There’s nothing like digging into a tasty burger, so it’s a shame when it doesn’t live up to expectations. With that said, here are the Top 10 Fast Food Burgers Ranked Worst to Best.
10. McDonald’s – Big Mac & Quarter Pounder
The best burger can be a subjective topic for many reasons, as taste buds vary from person to person. But if you ask anyone who wins the prize for some of the worst burgers, McDonald’s is usually one of the first names to come up. The beef with Mickey D’s is that most of their patties are thin and often tasteless. Their flagship burger, the Big Mac, can be a proverbial mess. Its twin patties are so thin they can compare to one meat patty from other similar restaurants. The “special sauce”, a variant of Thousand Island dressing, is not all that special. The iceberg lettuce is shredded so thin that most of the time it ends up outside the bun. McDonald’s may be the biggest fast food chain, but not necessarily the best. The Quarter Pounder may be a better bet when compared to other burgers of the same ilk. According to McDonald’s, the Quarter Pounder is, as the name implies, a ¼ lb. of 100% fresh juicy beef. However, when cooked they shrink to 2.8 ounces, so you are still not getting the full weight in value. Feeling kinda ripped off? Furthermore, the patties are supposed to contain a pinch of salt, but many times they’re overly salty. Don’t expect fresh vegetables to come with the Quarter Pounder, it’s served with sliced cheese, onions, and pickles only. Since McDonald’s service is quick and speedy, beautifully presented burgers are somewhat of a rarity. Even if McDonald’s sometimes falls flat, Ronald is still king when it comes to fast food.
9. Burger King – Whopper
It is safe to say that Burger King has always been in direct competition with McDonald’s. Over the years, they have tried to mimic Mickey D’s in many ways. They too have had their fair share of questionable burgers. Let’s start with their simple hamburger, which is 100% beef and comes flame-grilled with no fillers or additives. Yet, their burger, like many of its counterparts, is in a sad state of affairs. The beef patty comes topped with some scant little pickles, and tons of mustard and ketchup on a sesame seed bun. Sounds ok, but it’s not on the same level as a good wholesome homemade burger. So many would expect the Whopper to raise Burger King burgers to a higher level. The Whopper includes all the toppings that make for a good burger. Of course, there are often issues. Customers have complained about there not being enough onions and that the beef patty is too small. They also tend to get messy. But what makes a Burger King Whopper better than McDonald’s is the flame-grilled taste, making them a touch more flavorful. While the Whopper may be a better choice, it seems to have lost its confidence over the years. Burger King needs to polish that crown if they ever want to take out the clown.
8. White Castle – Slider
A lot of fast food consumers place White Castle’s sliders at the bottom of the food chain. They don’t even consider them burgers. Neither does White Castle actually; they prefer to call them sliders. Sliders are in fact miniature burgers, usually about 2 inches by 2 inches in size. The cost of the slider is cheaper than your typical burger, as they are meant to be purchased in pairs. The moniker originated in the 1940s, and White Castle was one of the first chains to sell sliders. But they’ve earned a bad rap over the years. Their sliders have been ranked as some of the worst burgers of all time. Even though White Castle rates their beef as one of the best in quality, their small square beef patties are too thin to satisfy the average taste buds. The buns are of the supermarket variety – they look more like a roll. Most say they’re far too airy and tend to swallow up the tiny meat patties. Another issue is the dehydrated onions the chain uses in their burgers. They’re high in sodium so they’re not particularly healthy. A strong onion aroma overpowers your palate and can be a turn off. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, sliders are a throwback to wartime rationing. But in the new millennium, America’s food choices have evolved. Everyone loves a big fat juicy burger, especially when loaded full of carbs, proteins and fresh vegetables.
7. Jack in the Box – Ultimate Burger
They call this burger the Ultimate Cheeseburger, but there isn’t anything ultimate about Jack in the Box’s signature cheeseburger. It’s just a simple burger made up of two beef patties, two slices of cheddar and swiss cheese, some ketchup, mustard, and a sauce made with mayo and onions, crushed between two sesame seed buns. Jack in the Box’s Ultimate Cheeseburger is great when you want a simple, plain cheeseburger, but not much more than that. This burger contains no fresh vegetables or pickles. The combination of sauces makes a mess and has been described as bland. The beef patty may have some flavor, depending on when and where it is ordered, but this burger is better off without any condiments. The only endearing thing about this burger is, unlike many of its counterparts, the bun does a good job of keeping the meat and cheese in place. The Jumbo Jack burger is a better alternative at Jack in the Box. At least it comes topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and mayonnaise. The beef patty is not particularly well-seasoned, but then again, that is not a Jack in the Box strongpoint. It does come off the grill though, and this burger manages to hit the mark when comparing standard fast food fare.
6. Sonic Drive-In – Jr. Burger
For those who are not familiar with Sonic Drive-In or their burgers, they’re best known for their servers on roller skates. They’re a throwback to the 1950’s, and customers seem to like the retro novelty. However, when it comes to their burgers, much is left to be desired. Sonic fast food chains are not easy to find, but you may spot one along the highway at times. Owned by Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings’ parent company, Sonic serves in 46 states across America. Their simple classic Jr. Burger, one of their best sellers, is nothing to write home about. There really isn’t anything that sets it apart from all the other standard fast food fare out there. It’s a no-frills burger served with no vegetables and plain condiments like ketchup and mustard, with some pickles for taste. Your best bet is to take a bite out of a Supersonic Double Cheeseburger. About the size of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, it comes with two thin patties and sliced cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, diced onions and choice of ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. Add crispy bacon strips for a super tasty burger.
5. Wendy’s – Dave’s Single
Wendy’s has had lots of hits and some misses when it comes to some of their burgers, but we have to give them credit for always trying. The best bet and closest thing to a classic burger is Dave’s Single. It is one of the cheapest and most popular burgers out there. If you aren’t looking for anything too fancy this one may be just up your alley. Dave’s Single comes served with all the fixings. Their meat patty is also a decent size compared to other fast food outlets. Wendy’s claim to fame is that their beef is always fresh and never frozen. Customers who eat at Wendy’s often say they would not have it any other way. Their beef patties are juicy. The meat comes served with a toasted bun which is a big plus as it is strong and sturdy. Really, the only letdown is that sometimes it arrives lopsided. The square patties have been a big selling point since their inception. Wendy makes burgers far more enjoyable than most of its rivals. Wendy’s was the first fast-food chain to create a value menu, where all items listed were priced at 99¢. The menu was restructured due to rising costs but they still offer Super Value Menu items ranging from 99¢ to $2.00. Now that is a good deal.
4. Shake Shack – Shack Burger
The youngest of all the fast food chains, Shake Shack didn’t start off by selling burgers. While it was only in 2004 that they began selling hamburgers and their famous milkshakes, they actually started as a hot dog stand in Madison Square Park in NYC in 2001. Since its founding, it has been one of the fastest-growing food chains in the US with more than 249 locations both in North America and internationally. Shake Shack claims that their burgers are a “blend of freshly ground, never frozen, 100% Angus beef that’s pasture-raised, grain-finished, with no hormones or antibiotics.” All their burgers come served on your choice of either non-GMO Martin’s Potato Rolls, gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps. They seem to be doing everything right. This burger stands out with consumers. The one downside is that it tends to be on the more expensive side. Customers also have the option to double up on toppings. Some bad reviews have complained about the lack of toppings though, as well as underwhelming taste. The good thing is that the patty is thick; thicker than most of the other fast food chains. In spite of some mixed reviews, the flavor is decent and tangy, even with the lack of seasoning. But the burger can be pretty small and its quality sometimes inconsistent.
3. Carl’s Jr – Original Six Dollar Thickburger
The Carl’s Jr. Original Six Dollar Thickburger meets all the criteria for a delicious burger. This is the king of all burgers. The 1 and 1/3 lb. beef patty is charbroiled and comes with cheese, pickles, lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, ketchup, mayo and mustard all served on a solid premium bun. The patty is thick and juicy, and cooked to retain flavor. The burger’s construction is perfect and not messy. The Carl’s Jr secret, aside from the bun, is that the toppings are placed under the meat patty rather than on top. This keeps everything together nicely. It seems to be working because eating a Thickburger is quite the enjoyable experience. No one likes a messy burger, especially when half of it spills out the bun. The Carl’s Jr Six Dollar Thickburger is a good burger, but it struggles to make a dent in the burger world compared to some of its rivals. Other than their old racy ads and cannabis infused burgers, the chain doesn’t have strong enough branding that would set it apart from the competition. Gotta give them kudos for being gutsy though. Aside from the stoner burgers, they also do sell Beyond Meat Burgers for the health conscious.
2. A&W – Papa Burger
A&W’s classic burgers are a tasty and popular choice among burger lovers. They contain pickles, onions and cheese with the same old condiments. The A&W claim is that no one does classic burgers like they do because they serve only 100% U.S. hormone free grade beef. This is good, but if you are looking for a little oomph in your burger, ask for the Papa Burger. It has two 1/3 lb. 100% beef patties topped with two cheese slices, lettuce, a slice of tomato, onions, pickles and their own Papa sauce on a toasted bun that will leave you salivating for more. The near perfect ratio of meat and veggies is almost mathematical. The toasted bun holds everything together nicely too. The papa sauce gives a nice zing to it all, something regular condiments simply cannot replicate. Some consumers say the twin patties are too much to handle, but it beats a thin patty anytime. For an added plus, A&W claims their beef is hormone-free and sourced from cattle raised without feed additives. As of 2020, A&W is “working towards” serving 100% grass-fed beef, which gives us even more reasons to like them.
1. Five Guys – Hamburger
Voted one of the best burgers by many consumers, the Five Guys hamburger comes in at the top of our list. All their burgers are made to order based on your specific request. Customers can watch the cooks while they make burgers, all the while snacking on free peanuts — that is if you’re not allergic. Five Guys has a fast-casual dining approach compared to some other burger chains. What makes Five Guys a cut above the rest is the quality of the meat. Their burgers are made with an 80/20 blend of chuck and sirloin, and the meat is always fresh and not frozen. All their burgers are juicy and yummy. The hamburger contains twin patties in a toasted bun with the customer’s choice of free toppings. These can include anything from lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, fresh onions, jalapenos, green peppers, ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, A1 sauce… you get the picture. The patties are well-grilled, succulent, and nice and full. The sesame buns are soft and off the chain. The toppings are put together right in front of your eyes. What more can you ask for? Five Guys hamburgers are deliciously good and a lot of people seem to agree.