McDonald's Hot Cakes
McDonald's

The Best (and Worst) Fast Food Breakfast Menus

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Wendy's Breakfast
Wendy's Breakfast by Phillip Pessar (CC BY)

Breakfast of Champions

At this point, fast food restaurants have built their brand identity on a lot more than burgers. In fact, a fast food chain’s credibility may be tied more to the strength of its breakfast menu. While most chains like to keep it under control with sandwiches, burritos, and biscuits, there are plenty who let their freak flag fly. I’ve ranked the best fast food breakfast options out there — you know, for your own important research.


Related: The Best McDonald’s Breakfast Items to Order

McMuffins
McDonald's

1. McDonald’s

In the 70s, there was a genius named Herb Peterson. A McDonald’s franchise owner who loved eggs Benedict, he figured he could turn his favorite brunch dish into a sandwich and voila: The Egg McMuffin was born. It was the first fast food breakfast sandwich to hit the scene, but even today, it may as well be the only fast food breakfast sandwich you need to worry about. The Egg McMuffin is so good that even if the rest of the McDonald’s breakfast menu was a failure, the restaurant would probably still be No. 1 on this list. Yet the rest of the menu holds its own, doesn’t it? The pure innovation of the McGriddles? The two-for-one deal of the Sausage McMuff? That oh-so-crispy hash brown that can be served fresh out of the fryer, if you ask? A dang pancake platter? McDonald’s is the king, but let’s be honest, you already knew this.

bacon, egg and gouda
Starbucks

2. Starbucks

Does this even count? Maybe it doesn’t. That’s for you to decide. I say it does, and with the amount of coffee-related tricks they have up their sleeve, it’s inarguable that Starbucks rules breakfast time. The kicker is that they’ve got those slammin’ breakfast sandwiches, like the bacon, gouda, and egg. Their spinach, feta, and egg white wrap also kicks a considerable amount of butt, and while we can’t say we’re foolish enough to have fallen for any of those sous-vide Egg Bites, it doesn’t matter. Starbucks has a level of reliability that nearly every other fast food chain can’t match.

SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito
Sonic

3. Sonic

I was not personally aware that Sonic even had breakfast, to be frank. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that breakfast was served all day. The SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito, packed with soft scrambled eggs, sausage, pickled jalapeños, onions, actual melted cheese, actual tomato, and hash browns that were actually hot and crispy, is shockingly delicious. The Breakfast Toaster sandwich lineup, served on fluffy Wonder Bread-esque bread, is quite strong, and the bacon is always crispy. They too have a Cinnabon collab going on, and it’s far stronger than the one Taco Bell has managed to bungle. These are more like pizza pockets, served with cream cheese icing and stuffed with hot, cinnamon filling. See you tomorrow morning, Sonic.

Breakfast Roller
Del Taco

4. Del Taco

Value, baby. That’s who Del Taco is, and that’s what Del Taco does. Let’s consider a Breakfast Roller, with Del’s own red sauce, melty cheese, and the softest scrambled eggs in the game, available for only $1.29. Let’s consider a Double Cheese Breakfast Taco, which contains both freshly-grated cheddar and white queso sauce. What about the Toasted Breakfast Wrap, a perfect vessel for DT’s hash brown sticks and still under three bucks? You get a lot more than you pay for at Del Taco. That’s just the way of things.

Bacon, egg, cheese biscuit
Bojangles

5. Bojangles

“PORK CHOP IS BACK”, the marquee sign read outside the Bojangles where I went to pick up some samples. It needed to let the people know: A hero had come home. Of all the southern chains trying to compete in the biscuits and breakfast department, Bo takes a pretty big lead above them all. The sign-worthy pork chop biscuit, seasoned with Cajun spices and somehow part of the breakfast menu, is a knockout. Every sandwich is served on a semi-well-done biscuit, which means they aren’t as crumbly. Bacon, egg, sausage, chicken-fried steak, and even pimento cheese are lined up as options. Don’t sleep on Bojangles breakfast. Not one second longer. 

Hot Honey Biscuit & Potato Wedges
Wendy's

6. Wendy’s

Wendy’s really blew the saloon doors open a few years ago when it dropped nine breakfast sandwiches at once. Not all of them are successes — not even close — but when they hit, they hit. The biscuits really aren’t bad, and between the honey butter chicken biscuit and those homefry-like breakfast potato wedges, the chain has some very good things happening over there. And look, a Frappuccino is basically a milkshake and people drink those with breakfast all the time — who says you can’t wash it all down with a little early-morning Frostie? 

Jack in the Box Breakfast
restaurantclicks

7. Jack in the Box

I love Jack like family, but breakfast is not where he shines. His menu is fairly uninspired (though naturally, he needs to throw in a sourdough bun or two, as that boy has a full-blown addiction), and it almost seems like Jack finds himself more and more as the hours in the day go by. Early morning? He’s a simple guy with a few egg and cheese sandwiches and an underwhelming burrito. In the wee hours, after the bars close? That maniac is serving you things like Chick-N-Tater Melts and Stacked Grilled Cheeseburgers. Give the guy a few hours, he’s not a morning person.

Breakfast Crunchwrap (sausage)
Taco Bell

8. Taco Bell

Taco Bell recently took a chill pill on its breakfast menu, but the truth is, it doesn’t really affect this ranking. Like Jack in the Box, Taco Bell just isn’t the type of place that tastes better when the sun is out. Taco Bell has a very singular utility, and without question tastes best when you are, shall we say, impaired. There’s also the fact that most Taco Bells don’t even open until at least 10 a.m., which is just in time to make you an hour late for work. Come back tonight, it's open late.

BK Breakfast
Burger King Corporation

9. Burger King

Burger King is really hanging its hat on its croissant, with six sandwiches made on the pastry. The chain should probably pick a different strategy, as those croissants are a challenge to the palate. The deal with Burger King’s breakfast — Burger King’s whole menu, really — is that it just seems to do what every other chain does, except a little bit worse. 

Pork Chop Biscuit
Hardee's Restaurants

10. Carl’s Jr. / Hardees

Yeah, Carl’s Jr. / Hardees has biscuits, but so do most of the other chains. Yeah, it has French Toast Sticks, but they’re better at Burger King, and in at least one highly specific instance when a Cheapism writer was trying to order them for the sake of a taste test, the syrup was missing. Yeah, the chain has another pork chop biscuit, but it's drenched in country gravy and is just about the most unsettling sight you’ll lay eyes on this week. Carl’s/Hardee’s has a great Western Burger, and that’s your reason for going. Don’t venture outside of that lane.