10 Best Fast-Food Iced Coffees, Ranked

Updated: May 22, 2024

When the weather gets warmer, it's time for our coffee to get cooler. We set out to find the best iced coffee from fast-food chains to see who offers the most refreshing cup of chilled joe.

10 Best Fast Food Iced Coffees, Ranked Iced Coffee Group Shot Ssedit AKRISTINA VANNI FOR TASTE OF HOME

There are several factors to consider when it comes to a cup of the best iced coffee. First and foremost, we analyzed the coffee itself. It was important for the brew to be tasty and balance well with the other elements like syrups and creamer. We also wanted the dairy to complement the java rather than muting it (we’re not ordering a cup of milk after all!). The best iced coffees have enough ice to keep the drink cold without watering it down, so we considered that too.

To keep things consistent, we ordered vanilla iced coffees everywhere we went. While other flavors like caramel or hazelnut might change the overall drink, we were looking for how intense or lacking the flavoring was in general.

The caffeine buzz from taste testing all these coffees kept us going from start to finish. Here are all the places we stopped:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Baskin-Robbins
  • Burger King
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Dunkin’
  • McDonald’s
  • Panera
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s

Let’s see where your go-to coffee fix lands in the list!

1 / 10

Baskin Robbins Iced Coffee Ssedit
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10. Baskin-Robbins

The Original Cappuccino Blast from Baskin-Robbins is a combination of Arabica coffee combined with vanilla ice cream and ice to form a rich and creamy blended iced beverage. In keeping with our parameters of ordering a vanilla iced coffee drink, I requested a vanilla swirl be added to this particular order. The chain also offers an option of whipped cream topping as well as a dusting of ground cinnamon to finish off the drink, but I skipped that extra flourish for the purposes of this taste test.

This drink came in at the bottom of our list for a few reasons. At $6.79 for a small, this was by far the most expensive beverage we tested. The drink was overly sweet and drank like a heavy dessert rather than a pleasant warm-weather beverage. There was very little coffee flavor, while simultaneously being way too aggressive on the vanilla.

Bottom Line: We would save this as a once in a while indulgent treat, rather than a go-to iced coffee order.

2 / 10

7 Eleven Ssedit
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9. 7-Eleven

This convenience store boasts a large assortment of hot and iced coffee options, including French Vanilla and Mocha Cold Brew choices. These iced coffees are pre-blended beverages in a self-serve format. The smallest cup size available was a medium Big Gulp, which was quite large for the budget-friendly price tag of only $1.69. Since 7-Eleven allows you to fill the cup yourself, we liked that we could add the exact amount of ice to our liking.

Bottom Line: We found the French Vanilla Cold Brew to be too sweet with an overpowering vanilla flavor.

3 / 10

Taco Bell Iced Coffee 2 Ssedit
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8. Taco Bell

Taco Bell only offers one size for its iced coffee options, a medium, and it is sold at a thrifty $1.89. Once the cashier handed over the beverage, we immediately noticed that the tall, skinny cup felt quite wobbly and precarious as it was placed in the car cupholder. When using a drive-thru and consuming drinks on the go, little things like this can make a big difference and lead to a potential mess.

Bottom Line: After taking the first sip, we found the Taco Bell vanilla iced latte to be quite bitter with such faint vanilla flavor it was hardly recognizable.

4 / 10

Wendy S Iced Coffee Kristina Vanni Ssedit
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7. Wendy’s

If you love the iconic Wendy’s Frosty, then its Frosty Cream Cold Brew iced coffees might be the best way to get your fix at breakfast time. They are available in vanilla, caramel and chocolate varieties with the small size coming in at $2.39. Right away we noticed the minimal ice in the cup. With a name like “frosty” we were hoping for a perfectly chilled and refreshing drink. Like so many of the iced coffee drinks, this one was also on the sweeter side, but not as cloying as some of the others we tried, which we appreciated.

Bottom Line: The coffee flavor was quite mild, while the vanilla overpowered the beverage making this feel more like a dessert than a coffee.

5 / 10

Burger King Kristina Vanni Ssedit
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6. Burger King

Burger King vanilla flavored or mocha iced coffee went for the lowest price on our list. A small was a deal at only $1.49. This came in near the middle of our ranked list because, while not perfect, it also wasn’t too overpowering one way or the other. There was just enough vanilla flavoring that it started to mask the coffee, but not as intensely as previous samples had. While sweet, it wasn’t cavity-inducing like some of the others we tasted.

Bottom Line: If you want an adequate iced coffee for a price that can be covered by the loose change jingling around in your armrest, Burger King is the way to go.

6 / 10

Chick Fil A Kristina Vanni
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5. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A offers original or vanilla cold brew iced coffee in one size for $3.49. Before even taking the first sip, we liked the smaller ice nuggets used in this drink. And they didn’t overflow the cup with ice! Once again we noticed a milder coffee flavor paired with a very strong vanilla taste that verged on overpowering. We know that Chick-fil-A does have some of the best fast-food coffee, so it was disappointing that we couldn’t taste that great flavor here as well.

Bottom Line: If you love a strong vanilla flavor, this one is for you. We’d rather drink Chick-fil-A’s traditional cup of joe, though.

7 / 10

10 Best Fast Food Iced Coffees, Ranked Panera Kristina Vanni Ssedit
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4. Panera

Upon looking at the menu, it appears that Panera only offers plain iced coffee for $3.69. However, the cashier let us know we could add vanilla flavor to our order. We opted for one pump which tacked on an additional $0.89. They also asked if we wanted to add milk, and we said yes to keep the taste test consistent.

Despite the higher cost, Panera’s iced coffee was a winner. It’s on the bitter side, but it tasted more like coffee than the previous samples. The vanilla flavor and level of sweetness was on the lighter side. You can specify the number of syrup pumps for a sweeter coffee.

Bottom Line: We would have liked a little bit more ice in the cup, but overall, this crafted coffee experience was way better than a pre-mixed drink.

8 / 10

10 Best Fast Food Iced Coffees, Ranked Starbucks Ssedit
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3. Starbucks

Starbucks had our top choice for best fast-food breakfast sandwich, so if you want to make a meal out of your morning iced coffee order, then Starbucks is the way to go. Its iced coffee was exceptional, and it can be customized to your exact liking. A tall iced coffee with one pump of vanilla syrup came out to $3.95.

As you can see, this drink didn’t automatically come with milk and the cashier didn’t ask. It was pretty bitter, so lesson learned, we will definitely specify to add milk next time! Since this iced coffee is not pre-mixed and can be tailor-made to suit your taste buds, feel free to increase or decrease the number of vanilla pumps. We found one pump to be a little light.

Bottom Line: Without dairy, that strong and bitter signature Starbucks flavor was very prevalent. However, adding a bit of milk was a game changer. For on-the-go purposes, we loved the straw-free lid—the less hassle the better on busy mornings.

9 / 10

10 Best Fast Food Iced Coffees, Ranked Dunkin Ssedit
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2. Dunkin’

Dunkin’ took our number one spot in the traditional fast-food coffee taste test, and it came so close to the top of the list this time around as well. We ordered the small iced coffee for $3.39 and the cashier asked if we wanted cream and sugar in there as well. The result was a beautifully balanced cup of iced coffee that allowed the incredible Dunkin’ coffee flavor to really shine. Everything was in perfect proportion. Ultimately, only one fast-food restaurant ranked higher. We were just as surprised as you might be!

Bottom Line: Dunkin’ has a stellar iced coffee. It was pleasantly sweet and had enough vanilla flavor to be detected and enjoyable, while letting the coffee itself be the star of the show.

10 / 10

10 Best Fast Food Iced Coffees, Ranked Mcdonald's Ssedit
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1. McDonald’s

The biggest surprise from this taste test was how much we liked the McDonald’s iced coffee. At $2.29 this was a great value for an incredible drink. While both Dunkin’ and Starbucks also sold fantastic cups of iced coffee, at McDonald’s, the price-to-taste ratio just couldn’t be beat. Also, considering McDonald’s is one of the most prevalent fast-food restaurant chains, it is great to know that a fantastic iced coffee is always just a quick drive-thru away. Pair this iced coffee with a classic Egg McMuffin (made with a real egg!) for a morning treat that will leave you satisfied until lunchtime.

Bottom Line: Competitors have nothing on McDonald’s iced coffee. We got the ideal balance of coffee, vanilla and sugar without having to communicate a custom order. It was quick, affordable and had all the essential components—in the right ratio—that we were hoping for.