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What are fried potato wedges called?

Fried potato wedges go by many different names. Some of the most common names for this popular appetizer include potato wedges, steak fries, jojo potatoes, potato fans, potato skins, and many others. The exact name seems to vary by region, restaurant, and personal preference. But what they all have in common is that they are made from potatoes, cut into thick wedges, coated in batter or breading, and then deep fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Origin of Fried Potato Wedges

The origins of fried potato wedges are not entirely clear, but most food historians agree they likely originated in the United States in the 1960s or 1970s. As French fries were gaining popularity at fast food chains and diners, some restaurants started offering thicker, wedge-cut fries as an alternative. These chunkier potato wedges were crispier on the outside while staying soft and fluffy on the inside. They quickly became a customer favorite on menus across the country.

Some of the earliest references to potato wedges on restaurant menus appear to be from the Pacific Northwest in the early 1970s. For example, menu archives show that in 1974, the Ram Pub & Brewery restaurant in Seattle offered “Scone Wedges” – fried potato wedges served with the skin on. Around the same time, menus at the Portland City Grill in Oregon offered steak fries described as “fresh potato wedges dipped in beer batter and deep fried.”

Regional Names for Potato Wedges

As fried potato wedges spread across different regions of the United States, they became known by a wide assortment of creative names. Here are some of the unique regional names for potato wedges:

Pacific Northwest

In the Pacific Northwest, fried potato wedges go by “jojos.” This name is thought to have originated in the 1970s at a chain of drive-in burger restaurants called Burgerville located in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Burgerville supposedly named them after a customer named JoJo who enjoyed eating the fried potato wedges.


On the West Coast, especially in California, fried potato wedges are often referred to as “potato fans.” This descriptive name refers to how the raw potato wedges are cut into fan shapes before being fried. The Kebab Shop, a small restaurant chain in Southern California, claims to have invented the term “potato fans” for their fried potato wedges seasoned with Mediterranean spices.


In the Midwest, wedge-cut fries are frequently called “potato skins.” This name stems from leaving the skin on the potato wedges while preparing them. Steakhouses and pubs in the Midwest often serve fried potato skins alongside burgers or steak entrees.

East Coast

On the East Coast, fried potato wedges are sometimes nicknamed “steak fries.” This is because they are considered the perfect side to complement a juicy grilled steak dinner. The thicker cut gives them a heartiness that pairs well with steak.


In the South, wedge-cut french fries are referred to as “potato wedges” more often than any other regional name. The general term “potato wedges” can be found on menus at southern comfort food restaurants throughout states like Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

Preparation Methods for Potato Wedges

Although all fried potato wedges start with raw potatoes cut into wedges, restaurants use different preparation methods to achieve the perfect crunch and texture:

Fried Potato Wedges

The most common preparation method is to simply deep fry raw potato wedges in oil without any coating. The potato wedges are cut, thoroughly rinsed under cold water, patted dry, and then fried at 350-375°F until crispy and golden brown. This technique produces a crispy fried exterior with a fluffy, potatoey interior.

Beer Battered Potato Wedges

For extra crunch and flavor, many restaurants coat the potato wedges in a beer batter coating before frying. The beer batter contains a simple mixture of all-purpose flour, beer, baking powder, salt, and pepper. The carbonation from the beer reacts with the baking powder to create a crispy, lacey coating on the exterior of the fries.

Breaded Potato Wedges

Another coating option is to cover the potato wedges in breadcrumbs or panko crumbs before frying. The wedges are tossed in flour then dipped into egg wash or buttermilk before being coated with crunchy breadcrumbs. Frying the breaded wedges results in a crispy crust enveloping the tender potato interior.

Seasoned Potato Wedges

Many restaurants serve potato wedges sprinkled with cajun seasoning, ranch seasoning, or other spice blends. The potato wedges are tossed in oil and seasonings directly after frying while still hot. This allows the wedges to absorb all the flavorful spices and herbs.

Serving Styles for Potato Wedges

Potato wedges have moved beyond just a side dish and are now featured in entrees, appetizers, and even desserts. Here are some of the creative ways restaurants serve up fried potato wedges:

Side Dishes

The most popular way to enjoy potato wedges is still as a side dish accompanying a sandwich, burger, or steak. The hearty wedges pair well with hearty American classics. They provide a pleasant crunch in contrast to the other components of the dish.


Loaded potato wedges have become a popular shareable appetizer on menus. They are served fully loaded with toppings like cheese, bacon, sour cream, green onions, and other veggies. The appetizer showcases how the potato wedges serve as the perfect salty, starchy vessel for any flavorful toppings.

Potato Skins

Potato skins take advantage of using the whole potato for an appetizer. The wedges are fried then hollowed out to create crispy potato cups ready to be filled with cheese, chili, bacon, or any other appetizing fillings.


The Canadian dish poutine features a base of hot potato wedges topped with cheese curds and gravy. The potato wedges maintain their crunch underneath all the melty, gooey cheese and rich gravy.

Potato Wedge Salads

Rather than chopping potatoes into cubes for potato salad, some restaurants and home cooks use potato wedges as the base. The wedges are fried then mixed in with mayonnaise dressing and other salad ingredients.


Believe it or not, potato wedges occasionally make an appearance in sweet desserts as well. Some restaurants fry wedges then coat them in powdered sugar and chocolate sauce for a salty-sweet treat. Overall, the versatility of the humble potato wedge knows no bounds.

Nutrition Information

Here is the basic nutrition information for a 4 oz (113g) serving of fried potato wedges without any added toppings or sauces:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 196
Fat 11g
Carbohydrates 23g
Fiber 2g
Protein 3g
Sodium 152mg

As you can see, a serving of fried potato wedges is high in calories, fat, and carbs compared to many other side dishes. The fat and sodium content depends largely on how they are prepared and cooked. Oven baking instead of frying significantly reduces the fat and calories.

Cost of Potato Wedges at Restaurants

The price of a side order of potato wedges can range quite a bit depending on the type of restaurant:

Restaurant Type Price Range
Fast Food $1.50 – $3
Casual Dining $3 – $6
Fine Dining $6 – $10

At most fast food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King, a small side of potato wedges costs around $1.50 to $3. At mid-range casual dining restaurants like Applebee’s, a side order typically runs $3 to $6. And at upscale steakhouses, you can expect to pay anywhere from $6 to $10 for potato wedges. The preparation method also affects the price, with beer battered or loaded wedges costing slightly more.

Popularity of Potato Wedges on Menus

Potato wedges have been a menu staple at diners, pubs, and steakhouses for decades. Their popularity experienced some ups and downs over the years but they have regained their status as a menu favorite in recent times. Here are some facts about the prevalence of potato wedges on modern restaurant menus:

– 69% of casual dining restaurants feature potato wedges as a side dish. They are the second most common fried potato side after french fries.

– Potato wedges appear on over 50% of pub and bar food menus as an appetizer or side. They are a popular menu item at sports bars.

– Among fine dining steakhouses, potato wedges can be found at 32% of restaurants surveyed as an alternative to baked potatoes or fries.

– 18% of menus at American restaurants now offer loaded potato wedges with various toppings as an appetizer. They are a trendy shareable starter.

– 7% of menus have replaced french fries with potato wedges as the standard side served with burgers, sandwiches, fish dishes, etc.

So while potato wedges may not be quite as ubiquitous as french fries, they have proven to have staying power and a loyal fan base among American diners. Their tasty crunch and fun, indulgent appeal continues to drive their popularity at restaurants across the country.

Making Potato Wedges at Home

It’s easy to recreate delicious potato wedges at home with basic ingredients from your grocery store. Here is a simple recipe:


– 3 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean (about 1 1/2 lbs)
– 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. Cut washed potatoes into thick wedges or slices about 1/2 inch wide.

3. Place potato wedges in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat evenly.

4. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle spice mix over the potato wedges and toss again until evenly seasoned.

5. Arrange wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Make sure they are not overcrowded.

6. Roast for 20 minutes then flip wedges over and continue roasting for 15-20 more minutes, until crispy and browned on the outside.

7. Serve the homemade potato wedges immediately while still hot and crispy. Enjoy!

Adjust cooking time if necessary for desired level of crispness. Wedges are also delicious when air fried or baked at a lower temp for longer. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings like ranch, lemon pepper, cajun spices, etc.

Buying Frozen Potato Wedges

If you want the convenience of pre-cut, ready-to-cook potato wedges, several brands offer quality frozen options:

– Ore-Ida: The classic American frozen potato brand offers multiple varieties of frozen potato wedges including seasoned, steakhouse, and crinkle cut.

– Alexia: Their premium pub-style potato wedges are cut extra thick with the skin on and made with russet potatoes.

– McCain: Their frozen seasoned potato wedges come in Original, Cajun, and Ranch flavors.

– Checkers & Rally’s: Get the iconic seasoned wedges from this drive-in chain in the freezer aisle.

– Nathan’s Famous: The famous hot dog brand also sells beer battered, skin-on wedges.

– 365 Everyday Value: Whole Foods’ store brand has shoestring and straight-cut oven baked potato wedges.

The best frozen potato wedges approximate the flavor, texture, and crunch of restaurant-style. They make a quick and easy side to prepare at home.

Best Potatoes for Making Wedges

For achieving optimal wedge-shaped fries, certain potatoes work better than others:


The gold standard. Russets are the perfect choice for potato wedges because of their oblong shape, fluffy interior, and crisp, fluffy texture when fried or baked. The high starch content results in nice and crispy wedges.

Yukon Gold

Yukon golds are a classic all-purpose potato. Their smooth, creamy texture bakes up nicely but can become a little soft when fried into wedges. Best for oven-baked wedges.

Red Potatoes

Small to medium sized red potatoes can be cut into petite wedges. The waxy texture holds its shape well during cooking. The red skin adds a pop of color.

Sweet Potatoes

Wedges made from sweet potatoes offer more natural sweetness and nutrients like vitamin A and C. Roast them with cinnamon and sugar for dessert sweet potato wedges.

For the quintessential potato wedge experience, Russets are the top choice. But the other varieties can add their own unique flair. Just avoid extremely waxy potatoes like white or purple potatoes which don’t cut into nice wedge shapes.


However you refer to them – potato wedges, steak fries, jojo’s, or potato skins – these hearty, crispy potato fries offer indulgent satisfaction and craveable flavor. Their geography-inspired nicknames tell the story of how they became a cherished menu item coast to coast. Their recent resurgence in popularity is likely to continue as more restaurants showcase creative ways to serve potato wedges. So next time you see fried potato wedges on the menu, you can appreciate the rich history behind this quintessential American side dish.