These Cheese Fries have fresh, crispy French fries topped with warm cheese sauce and crunchy bacon bits. Serve as an appetizer or side dish!
We love ordering cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches with bacon cheese fries from Shake Shack. So when we made our own cheese dip recipe, we had to try it on homemade french fries with our favorite bacon crumbles on top, and now we have our own copycat cheese fries recipe that just might be better than the restaurant version.
Here’s Everything You Need To Make Cheese Fries
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
Since you only use three ingredients to make cheese fries, they should be the freshest and best-tasting ones you can make.
- Potatoes: We used russet potatoes to make homemade French fries in an air fryer but you can bake them in the oven as well. Another option is to make store-bought frozen French fries.
- Cheese Sauce: For the best results, we suggest making your own cheese dip but you can also substitute homemade with your favorite store-bought version if you are short on time.
- Bacon: Don’t skimp on the bacon! Making your own bacon and crumbling it into bits rather than buying bacon bits will bring this appetizer to the next level. We always make bacon in the oven because it is so easy and we can prepare the other ingredients while it is cooking.
How To Make Cheese Fries
All you need to do is make the fries, cheese sauce, and bacon and then layer them in the paper boats. You can prepare the sauce and bacon ahead of time or make them while the fries are cooking.
- Fries: Prepare the French fries and cook them in an air fryer. Or you can bake them in the oven or deep fry them if you want. When they are crispy, divide them between paper boats or plates.
- Sauce: Make the cheese sauce in the microwave and drizzle it over crispy potato strips.
- Bacon: Sprinkle the bacon crumbles evenly over the fries.
Making this appetizer is kind of like making nachos, where you get to add whatever toppings you want! We kept it simple and only added the cheese and bacon bits. Here are a few more ideas:
Loaded Cheese Fries
Chili Cheese Fries
Top them with chili, black beans, cheese dip, sour cream, and green onions.
Hot and Spicy
Make Ahead and Storage
- Make Ahead: You can make the cheese sauce and bacon ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. Also, you can cut the potatoes into sticks and soak them in water in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking them.
- Storage: Leftover French fries do not keep well, so for the best results, only make as much as you plan to use. If you do end up having leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat them in an air fryer at 400˚F for 3-4 minutes until crispy, stirring halfway through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Crispy, salty French fries topped with cheese sauce and bacon bits.
Many states make them, but they have their own versions. Some states add jalapeno slices and serve them with ranch dressing. Other states use mozzarella and have pizza sauce as a dip. And others add chili.
Want more appetizer recipes? Try these next
Spinach Artichoke Dip is one of the most popular appetizers, and you’ll love how easy it is to make.
This flavorful Corn Dip is perfect for parties or backyard barbecues. It can be served hot or cold!
These crispy Mozzarella Sticks are our favorite appetizer with melted cheese and a breadcrumb coating.
Air Fryer Chicken Wings are a crowd favorite! Serve them with several dipping sauces or coatings.
- 2 russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoon whole milk
- ½ tablespoon powdered cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 oz Velveeta cut into cubes
- 4 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- Cut the scrubbed potatoes into sticks and place them in a bowl. Cover the potato sticks with water and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
- Preheat the air fryer to 300˚F (see notes below for oven and deep fry methods). Drain the water from the potatoes and dry them very well. Coat them with one tablespoon of vegetable oil and air fry for 10 minutes, turning them halfway through. Remove from the air fryer and spread on a piece of parchment paper to cool for 10 minutes.
- While they are cooling, preheat the air fryer to 400˚F. Return the fries to the air fryer basket and coat them with another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Air fry them for 8-10 minutes, turning them halfway through. Immediately sprinkle them with sea salt.
- Whisk together the milk and powdered cheddar cheese in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Add the butter and cubed Velveeta.
- Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring after every minute, until smooth.
- Divide the french fries between four paper boats. Top with cheese sauce and crumbled bacon bits.
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Drain the water from the potatoes and dry them well. Coat them with vegetable oil and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 450˚F for 25-30 minutes, turning them halfway through. Immediately sprinkle them with sea salt.
Deep Fry Method:
- Make sure the potato sticks are very dry. Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot to 275˚F-300˚F. Carefully add the potatoes and fry for 5 minutes, stirring and turning them often. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain and cool for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil to 350˚F-375˚F and carefully add the cooled potatoes. Fry for an additional 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fries. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with sea salt.