10 of the Best Fast-Food Burger Chains in the U.S.

6 min read
Tasty Burger

A couple of months ago we told you about the best and worst fast-food French fries. Today, we’re going to tell you about ten of the best fast-food burger chains in the U.S. Keep reading to see if your favorite burger spot made the list.

1. In-N-Out

In N Out Burger
Source: Wikimedia Commons

There’s a good reason why this West Coast chain is one of America’s favorite burger spots. According to The Kitchn, In-N-Out requires stores to be within a certain distance of a distribution center so that the burger chain can keep a close eye on its production chain. This helps In-N-Out serve up quality, fresh meat burgers.

TIP: If you ever get the chance to visit this eatery, try the Double-Double. According to INSIDER, a professional chef once said that it’s one of the best fast-food burgers ever because of its freshness and signature sauce.

2. Shake Shack

Shake Shack
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Paul Sableman [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
It may be hard to believe that one of the most popular burger chains in America started out as a hot dog stand, but it’s true. Shake Shack opened as a hot dog cart in Manhattan in 2001 to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. The cart was such a success that Shake Shack ended up becoming a permanent kiosk in Madison Square Park in 2004. It was then that they began serving burgers, in addition to other items such as frozen custard, beer, wine, and shakes, of course. And, yes, they still serve hot dogs.

3. Smashburger

Source: Wikimedia Commons By 5chw4r7z from Cincinnati [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
If you’re looking for a guilt-free burger, check out Smashburger. This restaurant uses a smashing process when cooking their patties that makes the beef thin and lean. Here’s how it works:

They start by preparing a loosely packed ball of fresh Angus beef early in the day. Then, they heat the grill to 385 degrees and coat it with unsalted butter. This keeps the burger from sticking to the grill. Next, they use a specialized “smasher” to smash the burger onto the grill for 10 seconds. This sears the bottom into a caramelized shell and seals in the juices. After the smashing process, they season the burger with salt, pepper, garlic, and some secret spices. Once the grease begins bubbling up, they flip the burger over to the other side. The total cooking time takes about 2 minutes 45 seconds.

4. Five Guys

Five Guys
Source: Wikimedia Commons By W3stfa11 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Not only do Americans love this chain’s freshly cut French fries, they also love their fresh, never frozen, burgers. Five Guys was founded in Washington, DC, in 1986 when the Murrell brothers opened a restaurant that served hand-formed burgers cooked on a grill along with fresh-cut French fries cooked in peanut oil. Five Guys became known as the place to get a fresh, juicy burger with loads of toppings. The company was successful and began offering franchise opportunities in 2003. Today, there are nearly 1,500 Five Guys locations worldwide, with another 1,500 locations in the works.

5. A&W

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Mav at English Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]
Root beer isn’t the only thing A&W is known for. In fact, A&W has its own restaurant — and it’s been serving up burgers since the 1920s, although A&W itself has been around for 100 years. That being said, Taste of Home magazine writer Lisa Kaminski admits that she is a fan of A&W burgers. “I’ll be honest with you, when I think of A&W, I don’t really think of burgers… Carhop classics like corn dogs and chili cheese fries? Yep! But not burgers. After testing their cheeseburger, though, I have to say I’m thinking twice on that one! This chain’s cheeseburger offering was pretty darn good: the beef tasted fresh (not frozen), the bun tasted like it came right from the bakery, the cheese was nicely melted, and the condiments were perfectly portioned,” Kaminski said on the magazine’s website.

6. Culver’s

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Lmeister at English Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]
What makes this Midwestern burger spot so popular is its fresh, never frozen, made-to-order, Midwest-raised beef patties, its lightly toasted, buttered buns, and its melted Wisconsin cheddar cheese. If you ever get the chance to visit Culver’s, INSIDER recommends trying the Butter Burger Deluxe. It’s made with two patties, layers of cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, raw onions, and a bit of mayo slathered on the bun. It’s very juicy, and some even say it tastes better than In-N-Out. We’ll let you be the judge of that.

7. Wendy’s

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Nheyob [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
Wendy’s is another establishment known for its fresh, never frozen burgers. What sets Wendy’s apart from the others is that they serve square hamburgers. A crowd favorite is the Baconator, which consists of two square patties, tons of bacon, cheese, ketchup, and mayo. It’s quite a large sandwich, so if your appetite is a bit smaller, you can order the Son of the Baconator. Then, there’s Wendy’s Value Menu, which has the Jr. Hamburger, Jr. Cheeseburger, Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, and the Double stack — all for 99¢ each!

8. Whataburger

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Jonesdr77 at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
If you ever make it to this Texas-based burger chain, try the classic Whataburger. One of the best things about it is that it’s customizable. You can mix-and-match a variety of toppings, including cheese, bacon, jalapeños, grilled peppers, and avocado.

-Whataburger’s found Harmon Dobson came up with the name for his restaurant after imagining customers would pick up his five-inch burger and say, “What a burger!”
-Whataburger first opened in Texas in 1950 and currently has more than 800 restaurants across 10 states.

9. McDonald’s

Mcdonalds Restaurant
Source: Wikimedia Commons By https://www.flickr.com/photos/nnecapa/ [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
McDonald’s is not only known for its tasty fries, but people go ga-ga over its burgers, too.

NOTE: The menu varies from country to country, so what’s a local favorite in one country might not even be offered in another.

-Once upon a time, if you had 47¢ in your pocket, you could get an entire meal at McDonald’s. The “All-American meal,” as it was called, consisted of a 15¢ burger, fries for 12¢, and a milkshake for 20¢.
-Someone once paid $100,000 for a bottle of the Big Mac special sauce!

10. BurgerFi

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Michael Rivera [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Founded in 2011, BurgerFi is more for the health-conscious crowd. Customers can choose from free-range beef, gluten-free, meatless, and vegetarian burgers. The Hippie Veggie, for example, consists of two crunchy quinoa burgers (which contain lentils, fontina, panko, and Parmesan) on a potato bun.

For you meat lovers, you can try the 4×4, a sandwich made with four Angus patties, four slices of cheese, and BurgerFi’s signature sauce.

BurgerFi is located in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.


Your turn! What do you consider to be the best fast-food burger chain in America? Leave a comment below.