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11 Restaurant Chains Launching Exciting New Menu Items In May

There are plenty of tantalizing new food and beverage options coming to your favorite chains this month.
FACT CHECKED BY Chris Shott

Between KFC's new Saucy Nugget line and Panera's sweeping menu overhaul, this past April was a huge moment for new food and beverage launches at restaurants. This month, diners will see even more variety on the menu at their favorite chains.

From burger slingers to breakfast joints, a myriad of popular chains have already announced exciting new items coming to restaurants in May. Some are returning foods or beverages that have been absent from menus for a while. (Dollarita, anyone?) Others are completely brand-new, giving diners across the country the opportunity to sample something they've never tried before.

Read on to learn about all of the fun new options coming to chain restaurants this month. And make sure to keep an eye out throughout May for any other new offerings that may hit menus, since chains announce new items practically every day.

Popeyes

Popeyes Golden BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Popeyes
Nutrition:
Golden BBQ Chicken Sandwich (Per Serving)
Calories: 620
Fat: 32 g (Saturated Fat: 12 g, Trans Fat: 2 g)
Sodium: 1,550 mg
Carbs: 54 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 28 g

Just a few weeks after Popeyes began testing a new Signature Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich at select locations, the chain is rolling out another exciting new chicken sandwich option nationwide.

A new Golden BBQ Chicken Sandwich debuted at participating Popeyes restaurants on May 7. It features a buttermilk-battered chicken breast, a sweet and tangy Golden BBQ sauce, and barrel-cured pickles on a buttery, toasted brioche bun. Guests can also upgrade the sandwich with a slice of havarti cheese and applewood-smoked bacon.

RELATED: I Tried Popeyes' New Golden BBQ Chicken Sandwich & It Fell Short on Flavor

Starbucks

Starbucks summer menu 2024
Courtesy of Starbucks
Nutrition:
Summer-Berry Starbucks Refreshers Beverage (Per Grande Drink)
Calories: 110
Fat: 0 g (Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 55 mg
Carbs: 27 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 25 g)
Protein: 0 g

Starbucks dropped a sizable selection of seasonal foods and beverages on May 7 to celebrate summer. The new additions include three drinks featuring Starbucks' brand-new raspberry-flavored "pearls" (which are similar to boba):

  • Summer-Berry Starbucks Refreshers Beverage: a blend of raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry flavors shaken with ice and poured over a layer of pearls.
  • Summer-Berry Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers Beverage: a combination of lemonade and the new Summer-Berry Refresher drink, poured over a layer of pearls.
  • Summer Skies Drink: a combination of creamy coconut milk and the new Summer-Berry Refresher drink poured over ice and a layer of pearls.

Starbucks' summer menu also features the returning White Chocolate Macadamia Cream Cold Brew, a new Orange Cream Cake Pop, and a new Pineapple Cloud Cake. These items will only be available for a limited time, while supplies last.

As a final bonus for fans, Starbucks is rolling out a new Iced Coffee Blend this summer that's made from Latin American beans with notes of malted chocolate and brown sugar. It comes unsweetened but can be customized with syrup, sweeteners, and milk.

Dunkin'

dunkin' watermelon burst donut and kiwi watermelon refresher
Dunkin'
Nutrition:
Kiwi Watermelon Dunkin' Refresher (Per Medium Drink)
Calories: 230
Fat: 0 g (Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 20 mg
Carbs: 58 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 55 g)
Protein: 0 g

May is already shaping up to be a great month for Dunkin' customers. The coffee and doughnut chain just dropped its highly anticipated summer menu, giving fans several new food and drink options to try out during the warm season.

On the beverage side, Dunkin' just added a new Kiwi Watermelon Dunkin' Refresher, a Blueberry Donut Iced Coffee, and a Vanilla Frosted Donut Signature Latte. Both of the doughnut-themed coffees feature a brand-new swirl flavoring with notes of vanilla frosting, pastry, and doughnut sugar.

On the food side, Dunkin' just dropped a new pre-packaged Chocolate Chunk Cookie, a bright red Watermelon Burst Donut filled with watermelon-flavored jelly, and a Green Goddess Wrap packed with egg whites, farro, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, feta, and green goddess dressing.

To top it all off, lemonade just returned to Dunkin' menus and it will stick around permanently from now on. All of the other seasonal options will only be available for a limited time.

 I Tried the Glazed Donuts From 5 Popular Chains & the Best Had Extra Body and Fluff

Applebee's

Applebee's Dollarita and Cerveza & Sips beverages
Applebee's
Nutrition information unavailable.

Food prices are still on the rise, but Applebee's famous Dollarita is still just as affordable as ever. The $1 drink—a combination of tequila, triple sec, and lime—returned to menus on May 1 following its last limited-time run in the fall of 2023. For an extra 50 cents, Applebee's customers can now order the beverage with a strawberry or mango flavor infusion.

The Dollarita isn't the only new addition to the Applebee's menu. The chain just brought back Cerveza & Sips, a selection of specialty beverages all priced between $5 and $9. It includes a $5 Dos Equis draft beer served in a large "Brewtus" cup and a $5 strawberry margarita made with actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Teremana Blanco Tequila. There's also a $9 smoky margarita made with "Breaking Bad" TV stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston's Dos Hombres Mezcal, Teremana Tequila, and blue curacao.

Finally, Applebee's just introduced a brand-new appetizer: Chicken & Bacon Loaded Fries. The limited-time fries come with crispy chicken tenders, melted cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, house-made ranch, parsley, and a side of buttermilk ranch dressing for dipping.

Sweetgreen

Plate of Sweetgreen steak on bed of grass
Courtesy of Sweetgreen
Nutrition:
Caramelized Garlic Steak Protein Plate (Per Serving)
Calories: 860
Fat: 40 g
Sodium: 20 mg
Carbs: 89 g
Protein: 31 g

Back in February, Sweetgreen began testing its first-ever steak options at select locations in Boston. And this month, steak is finally coming to Sweetgreen stores nationwide.

The new protein option features grass-fed, pasture-raised steak that's seasoned with a garlic spice blend and roasted so it develops a caramelized char. While customers can add it to any of Sweetgreen's signature or custom dishes, the chain is also highlighting the new protein in three new chef-crafted entrées:

  • A Caramelized Garlic Steak protein plate with wild rice, warm roasted sweet potatoes, spicy broccoli, tomatoes, and pesto vinaigrette.
  • A Steakhouse Chopped bowl filled with chopped romaine, herby quinoa, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, crispy onions, blue cheese, and green goddess ranch dressing.
  • A Kale Caesar Steak salad with shredded kale, chopped romaine, tomatoes, shaved parmesan, crunchy parmesan crisps, a squeeze of lime, and classic Caesar dressing.

 The Best & Worst Menu Items at Sweetgreen, According to a Dietitian

Whataburger

Whataburger Caramel Latte Shake
Courtesy of Whataburger
Nutrition:
Caramel Latte Shake (Per Medium Drink)
Calories: 700
Fat: 20 g (Saturated Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 600 mg
Carbs: 140 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 120 g)
Protein: 20 g

Last month, Whataburger upgraded its burger selection with a new Bacon Steakhouse Double that will stick around through June 30. This May, the burger slinger is expanding its menu yet again with a new Caramel Latte Shake.

Whataburger described the new treat in a press release as a "cool twist on a classic latte," combining real espresso, caramel, and creamy vanilla. It hit menus on May 7 but will only stick around for a limited time, so customers interested in sampling it shouldn't wait too long before heading over to their local Whataburger.

IHOP

IHOP White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes
Courtesy of IHOP
Nutrition:
White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes (Per Serving)
Calories: 850
Fat: 25 g (Saturated Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g)
Sodium: 2,050 mg
Carbs: 137 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 69 g)
Protein: 19 g

Continuing its Pancake of the Month series, IHOP is serving up new White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes for a limited time through May 31. The indulgent new stack includes four buttermilk pancakes filled with white chocolate chips and then topped with raspberry topping, cream cheese icing, and whipped topping.

IHOP also recently rolled out a new limited-time menu inspired by the new animated Paramount Pictures film IF. The selection includes Blue's Dazzleberry Pancakes, a blue raspberry-flavored stack topped with whipped vanilla mousse, whipped topping, and Fruity Pebbles. There's also a Coney Island Pizza Omelette stuffed with pork sausage, green peppers, onions, marinara, crispy pepperoni, and a four-cheese blend.

The IF menu will be available nationwide through June 16. Customers interested in perusing the full list of limited-time options should check out the official announcement.

 The 10 Best & Worst Orders at IHOP, According to Nutritionists

Sonic

Sonic Orange Cloudsicle Slush Float
Sonic
Nutrition:
Orange Cloudsicle Slush Float (Per Drink)
Calories: 420
Fat: 6 g (Saturated Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 17 g)
Sodium: 250 mg
Carbs: 92 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 87 g)
Protein: 4 g

Though spring isn't officially over yet, Sonic kicked off summer early with the launch of two new seasonal items on May 6. One is an Orange Cloudsicle Slush Float with a dollop of soft serve and "orange vanilla flavor bubbles" that look similar to boba. Prices for a medium slush will start at $3.99.

The other new addition is a Cheesy Bacon Sonic Stack Cheeseburger. True to its name, it's stacked high with a seasoned beef patty, bacon, two slices of American cheese, pickles, diced onions, ketchup, and mayo all sandwiched between two thick slices of Texas toast. Prices for the burger vary by location, but it's going for $7.89 at a Sonic near me in central New Jersey.

The Orange Clousicle Slush Float will remain available through June 30, but the new burger will stick around permanently.

Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins IF Menu
Baskin-Robbins
Nutrition:
What IF? Sundae (Per Serving)
Calories: 680
Fat: 29 g (Saturated Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 1 g)
Sodium: 510 mg
Carbs: 96 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 68 g)
Protein: 9 g

IHOP isn't the only chain that took inspiration from the new IF film when creating its latest menu items. Baskin-Robbins just dropped an all-new selection of desserts that pay homage to characters from the animated movie.

The chain's IF menu includes two new flavors of the month: Blue's Boardwalk Bash and Blossom's Berry Twirl. The former is a blue raspberry-flavored ice cream with crunchy Oreo cookie pieces and cotton candy swirls. The latter consists of strawberry and sweet cream ice creams with rainbow sprinkles and pink sugar cookie dough flowers. Guests can order both new flavors in specialty cups that come with a white chocolate topper inspired by characters from the film.

Blossom's Berry Twirl ice cream also serves as the base for a new What IF? Sundae at Baskin-Robbins. It comes with a piece of confetti cake, two scoops of Blossom's Berry Twirl, sweet strawberry topping, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. All of the new additions launched on May 1 and will stick around for a limited time.

 The #1 Absolute Unhealthiest Order at 10 Major Ice Cream Chains

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Freddy's Pretzel Bacon BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Courtesy of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Nutrition information unavailable.

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers has not just one, but three exciting new options coming to menus on May 8.

The first is a Pretzel Bacon BBQ Chicken Sandwich that features grilled chicken, bacon, onion, bourbon barbecue sauce, and beer cheese on a toasted pretzel bun. Freddy's will also debut a new Lemon Cream Frost made from a blend of lemonade and vanilla frozen custard, plus an Orange Cream Frost that combines lemonade, vanilla frozen custard, and orange cream powder.

The new menu items will only stick around through July 2, so customers hoping to try them should plan their visits accordingly.

Wendy's

Sprite Remix Aruba Jam
@markie_devo / TikTok
Nutrition information unavailable.

Nearly 20 years after it was last available, the popular Sprite Remix Aruba Jam soda has finally made its grand return. But rather than being sold in cans or bottles at your local grocery store, the soda is available exclusively at Wendy's restaurants with a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.

The returning soda—which was already spotted in Wendy's stores—features the classic lemon-lime taste of Sprite with a pop of berry flavor. It will only stick around through July 31, according to Allrecipes, so fans of the soda should make sure to visit their local Wendy's before then.

This story has been updated to include new information

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe