The Unhealthiest Burgers in America—Ranked!
It’s no secret Americans love burgers—so much so that it’s considered a staple in American cuisine, with a burger and fries being one of the most commonly ordered meals in restaurants across the nation. However, at what point is a burger too much? In other words, how far will restaurants go to maximize the toppings on an already calorie-packed meal? The team at Eat This, Not That! set out to discover which popular restaurant chains are whipping up some of the most caloric, unhealthiest burgers in the country. We can guarantee you’ll be shocked to see just how many calories, and how much fat and sodium lie in some of your favorite restaurant burgers.
Methodology: In order to identify the unhealthiest burgers in America, we compiled a list of the most caloric burgers from some of the most popular sit-down restaurants nationwide. The burgers with the most calories, in most cases, also have the highest total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium contents as well. To break ties, we chose the burger with a greater amount of saturated fat and deemed that one less healthy. We also only considered the top three most unhealthy burgers at each restaurant to ensure we represented a diverse range of restaurants on this list. No sides were considered in this ranking either. In the case of Uno Pizzeria & Grill, we manually subtracted the French fries side from the burger’s nutritional information because the side of fries was included in its nutritional count. Every burger on this list has at least 1,000 calories.
Now, here are the 25 unhealthiest burgers in the country, ranked from the least worst to the absolute worst of the worst.
From Bad to Absolute Worst
IHOP’s Mega Monster Cheeseburger
IHOP may be known primarily for their breakfast food items, but have you ever stopped in for lunch or dinner? Their Mega Monster Cheeseburger is chock-full of calories and artery-clogging saturated fat. Can you believe that an over 1,000-calorie burger is the least worst of all? Wait until you see what’s to come. If you do decide to pop into IHOP and are craving a cheeseburger, opt for The Classic Steakburger for 700 calories and nearly half of the saturated fat.
TGI Friday’s Signature Whiskey-Glazed Burger with Gluten-Free Bun
TGI Friday’s whips up some mean burgers, but do they really have to be this caloric? The restaurant’s Signature Whiskey-Glazed Burger—which is infused with Jack Daniels—may as well be marketed as a heart-stopper within a bun with 3,530 milligrams of sodium. For perspective, The American Heart Association recommends that you consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day to keep your heart healthy. This burger costs you more than a day and a half’s worth. This burger also houses 76 grams of sugar—about three times greater than the AHA suggested consumption of 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and more than double the suggested amount of 36 grams for men.
Red Robin’s MadLove Burger
Sure, you may feel some mad love from this burger—we know, it looks pretty delicious—but your waistline and heart will not feel the same love your tastebuds get to experience. At 1,140 calories, Red Robin’s MadLove Burger is the 23rd worst burger you could order for your health. If you still need your fix of red meat, order the Keep It Simple beef burger for 530 calories and a fraction of the fat and sodium.
Perkins’ A1® Tangler Burger
This burger may be best described as a beast with onion tanglers and bacon sandwiched in between a generous 6-ounce Angus beef patty and buttery brioche bun. It packs a lot of fat too, thanks to the bacon, beef, and sharp cheddar cheese between its buttery buns.
Friendly’s Honey BBQ Burger
Friendly’s Honey BBQ Burger is chock-full of calories. In fact, it’s one of four on this list that house approximately 1,220 calories. While this one has the same amount of calories as the others, it has the least amount of saturated fat among the four, which is why it’s “only” ranked as the 21st unhealthiest burger. Still, it’s not great for you—like at all. Instead, order Friendly’s All-American Burger for half of the calories and saturated fat.
Red Robin’s The Southern Charm Burger®
Red Robin’s Southern Charm Burger may be extremely delicious, but beware, because it comes with a price tag—nutritionally-speaking anyways. Aside from being high in calories, fat, and sodium—which are all things you expect from a burger on this list—it also packs a whopping 40 grams of sugar, which contains 11 grams more sugar than a 1/2 cup serving of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra Core ice cream.
Perkins’ So So Gouda Burger
This burger may be so, so good with all of the gouda layered atop the beef patty, but is it worth more than 1,200 calories? This burger has an equivalent amount of calories as Red Robin’s Southern Charm Burger we just mentioned, but its greater saturated fat content is what makes it rank higher on the unhealthy side by our metric.
Red Robin’s Monster Burger
This burger isn’t dubbed a monster for no reason. Without the fries, this burger costs you 1,220 calories on its own—that’s more than half of your daily calories consumed in just one sitting. Toss in a side of steak fries, and you’re looking at adding on an additional 350 calories to this already high-calorie meal.
Applebee’s Brunch Burger
OK, we all love a good brunch, but isn’t a burger for a meal enough food on its own? Evidently, that’s not the case at Applebee’s, because this burger is topped with the breakfast essentials: two strips of bacon, crispy hash browns, and an egg over easy. It’s no wonder this burger is over 1,200 calories! For context, this burger has as many calories as two Big Mac Bacon burgers at McDonald’s.
RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.
Friendly’s Big Beef® 1/2 Pound Bacon Cheeseburger
The name of this burger likely gives you a good idea of its density. You’re getting a half of a pound’s worth of meat with this hefty burger from Friendly’s, which makes sense as to why it packs 70 grams of protein in between the bun. While a lot of protein may sound ideal, eating too much of it at one time can actually store as fat, so beware!
Applebee’s Whisky Bacon Burger
If you learn anything from this article it should be this: any burger that’s topped with bacon is going to cost you—calories, fat, and sodium, that is. This burger from Applebee’s just falls short of 1,300 calories, making it the 15th most unhealthy burger you can buy. You could eat two plates of the Double Crunch Bone-In Wings appetizer for an equivalent amount of calories.
Chili’s Southern Smokehouse Beef Burger
This burger is stacked in smokehouse meats—just look at the size of it! It towers so high from all of the bacon that it needs to be held together by a large steak knife. Just how much is 1,290 calories? For context, you would have to eat about 121 Lay’s Potato Chips.
Applebee’s Quesadilla Burger
Imagine if a cheesy quesadilla met a jumbo burger…this would be the result. Why have a standard bun when you could have soft flour tortillas enclosing gooey cheese and bits of red bell pepper and onion as the base? This burger packs 93 grams of fat primarily from the mass amount of animal product and animal bi-product that it contains. If you’re wondering just how much 93 grams of fat is, imagine eating just over 11.5 tablespoons, or more than 2/3 of a cup, of peanut butter in one sitting.
Chili’s Queso Burger
Crunchy tortilla strips coat this queso-dressed burger, which all contribute to this meal’s near day’s worth of sodium.
Johnny Rockets’ Route 66 Double Turkey Burger w/ gluten-free bun
The picture only shows one layer of meat, but imagine this burger with two ground turkey patties! This sandwich clocks in at a whopping 100 grams of total fat, nearly a third of which is devoted solely to saturated fat. The gluten-free bun and the turkey patties actually hike up the calories by a considerable amount. For a healthier option, opt for the Rocket Single Burger for just 470 calories and 30 grams of total fat.
The Cheesecake Factory’s Americana Cheeseburger
We all know The Cheesecake Factory offers some of the most caloric pasta dishes and cheesecake slices on the planet, so is this really any surprise that their burgers are just as calorie-heavy? This burger alone comprises just over two-thirds of your daily calories.
Perkins’ Patty Melt Pile On Sandwich
Perkins dishes up an old-fashioned patty melt, but not one you should eat often. Why? There are over 1,400 calories in this sandwich, and may we remind you that’s without any sides. If you must satisfy your hankering for this classic burger, split with a loved one rather than eating the whole thing yourself.
Johnny Rockets’ Smoke House Double Burger w/ turkey burger
This burger houses a whopping 100 grams of fat. For perspective, one stick of butter contains about 92 grams of fat—which means you’d save 8 grams of fat by eating that rather than this meal.
Friendly’s Big Beef® 1/2 Pound Honey BBQ Burger
Friendly’s Big Beef 1/2 Pound Honey BBQ Burger packs 40 grams of saturated fat, which is double the recommended daily allowance of about 20 grams. Ideally, you should limit your saturated fat intake to just 13 grams a day to prevent heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.
The Cheesecake Factory Mushroom Burger
This burger from The Cheesecake Factory may not look like it’s huge, but trust us when we say it’s loaded in calories, fat, and sodium. Or, better yet, just refer to the numbers above. For an equivalent amount of total fat, you could eat nearly eight Dove Milk Chocolate Bars.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s Breakfast All Day Burger
This is a cholesterol-packed burger with egg, bacon, ham, and cheddar, so it’s no wonder why there are 114 grams of total fat sandwiched between a fluffy bun. That’s far too much fat for one meal. In fact, your daily consumption of fat should be limited to 20 to 30 percent of your total calories. If you follow a 2,000 calorie diet, that will translate to anywhere between 44 and 78 grams of fat per day.
The Cheesecake Factory Bacon-Bacon Cheeseburger
The fourth unhealthiest burger you could order is none other than the Bacon-Bacon Cheeseburger at The Cheesecake Factory. You could eat an equivalent amount of sodium that’s in this burger by consuming about 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely ground salt straight from the spoon.
Chili’s The Boss Beef Burger
The picture does all of the talking for us. This burger is truly an artery-clogging monster with 44 grams of saturated fat and over 3,000 milligrams of sodium. Not to mention, it packs nearly 100 grams of protein, which is far too much for your body to metabolize all at once. In fact, different experts say that the body can only utilize between 15-35 grams of protein at a time for muscle building purposes—the rest is used for fuel or, at this hefty amount, stored in your body as fat.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s Bacon Me Happy Burger
This burger may make you happy, but at the cost of taxing your heart. This single burger has the saturated fat equivalent of an entire 14-inch cheese pizza from Domino’s.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s Whole Hog Burger
Rounding out our list is the one and only Whole Hog Burger from Uno Pizzeria & Grill. Not only is this the most unhealthy burger you can order from major restaurant chains, but it’s also one of the fattiest meals on the planet, clocking in at 212 grams of total fat and 77 grams of saturated fat. Oh, and that’s without the French fries and onion rings that come with the over one-pound-of-meat burger, which would hike that total calories figure up to a whopping 3,510 calories.
This burger is so alarming high in calories, fat, and sodium that it was featured in The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Xtreme Eating 2016 roundup. Yeah, we’d say this is the unhealthiest burger out of all the unhealthiest burgers, by a landslide.