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Animal Style Fries

Animal Style Fries are fries with cheese, caramelized onions and special sauce for an amazing loaded fries situation. This copy cat In & Out recipe is easy to make at home!

Animal Style Fries - homemade copycat In & Out Fries animal style with baked sweet potato fries

If you live on the West coast, or have travelled to a city in the Western U.S., you’ve likely been to In & Out.

…And if you’ve been to In & Out, you’ve experienced the glory of Animal Style.

…In turn, if you’ve experienced the glory of Animal Style, you can fully appreciate the ravenous late night craving that strikes at random and strikes HARD.

While we do have an In & Out in driving distance, my partner and I recently began making animal style fries (using sweet potato fries) when we make burgers. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar..

What Are Animal Style Fries?:

Here in Nevada (and other parts of the Western U.S., namely CA), there’s a fast food chain called In & Out, which serves up nothing but burgers, fries and milkshakes.

“Animal Style” is a term In & Out uses to upgrade their burgers and fries to something completely otherworldly. It involves adding cheese, caramelized onions and a special sauce, which is remarkably similar (if not the same as) thousand island dressing.

The end result is a cheesy, amazing loaded fry with that incredible rich flavor from the caramelized onions and the creamy tangy flavor from the sauce. 

Sure, it’s a heart attack in a handbasket, but it is SO WORTHY.

The good news is, this approach is a bit more health conscious as we’re using baked sweet potato fries and a homemade special sauce using clean ingredients.

Copycat In & Out fries animal style using sweet potato fries

Ingredients for Animal Style Fries:

Sweet Potato Fries: You’ll need two large sweet potatoes, tapioca flour, avocado oil, and sea salt to make THE BEST crispy sweet potato fries. Follow my recipe for Crispy Sweet Potato Fries to familiarize yourself with these tasty treats.

Cheese: Use your favorite melting cheese for this adventure! The classic In & Out approach is American cheese, so if you want that iconic In & Out flavor, American cheese it is. I use raw milk white cheddar cheese, but jack cheese, mozzarella, gouda, and/or gruyere would all work great!

Caramelized Onion: Yellow onion, avocado oil and sea salt are what you need to make delicious caramelized onions. This addition makes the fries out-of-this-world addicting!

Special Sauce: Mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon juice, sweet pickle relish, onion, paprika, and sea salt are what you need to make homemade thousand island dressing. I use avocado oil mayonnaise and Primal Kitchen’s Ketchup which has no added sugar.

I’m including just enough ingredients for one batch of animal fries, so if you want leftover dressing you can double or triple the batch.

Animal Style Sweet Potato Fries - loaded fries recipe with cheese, caramelized onions and special sauce

How to Make Animal Style Fries:

Make the Fries: 

Begin by preparing a batch of Crispy Sweet Potato Fries. Of course, if you aren’t into sweet potato fries, you can go with your favorite homemade or store-bought fry.

Caramelize the Onion:

Pro Tip: While you’re soaking the sweet potatoes, start the caramelized onion, as it will take roughly 40 minutes to caramelize. You can also caramelize the onion ahead of time or begin the process by caramelizing the onion first.

Add the avocado oil to a non-stick skillet and heat to medium-high. Add the sliced onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and begins to brown around the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue sauteeing, stirring occasionally until the onion is deeply brown and caramelized.

If at any point it looks like the onion is burning around the edges, either add a small amount of additional avocado oil, and/or add about ¼ cup of water or broth to deglaze the pan.

The onion won’t require a huge amount of attention, since it just needs to slowly cook, so you can do other things while it is caramelizing.

caramelize the onion

Make the Sauce:

While the onion is caramelizing and the fries are baking, make the special sauce. Simply stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Do not that the sauce will become more flavorful as it sits, so if you can make it 1 day ahead of time, feel free to do so!

Assemble the Fries:

After the fries are out of the oven, use a spatula to transfer them to an oven-safe serving plate (or you can leave them on the baking sheet and simply scoot them closer together).

Add your cheese of choice followed by the caramelized onions. Place in the hot oven (it should be around 415 from baking the fries) and allow the cheese to melt – about 5 minutes.

Remove the plate (or baking sheet) from the oven and add the special sauce on top. Be sure to serve on top of a heat-safe surface and let your people know the plate is hot! 

Sweet Potato Animal Style Fries - loaded fries with cheese, caramelized onions and special sauce

If you’re like me and will put ketchup anywhere it can possibly go even when other sauce is present, be sure to have ketchup nearby for extra dipping.

So there you have it, folks…cheese, caramelized onions and special sauce (okay…thousand island dressing) will take your fries from amazing to otherworldly! 

I hope you enjoy these copycat In & Out Animal Style Fries as much as we do!!

More Appetizer Recipes:

Sweet Potato Animal Style Fries - loaded fries with cheese, caramelized onions and special sauce

Animal Style Fries

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Amazing loaded sweet potato fries with caramelized onion, cheese, and special sauce, taking your sweet potato fries up a notch!

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Fries:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 slices cheese of choice or 1/2 cup grated

Caramelized Onion:

  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, to taste

Special Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp yellow onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, to taste

Instructions

    1. Begin by preparing a batch of Crispy Sweet Potato Fries. Of course, if you aren’t into sweet potato fries, you can go with your favorite homemade or store-bought fry.

    2. Add the avocado oil to a non-stick skillet and heat to medium-high. Add the sliced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and begins to brown around the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue sautéing, stirring occasionally until the onion is deeply brown and caramelized, about 40 minutes.

    3. While the onion is caramelizing and the fries are baking, make the special sauce. Simply stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Do not that the sauce will become more flavorful as it sits, so if you can make it 1 day ahead of time, feel free to do so!

    4. Use a spatula to transfer the sweet potatoes to an oven-safe serving plate (or you can leave them on the baking sheet and simply scoot them closer together).

    Add your cheese of choice followed by the caramelized onions. Place in the hot oven (it should be around 415 from baking the fries) and allow the cheese to melt - about 5 minutes.

    Remove the plate (or baking sheet) from the oven and add the special sauce on top. Be sure to serve on top of a heat-safe surface and let your people know the plate is hot!

Copycat In & Out Animal Style Fries with sweet potato fries - cheese, caramelized onion and special sauce make these loaded fries amazing!

 

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