This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
French fries are the perfect side dish for any meal, whether you're eating a burger, wrap, sandwich or even pasta.
But ordering fries from a restaurant all the time can put a real dent in your bank account, and it's really not practical when you just need a side for something you're making at home.
So the question is, what are the best frozen French fries you can buy in Canadian grocery stores that taste just like fresh ones?
Well, we've got the answer for you.
The bags of frozen French fries from Metro.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Frozen french fries can be a lifesaver in many settings, like when you're hosting a BBQ for over 20 people, because cutting potatoes is time-consuming and expensive. Also, you never know when you just want to have some fries at home, so it's always good to have them handy.
But, as some of you may know, not all frozen foods taste good and some brands hold up better in the freezer than others. Just like with frozen pizzas, frozen fried potatoes can be a mixed bag after you've cooked them up.
Before and after the frozen fries were cooked.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
I went to my closest Metro grocery store in Toronto and grabbed all the frozen French fries I found on the shelves. I bought fries from Selection, McCain and Cavendish and the winner of this taste test truly shocked me.
I baked all of them in my Toronto apartment oven and followed the instructions on each package, but some needed more time while others ended up cooking a little bit too much.
Now, remember this is strictly my opinion and experience with the fries that were cooked in my oven, and there are other ways to make the potatoes such as an air fryer. I chose the most conventional way and followed the instructions as closely as I could.
Regardless, I gave this taste test a go and here's how I ranked them from worst to best.
Cavendish Restaurant Style Drive-Thru Fries.
Price: $4.99 per 750g
I bought the thin-cut Cavendish restaurant-style drive-thru fries that come in a bag weighing 750 grams. At first, I thought these would be my favourite ones because my go-to hashbrowns are from this brand. But I was shocked at how bland and thin the fries were.
They needed seasoning because the fries tasted super plain. Also, they did shrink in size when cooked, making them feel like Hickory Sticks rather than what fries should taste like. I enjoy my fries crispy, but not this crispy.
Additionally, they dried up really quickly and were hard to bite after they cooled down.
If I had added seasoning and eaten them immediately, I might've had a better experience, but, in my opinion, the brand did not do an excellent job at making them feel like "restaurant-style" fries as advertised.
McCain Superfries Extra Crispy.
Price: $5.99 per 650g
McCain fries were pleasant to eat, and most of the potatoes were perfectly cooked when following the instructions. I would've probably kept them in the over a bit longer to bake them to my liking and also, a couple felt cold; otherwise, it was an okay experience.
I bought the McCain Superfries, which are straight-cut and extra crispy. The cooking time is 18 to 24 minutes, which is longer than the other brands but also it needed that extra time to feel "extra crispy."
Apparently, according to a press release, "McCain Foods is the world's largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialties, and also produces other quality products such as appetizers, vegetables and desserts that can be found in restaurants and retail stores in more than 160 countries around the world." In other words, they are pretty famous and should know what they're doing with French fries.
Now, the fries did taste like actual potatoes, which was a great observation to experience, but again, the seasoning felt nonexistent. If I could go back, I would've tossed them in salt, pepper and cajun spice and they would've felt like Popeyes fries.
The thickness was medium and the crunch was good but the best part was how long each fry was. Don't longer fries taste better? I think it's because it feels like there is more potato to the pieces.
Selection Fried Potatoes Straight.
Price: $4.99 per 2kg
Oddly enough, the cheapest frozen french fry brand was my favourite out of the bunch for many reasons, the main one being it tasted like Burger King fries, which is a great statement to make.
I did a fast-food French fry taste test in the past and thought that BK had the best fries out of all the spots reviewed because they were well-seasoned, perfectly thick and felt like I was eating real potatoes.
Selection's straight-cut frozen french fries were the best by far because they came close to that experience. The instructions were accurate and the potatoes were ready within 20 minutes. They came out soft and crispy, and best of all, they were moist.
Even after a few minutes, when I went back to grab a couple more fries, they stayed soft compared to the rest, which hardened quite quickly.
Also, the 2-kilogram bag, which was huge, was the cheapest out of the entire bunch but it offered more for your buck.
So, yes, next time you see cheap fries at the supermarket, trust me and grab them.
I love anything made from potatoes, which includes fries, hashbrowns, roasted potatoes, tater tots and anything else you can think of. They make a meal more filling and give you a bit of diversity when eating.
Fries are a great side dish and if you really wanted, you could turn this frozen meal into something more delicious. Might I suggest throwing on some spices like paprika and cajun or making it more Mediterranean by adding basil and thyme? No one will know they were already pre-cut.
Also, the fries I tried were all from Metro. Suppose you visit Lobalws or any other supermarket in Canada. In that case, you're chances of finding other brands and varieties of frozen fries are high but know that if you're on a budget and want something that tastes like real potatoes, Selection has a great product. I'll definitely be sharing this experience at my next gathering.