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13 Fast-Food Chains That Never Freeze Their Burgers

When only the freshest beef will do, head to a burger joint that proudly advertises "fresh, never frozen."

Not all fast-food burgers are created equal. Sometimes, the smallest details make the biggest difference—like whether or not your burger is prepared using frozen or fresh beef.

Although it might be more economical for a fast-food chain to use frozen beef patties to whip up its burgers since frozen beef can be stored for longer, fresh beef often provides a better experience when it comes to taste and texture.

If you prefer to eat fast-food burgers made only using fresh, never-frozen beef, you're in luck. There are plenty of restaurant chains out there that do this. From a popular spot that handpicks its beef partners and puts an emphasis on quality and animal care to a West Coast-based joint that has its own patty-making facilities, here are 13 fast-food chains that never freeze their burgers.


hand holding wendy's cheeseburger.
Photo: Caitlin White, Eat This, Not That!
Dave's Single (Per Order)
Calories: 590 mg
Fat: 37 g (Saturated Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 1.5 g)
Sodium: 1,050 mg
Carbs: 37 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 29 g

Wendy's takes its burgers seriously, promising "fresh, never frozen" beef on its website. That's not all that sets the chain's beef apart, though. Wendy's also handpicks its beef partners, ensuring that each of its suppliers value "quality, animal care, and safety in both product and work environment." The best part? This approach doesn't just end at red meat. Wendy's also pledges that its pork, chicken, eggs, and dairy suppliers also follow these same high standards.

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In-N-Out burger 3 X 3 Cheeseburger with Spread
Photo: R4vi / Flickr
Double-Double With Cheese (Per Order)
Calories: 610
Fat: 34 g (Saturated Fat: 15 g)
Sodium: 1,660 mg
Carbs: 41 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 34 g

In-N-Out shares on its website that it never uses "frozen, pre-packaged, or microwaved food," which is excellent news if you want to dig into a fast-food burger made only using the freshest meat. In fact, the chain's burger patty process is pretty straightforward: Patties are prepared at the brand's patty-making facilities in California and Texas, and then delivered fresh to In-N-Out locations. They're individually inspected, made with 100% USDA ground chuck from premium cattle, and contain no additives, preservatives, or fillers. That's all there is to it.

Five Guys

five guys bacon cheeseburger
Five Guys
Bacon Cheeseburger (Per Order)
Calories: 1,060
Fat: 62 g (Saturated Fat: 26 g)
Sodium: 1,310 mg
Carbs: 40 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 47 g

The shortlist of facts on Five Guys' website is simple. First, the chain only cooks with peanut oil. Second, there are no freezers at Five Guys locations, only coolers. And third, only fresh ground beef is used. Founded in the 1980s by Jerry and Janie Murrell and their sons, the chain is synonymous with delicious burgers and crispy fries, so it should come as no surprise that "frozen beef" isn't a thing here. Try the chain's famous hamburger—hand-formed and served on a soft, toasted sesame seed bun with as many toppings as your heart desires—or go for the bacon cheeseburger with applewood-smoked bacon and American-style cheese.

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culver's cheeseburgers
Photo: Culver's / Facebook
ButterBurger Cheese, Double (Per Order)
Calories: 700 mg
Fat: 42 g (Saturated Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 1.5 g)
Sodium: 830 mg
Carbs: 40 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 40 g

Whether you order a Culver's ButterBurger, made with Wisconsin-made American cheese and a lightly buttered toasted bun, or the mushroom and Swiss, prepared with white button mushrooms sautéed in butter, garlic, parsley, and peppers, one thing is for sure—the beef is always "fresh, never frozen," according to the company. That's not all, though. Culver's also only uses whole, white meat chicken from American family farms, family farm-fresh dairy for its ice cream, and cheese sourced from Wisconsin dairy farms.


smasburger cheeseburger and fries
Photo: Courtesy of Smashburger
Double Classic Smash Burger (Per Order)
Calories: 970
Fat: 62 g (Saturated Fat: 27 g, Trans Fat: 4 g)
Sodium: 2,360 mg
Carbs: 42 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 54 g

"Fresh, flavorful, and fun" are three words Smashburger uses to describe its menu offerings. This makes perfect sense as the chain, which started in Denver in 2007, only uses fresh beef that isn't packed with "questionable origins," as its website explains. Smashbuger solely serves Certified Angus Beef sourced from family-owned farms and ranches in the United States that put sustainability, climate-friendly practices and humane animal care at the forefront. One of the brand's suppliers is Walter Angus, a Colorado ranching, farming, and calf back-grounding family operation famous for providing top-notch meat.

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Shake Shack

Shake Shack burgers and fries
Photo: Shutterstock
Double ShackBurger (Per Order)
Calories: 760 mg
Fat: 48 g (Saturated Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 2 g)
Sodium: 2,280 mg
Carbs: 27 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 51 g

Shake Shack is all about quality, which is why it makes burgers that only use a fresh, never frozen, 100% Angus beef blend containing zero hormones or antibiotics, according to the chain. Moreover, Shake Shack's beef is sourced from animals humanely raised in the United States. The chain implements these same standards across its chicken dishes, which are only made with fresh, never-frozen, whole white meat containing zero antibiotics.

Wayback Burgers

a triple wayback burger surrounded by fries
Photo: Wayback
Wayback Classic Burger (Per Order)
Calories: 650
Fat: 34 g (Saturated Fat: 14 g)
Sodium: 1,070 mg
Carbs: 38 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 47 g

Since 1991, Wayback Burgers—formerly known as Jake's Wayback Burgers before rebranding in 2008—has served high-quality burgers, milkshakes, fried chicken sandwiches, and more in a welcoming, laid-back setting. The chain, which now has 170 locations in over 20 countries, prides itself on serving burgers that are "always fresh & made-to-order," according to its website. Whether you order the classic two-beef patty option topped with mustard and Heinz ketchup, or the double bacon burger with four slices of bacon, any option on the menu makes for a great meal.

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A closeup of the classic burger from Hopdoddy
Photo: Hopdoddy/Facebook
The Classic (Per Order)
Calories: 660
Fat: 35 g (Saturated Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 1 g)
Sodium: 750 mg
Carbs: 42 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 9 g)
Protein: 42 g

Over a decade ago, four friends joined forces to start a burger bar that serves craft beer and innovative burger options using only the highest quality ingredients. That burger bar is Hopdoddy. Hopdoddy's beef is verified all-natural, free from hormones, steroids, and antibiotics, and is always fresh, never frozen. And if you're wondering where the name "Hopdoddy" came from, it's a combination of hops, a type of flower used to make beer, and "doddy," a nickname for Black Angus cattle.


fatburger xxxl burger, fries, and milkshake
Photo: Fatburger / Facebook
XXXL "Triple King" Fatburger (Per Order)
Calories: 1,686
Fat: 96.5 g (Saturated Fat: 33.5 g, Trans Fat: 6.5 g)
Sodium: 2,179 mg
Carbs: 69 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 129.5 g

For over 70 years, Fatburger has been doling out juicy burgers made only using hand-pressed, never-frozen beef patties that, according to its menu, are hand-ground fresh and contain 100% lean beef. Beyond high-quality beef, Fatburger also uses fresh, never-frozen chicken for its chicken wings, makes its chili from scratch, and hand-scoops the ice cream for its milkshakes. There are currently over 200 Fatburger locations in more than 20 countries—one may not be too far from you.

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Fuddruckers burger
Photo: Fuddruckers / Facebook
Small 1/3-lb. Hamburger (Per Order)
Calories: 580
Fat: 28 g (Saturated Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 3 g)
Sodium: 1,942 mg
Carbs: 45 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 36 g

There's a reason Fuddruckers has been a burger mainstay since the 1980s. The chain makes delicious food that doesn't skimp on quality. On its website, the restaurant vows to make burgers using only "fresh, never frozen, 100% all-American premium cut beef with no fillers or additives." Each burger is grilled to order the way you'd like it, served on a soft bun baked fresh in-house every day, and topped with top-notch ingredients like crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes.

The Habit Burger Grill

habit burger grill cheeseburger
Photo: The Habit Burger Grill / Facebook
Double Charburger (Per Order)
Calories: 730
Fat: 49 g (Saturated Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 2 g)
Sodium: 1,300 mg
Carbs: 32 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 37 g

The Habit Burger Grill is another burger joint with a long history of making high-quality food. It was founded in 1969 in Santa Barbara, Calif., as a family business and quickly took off as the perfect place to get a juicy burger or chicken sandwich. Today, the restaurant continues to adhere to the same standard of quality it committed to over 50 years ago. According to its website, Habit serves only "fresh, never frozen" burgers made from "100% pure ground beef with no additives, preservatives, or fillers of any kind." Each burger is also cooked over an open flame and is made to order to  your liking.

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Johnny Rockets

johnny rockets' cheeseburger and fries
Photo: Johnny Rockets / Facebook
Rocket Single Burger (Per Order)
Calories: 240
Fat: 20 g (Saturated Fat: 10 g)
Sodium: 350 mg
Carbs: 10 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g)
Protein: 10 g

Simply put, Johnny Rockets has a lot going for it. The popular diner chain offers a menu packed with delicious options, boasts nostalgia-tinged dining rooms, and is committed to making burgers using high-quality beef. For example, the brand only uses 100% certified Angus beef patties that are "fresh, never frozen," according to the menu. Each burger is grilled on site, served on a brioche bun, and topped with tasty ingredients like crispy lettuce, chopped onion, relish, and homemade special sauce. For the full effect, order it with one of the chain's famous milkshakes, prepared using only real ice cream.

Red Robin

red robin whiskey river burger
Photo: Courtesy of Red Robin
Whiskey River BBQ Burger (Per Order)
Calories: 1,160
Fat: 80 g (Saturated Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 2.5 g)
Sodium: 1,570 mg
Carbs: 71 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 20 g)
Protein: 41 g

Check out Red Robin's gourmet burger options for a satisfying burger made with 100% fresh, never frozen beef. These burgers are thicker and juicier than the chain's other burger offerings and are prepared with innovative ingredients. For instance, there's the Lava Queso gourmet burger topped with chipotle aioli and caramelized onions and the Whiskey River BBQ burger, piled high with crispy onion straws and covered in Whiskey River barbecue sauce. For something more pared down, try the Keep It Simple burger, which is served with pickles, onion, lettuce, and tomato.

Brittany Natale
Brittany Natale is a food and lifestyle writer. Read more about Brittany