Life

The Best Breakfast Burritos In The Fast Food Universe

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the breakfast realm is fast food’s most exciting frontier. It’s where most of the new menu innovations happen and, at some establishments, you can’t even order it after a certain hour — which just adds to the mystique. It makes the breakfast menu seem like it’s being curated for some exclusive club, the early risers and the out all-nighters. There is a whole world out there you probably don’t even know about if you only grab fast food on your lunch break. Did you even know Wendy’s has potato wedges? They’re about 100% better than the French fries but you can only get them at breakfast time. It’s worth taking a morning trek to Wendy’s for those wedges alone.

If you like fast food (or tolerate it because it fits your lifestyle in other ways), we implore you to go at breakfast time. You’ll be stepping into a whole new world.

Where to start? We’ve already broken down the best breakfast sandwiches in the fast food universe, so now we’re hitting the next best option — the decadent culinary wonder that is breakfast burritos. Sausage, eggs, cheese, hashbrowns… As much as we wanted to have a strict set of parameters here, the range is so wide that “don’t taste sh*tty” was really the first bar every highly ranked burrito had to clear. From there it was something of a free for all, with some clear choices head and shoulders above the rest.

Let’s get into it.

10. McDonald’s — Sausage Burrito

McDonald

Calories: 310

The weirdest thing about McDonald’s sausage breakfast burrito — aside from the fact that it’s a burrito from McDonald’s, which just feels wrong — is that this thing actually has its fans. “McDonald’s breakfast burrito is dope,” “You have to give McDonald’s a try!” “McDonald’s breakfast burrito is seriously underrated!” That’s what friends and commenters told me.

They were wrong. This is hands down the worst burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life. You could blindfold me and force me to cook each of the ingredients without sight and I’d be able to make a better burrito than this.

The scrambled egg — dry. The green chiles and onions — bland. The tortilla — obviously microwaved — I mean if they would just throw the chiles and onions on the griddle for a minute that would make a world of difference. The only thing palatable is the pork sausage, and even that is seriously lacking in any discernible flavor. Also, American cheese? In a burrito? GTFO McDonald’s.

The Bottom Line:

You couldn’t find a worse breakfast burrito if you tried.

Find your nearest McDonald’s here.

9. Wendy’s — Sausage, Egg & Cheese Burrito

Wendy

Calories: 340

I’m a huge Wendy’s head and the chain often ranks on the higher end of our fast food rankings, so it’s a bit of a surprise for us to see it ranked so low. Before Popeyes dropped its massively popular sandwich, Wendy’s chicken sandwiches were in the running to be fast food’s best and their burgers are similarly amazing, easily some of the best burgers you can get from a drive-thru. As for breakfast, the aforementioned potato wedges are unforgettable.

Then there is the Sausage Egg & Cheese Burrito. This burrito is so lackluster that it’s not even available at every Wendy’s drive-thru — of the three closest to me, only one carries it.

Like McDonald’s, this burrito is incredibly bland. It desperately needs salsa, which Wendy’s has (it’s bad) but is not always in stock, at least at the Wendy’s I order from. Ordering this thing can be seriously frustrating because it feels so unsupported by Wendy’s. Inside is dry scrambled egg (too much of it), peppery sausage bits, and American cheese, which automatically makes it bad. That’s a line in the sand I just won’t pass — if a burrito has got American cheese in it it’s probably horrible. Wendy’s packs a lot of egg into this one, which makes each bite take forever to chew through, and with the pathetic serving of salsa inside what you’re chewing is mostly egg and stale tortilla.

The Bottom Line

Almost every item on Wendy’s menu is better than this.

Find your nearest Wendy’s here.

8. Carl’s Jr. — Loaded Breakfast Burrito

Carl

Calories: 760

For Carl’s Jr, I was a little torn between deciding to include the Loaded Breakfast Burrito, which features sausage, ham, bacon bits, egg, hash browns, cheddar cheese and pico de gallo or the Big Country Breakfast Burrito, which is the same thing but swaps out the pico de gallo for sausage gravy — a nice bit of fast food innovation. Ultimately, I’m decided to include the better of the two (without giving creativity points), which means we’re talking about the Loaded Breakfast Burrito. Regardless, both of these burritos are sadly middling.

The Loaded Burrito’s pico de gallo isn’t great, the tomatoes lack brightness, the onion is too cutting, and the cilantro somehow manages to provide none of the herb’s distinct flavor (the sausage gravy of the Big Country Burrito is somehow even blander and provides a weird and thick consistency that I found to be distracting. Can a flavor be described as wet? That’s what the gravy tastes like). The meat trio in the Loaded Breakfast Burrito is passable, but because Carl’s Jr uses bacon bits instead of strips of bacon, you’ll be left wanting more bacon.

Carl’s Jr.’s tortilla is also pretty bland and powdery, matching the ingredients inside.

The Bottom Line:

Carl’s Jr has some truly amazing breakfast offerings like the Breakfast Burger and the Monster Biscuit. Both of those options will leave you more satisfied than the Loaded Breakfast Burrito.

Find your nearest Carl’s Jr. here.

7. Jack in the Box — Meat Lover’s Burrito

Jack in the Box

Calories: 810

Beware! Jack in the Box’s Meat Lover’s Burrito is so greasy that your bag will be wet with grease by the time you get from the drive-thru to wherever it is you’re going to scarf this thing down. It’ll also leave a smell in your car that will take a whole day to fully dissipate. Is that why I’ve ranked it so near the bottom? That’s at least half of the reason. It definitely made a negative impression on me.

This thing is just okay. It combines bacon, a chopped-up sausage patty, and ham with scrambled eggs and some cheddar cheese before wrapping it in a microwave-warmed tortilla. On the side, Jack in the Box serves what they are calling fire-roasted salsa. What does that mean? No one roasted any peppers at Jack in the Box before making this sauce, it was probably made in a lab hundreds of miles away from the JiB that’s serving it and includes liquid smoke. Skip it, instead ask for a packet of Frank’s Red Hot sauce, it’ll provide much more heat.

This burrito’s strength is that it has a lot of meat, so if you’re after savory and salty flavors this burrito is definitely for you. I just wish its individual parts were actually notable enough to enjoy. Instead, they all come together in a mix of textures that just gel into a one-note salty meat flavor. Jack in the Box also has what is called the Grande Sausage Burrito which swaps out the shredded cheddar for cheddar cheese sauce, and while I appreciate the inclusion of sriracha in that one, the cheese sauce makes it way too salty.

The Bottom Line:

Greasy and salty as all hell but it’s got the meats! If you’re looking to start your morning off with a fistful of protein, this is your place.

Find your nearest Jack in the Box here.

6. Burger King — Egg-Normous Breakfast Burrito

Burger King

Calories: 805

We consistently hate on Burger King in our fast food rankings, so I’m always secretly rooting for them to do something well. I have to say, the Egg-Normous Burrito is actually pretty solid. As its name would suggest, this burrito has a whole lot of egg, but unlike Wendy’s burrito, it also has greasy and crispy hashbrowns, strips of bacon, sausage patties, and melted cheddar cheese. Yes, that’s right, cheddar baby! There might be some American cheese mixed in there as well — because the consistency is a little bit waxy — but the overwhelming flavor is distinctly sharp, as it should be. Burger King also throws a “picante” sauce in there which is ironic because picante means “spicy,” and no palate would find this even remotely spicy. It has no kick to it and tastes mostly of tomato.

The weirdest part of this burrito is BK’s decision to put whole sausage patties inside rather than sausage bits. That makes the form factor of this burrito massive and it truly feels like the sort of breakfast that will make you sleepier than it will give you energy. Which is probably not what you want out of a breakfast burrito (unless you’re waking and baking on the weekend), so we suggest you cut this one in half and eat it with a friend.

The Bottom Line:

Burger King does so many foods badly and here they have a minor hit on their hands that, with a few alterations (smaller sausage, better sauce), might actually be able to be described as delicious. You’re so close, Burger King!

Find your nearest Burger King here.

5. Chick-fil-A — Hash Brown Scramble Burrito

Chick-fil-A

Calories: 700

Here we are in the top five and we’ve finally now taken a giant leap ahead in terms of flavor. This is leagues better than Burger King’s Eggnormous burrito. I’d go as far as to call it delicious, but it’s a little bit lacking in a few key areas. The Hash Brown Scramble consists of Chick-fil-A’s fried hash browns (which are really just tater tots), scrambled eggs, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, and your choice of either sausage or Chick-fil-A nuggets. I go with the nuggets because, when in Rome! Chick-fil-A has the best nuggets in the game and while I don’t think a chicken nugget is a great burrito filling, I’ll take it.

Let me just take some time to gush about the cheese used here. I love Monterey Jack cheese. It’s a lot more buttery and mild than cheddar, and pairs perfectly with tortilla. The tortilla is another thing Chick-fil-A gets right, it’s gummy and pliable, and not overly powdery and dry. But what holds this burrito back is the salsa, Chick-fil-A just can’t do salsa right. It’s too heavy on the tomato and features little else. Pouring it over your burrito adds a weird sour taste that’s pretty off-putting.

The Bottom Line

A delicious fast food breakfast burrito. It’s just missing a great sauce to pair with it.

Find your nearest Chick-fil-A here.

4. Sonic — Ultimate Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burrito

Sonic

Calories: 840

I rarely like anything from Sonic and the chain often inhabits the low end of our other fast food rankings, but they sure know how to make a delicious and decadent breakfast burrito. Smokey bacon (strips not bits!), tater-tots, pepper-forward savory sausage, and a scrambled egg that puts McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and Carl’s Jr to shame — this has a great ingredient lineup. Regarding those eggs, the bar is set pretty low but still, kudos to those outlets that manage to get them right.

This burrito truly tastes like all the best parts of breakfast — great bacon, good sausage, and the aforementioned fluffy scrambled egg — wrapped in a warm tortilla, which is exactly what you want out of a breakfast burrito. In lieu of a salsa, this one features a cheese sauce which supplies a zesty flavor that is a little heavy on the salt for my liking. I prefer shredded cheese but the cheese sauce makes it so that you don’t have to use Sonic’s horrible packet salsa, so I’ll take it. Everything included in the burrito delivers and the tater tots add a nice crunch and a good serving of carbs which just makes the whole thing taste more hearty.

The Bottom Line:

A great breakfast burrito. If you want to take it to the next level, definitely add diced jalapeños, which Sonic does keep handy. Why they weren’t included automatically is a mystery! That addition will surely supply some of the heat that’s missing from this burrito.

Find your nearest Sonic here.

3. Qdoba — Breakfast Burrito

Qdoba

I had a lot of trouble with this one. I really feel like it should be ranked higher. The eggs look and taste like fresh scrambled eggs out of your kitchen, they’re perfectly fluffy but not so cooked to the point that they no longer have any moisture in them. Qdoba’s eggs are a 10/10. The tortilla is also in another class, it’s pliable, with a hint of sweetness, it has a depth and character that almost all of the other burritos on this ranking lack. The salsa is legit fresh salsa, it’s complex with actual lingering heat (I get the salsa verde, but the fiery habanero is also very good). Qdoba also offers guacamole, which is always a good idea (avocado slices are even better).

Being fully customizable, you even get to choose between potato, chicken, chorizo, or steak (go with chorizo, duh) and a really runny three-cheese queso blend and yet… there is just something incredibly forgettable about this burrito. It doesn’t linger in my mind after I eat it and I can’t ever see myself waking up with a craving for a Qdoba breakfast burrito. It lacks character and the flavors don’t really gel together harmoniously, despite each one of them being good and prepared with care. There is a soulless quality to Qdoba that makes their food all so unappetizing to me, and for that reason, I can’t in good faith rank this one any higher than third.

The Bottom Line

Quality ingredients that are well prepared and fully customizable. It just… lacks character, which holds it back from truly being great.

Find your nearest Qdoba here.

2. Taco Bell — Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito (Steak)

Taco Bell

Calories: 560

This is the highest I’ve ever ranked anything from Taco Bell. My editor is a huge Taco Bell stan, we go back and forth about Taco Bell all the time and while I’m not a fan of the Bell, I understand its appeal. Growing up in the late ’90s and early ’00s Taco Bell was one of the only fast food chains repping Mexican flavors nationwide, but being that I’m Mexican and grew up in Southern California, I’ve been surrounded by amazing Mexican food all my life, so I’ve always viewed Taco Bell as its own thing. When you want Mexican food in SoCal you don’t go to Taco Bell, you go to Taco Bell when you want Taco Bell.

Which is to say when you’re stoned or when you really want to stretch a dollar. [Or when you crave their taco meat-meets-gluten-based-additives mixture. -ed]

So while I don’t think Taco Bell does Mexican food well (or at all, if you want to really get into it) they do know how to make a damn delicious breakfast burrito — which isn’t even Mexican food to begin with! I get this one with steak, which is admittedly a little chewier than I’d like it to be and lacks that delicious carne asada char, but it gets the job done. The burrito also features a three-cheese blend, eggs, hashbrowns, and tomatoes. The tomatoes are bland and watery but everything else in this burrito is pretty solid. Where it really shines is the tortilla, which is toasted and provides a nice crisp texture to every bite and brings an added warmth to the fillings that make them feel freshly prepared.

I like to pair this burrito with Taco Bell’s green sauce, which really helps to add some spice and earthy notes to this more sparse breakfast burrito. While all of that doesn’t sound like it amounts to a great experience, I’d still rather have one of these than what Qdoba offers. It at least tastes like Taco Bell, whatever that means (if you know, you know).

Long story short, if you’re a fan of the chain, it’s safe to assume you’re going to like this too.

The Bottom Line

A solid breakfast burrito with a crispy tortilla that adds a level of uniqueness to it that the other burritos lack. The flavors won’t blow you away but it’s almost guaranteed to not disappoint. Especially if you’re already a fan of Taco Bell to begin with.

Find your nearest Taco Bell here.

1. Del Taco — Epic Scrambler Burrito (Carne Asada) (Ranked Highly)

Del Taco

Calories: 1040

As I mentioned earlier, I live in Southern California which means I’m not just spoiled with amazing Mexican food, but there are also more great breakfast burrito spots throughout the city of Los Angeles than I can ever count or actually eat at. If I want a breakfast burrito, I’m not going to lie, I’m going to go to a place that isn’t a chain. But if I’m out of my neighborhood and I feel like a breakfast burrito and don’t want to take a chance, I’ll turn to Del Taco every time. It’s the only chain that makes something that comes close to a greasy spoon breakfast burrito.

The Epic Scrambler Burrito, which is available in your choice of bacon or carne asada (I get carne asada), is on a whole other level that Taco Bell isn’t operating on. The scrambled eggs are decent, they’re not quite as good as Qdobas, but Del Taco’s hashbrowns have a great texture without tasting overly salted, and the carne asada actually has a delicious grilled char to it that is sorely missing in almost every other option. The pico de gallo offers a lot of character and complexity, striking that perfect balance between bright and bitey onion, juicy acidic tomatoes, and peppery cilantro. Is it as good as homemade pico de gallo? No. But it at least tastes like someone in Del Taco made it and it didn’t come pre-mixed. The freshly grated cheddar cheese is nutty with a subtly sharp and salty flavor and melts perfectly, leaving every bite with a gooey trail of cheese. I always ask for extra cheese on this one.

It’s also perfectly wrapped, unlike a lot of the other burritos on this list (namely the Egg-enormous). I don’t feel the need to constantly readjust this burrito to keep it from falling apart between bites. Tieing all these flavors together is a red salsa that brings some zest but not nearly enough heat. It’s nothing a few packets of Del Scorcho sauce can’t remedy though.

The Bottom Line

The closest thing you’re going to find in the fast-food landscape to a greasy spoon or food truck-made breakfast burrito. Every ingredient in this burrito is in its proper place. It’s bomb.

Find your nearest Del Taco here.

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