The Single Best Breakfast Order At Every Fast Food Joint

Nothing kicks off the day like a satisfying breakfast. Whether you’re into crushing breakfast burritos, love a seriously elevated pancake, or are all about a well-crafted omelet, few meals satisfy the way breakfast does. Maybe it’s the hours of sleep proceeding the meal, but breakfast just hits in a way that lunch doesn’t.

Alas, sometimes you just don’t have the time to put together a really good breakfast. On those occasions, fast food has your back.

Fast food breakfast isn’t nearly as good as the real thing. But it does have a certain allure to it and if the long drive-thru lines at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Chick-fil-A are any indication, it’s that these big chains put as much care into their breakfast offerings as they do their burgers. And fast food can make some pretty great burgers.

Since we don’t want you to spend your precious time in long drive-thru lines only to end up disappointed, we’re breaking down the best fast food breakfast item from all the big chains. We tried every fast food burrito and sandwich we could find, and have spent a considerable time with the side options too, just in case. Follow our guide, and never have a bad fast food breakfast experience again.

It won’t taste like homemade (or compare with your $70 hipster brunch). But it will still hit the spot in that way only an AM meal can.

Burger King — Fully Loaded Croissan’Wich Bacon, Ham, Sausage

Burger King

Tasting Notes:

We’ve got to give it to BK’s Fully Loaded Croissan’Wich with Bacon, Ham, and Sausage — it is hands down the King’s best breakfast offering. It’s also so substantial that you won’t need the side of hash browns or French toast sticks to make it feel like a meal. (That’s sort of a double bonus because those sides are awful.)

On a flakey and buttery croissant bun, you get layers of bacon, smokey and sweet Black Forest ham, and a pepper forward sausage patty topped with melted American cheese sitting atop a big dry, porous egg. Taken all together, it’s pleasingly smokey and salty — though that egg seriously weighs it down.

The Bottom Line:

Flakey, salty, smokey, and hearty, this sandwich packs a meaty and satisfying punch. Though the egg is certainly the weak link.

Find your nearest Burger King here.

Carl’s Jr. — The Breakfast Burger

Best Breakfast
Carl

Tasting Notes:

It’s rare that Carl’s Jr. can ever top Wendy’s but the Breakfast Burger absolutely dunks on the also delicious Breakfast Baconnator, and that’s a testament to Carl’s Jr.’s skill here. A burger isn’t typical breakfast food, but Carl’s Jr. makes it seem like the most natural thing by combining some classic breakfast bangers — crispy tater tots, crunchy bacon, and a folded egg topped with ketchup — with the always delicious combination of charbroiled beef and melted American cheese and it works better than a lot of their lunchtime burgers.

The combination of bacon and tater tots results in a really satisfying textural mouthfeel providing an audible crunch with every smokey charbroiled bite. Ketchup might seem a bit simple and boring on a burger, but the way it combines with the egg is a classic flavor combination, so don’t discount the classic condiment just yet.

The Bottom Line:

A meat bomb of smokey and charred flavors with a crunchy mouthfeel. This burger is big enough to cut in half and share with a friend, but it’s so good that you won’t want to.

If a nap after breakfast sounds good, this is your pick.

Find your nearest Carl’s Jr. here.

Chick-fil-A — Chick-n-Minis

Best Breakfast
Chick fil A

Tasting Notes:

I know this choice is going to anger a lot of people who have a ride-or-die relationship with the very delicious Chicken and Spicy Chicken Biscuit, but we have our reasons. Chick-fil-A bakes their biscuits every morning at each restaurant, and sometimes the results are amazing. Flakey, buttery, just perfect. But in my experience, they aren’t very consistent. Sometimes the biscuit is a bit too dry and sometimes the chicken patty is weird and chewy, making this sandwich totally hit or miss.

That doesn’t happen with the Chick-n-Minis. These things are always perfect, taking Chick-fil-A’s delicious peanut oil fried, pickle-brined chicken nuggets, and throws ‘em between tiny airy yeast rolls that are brushed with a sweet honey butter spread. The result is a juicy and tender bite with a touch of sweetness that never comes across as dry or lacking in any way. There is also something so satisfying about knocking back a 10-count order of these and you still get that filling carb component from the yeast rolls — without any of the dry breadiness.

The Bottom Line:

I know, I know, the Chicken Biscuit is delicious, but the Chick-n-Minis are more consistent and way more satisfying. If Chick-fil-A ever gets wise and releases a spicy nugget, this might just be the best breakfast sandwich in the fast food universe, all while being bite-sized.

Find your nearest Chick-fil-A here.

Del Taco — Epic Scrambler Burrito Meal

Best Breakfast
Del Taco

Tasting Notes:

You’ve got two options with the Epic Scrambler Burrito: carne asada or bacon. This may come as a surprise given the typical quality of fast food carne asada (bad) but get the carne asada, it delivers! Unlike Taco Bell, and I know this is going to be hard to hear for the Bell heads, Del Taco carne asada is good. We mean actually good, not just so-bad-its-good like Taco Bell or Jack in the Box — making this burrito is easily fast food breakfast’s best.

Unlike a lot of fast food carne asada, you can actually taste some grill char on this meat, giving it a freshly prepared vibe. The meat is not too gummy or chewy, it has a nice tender texture to it with a salty meaty flavor. Del Taco loads this up with pico de Gallo, which gives each bite a nice layer of fresh, biting, and subtly spicy complexity, which pairs well with the nutty sharp grated cheddar cheese and scrambled egg. Since the cheese is freshly grated (take that Taco Bell) it melts perfectly, supplying you with an appetizing cheese trail with every bite.

The Bottom Line:

The best breakfast burrito you’re going to find in all of fast food.

Find your nearest Del Taco here.

Dunkin’ — Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich

Best Breakfast
Dunkin

Tasting Notes:

If you’ve ever been in a Dunkin’ drive-thru in the morning you’ll know just how tempting it is to not order a donut alongside your probably-already-sweetened-to-hell coffee, but don’t give in to the sugar because Dunkin’s donuts suck. That’s right, suck. Look, there is a reason Dunkin’ dropped the “donuts’ from their name, and it’s because “America’s Favorite Donut” chain has never really been good at donuts.

What they are good at though is breakfast sandwiches, especially the Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich.

This thing piles five thick and crunchy strips of bacon with two fried eggs and a helping of white cheddar between two toasted slices of sourdough bread. The eggs taste like they’ve been fried in butter and the bacon is smokey and crunchy.

As much as I love cheese, it doesn’t feel like this sandwich really needs it, but my guess is the cheese is to provide a moister mouthfeel. It doesn’t really get that job done because it doesn’t melt all that well, but it does infuse some salty and nutty notes into the sandwich, so we can’t complain too much.

The only weak point is sadly the sourdough. Fast food places just don’t have a really good handle on sourdoug –, the bread is often too soft and sweetened, probably to increase shelf life. Even with the soft and sweet sourdough, it’s still leagues better than a Dunkin’ donut.

The Bottom Line:

Dunkin’ has a handful of truly delicious breakfast sandwiches but the Sourdough is our favorite for the way it combines buttery flavors with smokey-crunchy goodness.

Find your nearest Dunkin’ here.

Farmer Boys — French Toast Platter

Best Breakfast
Farmer Boys

Tasting Notes:

Fast food restaurants have a handle on making great breakfast sandwiches, but once they venture out to omelets, breakfast burritos, pancakes, and French toast, they just can’t capture the magic of what you can make at home or grab at a local greasy spoon. Farmer Boys is different, it’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a greasy spoon breakfast spot without actually going to one.

This is the fast food spot you want to get French Toast at. The toast is soft, sweet, and perfectly battered. Farmer boys drop some powdered sugar, syrup (it’s not maple, just your typical grocery-style sweet syrup), and cinnamon over this vanilla-forward toast and serve it alongside two eggs prepared any way you want and two strips of bacon or sausage patties. I can’t speak to the sausage, as I generally try to avoid sausage patties when I can, but the bacon is thick and smokey and well rendered.

The Bottom Line:

We’d suggest staying away from French toast and pancakes at just about every fast food restaurant BUT Farmer Boys. This is the closest thing you’re going to get to a basic diner-style breakfast.

Find your nearest Farmer Boy’s here.

Jack in the Box — Loaded Breakfast Sandwich

Best Breakfast
Jack in the Box

Tasting Notes:

Jack in the Box is a fast food chain that drives me up a wall. I have a lot of nostalgic love for JiB, it was my place growing up, but I’ve watched the fast food chain slowly deteriorate into mediocrity with every passing year. And no, this is not a matter of my tastes maturing — I know this for a fact because McDonald’s nuggets still slap at the right time of day. If age hasn’t ruined nuggets for me, I doubt it’s going to affect the way I feel about JiB.

In the past few years, Jack in the Box has ruined their chicken tenders and ditched their delicious mozzarella sticks too many times to count (stop bringing ‘em back, let ‘em die or live for f*ck’s sake Jack!) but god help us if they change or get rid of the Loaded Breakfast Sandwich, we will riot! This thing is one of my favorite fast food breakfast indulgences, it combines bacon with ham, sausage, and American cheese for a salty, savory, and slightly sweet mouthfeel of meat on some of fast food’s best tasting, butteriest grilled sourdough.

Jack in the Box lists “freshly cracked egg” in the sandwich’s ingredients lists, and while we generally ignore embellished descriptions like that, we’re going to let them have this one because I think that actually makes a difference. This egg is eggier (what can I say, it just tastes more like egg than the competition) and less dry and powdery than a lot of the other eggs you typically find in the fast food landscape.

The Bottom Line:

A savory, sweet, and smokey meat bomb of a breakfast.

Find your nearest Jack in the Box here.

McDonald’s — Sausage McMuffin with Egg

McDonald

Tasting Notes:

I came pretty close to picking the hash brown as McDonald’s best breakfast offering because it’s a personal favorite, but if we’re being real we have to give it to the Sausage McMuffin, a near-perfect breakfast sandwich that has been imitated many times across many menus but never truly bested. This sandwich just works remarkably well, it delivers what fast food breakfast needs to be: fast, convenient, and easy to eat with one hand while driving, and still manages to deliver on big crave-able flavors.

This protein-rich sandwich features a salty, savory, pepper sausage on top of a slice of salty melted American cheese and sandwiched between a fried egg and two toasted English muffin buns. The buns are crunchy and craggy and serve as the perfect sponge for that addictingly greasy meat. Many people hack this with a folded egg but I like this traditional style best.

The Bottom Line:

McDonald’s best contribution to the breakfast scene. The Sausage McMuffin might seem like a safer and more basic choice than the sweet McGriddle or the biscuit sandwich, but unlike those two foods, this thing has no flaws. It’s perfectly salty and satisfying. Kick it up a notch by throwing a hash brown in there.

Find your nearest McDonald’s here.

Panera — Bacon, Egg & Cheese on Brioche

Best Breakfast
Panera

Tasting Notes:

If this was pre-pandemic I’d strongly suggest the bacon, scrambled egg, and cheese on ciabatta, but in the past few years the quality of Panera has seriously dropped, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the breakfast menu. So the Bacon, Egg, &. Cheese on Brioche sandwich gets our pick not because it’s delicious, but because it’s hard to f*ck up this super simple sandwich.

The bacon has a great smokey-salty flavor, and it’s cooked well, crispy enough to provide crunch, but not stiff or burnt. The egg is cooked over easy and is pretty solid and nicely seasoned with some crushed black pepper and salt, with some white cheddar to bring in some sweetness and sharp qualities. But it’s the brioche roll that can be hit or miss, and that’s its weak point. Sometimes, it’s dry and when it’s dry it’s almost inedible.

Luckily, if the bun is stale (it’s either stale or just fine, it’s never soft and spongey like it should be) you can just disassemble it and eat this sandwich with a fork. It won’t be as satisfying, but that’s how bad the bread is, sometimes it’s better to just ditch it entirely by feeding it to the birds. If they’ll even eat it.

Some people swear by subbing the bun for a croissant, but I’ve been told multiple times at different locations that this is “impossible” so we can’t cosign that — I’ve never actually had it. Maybe try that hack on a morning when Panera is slow and the employees look bored.

The Bottom Line:

You’d think Panera, a restaurant whose logo is a woman cradling bread like a baby, would have better-tasting bread but something has happened in the past few years. The brioche bun is easily the worst part of this sandwich, but compared to Panera’s other breakfast options, this is your best choice.

The Avocado Egg White and Spinach deserves a shout-out, too. But that avocado is even more hit or miss than the bread.

Find your nearest Panera here.

Sonic — Ultimate Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burrito w/jJlapenos

Best Breakfast
Sonic

Tasting Notes:

Sonic is one of the few fast food chains that can make a decent breakfast burrito. I don’t know if other chains aren’t heating their tortillas on the flat grill or what, but generally breakfast burritos from drive-thrus come across as bland, overly salty, and incredibly dry — things a good breakfast burrito never is. At Sonic, things will fall a little more in line with what you’ve come to expect from your favorite breakfast burrito spot.

This burrito is decadent, combining smokey and salty sausage and bacon with spicy jalapeños, crispy tater tots, scrambled eggs, and a double dose of cheese wrapped in a warm tortilla. Fast food scrambled eggs have a tendency to be dry and over-cooked but Sonic strikes a nice balance between wet and dry, offering a fully cooked egg that still has some moisture to it and it makes all the difference.

In addition to shredded cheddar, Sonic also throws in some zesty cheese sauce, which I think makes the burrito a lot saltier than it needs to be. Ditch the sauce and sub in jalapeño peppers (which aren’t part of the OG recipe but are a free add-on) for way more heat and flavor.

The Bottom Line:

It’s hard to find a decent breakfast burrito in the fast food landscape, but Sonic has several. Start with this one and customize around until you hit on perfection. You’ll have fun trying.

Find your nearest Sonic here.

Taco Bell — Bacon Breakfast Crunchwrap

Breakfast Crunch
Taco Bell

Tasting Notes:

If you’re at Taco Bell, you don’t get breakfast. Taco Bell knows this, it’s why their regular menu is available at all hours of the day. But if for some reason you do want breakfast from Taco Bell, you have to get the Bacon Breakfast Crunchwrap. Taco Bell’s eggs are weird, dry, and strangely grainy, which is why the Breakfast Crunchwrap will never be as good as the regular Crunchwrap, but what this has over the OG is a pretty delicious hashbrown patty.

It’s greasy buttery, and super salty with some smokey bacon in there to add more crunch and another dimension of flavor with a creamy jalapeño sauce to pull it together and add some subtle heat. My only issue with this dish is that it’s a little too salty, but by adding guacamole and pico de Gallo (aka ‘California Style’) you can add a lot of bright and vegetal overtones that offer a lot of complexity to the mix of flavors.

At one time Taco Bell also had a “Country Style,” which had sausage and gravy in it. That’s not hackable currently but hopefully they bring it back soon.

The Bottom Line:

Not as good as an OG Crunchwrap but it does offer a unique experience that can be further elevated with the right hack.

Find your nearest Taco Bell here.

Wendy’s — Seasoned Potato Wedges

Wedges
WEndy

Tasting Notes:

I know I’m going to get a lot of shit in the comments for picking potato wedges, which you could argue are just a side, but you know what? Bring it on. This IS Wendy’s best breakfast offering. The Breakfast Baconator is amazing, it’s got grilled sausage, fried egg, bacon, melted American cheese, and a gooey cheese sauce! It’s a salty, savory delight, but when I really think about what an essential breakfast item is at Wendy’s, it’s the wedges.

The Breakfast Baconator is good, and it’s definitely what you should order if you find yourself at Wendy’s during breakfast hours and crave a sandwhich, but the potato wedges are something that you need to experience. They’re worth waking up early just to hit the drive-thru for, and I can’t really say the same thing about the Breakfast Baconator. The wedges combine black pepper with garlic and onion powder seasonings with fluffy buttery potato that melts in your mouth. If Wendy’s offered these at all hours of the day, no one would order the fries.

The Bottom Line:

It might be crazy to pick potato wedges over the Breakfast Baconator but we’re doing it. This is essential, you need to try Wendy’s potato wedges before you die. Dramatic? Good! A fresh order right out of the frier even rivals McDonald’s French fries.

Find your nearest Wendy’s here.