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The Absolute Worst Fast Food Items From All The Major Chains

We sing the praises of fast food pretty often around here. The best cheeseburgers, the greatest tenders, the chicken sandwiches so good they’ll distract you from the weird dark timeline we’re living in, how to make Chipotle edible — we’ll never stop finding ways to dissect fast food. We do this because we’ve all been in that position where you’re hungry, spoiled for options, and just don’t have the time to bother thinking about what is the most worth your money.

But today we’ve decided to flip the script, instead of talking about the best of the best, we need to start calling out which menu items are truly awful. Or, to put a fine point on. it, what’s the least worth your cash.

Our hopes aren’t just to save you some money by avoiding these bad foods, we’re also hoping the big fast food brands take notice and make some changes, and judging from the emails I’ve received after I roasted El Pollo Loco’s birria, they do notice! Here are the worst fast food menu items at all the big chains.

Arby’s — Chicken Slider

Worst Fast Food
Arbys

It was between Arby’s Chicken Slider and the side salad (which is just an iceberg and leaf blend with tomato and shredded cheddar which is the absolute bare minimum to be considered a salad) but we’ve got to give it to the Arby’s Chicken Slider — this is terrible.

This… thing only exists because Arby’s already makes Roast Beef and Roasted Turkey sliders — both of which are good, especially when you add jalapeño — and since they have the little buns on sight, they just decided to throw a chicken tender in-between one and top it with some Swiss cheese and call it a “chicken slider.”

It’s awful. Not only does it taste like an afterthought, not something that was actually taste-tested or workshopped, but its primary focus is one of Arby’s worst meat options, the fried chicken tender. The chicken is dry, stringy, and tastes like black pepper and grease while the Swiss offers little more than a soft mouthfeel. It doesn’t melt and I’m not sure it’s even capable of melting.

The Bottom Line:

It’s the most depressing thing you’ll ever eat at Arby’s. It’s even more depressing than eating inside Arby’s alone at 9:49 pm on a Tuesday on a Spring night. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything. Like… for this article.

Find your nearest Arby’s here.

Burger King — Chicken Nuggets

Worst Fast Food
Burger King

Oh, Burger King, you’ve taken the bottom spot on so many of our rankings and we seriously gave a thought to putting your whole menu down for this ranking, but we have to give it to those Chicken Nuggets, they are truly the worst food on the BK menu.

And that’s really saying something because we’re pretty sure Burger King is home to no one’s favorite anything.

An eight-piece order of the Chicken Nuggets can be yours for the low low price of $1.49, that’s just over 18 cents per nugget, which begs the question: what the fuck is in these nuggets?! Sometimes Burger King will have a special where they’ll throw you 10 nuggets for $1.49. How is it this cheap? Do we want to know?

The flavors are truly awful, they aren’t crispy like a McNugget, they’re soft and squishy with a spongey meat texture that practically dissolves in the mouth from your saliva alone.

The Bottom Line:

This is the worst possible food you can order from a fast food drive-thru.

Find your nearest Burger King here.

Carl’s Jr. — Chicken Stars

Worst Fast Food
Carl

This was a hard one for me because I have a lot of nostalgic love for these weird star-shaped chicken… things, but when it comes down to it I have to admit, the Chicken Stars are Carl’s Jr.’s worst menu item, hands down.

Worse than any single breakfast item, all of the dessert options, and even the French Toast Dips (which are a close second), these stars just don’t really taste like chicken. They are coated in this weird super crispy but ultimately flavorless breading (it tastes like oil, that’s it) and the texture of the chicken itself is weird and webby. The meat is somewhere between a paste and halfway dry glue.

The Bottom Line:

We’ve had plant-based chicken that tastes more like chicken than these weird fucked up stars.

Find your nearest Carl’s Jr. here.

Chick-fil-A — Cool Wrap

Worst Fast Food
Chick-fil-A

I love to dunk on Chick-fil-A, and the chicken chain is constantly giving people new reasons to dislike them, but we have to admit, the menu is pretty damn solid. Because the sandwiches, nuggets, breakfast offerings, salads, and even beverages are so good, the chain seems to (mostly) get away with their shitty politics.

They’re the Kanye West of fast food chains, openly awful and somehow beloved by younger Millenials and Zoomers despite it. It was hard to find a bad item on Chick-fil-A’s menu, but we found it — it’s the Cool Wrap.

If the Cool Wrap is your go-to order, don’t feel bad, it’s just the least flavorful thing on the menu, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. This wrap features sliced grilled chicken wrapped in a layer of Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese with green leaf lettuce, in a rolled flaxseed flatbread.

The problem is this is essentially a Chick-fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad (different menu item) without the grape tomatoes, roasted corn, black beans, poblano chilies, and bell peppers, which is a long way of saying, “without flavor.”

I just don’t see why’d you’d order this instead of a salad unless you plan on eating while you’re driving. It lacks flavor, and the flaxseed wrap only makes it come across as blander.

The Bottom Line:

Essentially a Spicy Southwest Salad for people who are allergic to flavor.

Find your nearest Chick-fil-A here.

Chipotle — Queso Blanco

Worst Fast Food
Chipotle

To be fair to Chipotle’s queso, they’ve revamped the recipe and it’s significantly better than the old yellow queso they used to sell which was famously awful, but… it’s still Chipotle’s worst menu item. It’s garlicky, oniony, and has a nice blend of chili peppers that provides heat and some subtle fruitiness but it just doesn’t taste all that cheesy.

Chipotle claims that the Queso Blanco is made with a blend of white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, but you can’t really taste any of the nutty qualities of the Monterey and none of that distinct sharpness of cheddar. The onion heavily dominates the flavor which leads us to ask, what’s with that onion, Chipotle? Everything it touches it dominates. The guacamole, onion, the fajitas, onion, they even put onions in the fucking corn!

For God’s sake, Chipotle chill out with the onion.

The Bottom Line:

Smoother than Chipotle’s old queso, but still the weakest menu item by a significant amount. It’s not even worth tasting for curiosity’s sake.

Find your nearest Chipotle here.

Dairy Queen — Pretzel Sticks with Zesty Queso

Worst Fast Food
Dairy Queen

WHY?

The Bottom Line:

I’d like to speak to whoever is ordering this.

Find your nearest Dairy Queen here.

KFC — Mac & Cheese

Worst Fast Food
KFC

This one was a hard one because KFC has Pot Pie on the menu and who the f*ck is eating pot pies at KFC? I’ve had it and… it’s not that bad, the Mac & Cheese on the other hand is essentially Kraft. It has that radioactive cheese sludge quality that low-quality Mac has, a one-note salty flavor, and a creamy and sticky mouthfeel that tastes more unappetizing the longer it stays in your mouth.

Seriously this is the worst Mac & Cheese you’ll ever eat and if this is your go-to side at KFC then your tastebuds might be broken. At the very least they’re been burnt off by salt.

The Bottom Line:

KFC’s worst side, and that’s saying something considering they also have coleslaw.

Find your nearest KFC here.

In-N-Out — Fries

Worst Fast Food
In-N-Out

This should surprise no one. The fact that In-N-Out’s french fries aren’t good is every In-N-Out hater’s favorite go-to roast. That said, if you’re one of those weird people who always take it upon yourself to say “AcTUaLlY In-N-Out Isn’T ThAt GoOD AnD ThE FriEs ArE TeRrIbLE!” to people after they proclaim their love for the So-Cal burger chain, go get a life you weird party pooper.

In-N-Out is objectively delicious and yeah, the fries are bad, but let me “but actually” you for a second because while these fries taste like cardboard at best and Styrofoam at worst, they’re still not that bad.

We have to give In-N-Out credit for peeling a fry and frying it on-site, Shake Shack would never, and with the right amount of salt and pepper this is arguably one of the better fast food French fries your money can buy. No, they aren’t McDonald’s fries, but they’re natural and there isn’t a secret sprinkling of sugar on them to get you addicted.

In-N-Out’s burger deserves better accompaniment, but you could do a lot worse than this.

The Bottom Line:

It’s In-N-Out’s obvious weak link but there are multiple ways to salvage these fries. Chopped chilies, animal style, salt and pepper, asking for them “lightly fried,” it takes a little creativity but these aren’t nearly as bad as people like to pretend.

Find your nearest In-N-Out here.

Jack In The Box — Jumbo Egg Rolls

Worst Fast Food
Jack in the Box

It has taken me years of analyzing Jack in the Box’s menu, which is insane, to finally understand that Jack in the Box wants desperately to be a greasy spoon-type establishment. Where else can you get pancakes, teriyaki chicken, cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches, tacos, and thick and creamy milkshakes but at a greasy spoon? Unfortunately, Jack in the Box isn’t good at doing any of those things (aside from milkshakes) but their absolute worst menu item in a sea of bad menu items has to be the Jumbo Egg Rolls.

They look (and taste) like someone threw up an egg roll, and then rolled it up and fried it, and now you’re eating it. It is the foulest fast food creation I’ve ever experienced.

The cabbage, celery, carrot, and onion blend has a sort of dirty and sour flavor to it and the meat is dry on the outside and rubbery on the inside. Jack in the Box claims it’s pork but I’m not completely sure this is even meat.

The Bottom Line:

Jack in the Box has egg rolls! We get it, that’s novel and exciting for a fast food drive-thru, but don’t order them. Even when you’re stoned.

Find your nearest Jack in the Box here.

McDonald’s — Sausage Burrito

Worst Fast Food
McDonald

McDonald’s Sausage Burrito is an actual insult to the very concept of the burrito. If this was for some reason the only burrito you ever ate, you’d come to the conclusion that burritos aren’t good, because this thing has no redeeming qualities.

The tortilla isn’t steamed on the grill and it tastes chalky and chewy like they just took it out of the package. I’m not expecting fresh tortillas from McDonald’s, but come one, heat it up on the grill to make it more pliable and bring forward the flavors. Even Chipotle heats up their tortillas despite keeping all of their other ingredients at frustratingly lukewarm temperatures.

If all of that wasn’t enough, McDonald’s practically spits in all of our mouths by throwing American cheese into this thing. So here are the flavors you’re getting: the sharpness of McDonald’s onions, dry and funky smelling scrambled eggs, peppers that provide texture but no flavor, dry sausage, and the salty quality of a not-quite-melted slice of American cheese wrapped in a thick tortilla that tastes like flour dustings.

Mmm.

The Bottom Line:

The worst breakfast burrito you’ll ever eat in your life. You couldn’t make a worse burrito with your eyes closed.

Find your nearest McDonald’s here.

Popeyes — Coleslaw

Worst Fast Food
Popeyes

I love Popeyes, I think for the most part the chicken chain does a pretty good-to-great job at everything they make, even the beignets! But this Coleslaw is vile. It’s sour and quite frankly, it smells spoiled. Was I served a bad order of coleslaw? Maybe, but I didn’t stick around to find out. I ate a spoonful, nearly gagged, and had to throw it away.

Popeyes shouldn’t sell this, it’s taking up a menu slot that can be better utilized by something else. Give us a corn cob, a vegetable side, anything else but this.

The Bottom Line:

Disgusting isn’t a strong enough word to describe just how truly bad this is.

Find your nearest Popeyes here.

Rally’s — Fry-Seasoned Monsterella Stix

Worst Fast Food
Rally

I know, I know, Rally’s fries are amazing, those new fry-seasoned chicken strips? Love ‘em, chili cheese fries made with these puppies? Forget about it. Delicious. Fast food game-changers, but this batter just doesn’t work with mozzarella cheese.

There is a sickly oily flavor to this thing, the cheap cheese leaks grease into a batter that is too light and doesn’t provide enough crunch, it just tastes like a greasy mess, and not in a good way. It’s kind of a disgrace to mozzarella sticks, it doesn’t really satisfy your craving for fried mozzarella, and it doesn’t live up to the expectations you’ll undoubtedly have if you love Rally’s fries.

The Bottom Line:

In addition to the sin of being called ‘Monsterella Stix,’ these are awful and will only disappoint you.

Find your nearest Rally’s here.

Shake Shack — Fries

Worst Fast Food
Shake Shack

I’m not sure why In-N-Out’s fries constantly get shit on when we have these things over at Shake Shack wasting menu space. In-N-Out makes a great cheeseburger, but Shake Shack’s is on another level thanks to its custom Pat LaFrieda meat blend. The Shack has managed to make a gourmet cheeseburger in every sense of the word and deliver it to a fast food hungry audience so call me crazy for expecting the same level of craft when it comes to the fries.

But these might be one of fast food’s worst fries. They’re not so much crispy as they are hard, and while they’re noticeably fluffy, they have no flavor, they just taste like crispy salt. These are frozen fries, which some people swear by because freezing potatoes can cause them to crisp up better, but there is a better way, and it’s in keeping with Shake Shack’s gourmet practices.

Let me help you out Shake Shack because I’m a bit of a French fry expert. First, you peel a potato and chop it up. Then you toss it in a pot of boiling water with a hint of vinegar. The vinegar will help the potato to keep its consistency once it’s boiled.

Once cooled, toss the boiled fries in the oil of your choice and you’ve got a perfectly cooked French fry. It’ll be crispy on the outside and buttery and fluffy on the inside and if you really want to get crazy, you can double fry it for even more crispiness.

The Bottom Line:

It’s hard to f*ck up fries, but Shake Shack has done it.

Find your nearest Shake Shack here.

Taco Bell — Nachos BellGrande

Worst Fast Food
Taco Bell

I’m sorry to whoever’s favorite Taco Bell meal is the Nachos BellGrande because I’m sure it’s someone. This is the most low-effort attempt at making nachos I’ve ever eaten, a movie theater couldn’t do worse. On a bed of way-too-thin tortilla chips sits some of Taco Bell’s weird ground meat, which shouldn’t even be legal to sell, a few chunks of pale tomato, a smattering of powdered beans, a dollop of sour cream — which does the flavor no favors — and some globs of nacho cheese.

It tastes like garbage. ‘But how do you know what garbage tastes like?!’ Because I’ve had Taco Bell. There isn’t a single redeeming quality about this dish, and the longer it takes you to eat it, the worse it gets.

It also smells absolutely awful and that smell will transfer over to you for hours after the meal is finished, wafting from multiple orifices.

The Bottom Line:

The worst nachos you will ever eat.

Find your nearest Taco Bell here.

Wendy’s — Jr. Cheeseburger

Worst Fast Food
Wendy

Wendy’s menu is completely solid. They have tasty breakfast offerings, a great list of sides, delicious chicken sandwiches, mid-tier nuggets, great burgers, and good fries. So finding a weak link in the mighty Wendy’s armor wasn’t easy, until one fateful day we weren’t feeling that hungry and opted for the Junior Cheeseburger in lieu of the quarter-pound Dave’s Single.

Big mistake. What sets Wendy’s apart from a lot of other fast food places is that the chain only uses fresh, non-frozen beef (though this is becoming less novel thanks to fast-casual restaurants) but this beef tastes like it’s from a completely different stock. Dry, spongey, and weirdly nervy, this doesn’t possess any of the decadent salty goodness that the Dave’s Single has, it just tastes cheap.

The Bottom Line:

Never order a Jr. cheeseburger at Wendy’s. We don’t care how good the deal is, it’s not worth it for this cafeteria-quality cheeseburger.

Find your nearest Wendy’s here.

What Have We Missed?

Please let us know in the comments of any other truly awful menu items out there, we’ll taste ’em and maybe even rant about them!

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