From Cheez-It pizza to doughnut chicken sandwiches, these were the 16 most outrageous fast-food releases of 2019

Irene Jiang / Business InsiderFast-food chains are always coming up with crazy new concoctions.

‘Tis the season to be full, and also the season to reflect.

2019 has been one heck of a year. We said goodbye to “Game of Thrones,” but also hello to the Popeyes chicken sandwich. Forever 21 may end its tenure at hundreds of malls, while Toys R Us rose from the dead in a slightly different form.

In the ever-growing chaos that is the world, there remains one constant: fast-food chains are always, always coming up with brave new concoctions that defy the laws of logic and nutrition.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the 16 most outrageous fast-food releases of the year.

Burger King — Taco

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Burger King baffled the world – and me – when it released a dollar taco in July. It’s meant to compete with the wildly popular Jack in the Box taco, but I just couldn’t get over how weird – and bad – it was.

KFC — Fried Chicken and Doughnuts

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There’s already chicken and waffles, so the next step in the natural progression of things is obviously chicken and doughnuts. KFC released this bad boy in September to a starstruck audience of chicken lovers still reeling from Popeyes sandwich outage heartbreak.

Starbucks — Tie-Dye Frappuccino

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In July, the Tie-Dye Frappuccino blasted onto Instagram accounts everywhere. It may have looked like a melted rainbow, but it tasted like banana candy, apparently.

Wendy’s — Breakfast Baconator

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OK, but what if Wendy’s had breakfast? Technically the Breakfast Baconator is only being sold at 300 test locations. Imagine a Baconator, but with breakfast sausage and an egg instead of plain burger patties. That’s what this is.

KFC — Wings

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Wings themselves aren’t weird, but KFC wings? KFC does fried chicken. Other places do wings. Plus, our taste test of these saucy sticks reinforced our initial gut reaction: not great.

Popeyes — Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Pie

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Pumpkin pie, sure. But pumpkin and cream cheese pie is just one of those “trust me, it’s good” kind of things. And trust me, it’s good.

KFC — Cheetos Sandwich

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This fluorescent orange sandwich looks and tastes like the brainchild of a stoned college kid. That’s not a bad thing, though, as this one was surprisingly good.

Pizza Hut — Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza

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Sure, it’s shaped like a Cheez-It and it’s called a pizza, but it somehow manages to taste like neither. Instead, it just tastes like grease cut with more grease, then doused in canned tomato sauce.

Burger King — Spicy Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

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Spicy chicken is great. It’s wonderful. Everybody likes a good spicy chicken sandwich. Spicy chicken parmesan? Not so wonderful.

McDonald’s — Doughnut Sticks


There’s nothing particularly outrageous about fried dough. But usually we fry dough in circle shapes. It’s just the way it’s done. But McDonald’s decided to be different and fry dough in stick shapes. So now we have doughnut sticks, now served with chocolate dipping sauce.

Olive Garden — Lasagna Mia

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Yet another example of a chain taking a perfectly good shape and replacing it with a not-so-perfectly good shape. Lasagna is just fine in a square. Why turn it into a pasta pinwheel that resembles pancakes?

Hard Rock Cafe — 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger

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In June, Hard Rock Cafe slapped 24-karat gold leaf onto a hamburger, and that was that. Gold leaf has become a food fad recently, and one that adds no flavour to a meal – just sparkle. But just how gilded do you want your Hard Rock Cafe burger to be?

McDonald’s — Chicken McGriddle

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With all the fuss about chicken sandwiches, McDonald’s decided to raise its stakes in the game by slapping a McChicken patty between two McGriddles. It’s one thing to create a new item around fried chicken, but it’s another thing to lazily slap two things together that don’t belong together.

Taco Bell — Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

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First, Taco Bell asked, “Can we fry it?” The answer was yes. Then, Taco Bell asked, “Can we smother it in cheese and then fry it?” The answer was the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, which was undoubtedly summoned up by the stoned college kid who brought us the KFC Cheetos sandwich.

IHOP — Pancake Burger

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IHOP is like that kid who asks questions they think are clever but are actually really annoying. Last year, it flipped the “P” in its name to become IHOb. This year, it put a pancake in a burger.

Popeyes — BYOB

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Last but definitely not least: Popeyes’ “Bring Your Own Bun” promotion. This wasn’t so much a new item as a misguided attempt to assuage jilted fans who didn’t manage to taste the chicken sandwich the first time around. But it apparently forgot to tell all of its workers.

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