The Most Popular Fried Food in America, Ranked

Choose the fried food you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 29, 2024 06:55
Many argue about which fried food truly captures the essence of American cuisine. While some suggest the decision is purely based on personal taste, understanding widespread preferences can offer insights beyond mere flavor. A comprehensive ranking helps clarify which dishes are favored across diverse communities and age groups, shedding light on cultural trends and regional tastes. By participating in this voting process, users contribute to a broader understanding of what stands out in the current culinary landscape. Each vote not only reflects personal preference but also influences how these foods are perceived and enjoyed nationally. This dynamic tool provides a snapshot of popular opinion, encouraging an engaging interaction with food culture.

What Is the Most Popular Fried Food in America?

  1. 1

    Mozzarella Sticks

    Slices of mozzarella cheese that are coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried.
    • Main ingredient: Mozzarella cheese
  2. 2

    Fried Shrimp

    Shrimp that are coated in batter or breadcrumbs and deep-fried.
    • Also known as: Shrimp tempura
  3. 3

    Fried Fish

    Fish that is battered or breaded and deep-fried.
    • Commonly used fish: Cod, haddock, catfish
  4. 4

    Jalapeño Poppers

    Jalapeño peppers that are hollowed out, stuffed with cheese and/or meat, breaded, and deep-fried.
    • Cheese used: Cream cheese or cheddar
  5. 5


    Deep-fried dough confections, often sweetened and sometimes filled with various sweet fillings or toppings.
    • Varieties: Glazed, filled, cake
  6. 8

    Potato Chips

    Thin slices of potato that are deep-fried or baked until crispy.
    • Originated in: Saratoga Springs, New York
  7. 9

    Chicken Nuggets

    Small pieces of deboned chicken meat that are breaded or battered and deep-fried.
    • Introduced by: McDonald's in the 1980s
  8. 10

    Onion Rings

    Rings of onion that are battered or breaded and then deep-fried.
    • First appeared in: 1930s

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular fried food in America. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or fried is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 0 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each fried once every 24 hours. The rank of each fried is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


Additional Information

More about the Most Popular Fried Food in America

Mozzarella Sticks
Rank #1 for the most popular fried food in America: Mozzarella Sticks (Source)
Fried food holds a special place in American cuisine. From coast to coast, people enjoy the crispy, golden delights that frying brings. The process of frying involves cooking food in hot oil, which creates a crunchy exterior while keeping the inside tender and moist. This method has been around for centuries and remains popular due to its ability to enhance flavors and textures.

Fried food became widespread in America in the early 20th century. Advances in technology made deep fryers more accessible, and people began experimenting with various ingredients. The convenience of frying at home and the emergence of fast food restaurants contributed to its rise. Today, fried food is a staple at fairs, diners, and family gatherings.

The appeal of fried food lies in its versatility. Almost any ingredient can be fried, from vegetables to proteins. The batter or breading used to coat the food before frying can vary, adding different flavors and textures. Some recipes use a simple flour coating, while others involve a complex mix of spices and herbs. The possibilities are endless, and each variation offers a unique taste experience.

Fried food also has a cultural significance. Many regions in America have their own special fried dishes, often tied to local traditions and ingredients. These regional specialties showcase the diversity of American cuisine and highlight the creativity in cooking. Whether it's a dish passed down through generations or a modern twist on a classic, fried food continues to evolve.

Despite its popularity, fried food does have its downsides. The high fat content and calorie count can pose health risks if consumed in excess. Health experts often advise moderation and suggest healthier cooking methods when possible. However, the occasional indulgence in fried food remains a cherished part of American life.

Fried food's impact extends beyond the kitchen. It has influenced pop culture, appearing in movies, TV shows, and even music. The imagery of a sizzling fryer or a plate of crispy delights evokes a sense of comfort and nostalgia. This cultural presence reinforces the idea that fried food is more than just a meal; it's an experience.

In recent years, there has been a shift towards healthier versions of fried food. Air frying, for example, uses less oil while still achieving a crispy texture. This method appeals to those who want to enjoy fried food without the guilt. Additionally, restaurants and chefs are exploring new ways to make fried dishes more nutritious, incorporating whole grains and fresh ingredients.

Fried food remains a beloved part of American cuisine. Its history, versatility, and cultural significance ensure its place at the table. While it's important to enjoy it in moderation, the joy it brings is undeniable. Whether at a summer fair or a family dinner, the sight and smell of fried food continue to delight people of all ages.

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