The Best Fried Foods, In Order (PHOTOS)

No deep fried Oreos, Kool-Aid, butter or Coke on this list. Those aren't foods, they're novelties.

We started making lists and now we can't stop. We started with the best pies. We discussed the best potato chips. We even waded cautiously into the waters of debating the best whiskeys. We're really sorry about this, but now we're tackling fried food.

Among other really useful things, the ancient Egyptians invented the technique of frying food in hot fat. Since then, each culture has taken their unique spin on it. Japan brought us tempura, from India, samosas and pakoras (plus a ton of other things, India really knows how to fry food) and America -- well, we've dipped just about anything edible into a deep fryer at one point or another. In determining the best fried foods, I drew a definitive line in the sand: you will not find deep fried Oreos, Kool-Aid, butter or Coke on this list. Those are not foods, they are novelties. Someday soon (we can hope) they'll fade away. But the deep-fried things on this list will endure.

Honorable Mention: Pickles (We still haven't figured out how to make these perfectly. Once we do, they will be a fried food powerhouse.)
fried pickles

20. Churros

19. Arancini (Rice Balls)

18. Brussels Sprouts
fried brussels sprouts

17. Egg Rolls
egg rolls

16. Okra
fried okra

15. Sopapillas

14. Fish (Probably cod is the best, plaice or hake in a pinch.)
fish and chips

13. Samosas (But especially potato.)
potato samosa

12. Hush Puppies
hush puppies

11. Onion Rings
onion rings

10. Chicken Wings
chicken wings

9. Doughnuts (See also: beignets)

8. Shrimp
fried shrimp

7. Oysters
fried oysters

6. Clams
fried clams

5. Green Tomatoes
fried green tomatoes

4. Mushrooms
fried mushrooms

3. Southern Fried Chicken
fried chicken

2. French Fries
french fries

1. Mozzarella Sticks (See also: fried cheese curds, fried cheese of any kind -- we should fry more cheese)
mozzarella sticks

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