Fast Food With Healthy Breakfast


Okay, I’m going to tell you the truth: my life is a mess right now. My ex-boyfriend broke up with me because he thinks I’m “too much” (which is a totally bogus excuse because how can you be “too much”?), my favorite sweater just got a hole in the side of it, and I’m working on this PowerPoint presentation that’s due in two hours but I still don’t have half the information I need. Yeah… so basically, I need some fast food that’s also good for breakfast. Because that’s always one of the best things about mornings: it’s a great time to eat breakfast at any time of day!

So here’s the plan: I’m going to go through all of my local fast-food restaurants and decide which ones have the best breakfasts. Then we’ll narrow down our options from there.

Fast Food With Healthy Breakfast

Some food writers credit Chinese railroad workers and loggers with dreaming up the breakfast sandwich to satisfy their pining for egg foo young. Other historians claim that American pioneers created the dish in an attempt to mask the flavor of spoiled eggs during long journeys. But McDonald’s is largely credited for establishing the breakfast sandwich as an American culinary staple. It was McDonald’s humble Egg McMuffin that went down in history for getting the country addicted to breakfast sandwiches and paving the way for the entire fast food breakfast industry.

Following the success of the Egg McMuffin, one by one, competitors like Burger King, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s introduced their own breakfast menus. Today, you can get some version of a breakfast sandwich at nearly every major chain, in addition to other delicious post-dawn delights like burritos, biscuits, hash browns, and everything in between.

Still, certain chains have been less successful than others. To help you start your day with some delicious drive-thru dining (while avoiding rubbery eggs and soggy biscuits), here is a definitive list of fast food breakfast menus, ranked from worst to best:

  1. Subway

The decision to phase out breakfast may be as good for Subway’s finances as it is kind to unsuspecting earlybird customers who wander in, searching for something edible. Subway’s breakfast offerings consist of four sandwiches with ingredients like bacon, steak, and egg. These sandwiches can be served on any one of Subway’s signature uninspiring breads. The meat tastes (and probably was) sitting out on the assembly line all morning. The egg blend is bland and rubbery, and reportedly contains a disturbing number of scary ingredients like propylene glycol (also found in antifreeze), glycerin (found in soap), and dimethylpolysiloxane (found in Silly Putty). Not exactly the type of stuff you want to line your tummy with before heading off to school, work, or crime fighting.

  1. Jack in the Box

So why haven’t Jack in the Box’s breakfast offerings enjoyed the same lovin’? As anyone who’s gazed blearily down at the contents of their brown paper Jack in the Box bag in the early morning can tell you, the chain’s morning selection is just a little lackluster. It’s got your standards: English muffin breakfast sandwiches, biscuit sandwiches, croissant sandwiches, hash browns, and mini pancakes. All hearty, familiar, and fast — but unremarkable.

It even has a couple of breakfast burritos, one of which is served with a promising sounding “creamy Sriracha sauce.” But while the Sriracha sauce has a distantly Sriracha-like flavor, it doesn’t pack much heat. This makes it especially disappointing to spicy-fanatics who saw the words “Sriracha” and dared to hope.

  1. Starbucks

Their sandwiches consist of the usual suspects — meat, egg, and cheese on ciabatta, biscuit, English muffin, and croissant. But what sets theirs apart is that they’re made with high-quality ingredients. The breads are fresh, flaky or soft as needed, and not too dry. There’s cheese, of course, but we’re talking Swiss, Gouda, and cheddar, not the mysterious processed American cheese you find elsewhere. But there are some disappointments. The scrambled eggs you get on your sandwich are actually “puffed scrambled egg patties” that contain milk, food starch, soybean oil, and other additives. Oh, and they’re all pre-made and frozen before being shipped to the store and re-heated.

Their baked goods (also frozen) include simple offerings like muffins and bagels, as well as patisserie items like almond croissants, danishes, scones, and sweets. Or, if you’re looking to be a little more nutrition-conscious, you can try a cup of oatmeal, a yogurt parfait, or an egg and cheese protein box. Basically, they’ve got something for everyone — though none of it is really better than passable. 

Their beverage offerings, of course, can’t be beat. Serious coffee snobs can get a cup of single-origin pour over, while their caffeine-averse friend slurps on a strawberries and creme blended Frappuccino. They also serve tea. Basically, if you’re thirsty in the a.m. or craving a little pastry action, they’ve got you covered with something that’s not bad, but not great either — as long as you don’t mind a re-heated breakfast.

Of course, you can always make your own copycat version of your favorite Starbucks breakfast items if you want to ensure they’re fresh. Our recipes for Starbucks copycat pumpkin scones, pumpkin bread, lemon loaf, and egg bites are all better than anything you’d pick up through their drive-up window. 

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts

The chain lives up to its name, serving up a basic selection of donuts, pastries, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches in the morning, along with beverages. Though it does have a new menu of handcrafted espresso drinks, where Dunkin’ Donuts shines is with their flavored coffee options. They specialize in seasonal drink flavors like PEEPS Marshmallow coffee, and as anyone who’s from New England (the birthplace of DD) can tell you, their coffee is best served iced, even if there’s snow on the ground. It’s pretty acidic and a little bitter when enjoyed black, so it’s one of those places that caters heavily to people who prefer cream and sugar in their java. 

The Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches are, sadly, a little lacking. Their basic meat, egg, and cheese numbers come served on an English muffin, bagel, or croissant, and they also have mini Wake-Up Wraps of egg, cheese, and the optional meat. We’ve noticed that the English muffins have an off taste at this chain, and while the croissant option is a little too greasy, the bagels tend to be dry. What gives? The donuts are consistently good, though, and the muffins are out of this world (at 460 calories a pop, they better be good!).

For your best bet at Dunkin’ Donuts, order a donut and a flavored iced coffee to start your day. American may run on Dunkin’, but not on their breakfast sandwiches.

  1. Wendy’s

Wendy’s offers their own take on a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, a much-sought item on the breakfast menu of its Texas rival, Whattaburger. But Wendy’s version doesn’t quite stack up to its Whataburger doppelganger. 

More successful items on the Wendy’s morning menu include the seasoned homestyle potatoes and the Classic Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich, which is served on a warm breakfast roll with American cheese, freshly cracked eggs, and applewood smoked bacon. Plus, Wendy’s serves its own brand of Redhead Roasters coffee, which has been lauded as one of the better coffees offered at a fast-food establishment.

  1. Burger King

Of course, the croissant of the BK Croissan’Wich isn’t exactly as magnifique as the croissants you’d find at a quaint cafe on the streets of Paris. The Croissan’Wich croissant is soft and often served flattened, but hey, a croissant is a croissant, oui?

Since the Croissan’Which, Burger King has beefed up its breakfast menu to include everything from breakfast burritos to sourdough breakfast sandwiches. Some of these items, like the French Toast Sticks with hot syrup, are winners — though we’re pretty partial to our own five-ingredient version of those. Others, like the pancakes, which are frozen and reheated, are predictably ehhhh.

  1. Sonic

For starters, both the SuperSONIC and Ultimate Meat & Cheese burritos include bonafide tater tots, a breakfasty spin on the California burrito which comes stuffed with french fries. And the SuperSonic even comes with REAL VEGETABLES like tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos. ¡Que increíble! The Breakfast Toaster is another favorite, a breakfast sandwich served between two thick slabs of Texas Toast.

To top it all off, Sonic is another one of those magical establishments that serves breakfast all day. In fact, it serves its entire menu all day, which means the intrepid among you could pair a breakfast burrito with chili cheese fries, or an Oreo peanut butter shake, or your favorite flavor of slush. And after placing your order, one of their infamous roller-skating carhops will even wheel it straight to your car, where you can gnaw down your breakfast in privacy without having to brave the harsh, morning sunlight.

  1. Carl’s Jr.

The “and more” section of the breakfast menu is where Carl’s Jr. truly shines. “And more” consists of the chain’s infamous breakfast burger, an impressive tower of cheese, bacon, egg, hash browns, and a beef patty. Carl’s Jr. claims it was the first major hamburger fast food chain to put an egg on a burger and initially offered the item during regular breakfast hours. In 2017, however, the franchise announced it would serve its breakfast burger all day long. Now, when it’s 3:30 p.m., and you’re craving a breakfast that packs in more than half your daily recommended calories, you can have a breakfast burger without waiting for breakfast the next morning. That’s the kind of world we live in.

  1. Jack’s

Any restaurant that tries to do too much is always in danger of jeopardizing quality. Somehow, Jack’s manages to do both burgers, fried chicken, and breakfast without dropping the ball on taste. The breakfast at Jack’s isn’t especially complex, and customers have their choice of pancakes, a breakfast wrap with eggs and sausage, hash browns, the Big Breakfast Sandwich, a breakfast platter, and an array of biscuits. The pancakes and breakfast wrap are nothing special, so your best bet is going with some sort of biscuit or the sandwich. 

The biscuits at Jack’s are made from scratch each morning, and while not quite as good as Bojangle’s or Chick-fil-A, they are rather tasty. Buttery, fluffy, and fresh, you can’t go wrong with a classic bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit order. If you want to venture outside your comfort zone, though, consider their limited-time-only bologna biscuit.

  1. Bojangles’

If biscuits are on your mind in the morning, you really can’t go wrong with Bojangles’ and you’ll find them in the top three (if not number one) on just about any fast food biscuit power ranking. The biscuits are made from scratch every 20 minutes (quite possibly by a sweet old grandmother) and are perfectly flaky on the outside, soft on the inside, and buttery without being greasy. Whether you opt for fried chicken, sausage, country ham, gravy, or pimento cheese, you can bet that it will taste great with these biscuits.

If you prefer sweet over savory, consider ordering a cinnamon biscuit or Bo-Berry biscuit with drizzled icing. Plus, they’re available all day, so even if you sleep until noon, you can still enjoy a Bojangles’ breakfast.

  1. Chick-fil-A

The star of the Chick-fil-A menu is arguably its Chick-n-Minis, which are effectively your standard Chick-fil-A nugget tucked into warm, mini rolls and coated in honey butter. But then again, if that’s all you’re after, you could always make your own copycat Chick-fil-A nuggets and a fresh batch of biscuits, and skip that wrap-around line.

Beyond the Chick-n-Minis, Chick-fil-A offers chicken-centric breakfast items like a chicken, egg, and cheese bagel and hash brown scramble with chicken nuggets and jalapeno salsa. In 2016, Chick-fil-A updated its breakfast menu with The Egg White Grill, a multigrain English muffin sandwich featuring grilled chicken breast and egg whites. The new item did ruffle some feathers, as the egg white sandwich replaced the popular Spicy Chicken Biscuit.

If you, like some bloggers, happened to be disturbed by the mother-and-child-reunion combination of chicken and egg, Chick-fil-A does offer some chicken-free breakfast items. Go healthy with a Greek yogurt parfait or fruit cup, or go the opposite way with a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.

  1. Panera

Customers who want a breakfast sandwich can get their scrambled egg and sausage, or egg white and spinach fix on both toasted brioche and ciabatta rolls. Unlike some of the fast food entries on our list, Panera uses fresh eggs on all of its sandwiches, which make a world of difference in terms of taste over the liquid egg product that comes in a carton. And if a loaded breakfast sandwich isn’t your thing, a bowl of oatmeal, cup of Greek yogurt with berries, or toasted bagel with cream cheese is also available. 

CNBC reported in 2019, that Panera had revamped its breakfast menu to compete in the ultra-competitive breakfast wars, and items like the Spinach & Bacon Souffle are a welcomed alternative to the normal fast food breakfast fare. The food at Panera might not always be as fresh as they market it to be, but their breakfast options are pretty solid. The only downside is that if you try to order it after 10:30 in the morning, you’ll be out of luck.

  1. White Castle

Speaking of Belgian waffles, it would be wrong if we didn’t point out that White Castle’s waffle sliders are without a doubt the stars of their breakfast menu. White Castle is pretty secretive about the specific bakery that provides its waffles, but the company goes so far as to import them from Belgium. The waffles are definitely on the sweet side with a smooth vanilla undertone. And with real eggs scrambled fresh in-house, you can’t go wrong with the classic bacon, egg, and cheese waffle slider. If you’re looking for something even heartier, the chicken and waffles slider with country gravy is a knockout.  

Following McDonald’s lead, White Castle was wise enough to start serving cravers its breakfast menu all day back in 2015. Should you be unfortunate enough to live in some part of the United States without a White Castle, you can still buy items like the sausage, egg, and cheese slider in the frozen foods section of some grocery stores such as Kroger. But let’s be honest — they’re nothing like the real deal.

  1. Taco Bell

Though the Waffle Taco has disappeared from the menu, Taco Bell has kept its Breakfast Crunchwrap and introduced a number of other sorta-Tex-Mex-inspired breakfast creations, like the Grand Scrambler (a monstrous breakfast burrito with your choice of meat plus eggs, potatoes, cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream) and the Mini Skillet Bowl (eggs with pico, melted cheese, and potatoes). For those hankering for something sweet, T-Bell offers Cinnabon Delights, which are basically two donut holes filled with icing. And if you happen to like to take your morning meal with a punch in the face of sugar and caffeine, you can wash it all down with a Mountain Dew Kickstart Orange Citrus, a sort of carbonated fake orange juice.

  1. Whataburger

Imagine a biscuit: golden brown on the outside and fluffy and buttered on the inside. Then, picture a thick, crispy chicken breast tucked inside that biscuit and drenched in a honey butter sauce that may or may not contain crack. So awe-inspiring is the biscuit, that a pastor in McKinney, Texas wrote a soulful, three-minute ballad to the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit called “Something About This Biscuit”.

Beyond the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, Whataburger offers an extensive breakfast menu of other winners, like the crunchy hash brown sticks, Breakfast on a Bun (your typical egg, cheese, and sausage breakfast sandwich, but on a bun), and its notorious taquitos, revered as manna from heaven by many Texans.

  1. McDonald’s

To satisfy the public’s insatiable, all-day-all-night hunger for their breakfast dishes, McDonald’s introduced all-day breakfast in 2015. No longer do hungover breakfast seekers have to roll out of bed and speed over to McDonald’s, only to discover they’d stopped serving breakfast at 10:30 a.m. Today (depending on the location), you can feast upon a Sausage McMuffin or Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Bagel at any hour of the day or night.

For those of you who are craving some morning McDonald’s but hesitate out of concern for your, you know, arteries and stuff, you may be happy to learn McDonald’s even offers some healthy(ish) options, including fruit and maple oatmeal and an Egg White Delight McMuffin, made with “100% freshly grilled egg whites and 250 calories.” Though reasonable healthy, they still, somehow, manage to be totally tasty, too.

Best breakfast items at fast food

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin breakfast

Breakfast is thought of to the best most important meal of the day for some. And you obviously want to choose something hearty and delicious to keep you fuller longer so you can stay focused and energized. Sometimes, though, you’re in the mood for something quick and easy, and fast-food breakfast just calls your name. Hey, while you know it’s not necessarily the healthiest option, one thing you can count on is the taste. It’s going to be good.

But which fast-food breakfast item tastes the best?

We decided to take a look at which fast-food breakfast items are the most popular. To help you out on your journey to locating the best-tasting fast-food breakfast, we looked at data from Ranker, in which fast-food fans vote for their favorites, based on taste. Here, we rounded up the top 15 most popular fast-food breakfast options, ranked from No. 15 to No. 1. Think you know which fast-food breakfast item is the most beloved? Check out the list and if you get inspired to cook something up yourself.

Jack in the Box Supreme Croissant

Supreme croissant Jack in the Box
Courtesy of Jack in the Box

At Jack in the Box, this sandwich is described as a “flaky piece of heaven.” It’s made up of grilled bacon, ham, an egg, and American cheese packed between a croissant. It’s clearly “supreme” for a reason!14

Starbucks Bacon & Gouda Artisan Breakfast Sandwich

starbucks bacon gouda egg sandwich
Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks layered an artisan roll with applewood-smoked bacon, aged Gouda, and a Parmesan frittata to create a breakfast sandwich that is extra-smoky. Sounds like it will pair nicely alongside a coffee, doesn’t it?13

Chick-Fil-A Spicy Chicken Biscuit

Chick-fil-A's Spicy Chicken Biscuit
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

If you want to start your morning with some chicken, Chick-Fil-A Spicy Chicken Biscuit is a popular choice. A breakfast portion of the chain’s boneless chicken breast is seasoned with a spicy blend of peppers and served on a buttermilk biscuit. Is your mouth watering yet?12

Panera Bread Bacon, Egg, Cheese On a Bagel

panera bacon egg cheese
Panera Bread/ Yelp

You really can’t ever go wrong with a bacon, egg, and cheese combination and Panera fans agree.11

Dunkin’ Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Croissant

dunkin sausage egg cheese sandwich croissant
Courtesy of Dunkin’

If you’ve ever had a croissant from Dunkin’ before, then you know the flaky, buttery goodness you’re in for. Well, take that and stuff some sausage, egg, and cheese between it, and you have a solid breakfast sandwich.

Looking for more food tips? 

Taco Bell Breakfast Crunchwrap

taco bell breakfast crunchwrap
Matthew S./ Yelp

The best part about Taco Bell is that everything on the menu is customizable. You can order bacon, sausage, or steak in your Breakfast Crunchwrap.9

Burger King French Toast Sticks

burger king french toast sticks with syrup dip

When you think Burger King, a Whopper and some onion rings typically comes to mind. So it might be a bit of a surprise to see how loved the French toast sticks are! They’re crispy, yet fluffy and with some syrup, make for a sweet start to your day. (If you are more of a buger fan though, you’ll want to uncover The Most Popular Fast-Food Burgers Right Now!)8

McDonald’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit

mcdonalds bacon egg cheese biscuit regular size biscuit
Courtesy of McDonald’s

McDonald’s has officially entered the chat. And you’ll notice moving forward, most of the tastiest fast-food breakfast items belong to Mickey D’s. First up is the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit. There really just is something special about a McDonald’s biscuit.7

McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

mcdonalds mcmuffin
Courtesy of McDonald’s

Oh, the Egg McMuffin. Is there a fast-food breakfast item more famous than this sandwich?6

McDonald’s Big Breakfast

mcdonalds big breakfast
Courtesy of McDonald’s

The Big Breakfast from McDonald’s certainly lives up to its name! The meal is made up of a biscuit, scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns. If you’re in the mood for a little of everything and order this, but be sure to share it with a friend!5

Burger King Croissan’wich

burger king double croissantwich
Courtesy of Burger King

BK’s croissant sandwich is piled high with sausage, egg, and cheese.Talk about leaving an impression!4

McDonald’s McGriddles

mcdonalds sausage mcgriddles
Courtesy of McDonald’s

The McGriddles from McDonald’s are really unlike any other breakfast sandwich. And that’s because it features soft, warm griddle cakes—that have a sweet taste of maple—as the buns to which a savory piece of hot sausage is nestled between. Yes, it’s as flavorful as you think!3

Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Minis

chick-fil-a chick-n-minis
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Who said you can’t have chicken nuggets for breakfast? At Chick-fil-A, you can! The minis are made up of bite-sized Chick-fil-A Nuggets that are sandwiched between warm, mini yeast rolls that are lightly brushed with a honey butter spread.2

McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin

mcdonalds sausage mcmuffin
Courtesy of McDonald’s

Edging out the iconic Egg McMuffin for the second most popular, tastiest fast-food breakfast is its not-so-distant relative, the Sausage McMuffin. Here, a toasted English muffin is topped with a savory hot sausage patty and a slice of melty American cheese.1

McDonald’s Hash Browns

McDonalds hash browns
Courtesy of McDonald’s

Finally, we’ve reached the most beloved fast-food breakfast item. It’s none other than McDonald’s classic hash browns. Who would’ve thought? The shredded potato hash brown patties from Mickey D’s are always perfectly crispy on the outside, yet oh so fluffy on the inside. They really are deliciously tasty, so it’s no wonder they beat out even the biggest of sandwiches!

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