The Single Best Dessert At Every Major Fast Food Restaurant

The dessert section is the most underutilized portion of the fast food menu. A lot of time and effort goes into main dishes, snacks, and even breakfast, and for good reason — if fast food restaurants focused too much on dessert they’d all end up like Dairy Queen and that’s the last thing we want. But a good dessert menu is still paramount and when a fast food chain has a great one (think Shake Shack, In-N-Out, and Five Guys), it’s usually a sign of the overall quality of their menu.

Dessert matters most in these (waning but still warm) summer months when nothing hits quite like your favorite frozen treats. Why cool off in AC like some kind of loser when you can be loving life by diving deep into the perfect strawberry milkshake? Or taking an epic spoonful of a well-crafted sundae? That’s the kind of life we want to live, and we want the same for you.

In celebration of all the best fast food desserts out there, we’re naming the single best at every fast food chain. From milkshakes to mini cakes, to ice cream, we’re shouting out only the absolute best entry on each menu — this way you can cool off and enjoy the final days of summer in the most delicious way possible. Let’s jump in!

Arby’s — Orange Cream Shake

Best Desserts

Why We Love It:

As I mentioned in the intro to this piece, nothing hits in the summertime like a great dessert and Arby’s understand this — which is why they wait until the summer months to unveil this beloved limited-time treat. McDonald’s annual Shamrock Shake doesn’t got shit on Arby’s Orange Cream, which tastes exactly like a Creamsicle in milkshake form. You get that same refreshing mix of vanilla cream flavors and zesty and sweet orange, but unlike a popsicle, you can drink this, which makes it better in our opinion.

The consistency on Arby’s milkshakes isn’t the best, sadly — a little more thicccccness would turn this very good milkshake into a great one. As it stands, it’s perfect for about the first half, but once it melts the flavors start to become too intense. We suggest you grab the snack size over the small.

The Bottom Line:

It’s a drinkable orange creamsicle and it’s only available for the summer, so move fast if you want to try this one.

Find your nearest Arby’s here.

Burger King — Hershey’s Sundae Pie

Best Desserts
Burger King

Why We Love It (Um… We Don’t):

Burger King doesn’t do dessert well — or anything for that matter — but people swear by the Hershey’s Sundae Pie. I am not one of those people, but at BK you’ve got slim pickings and while I don’t think this is a dessert you need to order, it is Burger King’s best, and that’s what this list is all about… even when the best is just fine.

The Sundae Pie is built on a chocolate crust which, strangely, doesn’t taste all that much like chocolate, with a thick layer of chocolate and vanilla creme, and topped with Hershey’s chocolate chips. It’s intensely sweet, with that familiar Hershey’s flavor, but it’s not quite as moist as it should be. The creme, despite being literally cream, is somehow too dry. The texture and mouthfeel is too thick and sugary — it should melt in your mouth, but it doesn’t.

The Bottom Line:

For Burger King, it’s a pretty good dessert, but it’s not worth taking a trip to Burger King to try. Eat it if you have a coupon.

Find your nearest Burger King here.

Burgerville — Marionberry Shake


Why We Love It:

For starters, let’s get one thing straight — marionberries, which you may not have even heard of, are the best berry. They’re like blackberries (in fact, they’re a cultivar of blackberries) but a little tarter and sweeter. Think “raspberry but not so tart” or “blackberry but not so earthy tasting.” They’re kind of a fusion.

Marionberries were developed in Oregon and named for a county there. So it’s no huge surprise that seasonally-driven Oregon-based chain Burgerville would highlight them each summer.

And boy, do they ever highlight them — this shake is amazing. The dessert itself is rich and not overly tart — which I dislike in berry-driven shakes. Still, there’s some tartness that’s immediately balanced by the creamy notes. The texture and mouthfeel are pure silk and the shake is thicccc enough to last your whole meal.

The Burgerville whipped cream on top has real substance — it’s practically neutral-tasting soft serve — and the marionberry syrup is the perfect accent without pushing the shake toward being too sweet. It’s really a blissful (if fleeting) experience, top to bottom.

The Bottom Line:

I haven’t tasted all the fast food shakes, but in the past 365 days, this is definitely the only one I’ve ordered more than once. — Steve Bramucci, Uproxx Life Editorial Director

Find your nearest Burgerville here.

Carl’s Jr. — Hand-Scooped Strawberry Milkshake

Strawberry Shakes

Why We Love It:

We have to give it to the Carl’s Jr. milkshakes — they’re pretty damn good and the Strawberry is easily the best in the line-up. Carl’s Jr. uses real ice cream in their milkshake, rather than a vanilla soft serve base with syrup mixed in, resulting in a very thick consistency with strong and distinct flavors that don’t taste like overly sweetened iterations of the same flavor, like some of the cheaper milkshakes out there (ahem, McDonald’s).

The strawberry is particularly good in the way it combines bright and fruity strawberry notes with rich and creamy vanilla tones that hit that perfect middle ground between decadently sweet and cool and refreshing. With some whipped cream mixed in you can enhance the sweetness even more and bring those creamy qualities to the forefront.

The Bottom Line:

Thick and refreshing, everything a great milkshake should be.

Find your nearest Carl’s Jr. here.

Chick-fil-A — Peach Milkshake

Best Desserts

Why We Love It:

If you haven’t had Chick-fil-A’s Peach Milkshake yet, what are you even doing with your life? You need to remedy that immediately because this milkshake isn’t just good, it may well be the absolute best milkshake in all of fast food. This decadent dessert features real peaches blended in Chick-fil-A’s vanilla soft serve, offering a flavor that is sweet, tart, and creamy with a slightly sour finish. Occasionally you’ll get bits of juicy peach traveling up your straw, offering a burst of fruity flavor.

By keeping this one seasonal, Chick-fil-A consistently delivers on this milkshake — it never tastes off or underwhelming. Move fast because summer is almost over and this milkshake will soon leave menus nationwide.

The Bottom Line:

Easily fast food’s greatest milkshake — don’t sleep on this seasonal gem.

Find your nearest Chick-fil-A here.

Dairy Queen — Girl Scout Thin Mints Blizzard

Best Desserts
Dairy Queen

Truthfully, any of Dairy Queen’s Blizzards could be your favorite — each one is as delicious as the next — but we’re going with the Girl Scout Thin Mints as our number one pick, both for the novelty of a mint shake and because who doesn’t love Girl Scout Thin Mints? Girl Scout cookies are the only thing enjoyable about a child knocking on your door. Under any other circumstance, even if it’s a nephew or kid brother or sister, is just obnoxious. But greet someone with cookies and you’ll always find a smile!

This milkshake utilizes real Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies and cool mint flavoring blended into Dairy Queen’s thick vanilla soft-serve base. Each spoonful is a mix of vanilla mint flavors and a crunchy chocolate cookie, providing a nicely textured mouthfeel with a refreshing and rich flavor that always beats back the summer heat.

The Bottom Line:

The best mint dessert in all of fast food. Dairy Queen’s Thin Mints Blizzard delivers on mouthfeel, flavor, and thickness.

Find your nearest Dairy Queen here.

Five Guys — Chocolate Shake

Dane Rivera

Why We Love It:

Five Guys’ Chocolate Shake is the best chocolate shake I’ve ever had. Period. The rich, complex, and remarkably consistent flavor of this shake makes it the perfect experience from the first sip to last. Five Guys doubles down on the chocolate by mixing in real Ghirardelli chocolate with fudge, giving it a heavy chocolate-forward flavor that absolutely drowns the thick vanilla base it is mixed into.

I’ve never had a milkshake quite this chocolatey in my life.

There are a few ways to easily elevate this milkshake, you can add fresh banana and strawberries, or add a salty component to the sweet with some savory bacon, but I kind of think it stands best as a pure un-f*cked with chocolate flavor. You should allow your taste buds to luxuriate in the simple perfection that is this chocolate milkshake.

The Bottom Line:

The best chocolate milkshake you’ll ever drink from a fast food restaurant. We guarantee it.

Find your nearest Five Guys here.

KFC — Chocolate Chip Cookie

Best Desserts

Why We Love It:

Yes, part of the reason KFC’s chocolate chip cookie is on this list is that it’s KFC’s only dessert item, so by process of elimination, it gets a spot. But don’t sleep on this cookie, it’s way better than you think it is. I first developed a love for this cookie by ordering my favorite KFC combo, the $5 Fill-Up (which has since been renamed just ‘Fill-Up,’ as it’s not $5 anymore) which consists of a single piece of fried chicken, a side, and a chocolate chip cookie instead of a biscuit. At first, that was disappointing to me but this cookie tastes so good that I don’t miss the biscuit.

It’s a perfect chocolate chip cookie, it’s brown sugar sweet, buttery, and embedded with the perfect amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips. KFC used to make these cookies in-restaurant, and they were delicious. Now they’re pre-packaged, and they’re still pretty good… but not quite as amazing as they use to be.

The Bottom Line:

This is KFC’s only dessert option currently, but it’s actually worth adding to your order. It’s that good.

Find your nearest KFC here.

In-N-Out — Chocolate Milkshake

In N Out

Why We Love It:

In-N-Out doesn’t have a lot of dessert options, just three shakes and a root beer float, but the best of desserts is the chocolate milkshake. It’s luxuriously thick with a faint-but-delicious cocoa flavor. It doesn’t hit you over the head with the taste of chocolate, which I admit sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not.

With this subtle approach, In-N-Out has crafted a chocolate shake that truly tastes unlike anything else in fast food.

The Bottom Line:

Light and faint but still delicious. Gentle echoes of chocolate over a thick luxurious ice cream base.

Find your nearest In-N-Out here.

Jack in the Box — Oreo Cookie Shake

Best Desserts
Jack in the Box

Why We Love It:

When I was in ninth grade I spent a lot of time after school at a nearby Jack in the Box. For me and a friend, it was the ideal hangout, nothing hit like a large order of fries and endless refills of Coke. One day, all sugared up with coke we ordered a slice of New York Cheesecake and became inspired to write a spec script for an episode of Seinfeld we simply called “The Cheesecake.” Never mind that Seinfeld had been off the air for years, it was hilarious.

That memory had me thinking Jack in the Box’s ultimate dessert was the cheesecake, but then I had a slice recently and… that shit is terrible. So we’re giving the spot to the Oreo Cookie Shake, which isn’t just delicious, it’s one of the best Oreo Milkshakes in all of fast food. JiB’s milkshakes are straw-bendingly thick, and the Oreo Cookie Shake is particularly hard to get through the straw because of the giant granules of crushed Oreo cookie spread throughout. This is a weird thing to notice but… JiB used to have blue straws that were slightly thicker than a typical straw, which I imagined were explicitly invented for the purposes of drinking these milkshakes, but in the last few years, JiB has ditched those straws, making this deliciously thick and creamy milkshake even harder to drink.

The best practice here is to mix in the whipped cream with your straw, and then start spooning the shake out. Each dip of the straw will leave you with a glob of milkshake at the end like you’re a monkey fishing termites out of a log with a twig. It’s the most primal way to eat a milkshake, but it’s also super effective.

The Bottom Line:

Jack in the Box makes deliciously decadent and thick as hell milkshakes, this is their best and one of the finest examples of a good Oreo shake in all of fast food.

Find your nearest Jack in the Box here.

McDonald’s — Hot Fudge Sundae

Best Desserts

Why We Love It:

For the longest time, I was under the impression that the Oreo McFlurry was McDonald’s best dessert, but I’ve since come around to the Hot Fudge Sundae for its simple and direct flavor. The sundae is made with the same vanilla soft serve base used in the McFlurry, but instead of sweet crunchy Oreos, you get a healthy helping of warm fudge, which adds a chocolatey richness to the flavor that satisfies way more than some crushed-up cookie ever could.

Ask for a pack of crushed nuts (some locations have them, some don’t) and add some texture and buttery flavor to this deliciously sweet and rich snack.

The Bottom Line:

Your instincts will push you towards the McFlurry but fight them, this hot fudge sundae packs a more complex flavor and it’s cheaper!

Find your nearest McDonald’s here.

Popeyes — Chocolate Beignet

Best Desserts

Why We Love It:

Popeyes started in New Orleans and even though the company is now Florida based, it’s still a New Orleans staple — so it only makes sense for them to have beignets, another NOLA staple, even those these weird chocolate-filled fried dough balls don’t really capture the magic of a fresh batch from Cafe Du Monde. They might not have the light fluffy crispy characteristic of beignets down — these are soggier, chewier, and kind of greasy — but the delicious combination of fried dough, powdered sugar, and melted chocolate is hard to deny.

The only problem I have with these beignets is that they seem like a low priority for the Popeyes employees. If these were sugared right after leaving the fryer, the powdered sugar would adhere to the beignet perfectly, but they hardly ever are, resulting in most of your sugar staying at the bottom of the bag. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sweet enough, but the powdered sugar adds some balance to the richness of the chocolate, resulting in a much better beignet.

The Bottom Line:

No, they’re not as good as a beignet from your favorite corner bakery but they’re delicious and offer a nice counterpoint to the spicy chicken sandwich.

Find your nearest Popeyes here.

Shake Shack — Chocolate Churro Shake

Best Desserts
Shake Shack

Why We Love It:

About every three months, Shake Shack unveils a new roster of limited edition shakes. While the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are delicious, you should always order the limited-time stuff. Currently, the best is this Chocolate Churro Shake, which combines a cinnamon sugar custard with dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and waffle cone crumbles.

It doesn’t really taste anything like a churro but who cares? It’s delicious!

The cinnamon sugar blend leans more toward the light flavor of white sugar, but you still get some of that earthy spice from the cinnamon and it pairs excellently with the rich citrus-y dark chocolate tones. The waffle crumble brings some texture to this sometimes too easy-to-sip shake but we can’t help but wish the texture was brought via actual bits of churro. Maybe next year!

The Bottom Line:

Shake Shack’s current best seasonal shake. It’s got rich dark chocolate, spicy and sweet cinnamon sugar, and texture!

Find your nearest Shake Shack here.

Sonic — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blast

Best Desserts

Why We Love It:

It’s a milkshake with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups mixed into it — need we really say more? Like Dairy Queen’s Blizzard, Sonic Blasts are pretty much all great but this one offers is our favorite. Each spoonful is packed with a mix of creamy vanilla and peanut butter cups, offering a rich and slightly salty sweetened peanut butter flavor. As if that wasn’t good enough as it is, you can bring this up a level by adding fresh banana, upping the complexity of the flavor, resulting in something that is bursting with a decadent richness

The Bottom Line:

It tastes just as good as you expect it to, this is the perfect marriage of flavors and one of the best ways to enjoy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Or you know, several.

Find your nearest Sonic here.

Starbucks — Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

Starbucks Frap Ranking
Dane Rivera

Why We Love It:

We could’ve gone with anything at Starbucks, a cookie, a muffin, some sort of cheese-filled danish, but we have to give it to the Frappuccino, and the Caramel Ribbon Crunch in particular manages to capture all the magic of a pastry in a drinkable form.

This thing is insanely sweet with three forms of rich caramel goodness. The OG Starbucks caramel syrup brings light and buttery flavors to the forefront while a layer of molasses-forward dark caramel sauce lurks in the aftertaste with a salty crunchy caramel sugar topping providing some texture. The best practice is to mix that into the drink with the straw so it can burst through during random sips.

The Bottom Line:

Sweet, rich, and textured, it’s Starbucks’ finest Frappuccino and the perfect dessert to drink at 6:00 AM at the start of a road trip.

Find your nearest Starbucks here.

Taco Bell — Cinnamon Twists

Best Desserts
Cinnamon Twists

Why We Love It:

Before you come at me in the comments, yes, I know Taco Bell has Cinnabon Delights — tiny little bite-sized icing-filled Cinnabons — but those things aren’t good. Sure, they sound great in theory and maybe if you’re lucky to receive a fresh order they might be delicious but in my experience the Delights are always incredibly stale, old and dry. The icing doesn’t have that same depth of flavor that actual Cinnabons have, instead it’s sickly sweet and kind of sour.

I’m sticking with the classic Cinnamon Twists for the win.

These things are weird and delicious. They taste like a blend of spicy cinnamon and white sugar and nothing else. Seriously, pour some cinnamon and sugar on a plate, dip your finger in it and lick and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what this tastes like. The twist itself is almost flavorless, featuring nothing more than a crispy and crunchy texture. It’s like if someone found a way to fry air and seasoned it with cinnamon and sugar, which is boring as far as desserts go but still tastes great.

The Bottom Line:

The best-tasting fried air you’ll ever eat.

Find your nearest Taco Bell here.

Wendy’s — Strawberry Frosty

Wendys Frosty
Dane Rivera

Why We Love It:

I know we’ve been shouting out a lot of seasonal limited-time milkshakes on this list but we have to give credit where credit is due and the Strawberry Frosty is the best Frosty flavor of all time. This is the first year Wendy’s has ever done strawberry — and they had to eliminate vanilla temporarily to do it — and it’s the best dessert decision the brand has ever made. This absolutely dunks on the chocolate flavor, which let’s face it, tastes like f*cking frozen Nesquik.

To make this, Wendy’s uses fresh in-season strawberries and blends it into their vanilla frosty base, resulting in a flavor that starts sweet and creamy and ends with a pronounced tart zip. It tastes even better when you dip fries into it, adding a salty component that tastes better than it sounds, trust us.

The Bottom Line:

Wendy’s made a strawberry Frosty for the first time this year, get it while you still can.

Find your nearest Wendy’s here.