A considerable public concern about cancer risk from acrylamide-rich foods followed the announcement that high concentrations of acrylamide are found in fried potatoes and potato chips and, more generally, in starch-containing foods cooked at high temperatures. From a series of hospital-based case–control studies conducted in Italy and Switzerland between 1991 and 2000, we have analyzed the relation between intake of fried/baked potatoes and cancer risk. The cancer sites considered were oral cavity and pharynx (749 cases, 1,772 controls), esophagus (395 cases, 1,066 controls), larynx (527 cases, 1,297 controls), large bowel (1,225 colon and 728 rectum cases, 4,154 controls), breast (2,569 cases, 2,588 controls) and ovary (1,031 cases, 2,411 controls). All cancer cases were incident and histologically confirmed. Controls were subjects admitted to the same network of hospitals of cases for acute, non-neoplastic conditions. All the odds ratios (OR) for the highest vs. the lowest tertile of intake ranged between 0.8–1.1. We found no evidence of interaction with age, gender, alcohol and tobacco use. Our data provide reassuring evidence for the lack of an important association between consumption of fried/baked potatoes and cancer risk. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.