From the World-Famous Fries at McDonald’s to the juicy Whopper at Burger King, most fast food joints are recognized for their iconic menu items. While you can probably guess what some of the most popular fast food menu items are, research shows that there’s a good chunk of dishes on this list that’ll surprise you.
We spent days reaching out to all of your favorite quick-service restaurants to reach a definitive conclusion on the top-selling item at every fast food chain nationwide. Check out if your go-to order made America’s cut! And if you want healthy recipes, supermarket shopping guides, and essential nutrition tips at your fingertips subscribe to the new Eat This, Not That! magazine now. For a limited time, you can save 50 percent off the cover price—click here!
We’re proud to announce that the majority of Americans swap the carby tortilla with the chicken burrito bowl and enjoy it with white rice and black beans at Chipotle. How about swapping the white rice for brown next time?
They’re dubbed the World Famous Fries for a reason. According to Business Insider, Mickey D’s popular crispy spuds remain a mainstay ever since its first menu got customers hooked in the 1950s.
Americans are clearly obsessed with fries. According to the Chicken Wire, Chick-fil-A’s blog, the waffle fries are the most-ordered item on the menu, even their juicy chicken sandwiches don’t stand a chance. The chicken chain’s fries have been a hit since their inception and maintain the same recipe since 1985.
No surprise here: Arby’s #1 top-seller is the Classic Roast Beef. The joint’s signature roast beef is marinated and roasted on the daily and then piled high on a toasted sesame seed bun. According to an Arby’s rep, the restaurant chain also sells more gyros than any restaurant in the world—clearly living up to its slogan, “we have the meats.”
While Sbux declined to comment on the top-selling menu item across the nation, we did get some insights on what folks order the most at the java joint. According to a rep, the classic oatmeal is a long-standing hero in the morning while the eggs & cheese protein box and the sous vide egg bites are also winning.
America runs on Dunkin’s hot coffee and iced coffee. But when they’re craving a treat along with freshly-brewed Arabica, the glazed, chocolate glazed, Boston kreme, jelly-filled, and chocolate frosted donuts take the cake.
Summertime calls for refreshing frozen desserts, yet most folks keep their portions in check with a single regular scoop all year around. The top five most popular ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins include Oreo cookies ‘n cream, vanilla, mint chocolate chip, chocolate, and very berry strawberry.
Most folks flock to Raising Cane’s for one thing and one thing only: the super crispy yet unimaginably tender chicken fingers. After all, there isn’t much else on their menu.
Shockingly beating the classic cheese, the pepperoni pie stole the top spot at Domino’s. The pizza joint’s pepperoni slices have a blend of pork, beef, and spices, and a freshly-baked crust with Robust Inspired tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Although Panera Bread refuses to disclose sales numbers, a rep did divulge that the protein-packed strawberry poppyseed salad with chicken is one of the best-selling and most popular products.
According to an In-N-Out’s sales rep’s extensive experience, the double double is number one at the regional burger joint. As you’ve probably guessed, the stacked sandwich features two beef patties and two slices of American cheese. Classic.
Burgers are the biggest category at Culver’s and the single butterburger cheese takes the cake. It’s got an American cheese-topped beef patty sandwiched into a Kaiser bun, proving that simplicity is key.
Baked with just five ingredients, Auntie Anne’s original pretzel was the chain’s first-ever recipe and currently the top-selling one. Despite its simplicity, you can upgrade the soft and fluffy snack with a brush of butter or a sprinkle of coarse salt.
Restaurant name aside, the potato oles are a crowd-favorite among Taco John’s clientele. Think of these winning spuds as an upgraded version of your regular tater tots. They’re fried to a crisp and then dusted with the chain’s signature blend of bold spices. Dip the spuds into indulgent nacho cheese or sour cream, or go for a more waist-conscious side such as guacamole or salsa.
Long John Silver’s
Long John Silver’s catch of the day is the two-piece fish & more meal, which includes battered and fried Alaskan whitefish, two hushpuppies, and two homestyle sides—most often fries and coleslaw. The nation’s largest quick-service seafood chain sustainably sources its wild-caught fish, deeming this pick a true winner.
Potbelly’s signature sandwich, the wreck, is the most-sold item and features a mouthwatering combo of salami, Angus roast beef, oven-roasted turkey, and hickory smoked ham that’s toasted with Swiss cheese.
Diners are hooked on the Hook & Ladder sandwich, which comes stacked with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack cheese and served “Fully Involved” with mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a kosher dill pickle on the side. Trying to cut carbs rather than follow the crowd? Go for the Hook & Ladder salad, which features the same meaty fixings over a bed of greens.
The victor at Jason’s Deli remains the Garden Fresh Salad Bar. “We introduced the Garden Fresh Salad Bar nearly 40 years ago and it has consistently been the most popular item we offer on our menu,” Blake Parker, Chief Innovation Officer of Jason’s Deli, told us via email. “It is part of our commitment to serving the same high-quality food in our delis as we do in our homes, with ingredients you can pronounce and feel good about eating.” We’re sold.
Pei Wei Asian Kitchen
The Wei Better Orange Chicken remains the best dish at the Asian Kitchen. The top seller starts with crispy tempura white-meat chicken wok-seared with orange sauce and garnished with fresh orange slices. The poultry is served over nothing but fluffy rice. If you’re looking to add some crunch and belly-filling fiber, the $1 veggie add-on endows your dish with upgrade-worthy red bell peppers, onions, carrots and snap peas.
Crunchy Del Taco remains numero uno on the Mexican joint’s menu.
According to a Wendy’s rep, Dave’s Single is a top-seller at the fast food joint. Just as Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas intended, Dave’s Single is made with a fresh quarter pound of beef, crinkle-cut pickles, sliced tomatoes, sweet onions, lettuce, melted American Cheese, and ketchup and mayonnaise, all between a warm toasted bun.
The most popular menu item at the Colorado-founded chain is the Classic Smash. It featured seared, juicy beef and is topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese, ketchup, and Smash Sauce on an egg bun.
Orange chicken remains the top-ordered dish at Panda Express.
Since Whataburger opened its doors in 1950, it’s been serving all-beef burgers served on a giant, five-inch bun. Fast forward to 2018, and fans are still going crazy for the original #1 Whataburger every time.
Church’s Chicken most popular menu item is their Combo #1, which comes packed with two pieces of chicken, a side dish, and a made-from-scratch honey butter biscuit. The perfect southern comfort meal, if you ask us.
Much like Mexican competitor Chipotle, Qdoba’s most-ordered item is their chicken bowl. While customers are able to customize their dish however they’d like, the most popular ingredients include the adobo chicken, black beans, cilantro-lime rice, romaine, and a dollop guac. Yum!
At Hardee’s, most folks opt for the sausage egg biscuit, which features a folded egg and sausage patty sandwiched between a fresh, buttery biscuit.
It’s no secret that people who drive-thru Carl’s Jr. enjoy the more piquant options in life. After all, the spicy chicken sandwich is their best-seller.
Early birds keep coming back to Einstein Bros. Bagel for its farmhouse signature breakfast sandwich. It’s piled with cage-free eggs, thick-cut bacon, smoked ham, and cheddar cheese, and has a back-to-the-farm finish with country pepper schmear on a cheesy hashbrown gourmet bagel.
Health-conscious sandwich lovers flock to Subway for the six-inch turkey breast sub, which is on the Fresh Fit menu. The traditional sub comes is usually stacked with spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers on a 9-grain wheat roll.
According to a rep’s extensive experience at Zaxby’s, the fast-food chain’s Cobb salad is likely their top-selling pick.
White Castle gloats that their sliders are “America’s original craving.” We’re just glad that the original slider’s grilled, 2×2-inch beef patty is aptly portion controlled.
Out of the majority who are tantalized by the warm and comforting aromas wafting out of Cinnabon stores, it’s no wonder why the top-seller is the freshly-baked classic roll.
Little Caesars is all about their jingle-worthy $5 Hot-N-Ready pizzas. So it comes as no surprise that the five-buck classic pepperoni pizza is a fan favorite. And that’s not all—the majority of the pizza chain’s customers complete their meal with the Crazy Bread.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
The original Homewrecker burrito stuffs a massive 12-inch tortilla with seasoned rice, beans, shredded cheese, guacamole, and your choice of carnitas, steak, chicken, ground beef, or organic tofu—which explains why the roll-up remains #1 on Moe’s menu.
Ring-a-ding! Taco Bell’s top-selling menu item is none other than the crunchy taco with seasoned beef, lettuce, and shredded cheese. Interested in an upgrade? Add some chicken for extra protein or “make it fresco” with invigorating pico de gallo.
Boston Market skyrocketed to fame thanks to its juicy and perfectly-spiced chicken. The half chicken meal with two sides remains the most popular dish at the poultry shop.
In terms of value, the Jr. bacon cheeseburger reigns supreme at Dave Thomas’ joint. It features a single beef patty, Applewood smoked bacon, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, and American cheese for just $2.39 at participating locations.
Noodles & Company
Noodles & Company’s number one national best-seller is the Wisconsin mac—and it’s been that way for more than 20 years! Despite its popularity, the pasta joint recently upgraded the cheese sauce to a recipe that’s even cheesier and more flavorful than ever before.
You guessed it—the served-upside-down blizzards are the top item at Dairy Queen. Choose from indulgent flavors such as the signature Turtle Pecan Cluster to the Candy Classics and the limited-time-only treats.
Jack in the Box
Although Jack in the Box is famous for its burgers, its most popular fast food menu item is the taco. The pocket is stuffed with beef, salsa, lettuce, American cheese, and deep-fried before sending it off.
For guests watching their waistlines, Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad proves to be a fan-favorite.
While the hot and iced coffees snag the top spot in the most-sold beverage category, a rep shares that the Glazed, Chocolate Glazed, Boston Kreme, Jelly-Filled, and Chocolate Frosted doughnuts are all top-sellers in the doughnut category.
The Cajun Filet Biscuit Combo, which comes with seasoned fries and the Legendary Iced Tea, boasts the most chatter at Bojangles.