Fries are famously accompanied by a nice dipping sauce. And in these times, there’s an enormous amount of readily available condiments. From hundreds of mayonnaise-varieties and worldly flavors to unique and branded recipes. Still, sometimes your guests are just longing for an all-time classic, like the ones in this top-10. These are the most popular basic condiments to go with fries!
1. Tomato ketchup
Tomato ketchup is the all-time favorite condiment to pair with fries. Catsup, as it was called, is derived from the Chinese fish sauce ‘ketsiap’ and was brought to Europe by traders. However, these first ‘ketchups’ weren’t made with tomatoes. That changed around 1800, when tomato ketchup quickly became popular, and ‘ketchup’ became the common name for the tomato sauce. The condiment famously pairs well with fries, as the sweet-and-sour compliments the slightly salty natural potato flavor!
Yellow on yellow
Did you know that in The Philippines, they have a very different type of ketchup? Besides tomato ketchup, they also have a ketchup that is made from bananas, which is incredibly popular to pair with fries!
This classic condiment comes in so many varieties, it’s no wonder it’s so popular. The origins of this condiment are on the Spanish island of Minorca, but the current recipe, with vegetable oil and egg yolks, is credited to French chef Marie-Antoine Careme. At least in Belgium and the Netherlands it’s the most favorite condiment for fries.
In Great Britain, Ireland and Canada, the tanginess to accompany fries is found in vinegar. The English and Irish put malt vinegar on their fries, together with some salt, while the Canadians also use white vinegar. It’s a cheap and strong flavor enhancer that works magic in fish and chips. The vinegar can either be sprayed on - there’s a heated debate about what goes on first, the salt or the vinegar - or comes as a powder. In case of the latter, it’s easy: both seasonings can be put on at the same time!
4. Hot or chilli sauce
Though available in a sweet version as well, spicy chili sauce or hot sauce is the more popular sibling of the two. Mainly because this sauce knows how to blend in. Though it works perfectly well on its own, chili sauce can make killer combinations for French fries. Popular combos include chili ketchup and chili mayo. And how about a chili cheese combination, to get a bit of a Mexican vibe going?
What, really? Yes, mustard is one of the main condiments for fries, especially in France. Again, it’s the tanginess in the condiment that makes this a great match with French fries. However, this is a real ‘love it or hate it’ condiment, and it really depends upon the kind of mustard, too (Dijon mustard is the preferred one). That’s why a related condiment, honey-mustard sauce, may be the more generally accepted dipping option. The honey-mustard combination was first introduced by the Egyptians, and is loved for being sweet, tangy, and creamy at the same time. It pairs well with French fries, and wonderfully well with sweet potato fries!
6. Ranch dressing
Invented by a man from Alaska who, unsurprisingly, bought a ranch in California, this sauce started out as a home-made upgrade for salad dressing. Common ingredients include buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, mustard, chives, parsley, dill, pepper, paprika and mustard seed, though yoghurt and sour cream can also be used. It’s incredibly popular in the United States. An article in the New York Times in 2017 stated that 40% of Americans claim ranch sauce is their favorite dressing. And not just for salads… Americans and Canadians love to dip their fries in it too!
French fries with gravy are another popular choice in America and Canada. Historically, a man in Quebec, Canada invented ‘poutine’ in the late 1950’s. The name poutine is slang for ‘mess’. Admittedly, the dish, that contains French fries, cheese curds and gravy does look a little messy, but it’s absolutely delicious! It was said to be invented to keep the fries warm and can be seen as a good example of basic loaded fries. In America it’s also done without cheese curd, as that’s a less popular ingredient there. Instead, they season their fries and then smother them in gravy.
The French fry fan that’s into herbs loves a good curry sauce or curry ketchup on their fry. Being just a little less popular than tomato ketchup or mayonnaise, this curry sauce isn’t comparable to the Indian or Thai curry. Instead, it’s less hot and spicy and more sweet. It’s available in much of western Europe. The Irish have their own variety of curry sauce, but in Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, curry ketchup is a very common sauce, which isn’t just used for fries, but also for prepared meats and snacks.
9. Garlic sauce and aioli
Creamy and rich, garlic sauce, garlic aioli and aioli in general are a flavor fave for many. Though original garlic sauce isn’t necessarily made with egg yolk, like mayonnaise, when people refer to aioli or garlic dipping sauce, they mostly mean the white, creamy mayonnaise-like condiment. The combination of French fries and this type of condiment is consumed in some eastern European countries but is also often offered as an option in other countries. Garlic sauce is lovely to combine with a bit of lemon, with rosemary or other herbs, or like the Americans do; with cheeses like cheddar or parmesan.
10. BBQ sauce
The number 10 on this list can’t be missed: BBQ sauce. This sauce isn’t one to originally pair with fries. However, lots of times fries are eaten with barbecued meat, and like with gravy, it’s very enticing to dip your fries into the sauce that’s already on your plate. That’s how BBQ sauce became a favorite, even without the meat!