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.
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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.
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!
Tools You’ll Need
Ingredients You Will Need for Animal Style Fries
So what’s on animal style fries? A whole lotta good stuff!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.
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.
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.
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!
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).
- 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.
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
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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!
- ½-baking sheet,
- ½ cup quality mayo, I use Hellman's
- 2 tablespoons butter pickles, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1½ teaspoons pickle brine
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1¼ pound yellow onions, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1½ tablespoons quality olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, Diamond Crystal, plus more to taste
- 26 ounces frozen shoestring french fries
- 6 slices American cheese
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.
- 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.
- Prepare fries as instructed on the bag.
- 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!