We tried the 3 cheapest meals at Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's. Here's which meal left us fullest.

Gabbi Shaw/INSIDERThe Burger King chicken sandwich.

Chances are, you’re probably loyal to one of three fast food kings: McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s. Thankfully, the town I grew up in had all three, so I never had to choose between these three titans.

But, one has to be the best. Here at INSIDER, we’ve ranked fast food apple pie, tacos, and mac and cheese, among many others.

In this latest taste test, we pitted the value or discount menus of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s against each other: the $US1 $US2 $US3 menu, the King Meal Deal, and the 4 for $US4, respectively.

At Burger King and Wendy’s, I was able to try both chicken and burgers, because they were part of the deals. However, I didn’t try one at McDonald’s, because it simply wasn’t available on their discount menu.

Here’s what I thought of these meals.

My first stop was McDonald’s. The mega-franchise got rid of its iconic Dollar Menu back in 2015, and has since replaced it with the $US1 $US2 $US3 Dollar Menu. It was hiding off to the side, away from the other menus.

Mcdonald's menuGabbi Shaw/INSIDERThe McDonald’s $US1 $US2 $US3 menu was hard to spot.

The selection islimited. The only food on it is the two piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders – their version of chicken fingers – for $US2, and the medium fries for $US3.


Read more:
McDonald’s just had its worst day ever after its new Dollar Menu gets slammed as a failure

Everything else is a drink.

I went with the crispy tenders, a small Diet Coke, and a small fries. In total, my meal was $US5.98

Mcdonald's dollar menu mealsGabbi Shaw/INSIDERHere’s my entire meal.

The tenders were $US2, my small fries were $US2.50, and the drink was a dollar.

The McDonald’s fries were the perfect amount of salty and crispy. My only complaint? I wish there was more of them. Eating perfectly salted fries is akin to pure joy.

Mcdonald's friesGabbi Shaw/INSIDERMcDonald’s fries were tasty.

These fries were the easiest to chow down, since they’re so thin. It felt like I inhaled them.

The tenders were a little too chewy, but I really enjoyed the seasoning. It was just the right amount of spice.

Mcdonald's chicken tendersGabbi Shaw/INSIDERI got barbecue sauce and honey mustard.

The seasoning on the chicken tenders is one of the major differences between them and McNuggets (chicken nuggets). McNuggets are a bit more bland.

I washed it all down with a Diet Coke – much needed, due to the saltiness of the fries.

Next up was Burger King. While I didn’t see it anywhere in the store, according to the mobile app, BK offers a deal called the King Meal Deal.

Burger kingGabbi Shaw/INSIDERBurger King at its peak hours.

The King Meal Deal comes in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. I opted for the small, which is $US4 before tax.

The King Meal Deal consists of two sandwiches, fries, and a drink. I opted for a cheeseburger and a Chicken Jr.

Burger king mealGabbi Shaw/INSIDERChicken on the left, burger on the right.

A normal cheeseburger comes with pickles, ketchup, and mustard. I subbed out the mustard for mayo. The Chicken Jr. comes with lettuce and mayo. I added ketchup as well.

The whole thing came out to $US4.36.

Burger king friesGabbi Shaw/INSIDERThe BK fries.

Burger King fries aren’t the best. They were a little too bland for me – aka, not enough salt – but the crispy texture was perfect. Still, I prefer the more thin McDonald’s fries.

The chicken sandwich was far and away the best part of the meal. The chicken was perfectly seasoned, and less spicy than the McDonald’s tenders, which I appreciated.

Burger king chicken sandwichGabbi Shaw/INSIDERThe Chicken Jr.

I’d go as far as to say it was the best chicken of my three meals, and definitely what I’ll order when I return to Burger King. The sandwiches were a decently large size for fast food. I definitely didn’t feel skimped at BK.

The burger was less impressive. It was dry, rubbery, and didn’t have a great taste. Plus, my cheese wasn’t melted at all, so it was like a cold slice of cheese was slapped onto my burger. Not great, BK.

Burger king burgerGabbi Shaw/INSIDERA dry cheeseburger.

There’s not a speck of pink in there – just fully, totally brown.

On my last stop of this fast food tour, I went to Wendy’s to try the famed 4 for $US4 deal. After tax, it came out to $US4.36.

Wendys pandamoniumGabbi Shaw/INSIDERWendy’s was crowded.

It was overwhelming to be inside the Wendy’s – it was definitely more crowded than the other two at similar times during the day.

The 4 for $US4 is exactly what it sounds like: four things for $US4. Mainly, it’s a choice of a sandwich, four chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink. I opted for a cheeseburger.

Wendys mealGabbi Shaw/INSIDERMy 4 for $US4.

This was easily the most food – the fries were the biggest size, and four nuggets was just enough.

Wendy’s nuggets were good, but they were pretty bland. It was mainly just a plain chicken nugget. They benefited from the honey mustard.

Wendys nuggetsGabbi Shaw/INSIDERThe nuggets.

I would have appreciated an option for chicken tenders, since those are usually more seasoned.

I preferred Wendy’s burger over Burger King’s. It was juicier, and came with more toppings.

Wendys burgerGabbi Shaw/INSIDERI enjoyed this burger a lot.

The burger came with cheese, pickles, onion, ketchup, and mustard. The two were roughly the same size, but the Wendy’s burger wasn’t dry at all, and came with a little bit of pink inside, which I like in my burgers. The Burger King burger was definitely cooked well-done, while this was medium.

Overall, the Wendy’s 4 for $US4 left me the fullest. I also enjoyed the variety. But, my perfect meal would have consisted of McDonald’s fries, Burger King’s chicken, and Wendy’s burger.

Ideal meal skitchGabbi Shaw/INSIDERMy ideal meal combo.

All that for $US4 would make me a very happy customer.

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