No food in the United States is more iconic than the cheeseburger. We’ve all got our different forms that we enjoy, but everyone recognizes that cheeseburgers got game. When it comes to fast food, there are definitely go-to burgers and burger chains to get our cheeseburger fix at. We’ve got our own take on the best fast food cheeseburgers, and this list is our rank of the top 10 in the country.
To make this list, some basic criteria need to be met. We’re focusing on fast food cheeseburgers in major fast food establishments. A chain needs 20 or more locations to qualify. Furthermore, the burgers actually have to come from a fast food or fast casual spot. Finally, every burger has to have cheese included on it already, having to ask for it additionally doesn’t count.
We also took a look at what everyone is saying about the cheeseburger game in considering this list. Polling data, previous rankings, and our own tastings and recognition of who’s who in the fast food burger world had significant influences on this list. With all things considered, there’s enough deliciousness in this list of cheeseburgers to make anyone drool.
10. Cheese Slider – White Castle
The restaurant chain who birthed the fast food burger has still got it. White Castle may have a lot more competitors now than in its heyday, but the combo of beef grilled with onions still has that unforgettable flavor. While the burgers are small and everyone does bigger sizes, there’s no denying that the original is still one of the top 10. The fans agree, naming White Castle as the #10 fast food burger in a Ranker poll. We’re with you on this one, guys.
9. Double Del Cheeseburger – Del Taco
Make way for the top sleeper burger of them all. Del Taco may be famous for its fast California-inspired Mexican fare, but it whips up a pretty mean burger, too. The Double Del has a relatively thin burger patty, but it hits the marks on flavor. It’s enough to be one of the top burgers amongst the Foodbeast crowd, with one of our writers even giving it the nickname of fast food “diamond in the rough.” If you’re looking for a new low key fast food burger to try, look for a nearby Del Taco. It won’t disappoint.
8. Big Mac – McDonald’s
Only one iconic cheeseburger can represent McDonald’s, and the heavily advertised Big Mac is without question the poster boy of this chain. It’s hard to find a burger more influential than this one, as epic burgers didn’t really exist before the Big Mac was born in 1967. It’s definitely worthy enough to be on this list, but there are quite a few burgers who top it in terms of flavor. That special sauce has us sold, though.
7. Double ‘n Cheese Steakburger – Steak ‘n Shake
Steak ‘n Shake has been around since 1934 and its burgers have stood the test of time to this date. They’re simple, thin, and juicy, and the cheese just sets it over the top. This restaurant chain, in fact, was the inspiration for Shake Shack, the bicoastal phenomenon you’ll see higher up on this list. It’s still tasty enough to get a top-5 spot from the fans on Ranker, but not everybody has turned on to this classic spot just yet.
6. Sourdough Jack – Jack In The Box
Jack in the Box is a spot you can constantly trust on quality. Put their burgers between layers of sourdough, and you’ve got a tangy and mouthwatering experience you can’t find at other spots. The Sourdough Jack — featuring Swiss-style cheese, fresh tomato, and bacon — is the epitome of that flavor combination. It’s good enough for a top-five spot on quality in the Foodbeast office, and fans put it in their top 10, according to Ranker. The Sourdough Jack has earned its spot amongst the best burgers, but it doesn’t have quite the legendary status and flavor to eclipse any of our top 5.
5. Bacon Cheeseburger – Five Guys
I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t Five Guys just recently named THE nation’s best burger chain? Yes, and fans closely agreed with that Harris Poll, putting Five Guys at #2 and #3 on Ranker. No doubt, its ability to customize allows anyone to get the flavors they want. Add on the ability to go big or small with your burger, plus the bucketload of fries that come on the side, and you’ve got a quality meal. All of these things have led to the chain getting numerous accolades, including winning the title of Zagat’s best Fast Food burger in 2011 and the UK’s top fast food chain in 2016. Even former President Barack Obama is a verified fan of the restaurant. However, a consensus point for the Foodbeast office (this self-proclaimed Five Guys fan included) is that the East Coast burger legend falters against others when it comes to quality. It’s a fun spot, and a great place to get the burger you want, but when it comes to the basics, there are other places that do the cheese-covered patty a whole lot better.
4. Baconator – Wendy’s
Fresh beef never gets old for us. Wendy’s definitely does a great job with their signature bacon cheeseburger. It’s truly a crowd favorite and delivers high marks on quality and flavor. Business Insider believes that no pure bacon cheeseburger can top the Baconator. Without any accouterments, we agree on that. On a list of fast food cheeseburgers, though, Wendy’s is missing a crucial aspect to elevate it onto the medal podium: the sandwich is known for its bacon for the most part. It’s a great burger, sure, but that cheese is almost an afterthought. And while it deserves a high spot on flavor and influential power over the fast food game, when a bit part precedes its foundation, such a burger won’t crack the top 3 cheeseburgers list.
3. Western Bacon Cheeseburger – Carl’s Jr.
Few burgers have had the iconic power of the Western Bacon Cheeseburger. Before Carl’s came up with the nifty BBQ burger creation, the idea of topping a burger with BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese, and onion rings barely existed. It inspired many other restaurants to come up with their own versions, both because of the sheer creativity of this concept back then and for the flavor. The original Western Cheeseburger definitely deserves a top three spot for what it’s contributed to the fast food burger community. It’s not as delicious, or as legendary, as some cult burger followings, but its staying power is still felt to this day.
2. Shackburger – Shake Shack
It’s nearly impossible to top the flavor and quality of a Shake Shack burger. It’s the perfect example of the quintessential homemade burger, which is impressive for a chain of the magnitude of Shake Shack. This New York cult staple has quickly exploded into a burger superstar because of that, and has the potential to be the top burger on this list one day. Where it just misses the mark is on the influential status. It itself was inspired by joints like Steak ‘n Shake, meaning its not as original as the top spot on this list. It’s just as legendary, however, and (at least in my opinion), more delicious.
1. Double-Double – In-N-Out
Let’s be honest: In this day and age, nobody can top the In-N-Out Double Double. Sure, Californians tend to have a huge bias towards this chain because of its roots in the Golden State. It’s a chain that holds true to the quality and flavor that made it a cult favorite in the first place. You can taste the freshness of the made-to-order, never frozen ground beef in each bite. Each patty gets the perfect amount of crust on it for a crunch most fast food burgers don’t have, and the cheese just adds the right amount of richness to complement the savory patties. These ideal flavor combos, the allure of the secret menu, and the legendary status In-N-Out has acquired over the years is why lines EXPLODE every time it pops up somewhere else in the world. Lines out here still stretch out considerably at 1 a.m., which is something you cannot hold true for any other fast food cheeseburger. Because of that, In-N-Out is number one in our minds, and in our mouths.