Animal-Style Fries (In-N-Out Copycat)

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
October 10, 2023 | Updated on December 7, 2023

Recreate In-N-Out Animal-style fries at home with this easy copycat recipe. Crispy baked fries are topped with savory, caramelized onions, melted American cheese, and that iconic In-N-Out sauce for a fast food treat made in your very own kitchen.

For more fries, try these Loaded Fries. Want more fast food-inspired recipes? Try Big Mac Tacos and Egg Bites next.

close up view of animal style fries on a baking sheet

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Remember when your parents would say, “We’ve got fast food at home?” Well, turns out they were right! *Insert eye roll. But I bet you didn’t know just how good it could get with these animal style fries. Crunchy fries, are drizzled with gooey cheese, sweet, jammy grilled onions, and tangy sauce for a mouthwatering anytime snack or side dish.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy – They’re made with simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions.
  • Healthier – We save some calories in this recipe by using baked fries instead of deep frying them like In-N-Out. Enjoy the crunch of fried french fries without the grease.
  • Convenient – If you’re trying to save a few bucks or avoid the long drive-thru waits, then homemade animal style fries are your best bet. Heck, maybe you don’t live in California and have always wanted to try them — whatever your reason, it’s nice to know you can make it yourself.
close up view of animal style fries on a fork

What are Animal Style Fries?

Animal style fries are a “secret menu” item from the fast food restaurant, In-N-Out (an American food chain with locations predominantly on the West Coast). They are known for their burgers but this side dish has grown in popularity.

Although the burger joint uses fresh, hand-cut potatoes, animal style fries are usually a soggy mess by the time you get them home. Using frozen fries is better because the fries crisp up beautifully in the oven so in between all that cheese and sauce, you get a satisfying crunch in every bite!

animal style fries on parchment paper in a baking sheet

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need for Animal Style Fries

So what’s on animal style fries? A whole lotta good stuff!

Special Sauce

  • Quality mayo – I use Hellman’s because it’s perfectly creamy.
  • Butter pickles – These pickles have a sweet, buttery taste with the perfect amount of zing for tanginess.
  • Ketchup – This gives the sauce that distinct pinkish hue.
  • Mustard – This adds a zesty quality.
  • Butter Pickle brine – The sweet and briny flavor enhances the sauce.
  • Seasoning – Use onion powder, garlic powder, vinegar, and smoked paprika.

Caramelized Onions

  • Yellow onions – These onions are naturally sweet and when caramelized have an even greater depth of flavor.
  • Salted butter and olive oil – You’ll need both to cook down the onions.
  • Kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal brand.

French Fries

  • Frozen shoestring french fries – Use whatever brand you prefer; just make sure they are shoestring if you want to replicate In-N-Out.
  • American cheese – I use pre-sliced cheese because it melts down beautifully.

How To Make Animal Style Fries

Start by preparing the animal style fries sauce, to give the sauce time for the flavors to meld. The bulk of your time will be spent caramelizing the onions so that comes next, then the fries.

In-N-Out Spread

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.

Caramelized Onions

Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Then add olive oil and butter. Once the butter melts, add onions and stir every few minutes.

side by side images of cooked fries on a parchment lined baking sheet and the second image showing cooked fries topped with cheese slices

Do not rush this process, caramelizing onions takes about 45 minutes. As you cook the onions, take care to not let the mixture brown too quickly, rather it should slowly brown over time (lower heat, if necessary). If the mixture dries out, add 1½ teaspoons of water at a time and stir. 

About 25 minutes into cooking the onions, season with salt. When onions are ¾ of the way caramelized, preheat the oven to the time suggested on the french fry package, and bake (or air fry) french fries.

French Fries

Prepare fries as instructed on the bag.

Assemble Animal Style Fries

Line a ½ baking sheet with the cooked fries. Top with cheese, then place in the oven under BROIL until the cheese melts, about 1-3 minutes, keeping a close eye as the cheese melts. Top with desired amount of special sauce and caramelized onions. Enjoy!

side by side images showing how to layer animal style fries

Tips and Tricks

  • Be patient with the onions. They take a long time to caramelize and are easy to burn. Lower the heat, if necessary.
  • Don’t forget to line the sheet pan with parchment paper. It makes for easier cleanup!
  • Double the special sauce ingredients to save some for later. It stores well in a refrigerated mason jar (about 2 weeks).
close up view of animal style fries

Variations

  • Fries Prefer another fry besides shoestring? Try this recipe with thick-cut fries, crinkle cut, or even tots.
  • Animal Style Fries with Meat – Try adding precooked ground beef, bacon bits or even steak bites.
close up view of animal style fries

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is animal style not on the menu?

Animal style isn’t on the official In-N-Out menu because it was a customer creation that was later popularized. Wondering how to order animal style fries? Just say “animal style fries” and the cashier will know exactly what you mean.

What is double double animal style?

This refers to a double beef patty burger dressed with In-N-Out-Sauce, cheese, and caramelized onions.

How much are animal style fries?

Animal style fries currently cost between $4-$5 (depending on location) for 1 serving. This recipe makes enough for 3 people, using mostly ingredients you already have stocked in your kitchen.

Looking for More Copycat Recipes

close up view of animal style fries

Loving this Animal Style Fries Recipe?

There’s a reason this In-N-Out copycat recipe is loved by all! Leave a comment below and share your love for this recipe on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Thank you for supporting Whisper of Yum and happy eating!

close up view of animal style fries on a baking sheet

Animal-Style Fries

Recreate In-N-Out Animal-style fries at home with this easy copycat recipe. Crispy baked fries are topped with savory, caramelized onions, melted American cheese, and that iconic In-N-Out sauce for a fast food treat made in your very own kitchen.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • ½-baking sheet,

Ingredients

Special Sauce

  • ½ cup quality mayo, I use Hellman's
  • 2 tablespoons butter pickles, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • teaspoons pickle brine
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Caramelized Onions

  • pound yellow onions, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • tablespoons quality olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, Diamond Crystal, plus more to taste

French Fries

  • 26 ounces frozen shoestring french fries
  • 6 slices American cheese

Instructions

In-N-Out Spread

  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.

Caramelized Onions

  • Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. add olive oil and butter. Once butter melts, add onions and stir every few minutes. Do not rush this process, caramelizing onions takes about 45 minutes. As you cook the onions, take care to not let the mixture brown too quickly, rather it should slowly brown over time (lower heat, if necessary). If the mixture dries out, add 1½ teaspoons of water at a time and stir. About 25 minutes into cooking the onions, season with salt. When onions are ¾ of the way caramelized, Preheat oven to time suggested on french fry package, and bake (or air fry) french fries.

French Fries

  • Prepare fries as instructed on the bag.

Assemble Fries

  • Line a ½ baking sheet with the cooked fries. Top with cheese, then place in the oven under BROIL until the cheese melts, about 1-3 minutes, keeping a close eye as the cheese melts. Top with desired amount of special sauce and caramelized onions. Enjoy!
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close up view of animal style fries on a baking sheet

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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