The Best Affordable Fast Food Cheeseburgers Under $5, Ranked

Without a doubt, fast food has gotten expensive. Maybe it’s inflation, maybe it’s corporate greed, maybe we’ve always been underpaying for quick and cheap food made at a mass scale… Okay, it’s probably a mix of all of those things.

Regardless, it’s clear that fast food is becoming prohibitively expensive and people are looking for other or cheaper options. We get it, we love a Five Guys cheeseburger as much as the next person, but paying nearly $15 for a single item of food is just too much for people trying to spend their money sensibly. Which got us thinking — there has to be some delicious and far less expensive alternatives out there right?

As much as we like the high-end cheeseburgers, there are still decently priced options out there. Yes, some of them aren’t quite as good as the flagship products you know and love (compare the Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger to the mighty Baconator) but some capture some of the magic of the bigger burgers, just in a smaller form factor. To guide you to the very best budget cheeseburgers, we’ve rounded up urgers that sit comfortably under $5 after tax, tasted them, and ranked them.

Since fast food prices fluctuate based on location, I’ve defaulted to the prices found in Los Angeles County (tax included), where I live, which generally tends to be on the pricier side. If you don’t live in LA, these burgers are probably even cheaper. Here are the best affordable cheeseburgers, ranked!

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8. Jack in the Box — Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger

Jack in the Box

Price: $3.74

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

Jack in the Box burgers have always left something to be desired (except the excellent Smashed Jack) — this is a chain where the best food is items like the tacos, curly fries, and stuffed jalapeños. Soooooo… sorry to JiB fans, but this burger gets the bottom spot. Luckily, there isn’t a lot of difference in flavor between the Jr. and full-sized burgers here, all that seems to change is the size of the burger.

The Jr. Bacon features a thin beef patty, bacon, American cheese, ketchup and mayo. There isn’t a whole lot of flavor in the beef, it’s mostly meaty texture, with some gentle smokey notes from the bacon. Because the meat patty is so thin, the ratio of bread to meat is noticeably skewed. That leaves the ketchup and mayo to bring most of the flavor. Because of that, we’re ranking this one dead last.

The Bottom Line:

A bit breadier than your typical Jack in the Box burger, which isn’t a show stopper to begin with.

7. Rally’s — All American Cheeseburger


Price: $4.06

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

The beef leans very salty here, which, when combined with the American cheese, is almost to the point of being overwhelming. The pickles add some briney earthy contrast to the flavor palette and the mix of ketchup and mustard creates a sharp, sweet, and slightly bitter tang to the aftertaste which is quite distinct when compared to the other burgers in this ranking.

Unfortunately, that difference isn’t quite enough to make it rank much higher than this in our book. But hey, at least it’s not last place.

The Bottom Line:

A very salty cheeseburger that is good, but not great.

6. Burger King — Bacon Cheeseburger

Burger King

Price: $3.99

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

Burger King’s burgers are huge so if you’re all about big burgers and aren’t into the smaller form factor of junior cheeseburgers, this is the restaurant for you. I’m surprised that a burger this big is only $3.99. Unfortunately, size isn’t everything.

Where this burger suffers is the flavor and texture of the meat. It’s dry, grainy, and charred to the point of tasting burnt. A thin layer of bacon adds a sense of smokiness and some extra crunch, while thick pickles bring in some earthy tones. The build is incredibly similar to Rally’s All-American Cheeseburger, but the individual ingredients all taste just a bit better and more elevated.

The Bottom Line:

Burger King’s Bacon Cheeseburger is big, meaty, and full of flavor, but it leans a bit too dry and bready to really shine.

5. Del Taco — Del Cheeseburger

Del Taco

Price: $3.99

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

It might come as a shock that Del Taco, a Mexican-inspired fast food chain that has more in common with Taco Bell than McDonald’s, has a cheeseburger in the first place. What’s more surprising is just how good it tastes.

Del Taco’s cheeseburgers are grilled to order (a thing not every fast food chain can claim) and topped with American cheese, tomato, burger sauce, shredded lettuce, and diced onions on a sesame seed bun. The beef patty is meaty and juicy, albeit a bit light on the seasoning, and the produce is crispy and fresh. The real secret weapon is that burger sauce though, it’s slightly sweet, tangy, and ups the savory quality of this burger.

The Bottom Line:

Way better than you’d expect a cheeseburger from a taco chain would taste.

4. McDonald’s — Double Cheeseburger


Price: $3.72

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

For many people, this classic affordable double cheeseburger is the best of the best at McDonald’s. For me, a person who eats fast food constantly for the various rankings we conduct, I think those people are wrong. The best McDonald’s Cheeseburger is the Quarter Pounder. Having said that, the Double is a close second.

This burger goes light on the toppings, the build is simple, you’ve got two meat patties, gently caramelized onions, those weird wet distinctly McDonald’s pickles, mustard, and ketchup on a soft and squishy bun. The meat is pretty light on flavor, it’s salty, but not very beefy. The caramelized onions are a nice touch, but there aren’t nearly enough here to make a difference.

Altogether, it’s a good burger, but isn’t satisfying the way a quarter pounder is, despite its double dose of meat.

The Bottom Line:

Not quite as good as a Quarter Pounder, but it’s cheap, salty, and gets the job done.

3. Wendy’s — JR. Bacon Cheeseburger


Price: $4.87

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

As a hardcore Wendy’s fan, I have to admit that this one landing in third in this ranking hurts. But I have to call it like I taste it and Wendy’s junior line of cheeseburgers isn’t nearly as good as its premium line of burgers. While the meat is still fresh and non-frozen because it’s substantially smaller than the usual quarter-pound patty, it lacks that sumptuous beefy goodness that I expect from Wendy’s.

This burger just doesn’t quite hit the way a Wendy’s burger should. The barely there beef flavor is joined by some delicious smokey crispy bacon, a single leaf of Romain lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. It’s good don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have that indulgent beefy flavor of the original, and it’s not nearly half as good as the Baconator.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re a Wendy’s fan, you’re going to taste the corners being cut here. Fortunately, it’s still fresh beef being grilled to order and the bacon is delicious — that’s something.

2. Sonic — Quarter Pounder Double Cheeseburger


Price: $4.87

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

Generally, I treat Sonic like Jack in the Box, it’s the sort of fast food restaurant I value more for its snacks than main courses, but I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious Sonic’s affordable Quarter Pounder Double Cheeseburger is.

The meat patties are thin, but you get two of them here, and they’re juicy, beefy, and nicely charred. Double meat means double cheese, which adds a nice salty savoriness to the mix. The pickles are on the wet side, but they have a nice tang, which is sandwiched between a layer of sweet bright ketchup and bitter yellow mustard.

The only thing I don’t love about this burger is the bun, which is a bit too thick and bready. Lucky the meat to bread ratio is better here than some of the single burgers on this list, which probably bumped this burger up a rank or two.

The Bottom Line:

Meaty, with a great charred flavor and a whole lot of cheese .

In-N-Out — Cheeseburger

In N Out

Price: $4.52

Thoughts & Tasting Notes:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, “In-N-Out is overrated.” Trust me, I’ve heard it all before but you’re out of your mind if you can’t recognize that for under $5, this is the best cheeseburger in fast food, and it’s not even close. Every element of this cheeseburger is better than every other burger on this list.

The bread is spongey, yet perfectly toasted. The tomato and lettuce are crisp, ripe, and plentiful. The sauce is the perfect blend of sweet, tang, and savory. The cheese is hands down the best American cheese in all of fast food, and melts amazingly. And the beef is juicy, freshly grilled, and salty, joined by perfectly grilled onions that elevate the food to savory heights.

It’s a cheeseburger that isn’t lacking in any way, shape, or form. Is it as satisfying as the famous Double-Double? No, and we’d argue that spending just over $5 for that experience is well worth it, but by the parameters of this ranking, this is the burger we’re going with, and we feel damn good about that choice.

The Bottom Line:

Easily the best burger under $5. It’s juicy, satisfying, and an absolute steal at this price.