A Ranking of Our Favorite Fast Food Burgers

Nothing screams fast food quite like a burger. The burger is an absolute classic, and while variations including chicken, vegetarian/vegan, and even fish burgers have been created over the years, you cannot beat the humble cheeseburger.

Burger with lettuce, slices of onions, tomatoes, cheese and patty on a table.

Both cheeseburgers and hamburgers have cemented themselves as some of the best things to order when you visit a fast-food restaurant, and this is why so many stores sell them.

Off the top of your head, you can probably name at least 10 different fast-food restaurants that serve cheeseburgers.

In most restaurants, they are a staple on the menu and something that many stores put their own spin on. This is what makes them so popular. But, what is the best cheeseburger on the menu at most American fast food joints?

Best Fast Food Burgers

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the best fast food burger on the menu at some of America’s greatest fast food joints, featuring toasted buns, melty cheese, and juicy patties.

McDonald’s – Big Mac

Over the years, McDonald’s has created some pretty excellent burgers, so it’s no surprise they’ve become so popular across the country, but none of these will ever be able to knock the Big Mac off of its throne.

The Big Mac is a classic burger at McDonald’s, and there is one ingredient that easily explains its popularity. That is the Big Mac sauce.

Nobody knows what is used to create the Big Mac sauce, its recipe is kept a secret, but we do know that it tastes outstanding.

When you combine this special sauce with cheese, pickles, lettuce, finely chopped onion, a double seeded bun, and 2 burger patties, you get a flavor that is out of this world.

That is why the Big Mac will always be the most popular fast food burger at McDonald’s, and one of the top fast food burgers. Honorable mention here goes to the quarter pounder with cheese if you prefer something lighter.

Five Guys – Bacon Cheeseburger

The great thing about the burgers at Five Guys is that you can customize them yourself.

Yes, they offer pre-designed burgers, but you can add to these and modify them to make them your own. For us, the best burger at Five Guys will always be their Bacon Cheeseburger.

This burger is simple, containing just 2 burger patties, 2 slices of bacon, and melted American cheese. It’s served on a sesame seed bun.

It doesn’t come with any salad, which is why it is so perfect for fussy eaters, but this also makes it great for people who don’t like a standard salad in their burger. Order this burger, then add whatever toppings you want, and it will taste amazing. 

Burger King – Whopper with Cheese

McDonald’s knows how to make a good burger, but Burger King will always be the, well, King of burgers.

Over the years, the company has produced some of the best fast food burgers on the market, and this is helped by the fact that all of their hamburgers are flame-grilled before serving.

A lot of the burgers on Burger King’s menu have been outstanding, but none of them have been able to beat the classic Whopper.

It starts with a flame-grilled beef patty, topped with fresh sliced lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, mayo, and a little ketchup, all served in a sesame seed bun. The original Whopper doesn’t come with cheese, but if you request it with cheese, it will take your Whopper to a whole new level. 

Shake Shack – Double Shackburger

Now, there is no denying that the best thing on the Shake Shack menu is their cheese fries, but the burgers that this company produces are excellent too.

They make quite a few different burgers, but one of the best fast food burger at this stop will always be the Double Shackburger, one of my favorite double cheeseburgers on the list.

On the surface, this burger seems quite simple, because it doesn’t have a long ingredient list, but the flavor combination is perfect.

With hamburger patties, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and the secret ingredient (Shake Shack sauce), this burger tastes out of this world, and that is why you have to give it a try. 

Whataburger – Whataburger

There is nothing better at Whataburger than the Whataburger itself, except for maybe the double meat Whataburger if you’re really hungry.

This burger, which is named after the company, is one of the OG burgers on their menu, and it is easy to see why this has stuck around for so long.

With a beef patty topped with American cheese, diced onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, and bacon slices, there is something for everyone in this burger.

It tastes outstanding, and there really is nothing better to order next time you visit Whataburger. 

White Castle – Jalapeño Cheese Slider

Most of the time, burgers have a meaty flavor, and this is further enhanced by the addition of bacon and other ingredients like this. But, our favorite burger at White Castle goes down a different route.

Instead, the White Castle Jalapeño slider goes down the spicy route, and this is what makes it the top burger on their menu.

A single beef patty is hidden away in this burger, covered with a bed of onions, topped with spicy Jalapeño cheese, and sandwiched in the signature White Castle bun.

If you aren’t a fan of spice, then this likely isn’t the best fast food burger for you, but if you like your burger to have a kick, head on down to White Castle. 

Steak ‘n Shake – Original Double ‘n Cheese Steakburger

Somewhere else that knows what they are doing when it comes to burgers is Steak ‘n Shake.

Their burgers really are something special because they use ‘steakburgers’ instead of beef burgers, and this means that you usually get a higher quality of meat from Steak ‘n Shake.

Undoubtedly, the most solid burger from this restaurant is their original Double ‘n Cheese Steakburger.

This burger contains their staple burger patty, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, American cheese, ketchup, and your choice of mayo or mustard, all served in a toasted plain bun. It is totally delicious, and definitely worth making the trip to Steak ‘n Shake. 

Wendy’s – Baconator

At Wendy’s, there is one burger that stands out from the rest, and that is the Baconator.

This burger is on the next level, and it stands head and shoulders above every other burger on Wendy’s menu. But, if you aren’t a big fan of bacon, this isn’t the burger for you.

The Baconator contains half a pound of beef, split between 2 patties. Wendy’s famously uses a square patty.

These burgers are layered with ketchup, mayo, American cheese, and 6 slices of Applewood smoked bacon. It is a burger with meat at its center, and it is absolutely delicious. However, it isn’t the healthiest option, so you should save this order for when you fancy a treat. 

Smashburger – Classic Smashburger

As we have established throughout this guide, sometimes you just can’t beat the classic burger on a fast food joint menu.

In McDonald’s, this is the Big Mac, but at Smashburger, this is the Classic Smashburger. The Classic Smashburger is utterly delicious, and it is packed with flavor.

It starts with a classic smash bun, which is topped with pickles, onion, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, and smash sauce, all served with 2 Angus beef patties.

This burger is about as classic as you can get, but it is the smash sauce that makes it so special, and this is why it will always be the burger to order at Smashburger. 

Arby’s – Double Beef ‘n Cheddar

Arby’s has an outstanding menu, especially their delicious fries, but our favorite burger on their menu is the Double Beef ‘n Cheddar.

Some people might not consider this to be a burger, and this is because it doesn’t contain a classic beef patty. Instead, it is made with roast beef. Arby’s specializes in sandwiches, but this sandwich is basically the equivalent of a beef burger, and that is what makes it so great.

The Double Beef ‘n Cheddar is the perfect option for everyone out there who is a fussy eater, and that is because its ingredients list is simple.

This “burger” contains roast beef, red ranch, and cheddar cheese sauce, all served in a yummy onion roll. It isn’t a traditional burger, but it is the closest you will find on the Arby’s menu, and that is what makes it so great. 

In-n-Out Burger – Double Double 

Somewhere else with an excellent main (and secret) menu is In-n-Out.

But, the best In-n-Out burger on their menu is their signature dish, and that is the Double Double burger. As its name suggests, this burger is great because it comes with double everything (except for the bun).

With 2 beef patties, 2 slices of American cheese, double salad, and double lettuce, this burger is outstanding, and it really can’t be beaten.

There are other excellent burgers that In n Out Burgers has on offer, but if you are visiting this chain, you have to order this burger. 

Sonic – Bacon Double Cheeseburger

Sonic is the perfect place to visit if you want a snack, but their burgers are pretty great too.

The most popular burger on their menu is, without a doubt, the Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Quite a few different restaurants offer a bacon cheeseburger of some kind, but the Bacon Double Cheeseburger at Sonic is on a whole different level.

With 2 beef patties sandwiched with American cheese, and topped with tomato, lettuce, mayo, and bacon, all served on a classic burger bun, this burger is totally delicious, and definitely the best option to order. 

Dairy Queen – Cheeseburger

At Dairy Queen, the best burger on their menu is the simplest one.

While some of their other burgers take it too far, adding extra ingredients which simply aren’t necessary, their cheeseburger is solid.

Yes, it is simple, but sometimes simple is best, and you may be surprised to learn that DQ makes a decent burger.

With a warm toasted bun, filled with a single beef patty covered in melted cheese, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, this burger is delicious, and a great option next time you visit Dairy Queen.  

Jack in the Box – Sourdough Jack

The menu at Jack in the Box is something special, but the best burger on it is the Sourdough Jack.

The bun on this burger is something a little different, as it is flat, so it doesn’t have the classic dome top that you would expect from a burger. This is because the bun is made with sourdough, not white bread.

Inside this burger, you will find a single 100% beef patty, topped with bacon and sandwiched between 2 slices of Swiss-style cheese.

It also contains tomato, mayo-onion sauce, and ketchup, so the flavor of this burger is very diverse, and that is what makes it the best. 

Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s – Western Bacon Cheeseburger

If you love onion rings, then you will love the Western Bacon Cheeseburger at Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s.

On the bottom half of this bun, you will find a thick layer of tangy BBQ sauce, with 2 onion rings placed on top of it.

On top of these onion rings, there is a single beef patty which is topped with American cheese, and two strips of bacon, with a seeded bun on top. This is the first burger which we have seen in this guide that uses onion rings, and that is why it is the best burger at Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s. 

A+W – Buddy Burger

Finally, let’s wrap this up with the best burger at A+W Restaurants is the Buddy Burger.

This burger is actually surprisingly healthy, with just 310 calories in each burger. As well as being low in calories, this burger is high in flavor with grilled onions, mustard, ketchup, and A+W Teen sauce all included.

This combination of flavors is all served with a 1.6oz grass-fed patty, and sandwiched in a freshly toasted bun.

The ingredients list is simple, but the combination of flavors in the different sauces is what really gives the Buddy Burger something special, and that is why it is the best burger available at A+W.  

Best Fast Food Burgers in America

  1. McDonald’s – Big Mac
  2. Five Guys – Bacon Cheeseburger
  3. Burger King – Whopper with Cheese
  4. Shake Shack – Double Shackburger
  5. Whataburger – Whataburger
  6. White Castle – Jalapeño Cheese Slider
  7. Steak ‘n Shake – Original Double ‘n Cheese Steakburger
  8. Wendy’s – Baconator
  9. Smashburger – Classic Smashburger
  10. Arby’s – Double Beef ‘n Cheddar
  11. In-n-Out – Double Double
  12. Sonic – Bacon Double Cheeseburger
  13. Dairy Queen – Cheeseburger
  14. Jack in the Box – Sourdough Jack
  15. Carl’s Jr/Hendee’s – Western Bacon Cheeseburger
  16. A+W – Buddy Burger

Final Thoughts

In short, in this guide, we have taken a look at the best burger available on the menus at some of America’s greatest fast food restaurants and burger chains.

From the Big Mac at McDonald’s to the Jalapeño Cheese Slider at White Castle, what makes these burgers the best differs from restaurant to restaurant. But there is no denying that these burgers are the best, so these are definitely the ones to order next time you visit any of these restaurants. 

Which fast food burger is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.