The Best Fast Food French Fry And Cheeseburger Pairings, Ranked

What’s better than a big, juicy, flavor-bomb of a cheeseburger? It’s simple really — a cheeseburger and a side of fries. It’s the ultimate one-two punch of fast food. Sure, the chicken sandwich is taking all the burger’s shine these days, but nothing hits like the classic combination of buttery potato and mouthwatering beef.

On the days I feel like eating a cheeseburger (every day) I’m not just asking myself where I can get the best burger — I can answer that question relatively easily — but where can I get the best burger and fries.

Surprisingly, There are many fast food chains out there where I love the burger but don’t love the fries, or love the fries and think the burger is pretty mid. It makes deciding where to eat way harder than it needs to be as I’m busy asking myself: “What do I want more, the fries or the burger?” But dammit, I want both to be delicious and if I go through this, I’m willing to bet you do too.

So for the first time in Uproxx history, we’re doing a combined burger and fries ranking. We’ll be giving a score for each burger and each order of fries, adding them together, and ranking them. I’ll also be adding half-points where applicable, because otherwise I have a feeling too many of these combinations would end in a tie, and we can’t have that. This is a fast food ranking, not soccer!

Hopefully, we can make your decision on where to eat just a little bit easier. Let’s eat!

10. Burger King

Burger King/Uproxx

The Burger: The Whopper — 2/5

I don’t want to be mean to Burger King but it’s just so easy when the burger is this bad. Now, I know there are Whopper fans out there, and I accept that you and I won’t see eye to eye, but I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve tried with this burger and it just isn’t working for me.

The beef here is charbroiled to the point it’s crispy and dry, I like the flavor of it but chewing through it feels like chewing through grain and sand. On top of the beef patties, you’ve got American cheese, pickles, raw onion, tomato, a single leaf of lettuce, and a smear of ketchup and mayo. The produce is fine, no complaints there, but the bun is way too thick and bready.

The Whopper is a big burger, but there isn’t enough beef for it to matter. Overall, this burger is too dry an experience to fall in love with.

The Fries: French Fries — 2/5

When piping hot and fresh, these fries are pretty good, but more often than not I’m getting soggy, stale, or over-salted fries when I roll through the Burger King drive-thru. Burger King, lot a lot of fast food restaurants, is having an issue with consistency these days so I can’t rate these fries any higher based on recent taste tests.

Total Score: 4

Not bad, but not good either, and that’s a problem.

9. McDonald’s


The Burger: Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese 2/5

McDonald’s Quarter Pounder is the fast food chain’s best burger, but unfortunately, that’s not saying much. McDonald’s burgers are weird, they hit the spot when you specifically want a McDonald’s cheeseburger. They have this signature flavor that you could easily pick out in a blind taste test. The burgers taste like McDonald’s. But when you’re just looking for a great cheeseburger? This misses the mark.

The meat is tough, and the burger has this weird tangy and spicy flavor thanks to the combination of onions, pickles, and ketchup that somehow tastes signature to McDonald’s, even though they are the most common burger ingredients.

The Fries: French Fries 4/5

I’m knocking a point off of McDonald’s fries because they are rarely consistent. Look, if you are lucky enough to get a fresh order of fries from McDonald’s, you’ll be eating the best french fries in all of fast food. When they’re fresh, they’re buttery, salty, and crispy with a slightly sweet aftertaste, but think of how many times you’ve been to McDonald’s — how many of those times did you receive fresh French fries?

The only way to enjoy McDonald’s is to eat it immediately, even the food sits in a bag for even a minute, the structural integrity of the food completely changes. The fries become soggy and can’t hold their temperature for very long. If McDonald’s could find a way to give you fresh fries every time, people wouldn’t complain about the rising prices so much.

Total Score: 6

McDonald’s hits the spot when you want McDonald’s specifically. But if you’re just looking for a great cheeseburger served with great fries, you’re not
going to find it here.

8. Rallys/Checkers


The Burger: Big Buford 3/5

It’s a good burger, but far from great. The meat is beefy but not quite as juicy as I’d want it to be. I applaud the use of red onions, which have a milder bite than white onions and a bit more sweetness, which pairs very nicely with the umami-rich tomato, dill pickles, and salty American cheese. This burger has mustard in addition to the usual mix of mayo and ketchup, which gives the burger a nice sense of earthy tang.

The Fries: Famous Seasoned Fries 3.5/5

I get the allure of these fries, they’re breaded and well seasoned with a mix of onion and garlic powder, and black pepper. But rarely do they deliver, if you want the best battered and seasoned fries in the game, you’ll have to go to Popeyes.

The issue here is that the oil often tastes dirty and a bit rancid. It makes these fries come across as off-putting, and too greasy. In addition to the bad oil, the fries are often overcooked to death, resulting in a flavor that just tastes straight-up dirty.

But occasionally you get a good, fresh order, and when these are fresh they’re some of the best fries in all of fast food. But I have to knock off a full point for the lack of consistency.

Total Score: 6.5

A so-so burger coupled with fries that are occasionally great, but more often than not, straight-up bad.

7. Wendy’s

Wendy's/ Uproxx

The Burger: Baconator — 4/5

I love the Baconator, it’s Wendy’s best burger. In the Baconator, you’ve got a 1/2 pound of thick beef topped with two layers of bacon and two layers of cheese all sandwiched between a buttery bun that has been slathered with ketchup and mayo.

This burger is a smokey and savory meat bomb that is, yes, way too f*cking salty, but delicious enough for you not to care. Wendy’s beef isn’t frozen and that makes a huge difference, resulting in a burger that’s juicier than the competition. As good as this burger is though, it doesn’t quite reach fast casual levels of deliciousness.

The Fries: Hot and Crispy Fries — 2.5/5

Unfortunately, my praise for Wendy’s Baconator does not extend to the fries. What I like about these fries is that they live up to their name, they are indeed hot and crispy. But the flavor is lacking. Aside from being incredibly over-salted, these french fries have a dirty bitter potato flavor.

If we were able to include Wendy’s breakfast-only potato wedges, this burger and potato combo just might take the top spot on this list. But unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.

Total Score: 6.5

A great burger, dragged down by some seriously mediocre fries. The Baconator deserves better.

6. Carl’s Jr.

Carl's Jr/Uproxx

The Burger: Double Western Cheeseburger 3/5

I love the flavor here, it’s an explosion of charbroiled beef, tangy barbecue, and savory fried onions. The combination of bacon and fried onions gives the burger a pleasing audible crunch, but the rest of the burger is pretty soggy. It’s doused in so much BBQ sauce that it can become overwhelming after a few bites.

Also, that BBQ gives me pause — what is this burger trying to hide? I suspect it’s the meat. It has a charred flavor, but suffers the same issue as BK’s Whopper. It’s dry as hell.

The Fries: Waffle Fries 4/5

Carl’s Jr has the best waffle fries in all of fast food. These fries work because they are a waffle fry in form but a curly fry in flavor. They are heavily seasoned with a mix of onion, garlic, and pepper flavors and lightly breaded, giving each waffle fry a wonderful flavorful crunch.

Total Score: 7

I’m surprised Carl’s Jr. beat Wendy’s here. Overall, I value burgers over fries, so If I had to pick, I’d probably rather eat at Wendy’s. But if you value fries and burgers in equal measure, you’re probably going to have a better experience at Carl’s Jr.

5. Shake Shack

Shake Shack/Uproxx

The Burger: Double Shack Burger 5/5

The Double Shack Burger is easily the best cheeseburger in all of fast food. The reason is the perfect hamburger patty, and trust me on this one, I went through the trouble of ranking hamburger patties completely dry, and this one came out on top far above the rest.

The meat alone has an amazing depth of flavor, it’s meaty, juicy, fatty, savory, and has these wonderful slightly sweet lacy edges that have been caramelized via the Maillard reaction. Add to that some of the best produce in fast food, and you have a perfect burger. The tomatoes are juicy, the green leaf lettuce has texture and a slight bitter complexity, and the burger sauce is a perfect mix of sweet, tangy, and rich flavors. If all of that wasn’t enough, the Shack Burger is served on a spongey potato bun.

It’s perfect!

The Fries: Crinkle Cut Fries 2/5

Shake Shack deserves to be on the top of any burger list, but this isn’t any burger list. It’s a burgers and fries list, and Shake Shack’s fries are some of the worst in all of fast food. I actually find these fries to be offensive. They have virtually no flavor, it’s all texture, and that texture is so crispy it’s almost abrasive to the roof of your mouth.

I don’t think ketchup is always necessary when it comes to fries, but at Shake Shack, it absolutely is.

Total Score: 7

A great cheeseburger dragged down into the dirt by some of the worst fries in all of fast food.

4. In-N-Out/Fries

Dane Rivera/In-N-Out/Uproxx

The Burger: Double Double 5/5

The people who say sh*t like “In-N-Out is overrated” are the same type of people who hate on the Beatles. It’s just hard to take seriously, this is simply one of the best burgers in fast food. Add on top of that the fact that it’s also one of the most affordable cheeseburgers and I don’t see what’s not to like here.

The meat patties are perfectly seasoned, juicy, mouthwatering, and cooked to a medium well state. Not only is this one of the best meat patties in fast food, but the cheese is hands down the best American cheese I’ve ever had. It melts perfectly, it’s salty, and it’s creamy. Add to that crispy and fresh lettuce, juicy thick tomatoes, and a complex special sauce and you have a perfect cheeseburger.

The Fries: French Fries 2.5/5

I also think In-N-Out’s French fries get way too much undeserved hate. These are fresh potatoes, peeled and fried on-site, what’s the issue here? They taste like potatoes, they’re buttery, earthy, and taste great dipped in ketchup or dusted in black pepper and salt. Are they life-changing? No. Do they live up to the delicious burger? Not quite. But they’re certainly not “bad.”

Total Score: 7.5

It pains me to see In-N-Out this low, but it is what it is. A great burger joined by perfectly passable french fries. If you order Animal Style Fries, I
think it bumps the fries up one point, but it also raises the price considerably.

3. Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box/Uproxx

The Burger: Bacon Double Smashed Jack 4/5

Not only is this Jack in the Box’s best burger, but it’s also the best option on the entire menu. The beef is juicy and savory with a nice caramelized edge, topped with two slices of cheese, sweet grilled onions, crispy bacon, and a heavy dose of smokey and tangy burger sauce atop a buttery brioche bun.
If you haven’t had the Bacon Double Smashed Jack yet, get on it. It’s not quite at the level of a Shake Shack or In-N-Out burger, but its better than the other drive-thru chains.

The Fries: Curly Fries 4/5

The Curly Fries are great, they’re onion and garlic forward with a buttery potato flavor that is incredibly addictive. My only complaint is that they’re way too greasy. So greasy that if they sit in the brown bag too long, it’ll turn translucent.

They also don’t hold up well, so eat them immediately for best results.

Total Score: 8

Too high for Jack in the Box? Any other year and I’d agree with you, but since the launch of the Bacon Double Smashed Jack I have to admit that JiB is experiencing a glow up. Let’s hope it extends to the rest of the menu.

2. Fatburger


The Burger: Double Kingburger — 5/5

I’m a born and raised Southern Californian, so it’s hardwired into my DNA to be an In-N-Out fan. But a thing that hardcore In-N-Out fans can’t admit is that Fatburger is, at the very least, just as good. The beef patties are juicy and well seasoned with a mix of salt and pepper sandwiched together by two slices of melted American cheese, thin and wet pickles, tomato and chopped onions that bring a sharp sense of tang and mild spice to each bite.

You may look at the mountain of lettuce on this burger and think “that’s way too much f*cking lettuce,” but somehow it works. It’s non-intrusive (despite how much there is) but still provides that crunch and texture that makes lettuce such a key ingredient in a burger build.

The Fries: Skinny Fries — 3.5/5

The fries are just fine. They have a nice buttery flavor and a great crispy texture. They’re a step above In-N-Out, but not exactly a leap.

Total Score: 8.5

A great burger, with good fries. You can’t go wrong here. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close.

1. Five Guys

Getty/Zach Johnston/Uproxx

The Burger: Custom Patty Melt 5/5

At $15 the price of this burger is absolutely ridiculous, I can admit that. But god damn is it good. You won’t find hte patty melt on the menu, but ordering it is easy. Simply ask for a grilled cheese, and add as many patties as you’d like, in addition to any toppings. The best combination in our opinion is two patties, two slices of American cheese, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms. If I’m feeling especially adventurous, I’ll add grilled jalapeños to the burger for a strong kick of vegetal heat.

The buns (which are just burger buns flipped inside out) are well buttered, giving a buttery top note that hovers above a wonderful juicy beefy flavor. The grilled onions enhance the savoriness while the mushrooms bring in some sumptuous umami notes.

It’s a perfect burger. Prohibitively expensive, but worth every penny.

The Fries: Salted/Cajun Fries 5/5

Absolutely perfect. Every day, Five Guys receives an order of potatoes sourced from different farms across Idaho (and on rare occasions, Washington), also known as the potato capital of the world. The fries are cut-in restaurant and cooked to order, twice fried in peanut oil giving them a perfectly crunchy exterior that houses warm and buttery potatoes. They’re buttery, complex, and earthy, everything a perfectly French fry should be.

I like to be difficult and order these salted, with a side of cajun seasoning so that I can perfectly season them to taste. But you don’t have to be insane like me. Simply ask for these “cajun style” and you’ll get a mix of delicious spices chaotically dusted all over your fries.
French fries don’t get better than this!

Total Score: 10

Perfect fries and a perfect burger. But it’s expensive. Consider it a treat and you’ll be satisfied every time, but if you make a habit of eating here,
you’re essentially lighting money on fire.