The Best and Worst Menu Items at Burger King
Despite being founded a whole year before McDonald's, Burger King has been hanging onto their royal coattails at the number two largest burger chain in America for years (behind the Golden Arches, of course). Now, don't be discouraged BK fans; there is something the Burger King menu reigns supreme in. And that's trans fats.
Of the big three burger chains—the third being Wendy's—BK consistently ranks as the unhealthiest of the lot. Their meat remains high in trans fats, and their signature sandwich, The Whopper, has 120 more calories and 12 more grams of fat than a Big Mac. As chains such as Taco Bell put nutritionists to work in efforts to nix trans fat and reduce sodium levels on their menus, the content slowly creeps upward on the BK nutritional menu.
Despite their less than stellar nutritional reputation, there is a way to win at BK if you know how to play the menu right. The team at Eat This, Not That! put the chain's entire menu to the test. Here are the Burger King items worth ordering, as well as several that deserve a royal kick in the pants.
The Best Foods on the Burger King Menu
Drive-thru orders for your hankering that, when enjoyed in moderation, won't leave you with all the guilt—and the flab—that our worst list will.
The Best Breakfast Items at Burger King
Original Maple Flavored Oatmeal
Slow to digest and full of belly-filling fiber, oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts on the planet. And although Eat This, Not That! normally advises against sugared varieties, this Quaker bowl is the lesser of many evils at Burger King. (Although you can make it yourself at home, in seconds, for just pennies a day—using our best overnight oats recipes for weight loss)
Egg and Cheese Croissan'Wich
The classic Egg and Cheese is the way to go at any breakfast joint, especially when you're ordering off the Burger King menu.
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Croissan'Wich
The Golden Rule at BK is: Avoid the breakfast meats, except for bacon, which usually has less sodium than sausage or ham. Here, the bacon adds a salty kick to the plain egg and cheese, and an extra 2 grams of muscle-building protein.
French Toast Sticks
A breakfast without at least 10 grams of protein is like The Last Witch Hunter or a MySpace relaunch: Just, why? But at least the sugar count is relatively low for a serving of three. Up it to 5 and you have 13 grams of sugar and 49 g of carbs, for a piddling 5 g of protein.
Ham, Egg and Cheese Croissan'Wich
Another Burger King menu sandwich that has half a day's worth of sodium, this one gets a #5 spot simply because—hey, at least it doesn't have sausage.
Breakfast Burrito Jr.
Loaded with a combination of eggs, sausage, American cheese, hash brown, and creamy spicy sauce, this burrito only makes our best list for its junior size. Also, if you think you are doing yourself a favor by ordering a wrap, think again, because this tortilla alone packs 320 grams of sodium and 120 empty calories.
The Best Burgers at Burger King
When it comes to fast food, the simpler, the better. This grilled beef patty with pickles, mustard and ketchup beat out its competitors because it 86's mayo, saving 150 calories and 18 grams of fat. For a pop of fruits and veggies, pair it with sliced apples for just 30 calories or a garden side salad.
Cheese lovers rejoice! BK's cheeseburger is just shy of healthiest BK burger (which goes to the good old hamburger), packing in 15 grams of protein for less than 300 calories.
MorningStar Veggie Burger
Here, BK tops a veggie burger patty with LTO and pickles. Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN, National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends it, sans mayo. "With five grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein–the same amount of protein in a Whopper–this will stick to my ribs through the afternoon, but won't linger on my waistline. And, with only about one-tenth the saturated fat as a Whopper, the veggie burger won't stick to the inside of my arteries, either." Just be aware that the sodium count is a bit steep.
Whopper Jr. Sandwich
Opting for the Triple Whopper's baby brother saves you a whopping 860 calories and 59 grams of fat. If you follow the advice of nutritionists Sarah Koszyk and Christine Palumbo and order it without the mayo, it beats out our #1 Best Burger because of its extra vegetation. Koszyk says, "it's a relatively healthy choice and quite satisfying." See what diet experts order at Burger King!
As advertised, you really can't go wrong with a simple bacon cheeseburger, as far as the BK menu goes at least. Choosing this bacon cheeseburger over the bacon king will save you 1,440 milligrams of sodium, and over a day worth of trans fat at 3 grams.
Stripping the bacon from our #7 best burger cuts 10 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 80 mg of sodium. Considering bacon's high sodium and fat contents, it's definitely not worth the calories!
Bacon Double Cheeseburger
Stacking a second patty and bacon on top of the traditional cheeseburger adds 120 calories, 9 grams of fat and 110 milligrams of sodium. Not one of the worst choices on the Burger King menu, but there are better ways to get your burger fix.
Touted as "America's Favorite Burger," the Whopper is the original mega-sized, trans-fatty burger. While this is more flab-friendly than the Double or Triple Whopper, it still has more than half of your daily recommended allowance of fat.
Quarter Pound King
Again, saved because it isn't a double, but with half a day's fat and sodium, we don't recommend you indulge in too many of these.
Bacon King Sandwich Jr.
As you will see on the breakfast menu, you could do worse than bacon when it comes to meat at BK, although this sandwich is still only the worst of the best. What really saves it is its Jr. size, which cuts the calories, fat, and sodium in half from the original Bacon King.
The Best Chicken & More at Burger King
BK's nuggets contain fewer calories than a Whopper Jr. and pack in 12 grams of protein. Just opt for the classic six, and pair them with ketchup, BBQ sauce, or sweet-and-sour sauce, rather than high-cal ranch or honey mustard.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Nutritionist Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD, recommends this sandwich. "Grilled chicken is a staple in my diet, so ordering a sandwich out isn't out of the ordinary for me. It fills me up without making me feel like I over-ate." Although this isn't the lowest in calories, the grilled chicken contains the lowest amount of sodium and boasts 26 grams of satiating protein.
Spicy Chicken Jr.
Second to the grilled chicken is the Spicy Chicken Jr. Sandwich. Ask them to hold the creamy spicy sauce, and this jumps to #1.
Crispy Chicken Jr.
Lingering just behind its spicy variation is the original Crispy Chicken Jr. Although the sandwiches are neck-and-neck, this one contains 5 more grams of fat, thanks to mayo. Avoid that at BK if you can, but stock your kitchen with the best condiments for weight loss instead!
The Best Salad at Burger King
Garden Side Salad
This simple blend of lettuce, tomatoes, home-style croutons, and a three cheese medley is just about the closest thing you can get to healthy on the Burger King menu. You do get your choice on dressing here though, so take a tip from nutritionist Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, of Real Nutrition NYC, and try to use only about 1/3 of the packet. She refrains from ordering reduced-fat dressings because that simply means they contain more sugar. "Fat helps you feel full, so go for regular dressing—just be sure to watch your portions."
The Best Sides at Burger King
Garden Side Salad with Ken's Ranch Dressing
Add this side salad to any order, and you'll get an immediate boost of fiber. Instead of ranch dressing (the reason this salad has 22 g fat and 540 mg of sodium), substitute Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette, which has only 7 grams of fat and 220 mg of sodium.
The Best Desserts at Burger King
Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies take the cake because they lack corn syrup and have low calorie, sodium, and carb counts. Don't beat yourself up if you want to splurge—just follow these simple rules for guilt-free cheat meals!
Soft Serve Cone
The second best of the worst desserts on the Burger King menu can easily be made slimmer. Just lose the cone and order your ice cream in a cup to drop 20 empty calories.
Dutch Apple Pie
This Burger King menu dessert lands on the best list for its comparatively low sugar, and because it actually has a real ingredient in it—apples.
The Best Shakes at Burger King
Vanilla Hand-Spun Shake
Although vanilla flavored treats aren't regarded as all that exciting, in this case like many others, it pays to keep things simple.
Oreo Chocolate Shake
While we are displeased with the Oreos inside it, this shake does boast the second least amount of calories out of the bunch, and the least sugar overall.
The Best Frozen Drinks at Burger King
Frozen Fanta Cherry ICEE
These frozen beverages have the lowest sugar, fat, sodium, and calorie content of every other beverage at BK.
The Worst Foods on the Burger King Menu
Avoid a drive-thru disaster on your next fast food run and steer clear of these options—highest on the Burger King menu in calories, salt, fat, and all of the mystery ingredients we don't like.
The Worst Breakfast Items at Burger King
Ham, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
There's a reason this classic is on every fast food breakfast menu—it tastes good. There's also a reason why you shouldn't eat too many: It tastes good because of the salt. Burger King's version has a full day's worth, thanks to a biscuit soaked in 710 grams of it. Eating too much sodium just may be the reason you're not losing belly fat!
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
"Rise and shine with our Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit," crows Burger King. Then, be prepared to fall right back asleep. The little sandwich features half a day's worth of sodium, thanks to the bacon and eggs, and the biscuit is full of trans-fatty palm oil and corn syrup. As a result, it has fewer calories than the same sandwich at McDonald's, but more sodium and sugar, and less protein.
Double Bacon Breakfast Sourdough King
Double bacon plus melty cheese lends this 'wich a sky-high saturated fat and sodium count.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissan'Wich
Remember what we said about this sandwich when it was on a muffin? This one has 7 grams more fat, thanks to the croissant. BK's signature morning roll may taste "buttery," but it's actually made with 32 ingredients, including white flour, margarine, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial butter flavors, and azodicarbonamide, an additive famously found in yoga mats. Its new name: The Croissan't.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
Ever notice how fast food joints make as many meals as possible from the same ingredients? In this case, sausage, egg and cheese pair up (again), this time inside a biscuit, for yet another full's day's worth of salt—and more fat than the Croissan'wich.
King Croissan'Wich with Sausage & Bacon
When was the last time you could say your breakfast was worse than a Big Mac? Order one of these, and you'll have your chance. Compared to the King Croissan'Wich with Sausage & Bacon, a Big Mac has 80 fewer calories, 16 grams less fat (and 7 grams less saturated fat), 430 grams less sodium, and even a gram more belly-filling protein.
Pancakes & Sausage Platter
You'd have to eat three-and-a-half bowls of Frosted Flakes to equal the sugar count in these pancakes—and top it with a sausage and a half to equal the fat and sodium. If you need something sweet before work, indulge in a French Toast stick and walk away.
King Croissan'Wich with Ham & Sausage
King Croissan'Wich with Bacon & Sausage
"Twice the Satisfaction" for twice the fat, as these mouthfuls combine sausage with another meat as if one wasn't enough.
Fully Loaded Croissan'Wich
Loaded questions, loaded weapons, getting loaded—the word never leads to good things. Take this "fully loaded" disaster, which wedges three kinds of pork (ham, sausage, bacon) into some eggs and cheese, sandwiched between a croissant. Also hidden inside: Almost a day's worth of sodium! That's as much as you'll find in 64 Rold Gold pretzels!
King Croissan'Wich with Double Sausage
If this were Game of Thrones, the King Croissan'Wich would be King Richard (spoiler alert: he doesn't make it past season one). Thanks to the two sausages, it has more fat than another other 'Wich on the menu. In general, avoid items with the word double in them, especially before 9 am.
Fully Loaded Biscuit
At 240 calories, 13 grams of fat, and a whopping 710 milligrams of sodium, this buttermilk biscuit alone should be classified as a health hazard.
Double Ham Breakfast Sourdough King
Ham ups the salt in this sandwich to a day's worth of sodium, but the overall sandwich still pales in comparison to its sausage bearing counterpart.
Double Sausage Breakfast Sourdough King
Let's play a drinking game: Every time you see a sausage at Burger King, you have to swallow a full shot of salt. Each sausage is made of pork, salt, sugar, and MSG, which increases appetite by blocking the "I'm full" message to the brain. In fact, one group of researchers found that giving laboratory rats MSG increased their food intake by a whopping 40 percent!
Another double serving of meat, as if one wasn't bad enough, this burrito packs eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, queso sauce, and creamy spicy sauce. It comes to just about an entire day's worth of sodium and has 12 grams more fat than a Whopper.
BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter
Take the worst of BK's breakfast items—hash browns, a sausage, three syrupy pancakes, a biscuit, and eggs—put them all on one plate, and a new king is crowned: The Worst Breakfast at Burger King. Eat this, and you'll consume a day and a half's worth of sodium before work. Just be grateful it's not a Croissan'Platter. Skip it, and instead got for these healthiest fast food orders.
The Worst Burgers at Burger King
Sourdough King Single
With over half a day's worth of sodium and 1.5 grams of trans fat, this mini version of the traditional King still packs a pretty frightening punch.
Double Whopper Sandwich
This BK burger doubles down on beef, not to mention calories, fat, sodium, and carbs.
BBQ Bacon WHOPPER Sandwich
When condiments alone (in this case, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce) cost you almost a third of your daily fat intake for the day, you know you should pretty much stop before you start.
Bacon & Cheese Whopper Sandwich
Another sodium bomb at a whopping 1,560 milligrams, this burger also jams in a day's worth of trans fats.
Bacon Swiss Sourdough King
This Swiss version is slightly worse than its traditional sourdough brethren in respect to calories and fat. What ranks it a spot below on our list of worst Burger King menu items is its significantly lower sodium count, by 320 grams to be exact, which comes from swapping out the American for Swiss.
Let us start by saying that this new sourdough bun, added to the Burger King menu in March 2018, packs over 200 calories and almost a quarter of a day's worth of sodium alone. This is before adding on half a pound of beef, melted American cheese, thick cut bacon, sliced onions, and BK's "creamy signature sauce."
Double Quarter Pound King
Making it "double" always spells trouble at a fast food restaurant, and this double quarter pound king is no exception. Order the regular quarter pound king in its place to save yourself 320 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 430 milligrams of sodium.
Bacon King Sandwich
Consisting of two burger patties buried under a pile of bacon, American cheese, ketchup, and mayo, this burger is the prelude to your next health crisis, packing nearly two days worth of trans fat and almost a day's worth of sodium.
The Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese
This burger more than earns its spot at the second to the worst burger on the Burger King menu. The three-quarter-pound patties and mayo deliver a whopping 82 grams of fat—worse than five BK hamburgers—with 4.5 grams of trans fat, two full days' worth!
The Rodeo King Sandwich with Cheese
The Rodeo King is by far the worst burger on the Burger King menu, surpassing all others in waistline-demolishing ingredients. What earns its spot as number one before the equally horrifying triple whopper is its sodium content, an entire day's worth according to FDA recommendations. It also packs almost 20 grams more carbs than the triple whopper—just when we thought things couldn't get any worse.
The Worst Chicken & More at Burger King
These spicy nuggets only come in a 4 piece or a 10 piece, a dangerous jump. They also pack more than 250 milligrams of sodium per serving and 4 grams more fat than the traditional nuggets, thanks to their spicy homestyle breading.
To compensate for the lack of flavor in "uncooked chicken breast strip fritters with rib meat," BK adds MSG and two kinds of sugar (dextrose and maltodextrin) to its original chicken fries.
Pretzel Chicken Fries
It was hard to top the yellow-dye-ridden Fiery Buffalo Chicken Fries that these Pretzel fries replaced, but by upping the sodium count 350 milligrams and the fat 5 grams, these may have them beat. At 1,200 milligrams, these babies have more sodium a quarter family-size bag of Snyder's pretzel snaps or 4 servings.
Big Fish Sandwich
BK has improved this sandwich over time—we once considered it the worst fish entree in America—but it still leaves much to be desired. White Alaskan Pollock is breaded with panko crumbs and fried, then topped with calorie-dense tartar sauce for 28 grams of fat. We recommend you throw this catch back.
Original Chicken Sandwich
The Original Chicken patty marginally beats out the crispy chicken with fewer calories and less sodium, but the hoagie-style bun adds them right back and then some. Better yet, skip the sandwich and make your lunch from one of the best-ever proteins for weight loss!
Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Remember MSG? You know, the additive that makes everything taste more appetizing, but blocks the message to the brain that you've eaten enough? And the one that tells your body to pump out insulin, the fat-storage hormone? Well, you can reacquaint yourselves via this sandwich, which is packed full of the stuff in every layer: chicken-meat seasoning, breading and batter.
Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Opting for the spicy version of any BK menu item is a sure fire way to make it less healthy, and this sandwich is no exception with higher calories, fat, and carbs than the traditional crispy chicken.
BBQ Bacon Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Add bacon and a slather of sugar-filled BBQ sauce to the traditional crispy MSG… whoops, we meant chicken, sandwich… and you'll get this sodium-filled meal.
Bacon & Cheese Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich
This sandwich serves up an eye-popping 800 calories and 51 grams of fat. The double smattering of mayo adds 210 calories and 24 grams of fat healthier. Basically, the only way you can eat at BK and still wear skinny jeans is a two-word strategy: "No mayo."
Sourdough Chicken Sandwich
Again with the sourdough bun, this sandwich was doomed from the start…
Rodeo Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Identical to the Rodeo Burger but with chicken, this sandwich earns its a spot on the worst Burger King menu item list with the highest fat in its category. Not to mention, the BBQ sauce and onion rings add 72 grams of carbs and 14 grams of sugar.
The Worst Salads at Burger King
Crispy Chicken Club Salad
Choosing this crispy chicken club salad is anything but healthy, it has three times the sodium of a BK Cheeseburger and more than 4 times the fat! If you feel so inclined to add this to your order though, choosing grilled over crispy can save you 10 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and almost 200 milligrams of sodium, not to mention adding 14 grams of protein.
Chicken Garden Salad
Per tradition, this salad comes with a healthy dose of buttery garlic croutons. Although they aren't high-cal, they include caramel coloring, which is made with sugar treated with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. In fact, a Center for Science in the Public Interest report connected high levels of caramel color in soda to roughly 15,000 annual cancer cases in the U.S.
The Worst Sides at Burger King
Nutritionally, Burger King's small order of fries is nearly identical to McDonald's fries—Mickey D's medium size, that is. BK's 128 g serving is actually more than McDonald's medium 111 g serving (and who doesn't eat the whole thing?). It contains almost an entire day's worth of salt, so order the smaller value size, or better yet, opt for apple slices. Filling up on fiber-rich fruit is one of the best ways to boost your metabolism!
Size up to a medium and you are at half your sodium allowance for the day. And if we're still talking Mickey D's, an order of their infamous hash browns will save you 100 calories, 7 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 8 grams carbs, and 260 milligrams of sodium.
Ordering onion rings over fries will set you back an average of 90 calories, 7 grams of fat and 510 mg of sodium, even with fries' extra salt.
The Worst Desserts at Burger King
OREO Cookie Cheesecake
Yet another Oreo treat on the menu, this Burger King menu item comes in the best of the worst with the lowest sugar of the pie options.
HERSHEY'S Sundae Pie
Chock full of calories and saturated fats, this pie is topped with Hershey's chocolate chips, which we're pretty sure is the only real thing in it out of the 50 ingredients.
Pie made with TWIX
Burger King's three pies were pretty much tied, but the Twix pie is slightly less bad, with two grams less saturated fat than #4.
Chocolate Fudge Sundae
How can a sundae with only 270 calories be worse than a TWIX pie? Sugar. This sundae is loaded with 41 grams of the stuff. We're not even sure the fudge topping has chocolate in it—the cocoa is buried under high fructose corn syrup and artery-clogging palm kernel oil.
The Worst Shakes at Burger King
Strawberry Hand Spun Shake
BK's milkshakes bring all the high fructose syrup to the yard… and the artificial colors. They're basically corn syrup in disguise: Full-fat soft serve ice cream (with corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup), plus whipped cream topping (more corn syrup).
Salted Caramel Shake
What do you get when you ask for a salted caramel milkshake? Half a day's worth of sodium in a dessert.
The addition of Oreo cookie crumbles adds more high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and a new trans fat substitute: high oleic canola oil.
Chocolate Hand Spun Shake
The first listed ingredient in the chocolate shake syrup, HFCS is the reason this chocolate shake is the worst beverage at BK. Also on the ingredients list: corn syrup and dextrose.
The Worst Frozen Drinks at Burger King
Frozen Fanta Lemonade
Frosted Frozen Coke
Add vanilla soft serve to the traditional Frozen Coke and you get this corn-syrup ridden creation, which also packs cellulose gum, a thickening agent that comes from wood pulp. While we're at it, add carrageenan to the ingredient list, a thickener extracted from red seaweed that has been shown to cause digestive inflammation.
Editor's note: This article was originally published November 5, 2015, and has since been updated to reflect changes in nutritional information.