The seemingly infinite number of fast-food breakfast choices is befuddling.
Where can you get a filling, tasty, and reasonably nutritious breakfast sandwich? Where can you get one for under five bucks? Who will save the day and eat several thousand heart-stopping calories’ worth of bacon, chicken, egg, sausage, cheese, croissants, biscuits, muffins, and ciabatta bread – for the greater good, of course?
I tried the signature breakfast sandwiches from Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ in order to find out which chain makes the best morning-meal-in-a-bun.
I judged the sandwiches based on their buns, filling, and overall taste. I rated them from one to five in each metric to reach a completely scientific, objective, definitive, and quantitative conclusion totally not just based on my personal experience and preferences.
Prices reflect the cost of items at Manhattan locations of each chain.
Here’s what I found:
WENDY’S — BREAKFAST BACONATOR, $US3.99: Dressed in the only brioche burger bun of the lineup, Wendy’s sandwich stands out for its unabashed burger-ness. The sunny-side-up egg and square sausage patty are so on-brand.
BUN: 3 — A burger bun on a breakfast sandwich isn’t exactly creative, but it’s also not bad. FILLING: 5 — It has everything you could possibly want on a breakfast sandwich: bacon, cheese, egg, and sausage — and plenty of it.
OVERALL FLAVOUR: 4 — Everything works really well together, and as always, Wendy’s delivers on slightly higher-quality ingredients. However, the brioche bun isn’t exactly thrilling breakfast material.
BUN: 4 — The McMuffin is strong and chewy. You feel safe in its arms even though it’s spent a little too long in the tanning bed. FILLING: 5 — Why doesn’t McD use the McMuffin egg in everything? It’s perfect, a soft yolk in a circular white. The cheese and ham are oh-so-flavorful and salty.
OVERALL FLAVOUR: 5 — I’m going to go ahead and assume that the slightly burnt McMuffin was a fluke, because everything else in this just worked so well. Great work, team!
BURGER KING — SAUSAGE, EGG, AND CHEESE CROISSAN’WICH, $US3.79: My arteries constrict when I look at this big, buttery bad boy.
BUN: 3 — Can I really call this a croissant? Kind of. It’s soft, flat, and not flaky at all, but it practically oozes butter. FILLING: 4 — The juicy, juicy sausage is the star of the show. The egg is surprisingly decent, but the cheese went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back.
OVERALL FLAVOUR: 5 — BK’s fatty beast of a breakfast sandwich is greater than the sum of its parts. My body says no, but my mouth says yes. I’m disgusted, but I also can’t deny my heart what it wants, even if what it wants is probably bad for it.
STARBUCKS — BACON, GOUDA, AND EGG SANDWICH, $US4.15: This sandwich is just a little smaller and fancier than all the others, like a handbag Chihuahua.
BUN: 4 — It’s a crunchy, toasty ciabatta, but just because it’s fancy doesn’t mean it’s flavorful. FILLING: 3 — The bacon and Gouda are impressively flavorful, but the egg is especially meh. It has a frozen-then-heated texture: mushy, gritty, and bland.
OVERALL: 3 — Even though this sandwich has potential, it never works hard enough to reach it.
DUNKIN’ — SAUSAGE EGG AND CHEESE CROISSANT, $US4.29: This sandwich is so built it makes you wonder how it got that way.
BUN: 4 — This croissant is fluffy, flaky, and hot, but also very sweet. FILLING: 3 — There is lots of everything, but everything is very odd. The egg yolk is concentrated in one corner, and the sausage is thick and juicy but tastes off.
OVERALL TASTE: 3 — This sandwich goes for quantity over quality. The good news is you could probably split it with a friend and both be full.
Spin the wheel of breakfast sandwiches! Round and round and round it goes! Where it stops, nobody knows — except you, after you read the next slide.
Congratulations! You’ve won the jackpot: the Egg McMuffin. At a relatively low 290 calories, it’s also the tastiest sandwich. And it makes sense: McDonald’s has had nearly half a century to perfect it.
But I might cheat on the McMuffin once or twice with the gut-churning greaser that is Burger King’s Croissan’wich. What’s love but a secondhand emotion?
And if none of these catch your fancy, there are always more sandwiches in the sea of fast-food breakfast options.