Disco Fries Recipe

Homemade Disco Fries - Placeholder Image

The Spruce Eats / Colleen Graham

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 platter
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
923 Calories
50g Fat
105g Carbs
16g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 923
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 63%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 1138mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 105g 38%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 12mg 61%
Calcium 217mg 17%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 1482mg 32%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Disco fries are a New Jersey staple that has been satisfying hungry club goers for decades. The ultimate late-night snack, it's a platter of crispy fries topped with gooey melted cheese and savory gravy. You don't have to hit a diner to enjoy this comfort food because anyone can make disco fries at home with just a few ingredients.

Also called gravy or diner fries, the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, New Jersey, gets credit for inventing disco fries. The all-night diner would serve up this communal plate of deliciousness to diners who migrated there from the discos and clubs of the 1970s and '80s. An instant hit, it didn't take long for other 24/7 restaurants to place the dish on their menus, enshrining disco fries in the realm of classic New Jersey foods.

Disco fries are incredibly simple and versatile. The recipe uses half a standard package of frozen fries with enough homemade brown gravy and shredded mozzarella for a double batch if you're feeding a crowd. It works well with jarred or powdered gravies if you want a shortcut, and you can choose another cheese or go with cheese sauce.

While popularly served after a night out, disco fries are a great snack and easy option for game day parties. They're also a hearty side for sliders, Reuben sandwiches, and other diner classics when you want a casual, quick homemade meal. Many disco fries fans say they're even better with alcohol, so crack open a beer or mix up simple cocktails like the John Collins.

Ingredients

For the Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 2 cups unsalted beef broth

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot, from 1 medium shallot

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Disco Fries:

  • 32 ounces frozen fries

  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to the temperature needed for the fries (typically 425 F), and place the rack in the center of the oven.

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring constantly and cooking until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

  3. While whisking, add the beef broth in a slow, steady stream to the roux, then add the minced shallots and garlic. Stirring regularly, cook the gravy for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it thickens to your desired consistency (it will thicken slightly as it rests).

  4. Once the gravy is simmering, place the frozen fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook according to the package directions.

  5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, sherry (if using), pepper, and salt when the gravy is nearly done. Stir well to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat and let rest while the fries finish cooking.

  6. Remove the fries from the oven and transfer them to a shallow oven-safe serving platter. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Top the fries with the mozzarella cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

  7. To serve, drizzle as much gravy as you like over the cheesy fries.

How to Store

To prevent soggy fries, it's best to assemble disco fries right before serving. They also don't store very well, so keep the gravy separate if you think you'll have leftovers, and eat the fries within a day. Refrigerate the gravy in a covered bowl in the fridge, heat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, and stir in more broth or water to thin it. The cheesy fries can be stored in an airtight container and reheated in an oven or toaster oven until crispy, adding more cheese during the last few minutes.


Tips

  • The cheese and gravy will soften the fries, so cook them until nice and crispy before adding the other ingredients.
  • If your gravy thickens before the fries are done, set it aside and stir it every few minutes to prevent a film on top.
  • Disco fries are commonly served on a platter, with everyone picking off fries as they go. You can serve them on the same pan you used to bake the fries; pile them into a mound before adding the cheese. If the pan doesn't have deep enough sides to hold the gravy, scoop the cheesy fries into bowls and let diners drench them in as much gravy as they want.

Recipe Variations

  • Disco fries can be entirely made-from-scratch. Start with thick-cut potatoes to make twice-cooked French fries, make the gravy, and whip up a homemade cheddar cheese sauce.
  • Thick fries are best because they can stand up to the thick cheese and gravy. Regular, crinkle, or steak-cut fries are better options than thin shoestrings. You can also use curly or waffle fries or tater tots.
  • Use minced yellow or red onions instead of the shallots. No fresh veggies? Switch to one tablespoon of dry minced onion or one teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Nearly any gravy will work great for disco fries. Beef-based brown gravy is a classic choice, though you can use chicken or vegetable broth in this gravy recipe. Try disco fries with mushroom or onion gravies, too.
  • Scour the fridge for different types of cheese; anything that melts well will work great. Beyond mozzarella, try shredded American, cheddar, gruyere, or provolone, or crumbled blue cheese.
  • Create a disco fries bar for a party. You can bake a few platters of fries topped with various melted cheeses or do one large batch of plain fries and offer guests different cheese sauces. Set out bowls of gravies and condiments like hot sauce, sliced jalapeños and olives, prepared chili, and mustard, and let everyone build their ideal disco fries.

What is the difference between poutine and disco fries?

Two very similar dishes, it's thought that New Jersey's disco fries were inspired by poutine. Another classic late-night snack that's widely popular in Canada, poutine also tops French fries with gravy but opts for cheese curds rather than fully melted cheese.