7 of the Best Fast-Food Iced Coffees, Ranked

Fast-Food Iced Coffee Taste Test

Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

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Fast-Food Iced Coffee Taste Test
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

But First...

If you're the type who needs coffee before anything else in your day kicks into gear, your coffee has an important job. Important jobs belong to important coffees, and if you're sourcing it from a fast-food drive-thru, things become trickier.

Which fast-food iced coffees are the ones you want to start your day with? Which are dramatic sugar bombs from which you cannot escape? I tried seven of the most popular fast-food iced coffees in the game and ranked them. Here's what I loved most. 

Related: The Best (and Worst) Fast Food Coffee You Can Buy

Chick-fil-A iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Best: Chick-fil-A

Now seems like a good time to mention that I like my iced coffee black. I understand that fast-food iced coffee is nothing like that, each made with specialty creamers and plenty of sugar. For the most part, these are all just too sweet for me.

Chick-fil-A's iced coffee tastes like so much more than a syrupy creamer dumped into some subpar coffee. It's sweet, but measured, full of roasty coffee flavor to balance out the sweetness. This feels more adjacent to a milkshake or a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino. It's absolutely delicious, and I seriously don't mind the sweetness, which is rare for me. Plus, it's full of Chick-fil-A's excellent ice. You probably won't do better from a place that isn't a coffee shop. 

Related: Iced Coffee ‘Fiend’ Shares How To Save Big on Your Summer Coffee Habit

dunkin iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism
panera iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

3. Panera

Does Panera have a caffeine quota or something? I love this place, and it’s a legitimate contender for my favorite chain restaurant, but it needs to majorly relax on the drinks. It’s bad enough the place is killing people with its poison lemonade

When I went to ’Nera to order my iced coffee for this ranking, I ordered a small size. The girl working there handed me an extra large and said, “It’s your lucky day, we made you an extra large!” That’s a very nice gesture, but coffee is an insane beverage to do that with. You can’t just hand somebody over 200 milligrams of caffeine and send them on their way. I can’t believe I didn’t immediately go pedal-to-the-metal and drive my car into a tree after one sip. 

The coffee itself is just fine. It’s the only one that comes black, so you can sweeten this up to your own liking and that's terrific. Panera deserves to podium for that alone.

At the end of the day, though, Panera is a bakery. A fantastic one. So, please, just chill on the beverages.

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sonic iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

4. Sonic Dive-In

This restaurant is all over the place, but drinks consistently shine at Sonic. The best fast-food ice in the game is very helpful, but the coffee isn't overloaded with chocolate or vanilla or whatever wretched flavor Krispy Kreme is using. This sort of reminds me of coffee with whipped cream, or maybe a white Russian. I'd drink it again.

Related: I Tried the McDonald's Marble Cold Brew — Find out if It's Worth the Money

McDonald's iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

5. McDonald's

Extremely forgettable. Not horrid, not good. It's a little too sweet, and I personally find McDonald's coffee to be a little bit too acidic. This is your last bastion of anything that tastes remotely okay; it's rough waters from here down. 

Burger King iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

6. Burger King

Burger King, ironically, is the only place you cannot have it your way. If you want a standard iced coffee, you’re out of luck at this establishment. Your choices are mocha or vanilla.

Expecting it to be the most similar to the flavor profile of coffee, I picked mocha. I'm not sure what vanilla tastes like, but I was wrong. My, my, my. I hate this. It's like somebody took a bunch of watered-down, cold chocolate syrup and poured it in the coffee. It's not for me at all, but I can see how lovers of super-sweet beverages would be all about this.

Krispy Kreme iced coffee
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

7. Krispy Kreme

This pains me. As far as I'm concerned, a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut is the best doughnut on the planet, so imagine my surprise upon my first sip of this nightmare. This thing has a funk to it, something beyond chocolate, vanilla, cream, or sugar. Something foul, something evil, something waiting in the shadows, in the dark, lurking, creeping, spying, watching. The flavor is unplaceable and unexplainable, but it's sinister, and I really don't want to ever have to drink one of these ever again.

Side note: Because I'm a huge idiot, I dropped the cup on the floor at one point while drinking this. It didn't explode. Barely left a drop. Say what you will about the coffee, but that's a well-sealed lid.