Why Are French Fries Called French Fries?

French fries, also known as chips or fries, are a popular fast food item that can be found in nearly every corner of the globe. But have you ever wondered why they are called “French fries”? The origin of the name is actually a bit of a mystery, with several theories circulating about how these fried potatoes came to be known as “French.”

Theory 1: French Origin

One theory is that the name “French fries” actually refers to the country of origin. According to this theory, the dish was created in Belgium, where potatoes were a staple crop. The Belgians, who spoke a dialect of French, called the thin, fried potatoes “frites.” When American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, they were introduced to the dish and began calling them “French fries” due to the French-speaking Belgian origin.

Theory 2: French Cooking Method

Another theory is that the name “French fries” refers to the cooking method used to prepare the potatoes. According to this theory, the dish was created in France, where the potatoes were cut into thin strips and fried in oil, a cooking method known as “à la française,” which means “in the French style.”

Theory 3: American Influence

A third theory suggests that the name “French fries” may have been coined by American fast food chains in the early 20th century. As the popularity of fast food began to rise, these chains needed a catchy name for their fried potatoes. Since “french” means thin and “fries” means fried, “French fries” was a logical choice.


Regardless of the true origin of the name, it is clear that French fries have become a beloved and iconic dish around the world. Whether you call them “frites,” “chips,” or “french fries,” one thing is for sure – these crispy, golden potatoes are a delicious and satisfying treat that can be enjoyed in countless ways.