they’re delish.
Why should you care about apple chips? If you’re in a fancy diet like ketogenic or you’re trying to cut down on carbs, apple chips can do it for you.
What makes apples superb are its health benefits. They are rich in fiber, flavonoids, and antioxidants that can reduce your risk of hypertension and cardiac issues. They are also rich in vitamin C and potassium, which are essential for your health.
If you don’t like salty partner for your burger, apple chips are amazing. They have a natural sweetness that mellows out when you fry them. If you bake them, however, they get sweeter but not too much that it overwhelms your senses.
Interested in trying apple chips? Here’s how.
Slice two apples thin. We recommend using a mandolin or a slicer attachment for your processor. You want almost paper thin slices to make it extra crispy.
From here, you have a choice if you want your apple chips sweet or salty. If you want them sweet, combine 1 tbsp (15 g) sugar and ½ tsp (2.1 g) of cinnamon. Toss your apple slices in the sugar-cinnamon mixture, enough to add some flavor to the apples.
Bake them in a 200 °F (90 °C) oven for 2 – 3 hours. Flip them halfway through and let them be crispy and pliable. You can also air fry them, then bake at 350 °F (180 °C) for 12 minutes.
If you want them salty, toss them in some kosher salt and some pepper. Deep fry your apple slices in oil until golden brown.
6. Zucchini Chips
Zucchini chips are another healthy alternative to French fries. Much like the apple chips, you want your zucchini chips if you’re going for healthy. Zucchini has minimal carbohydrates and calories, so you’re giving your body a good break.
Why pick zucchini? Zucchini has the right form and structure to stay nice and crispy after frying. It also dries nice, so you don’t get the moist mess like the ones you get from cucumbers.
Zucchini is also uber healthy, great for people with diabetes and other diseases. A cup of vegetables only has 17 calories and loads of nutrients. We’re talking about vitamin A, C, K, folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and copper.
Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants that can benefit your eyes, skin and heart. Flavorwise, zucchini chips are neutral-tasting, so they’re neither bitter nor sweet. If you season them right, you’ll get a delicious fare that works excellent with your tasty burger.
To make zucchini chips, slice with your mandolin into thin cuts. Combine oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and some onion powder, then stir. Toss each slice into the seasoned oil mix and lay them flat on a tray with a wax sheet one by one.
In a preheated 450 °F (230 °C) oven, bake your zucchini chips anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes. Watch them close as your time will vary depending on many factors. These include the zucchini’s moisture, the thickness of the slice and more.
One pro tip is to watch over the development for the first batch. Time from the moment you pop the first batch in and until they’re golden brown. If you did uniform cuts, redo the same time with your next batch.
Zucchini chips are finicky. They can go from golden brown to char in as much as 30 seconds. Watch over their development when you can.
7. Mozzarella Sticks
Mozzarella sticks are some of the more traditional and savory partners to a hamburger. If you don’t want fries because they’re starchy, the mozzarella sticks should do the trick for you.
These cheese sticks are not what you want if you’re looking for something healthy. Apart from the extra calcium that cheese gives, you’re still eating something super sinful. Mozzarella sticks, however, are super simple to make.
If you want these cheese sticks, cut your mozzarella into 2-inch (5 cm) rectangles or buy them in stick form. Prepare a breading station with two stops. Use egg wash in the first, and breadcrumbs with seasoning on the second.
Once you’re ready, heat oil to 360 °F (180 °C) and start breading, going egg-crumbs-egg-crumbs. Fry each stick until they’re golden brown, which should take around 30 seconds. Put them away from heat and let drain on paper towels or a wire rack.
One pro tip is to chill the cheese before you start cooking them. This prevents the cheese from melting or going soft under the heat of the oil.
8. Banana Chips
Banana chips are an excellent alternative to French fries and a typical delicacy all over the world. People eat them sweet in sugar or savory in seasonings, so you have a choice which one to make.
They are sweet and crunchy in the best way possible. Bananas have potassium and fiber, which is excellent for your body function. The only downside with banana chips is they gain a lot of bad stuff when you deep fry them, from extra sugars to extra fats.
Here’s how you make them extra healthy without frying them.
First, slice your bananas and line them in a tray over parchment paper. Drizzle with lemon to prevent blackening and oxidation.
Bake your thin sliced bananas in low heat at 200 °F (90 °C). This will help dehydrate your chips and remove moisture from the surface. Bake for two hours.
Create a simple brown sugar syrup and toss them for a thin coating. Drain on a wire rack to keep glaze without having a very thick coat.
If you want them spiced, coat them in a mixture of oil and spices before lining on the oven tray. Bake at 400 °F (200 °C) for eight minutes on one side, flip, then another five minutes on the other side.
9. Carrot Fries
Carrot fries are some of the healthiest and tastiest alternatives to your regular French fries. We love them raw or fried, depending on your taste. You don’t, however, get a burger and expect carrot sticks to accompany them, so let’s cook them up.
Carrots are low in calories and rich in vitamin A. They’re also ultra cheap, and they taste sweet even without any spices. Depending on the flavor you want, you can eat them baked raw or with seasonings.
Cut your carrots into fries, using around 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of carrots. Preheat your oven to 425 °F (220 °C). In a large bowl, use 2 tbsp (30 g) of cornstarch and toss the carrot fries.
Combine 1 tbsp (15 g) each of garlic and onion powder and combine with 1 tsp (5 g) of black pepper, salt, oregano and thyme. Toss the carrots again in the mixture, then drizzle with olive oil and toss back.
Line the carrots on parchment lined tray and bake for 10 minutes. Turn them and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy.
Replacing fries as your burger’s partner is not a hard thing to do. Let’s admit it, fries are delicious, and they’re super tasty. If you need fries replacements, however, you have a lot of options.
From carrot fries to potato chips to mozzarella sticks, there are many picks you can choose. Consider what fits your taste and health preferences. If you don’t mind something sinful, mozzarella sticks and onion rings are superb. If you’re looking for healthy options, there’s a near endless choice of veggies you can turn into chips.
The limit is only your imagination and your willingness to try something new. Whether you’re looking at sweet potato fries or want to stay with French fries, go for it. Your burger needs that accompaniment to give you a nice meal you’d love to have again.
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