Few foods can beat the cheeseburger. Juicy ground beef patties sitting atop a tomato and some lettuce with melted cheese dripping down from all sides, plus a little sauce to pull all those umami flavors together? It’s almost perfect.
You know what makes a cheeseburger even better? Throwing a grip of bacon on it. Just piles of bacon. It adds crunch, making each bite an audible delight. It also bumps up the salt levels into that dangerous-but-still-delicious range and offers a nice hit of smokiness.
The only time you’ll opt for a bacon-less cheeseburger over one with bacon is when you’re trying to mind your health. That’s fair, we’re not saying bacon is more delicious than life itself, but… sometimes it is. In those times, you’re going to want to eat the best. So we rounded up all the best fast food bacon cheeseburgers and ranked them.
We opted for bacon cheeseburgers that are menu staples at their respective fast food restaurants, so you won’t find any limited time Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub or Travis Scott burgers here. Meaning these rankings will remain in perpetuity! No one can question them, EVER!
8. Jack in the Box Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger
Jack in the Box has had a fall from grace unlike any other fast-food restaurant. JiB use to be the place that didn’t “make it until you order it” but anyone who has been in the last… I want to say ten years, knows full well that Jack in the Box is the type of food you don’t eat unless you’re drunk and everything else is closed. The Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger has two beef patties, a mix of American and Swiss cheeses (admittedly a nice touch) mayo, mustard, ketchup, and four strips of bacon on a buttery bun.
The ingredients here should work, but the flavor just isn’t there. The cheese is less melted than it is sweaty, and the mix of mayo, mustard, ketchup, Swiss and American cheese is just too much. What you’re left with is a messy burger that tastes equally messy as flavors collide into a way that’ll make your digestive system hate you for days.
Skip this one.
The Bottom Line: The worst fast food bacon cheeseburger.
7. McDonald’s Bacon Quarter Pounder With Cheese
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Remember when we said there wouldn’t be any trendy promotional burgers on this list? Well, we lied. Kind of. The Travis Scott Burger is the same thing as a McDonald’s Bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese, only the Cactus Jack has lettuce. Does that make it better than McDonald’s menu mainstay? A little.
This burger claims freshly cooked beef, two slices of American cheese, onions, pickles, mustard, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun with applewood smoked bacon. As far as McDonald’s burgers go, it’s probably the best tasting on the menu. The mustard/ketchup combo is a signature flavor from McDonald’s, the pickles all bring a nice tangy-sweet balance that simmers down the bright bite of fresh onion. The meat is noticeably peppered, which works harmoniously with the applewood bacon.
The Bottom Line: Probably the best burger on the whole McDonald’s menu.
6. Burger King Bacon King
The Bacon King is a fairly new bacon cheeseburger on the scene, debuting a few years back along with the Crispy Chicken sandwich when BK revamped much of their menu. It’s clearly inspired by Wendy’s Baconator and if that far superior sandwich didn’t exist, the Bacon King might’ve been reason alone to venture out to Burger King.
The Bacon King features two charred flame-grilled quarter-pound patties, two slices of American cheese, ketchup and mayo, and thick-cut bacon. It’s bigger than the Baconator, but much much flatter, which doesn’t give it the grandeur that its name suggests. This comes down to the way the Bacon King is layered — it’s a mess. Globs of sauce, thin overly-dry meat patties, and a haphazard assemblage of bacon. It shouldn’t taste good, but somehow it does. The charbroiled meat compliments the smokey flavors of the bacon and the buttery bun introduces some sweetness that gives the burger a dangerously addictive quality.
We just wish there was more care in the presentation.
Bottom Line: A delicious bacon cheeseburger option if there isn’t a Wendy’s nearby.
5. Rally’s/Checkers BaconZilla
Like the Bacon King, the BaconZilla is also inspired by the monstrous presentation of the Baconator. Unlike the Bacon King, Rally’s BaconZilla actually has its own thing going on. Yes, the two beef-two cheese construction is there, but Rally’s kicks things up a notch by adding an extra layer of melted cheddar cheese, which adds a sharpness to the cheese and brings a gooey mouthfeel that the other burgers on this list just don’t have.
If you love a messy, cheesy burger, this is the bacon cheeseburger for you. It’s also the burger of choice for those who like fattier, thick pieces of bacon. Bacon cheeseburgers tend to feature flat, extra crispy pieces of bacon, but the BaconZilla’s pieces have a homemade quality that feels fresh off the griddle.
The Bottom Line: Lovers of cheese and fatty bacon look no further, this is the bacon cheeseburger for you.
4. Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger
If you think the Western Bacon Cheeseburger is way too high on this list, I can understand that, but most of the good bacon cheeseburgers out there are clearly influenced by the standards set by Wendy’s Baconator. The Western Bacon Cheeseburger is very much its own thing, and that’s cool. One charbroiled beef patty, two strips of crispy bacon, American cheese, onion rings, and BBQ sauce. It’s got an insane level of crunch — making it the best bacon burger for ASMR fanatics — and the savory BBQ sauce elevates the smoked flavors of the bacon, which is why it gets away with just two measly strips.
Somehow the whole thing tastes more bacon-y than the competition and come on, crispy onion rings? Why don’t more burgers on this list have crispy onion rings?
The Bottom Line: Different than every bacon cheeseburger on this list. If you want something heavy on the umami, this is the burger for you.
3. Shake Shack SmokeShack
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The SmokeShack is your choice of a single or double cheeseburger with delicious Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry peppers, and ShackSauce — which is basically a thousand island-type sauce — on a spongey potato bun.
Everything about this burger is delicious. The soft and squishy bun, the Angus beef patties, the perfectly rendered bacon, and those delicious slightly tangy cherry peppers — it truly feels gourmet.
And yet… it isn’t our favorite. There’s just something that isn’t memorable about this burger, it’s a great option when rolling through Shake Shack but it’s not the type of bacon cheeseburger you spend any time craving. It doesn’t feel dangerously decadent, it’s the bacon cheeseburger your parents want you to marry. And who needs that?
The Bottom Line: One of the highest quality, gourmet-style bacon cheeseburgers you’ll find in the fast-food space. Delicious ingredients that sadly don’t live up to the sum of their parts. It’s like the Traveling Wilburys of cheeseburgers. Full of big names that are somehow better enjoyed on their own.
2. Wendy’s Baconator
The Baconator is probably the first cheeseburger that comes to mind when someone says the words “bacon cheeseburger.” It has set the standard for the modern fast-food bacon cheeseburger — two quarter-pound beef patties, two pieces of melted American, and no lettuce. Why no lettuce? Because this is the Baconator baby! They’re not f*cking around — this is an absolute meat bomb, the type of bacon cheeseburger that puts you in an immediate food coma and makes you swear off bacon cheeseburgers for at least a week.
Wendy’s fresh overly-salty beef is teeming with delicious burger juices that meld perfectly with the melted cheese and double layer of bacon. The key here is the construction: a soft and spongey bun topped with a beef patty, then cheese, then bacon, then beef, then cheese, then bacon, ketchup, mayo, bun. It’s crafted in such a consistent and harmonious fashion that every bite of your burger matches the last, giving you a consistent experience from first to last bite.
What other fast food burgers can you say that about?
The Bottom Line: Clearly an icon and a staple of modern American fast food. The Baconator will probably be the best bacon fast-food cheeseburger you’ve ever had. Having said that, it’s not the best we’ve ever had.
1. Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger
The Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger is the greatest hits package of fast food bacon cheeseburgers. Do you like the smokey flavor of Carl’s Jr’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger? Load up your bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce! Enjoy the high-quality flavors of the fresh meat burgers from Wendy’s and Shack Shack? Five Guys has got you there. Think all of the other burgers on this list are missing a key ingredient? You can make it your way at Five Guys.
Five Guys makes the best bacon cheeseburger because you can have it any way you want. Throw grilled onions, mushrooms, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, or tomatoes on there. They’ve got relish, hot sauce, A1, you could even sprinkle cajun seasoning on the beef and eat the whole thing with a side of peanuts.
Five Guys’ build-it-yourself menu style puts the power in your hands and we’ve got to give them the top spot for that. Anyone can have their favorite fast food bacon cheeseburger at Five Guys. That makes them the champ.
The Bottome Line: The bacon cheeseburger for bacon cheeseburger experts. The Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger is whatever you want it to be and that’s a beautiful thing that virtually no other fast food restaurant offers.