Even though Culver’s has been around for a relatively short amount of time, this fast food chain is quickly climbing the charts as one of the most successful chains in the nation. After opening their doors for the first time in 1984, they now have approximately 800 locations across 25 states and they’ve become the most beloved burger restaurant brand in the United States.
In addition to the burgers, Culver’s has a plethora of menu items that are inspired by the fact that this company was founded in the heart of America’s Dairyland in Wisconsin. With more than a dozen items capable of knocking your socks off residing on their menu, a trip to this fast food eatery is sure to be exciting for your taste buds — as long as you know what to order.
To help lead you to the best of the best, we’ve ranked the food at Culver’s starting with the worst and ending with the cream of the crop. While not every menu item made the list, we have included all of their most popular choices.
25. Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Although the meat inside of the Buffalo Chicken Tenders is flavorful, the breading is so revolting that it overshadows everything else. Culver’s tried to make chicken tenders that were inherently spicy but this experiment should be deemed a failure. Stay as far away as you can from this menu item.
The Buffalo Chicken Tenders have breading that has been seasoned with paprika, black pepper, and chili pepper. The first tragedy is the texture. The breading is simultaneously too crunchy and too powdery. Biting into one of these tenders is akin to biting a piece of chalk. You’ll need to take a drink to get the powder out of your mouth. The second tragedy is the flavor. It’s trying to taste like hot buffalo wings but the heat is limited and there’s a strong, off-putting aftertaste. Even if you dip these Buffalo Chicken Tenders in Culver’s tasty Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing, you still won’t be able to hide from the terrible flavor.
24. George’s Chili
If you’ve tried the chili from Wendy’s, you know how delicious it is. On a cold, blustery night, Wendy’s chili is the perfect thing to warm your soul. It features ground beef, pinto beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, celery, and other yummy ingredients. Culver’s is another fast food chain that sells chili. Sadly, it’s not nearly as good as what you can get at Wendy’s.
Culver’s version is called George’s Chili and has many of the same ingredients as Wendy’s version including ground beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, and celery. Unfortunately, while the recipes are obviously similar, the outcome is completely different. Compared to Wendy’s masterpiece, George’s Chili is more watery and the spices are muted.
George’s Chili Supreme is the same lackluster chili with shredded cheese, diced onions, and sour cream added on top. It’s a little bit better but still a far cry from what you can find at Wendy’s.
23. Harvest Veggie Burger
Vegetarians have to be overjoyed that there are so many scrumptious meatless burgers available at fast food restaurants these days at destinations like Shake Shack and BurgerFi. Culver’s has a meatless burger but, tragically, it’s not good at all. Their Harvest Veggie Burger is so bland that it could make a vegetarian second-guess their life decisions. The patty of this meatless burger is made from a combination of mushrooms, garbanzo beans, corn, and pepper. While that sounds like it should be amazing, the patty is completely forgettable. Instead of being a suitable replacement for a beef patty, it tastes like congealed baby food.
It comes with a tomato slice, red onion, shredded lettuce, dill pickle, and mayo but that’s still not enough to distract you from the disappointing patty. Even if you pile on more toppings, the patty will still doom this burger and make you rue the day that you decided it was a good idea to order it.
22. Chopped Steak Dinner
Even if you keep your expectations really low, the Chopped Steak Dinner from Culver’s will still manage to underwhelm you. Going into the meal, you knew it wasn’t going to be close to as memorable as a meal you could get from a national steakhouse chain. What you didn’t know was that it wouldn’t even be as good as a high-quality frozen dinner. For example, when factoring in the cost, you’re much better off going with the Classic Salisbury Steak made by Banquet than ordering this menu item from Culver’s.
The Chopped Steak Dinner comes with steak that’s been covered by white mushrooms, red onions, and brown gravy. You also get a dinner roll and your choice of two sides. The main problem is the chewiness of the steak. Unless you want to give your jaw a workout, you will not enjoy the experience of trying to eat this meat. The other notable problem is the gravy and its lack of savory goodness.
21. Butterfly Jumbo Shrimp Dinner
Sometimes you can get lucky and find tasty shrimp at restaurants that aren’t seafood-centric. Regrettably, that’s not the case at Culver’s. Their shrimp looks like it will taste great but your mood will sour once you pop a few shrimp in your mouth.
The Butterfly Jumbo Shrimp Dinner comes with either six pieces of shrimp or you can pay more to get 10 pieces. Unlike the Buffalo Chicken Tenders, the breading is not the problem. The issue is the shrimp itself. It doesn’t have a fresh flavor and it has a little bit of a plasticky aftertaste. If you’ve ever eaten shrimp fresh from the ocean, you’ll instantly recognize that this fast food shrimp is a massive step down from that.
Culver’s has Shrimp Cocktail Sauce but it too is a letdown. The amount of horseradish is too light, which causes it to have a feeble bite and taste too much like ketchup.
20. Pork Loin Sandwich
Don’t hop out of your chair and rush to Culver’s because you mistakenly thought they have something similar to the McDonald’s legendary McRib on their menu. Yes, it’s sad when the McRib disappears out of the blue but Culver’s Pork Loin Sandwich is a completely different animal. While they’re both made with pork, that’s where the similarities begin and end.
The Pork Loin Sandwich has, you guessed it, pork loin that has been expertly breaded by hand with cracker crumbs. Unfortunately, the breaded pork loin just doesn’t have much flavor. Even if you add onions, pickles, ketchup, or mustard to the sandwich, the lack of flavor will cause you to become bored. By the time you have finished swallowing the Pork Loin Sandwich, you will fully understand why McDonald’s douses its McRib with an overflowing amount of barbecue sauce that is extra tangy. Take away that barbecue sauce and the McRib would be almost as boring as this Culver’s menu item.
19. Crinkle Cut Fries
When your eyes first catch a glimpse of the Crinkle Cut Fries at Culver’s, you will be reminded of those soggy, flavorless cafeteria fries you struggled to eat during your childhood. The good news is that these fries aren’t as bad as the fries from your elementary school’s cafeteria. The bad news is they’re only moderately better.
Culver’s Crinkle Cut Fries aren’t soggy at all. Instead, they’re placed in fryer oil until they become golden brown in color and crispy in texture. Flavor-wise, though, these fries are still lacking. Compare them to the best fast food fries you can find and this Culver’s menu item would be in the middle of the pack — at best.
With all the other spectacular sides available at this fast food restaurant, there’s really no good excuse to settle for their fries. Even if you typically order your fast food meal with fries, you need to think outside of the potato when you visit Culver’s.
18. Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Another underwhelming side at Culver’s is their Mashed Potatoes & Gravy. If you’re expecting something that’s identical to KFC’s version, you’re bound to have a bad time.
It’s not the mashed potatoes side of the equation that’s the problem with this Culver’s menu item. They use Russet potatoes and real milk and the potatoes are mashed until they’re fluffy. The issue is the gravy. Instead of the extremely savory and rich brown gravy from KFC that you’ve grown to know and love, this is a thin, white gravy that will cause you to yawn. This type of gravy might work on chicken but it’s totally out of place on mashed potatoes. The gravy doesn’t taste horrible, mind you, but it’s not comparable to the gravy that you can find elsewhere in the fast food universe. Like the aforementioned Crinkle Cut Fries, pick a better side than the Mashed Potatoes & Gravy when you’re dining at Culver’s.
17. Beef Pot Roast Sandwich
Sometimes the Beef Pot Roast Sandwich is decent enough, but other times this sandwich is gross. Do you feel like taking that gamble the next time you go to Culver’s? Unless you’re a fanatic of slow-cooked beef, you’d be better off picking a safer bet.
What will determine your happiness when you order the Beef Pot Roast Sandwich is the status of the beef. When this sandwich is at its best, the beef is moist, tender, and oozing with flavors. When this sandwich is loathsome, it’s because the beef is dried out and crusty. Since there’s no sauce on this sandwich, if you get crusty beef it has no choice but to remain dry.
Culver’s also has a Beef Pot Roast Dinner. Though not as popular as the sandwich, it’s a better pick because the dinner comes with brown gravy on the beef. Thus, even if the beef is initially dry, the gravy will help to make it edible.
16. Sourdough Melt
There’s a lot to like about the Sourdough Melt from Culver’s. This sandwich features a pair of beef patties, grilled onions, and two slices of glorious cheddar cheese that has been aged to perfection. If you eat the beef, onions, and cheese by itself, there would be nothing to complain about. However, there’s one thing that is impossible to ignore: the sourdough bread is so weird that it ruins the sandwich.
Typically, sourdough bread isn’t actually that sour. But Culver’s version of this bread took its name to heart and went way too far. Their sourdough bread is too sour and it has a biting aftertaste that takes away from the other positive qualities of this sandwich.
Since it wouldn’t be logical to order a Sourdough Melt without sourdough bread, don’t take it upon yourself to try to fix this sandwich. Pick something else off of Culver’s menu. As you’ll read, there are a lot of great options.
15. Grilled Chicken Sandwich
For the right person, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Culver’s makes a lot of sense. This is the first menu item on this list that you can order without a scintilla of remorse. This sandwich is perfectly okay and will surely keep a frown from appearing on your face.
Unlike a lot of grilled chicken sandwiches at other fast food restaurants, the chicken in this sandwich is both juicy and flavorful. It’s not quite as good as Chick-fil-A’s version — but it’s close. This sandwich from Culver’s also comes with lettuce, pickles, and a tomato slice on a roll that has been lightly toasted.
The only drawback with the Grilled Chicken Sandwich is the fact that it’s not very filling. If you’re hungry, you’ll want to order something else. Conversely, if you just want a quick snack that qualifies as healthy, this is a wise option. It has only 390 calories and only eight grams of fat, while packing 41 grams of protein.
14. Grilled Reuben Melt
When you see the Grilled Reuben Melt on Culver’s menu, you know that ordering it would be risky. This sandwich is rather complicated and has a lot of ingredients. Like is the case with the previously mentioned Sourdough Melt, all it takes is for one aspect of the sandwich to go astray and the entire thing will be spoiled.
Thankfully, the Grilled Reuben Melt is a success despite its complicated nature. On this sandwich, you will discover slow-cooked corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, delectable Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. All the ingredients are of high quality and the combined taste is yummy. The only alteration you should consider is leaving off the Thousand Island dressing because this sandwich really doesn’t need it. Without the dressing, the corned beef and the sauerkraut is able to shine even more.
Whereas the Sourdough Melt suffered due to Culver’s subpar sourdough bread, the Grilled Reuben Melt utilizes rye bread — and it’s so much better.
13. Cranberry Bacon Bleu Salad with Grilled Chicken
While fast food salads are hit-or-miss in general, the salad choices at Culver’s are all above average. This chain is known for using fresh ingredients, which is especially important when it comes to crafting a winning salad.
The Cranberry Bacon Bleu Salad with Grilled Chicken is one of Culver’s most popular salads. It contains mixed greens, grape tomatoes, dried cranberries, slices of cucumber, crumbles of bleu cheese, and pieces of grilled chicken. Each and every morsel of this salad is a hit. If you’re unsure of which salad dressing you should select to go on top of this salad, you can’t go wrong with Culver’s French Dressing. Featuring tomato, lemon juice, garlic, onion, paprika, and other spices, this succulent dressing manages to be both sweet and acidic at the same time.
If you want a salad that is a little bit more basic, the Garden Fresco Salad is the right selection. It has mixed green, grape tomatoes, croutons, slices of cucumbers, and shredded cheddar cheese.
You either love coleslaw or you hate coleslaw. In this world, there’s very little middle ground when it comes to this side. If you hate it, you shouldn’t order it at Culver’s. Even though it’s really, really good for what it is — it’s still coleslaw. On the other hand, if you love coleslaw, you owe it to yourself to try this Culver’s yumminess while you’re still in the land of the living.
Their coleslaw looks like regular coleslaw that you can find at a multitude of other fast food joints. However, following a single spoonful, you’ll fully grasp the awesomeness of this stuff. The two main ingredients are cabbage and carrots. From there, Culver’s adds a number of other ingredients including vinegar, egg yolk, garlic, paprika, and sugar. The result is a coleslaw that has a deep, rich flavor along with enjoyable bursts of sweetness and sourness.
Since Culver’s has such dull fries and mashed potatoes, don’t hesitate to sub those sides out and replace them with coleslaw.
11. Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Culver’s has a Crispy Chicken Sandwich that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. This sandwich boasts of breading that is "Southern-style," which basically means that the breading looks similar to what you see when you order Chick-fil-A’s famous chicken sandwich. In addition to the pickles that are also present on Chick-fil-A’s sandwich, the Culver’s version has lettuce and tomato. Take a bite and you’ll be thrilled by the juicy chicken and the breading that tastes like it’s been blessed with the optimal amount of garlic powder and onion powder. The toasted bun is also a highlight.
Why isn’t the Crispy Chicken Sandwich higher on this list? While everyone would agree that this Culver’s menu item is tasty, it’s only a run-of-the-mill chicken sandwich compared to the best fried chicken sandwiches that are available at other fast food restaurants. Specifically, while this Culver’s sandwich resembles Chick-fil-A’s sandwich, the Chick-fil-A offering is unquestionably superior.
10. Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger
The vast majority of people will adore Culver’s Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger, however there are sure to be a few dissenters. Everyone will agree that the beef patty, two slices of Swiss cheese, and the toasted and buttered bun are all excellent. The mushrooms are the only questionable aspect about this burger.
Culver’s cooks their white mushrooms with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, butter, and oil. As a result, these mushrooms have a stronger flavor than what is traditionally found inside of a mushroom and swiss burger. Most customers don’t mind at all and actually think they enhance the experience. If you want to take some of the focus off of the supercharged mushrooms, consider adding mayo to your burger.
You can get the Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger with one, two, or three beef patties. If you’re starving, you should opt for two or three patties because the version with only one patty is relatively small.
9. Original Chicken Tenders
While the Buffalo Chicken Tenders are a disaster, that doesn’t mean you should give up on Culver’s handheld chicken options. In fact, their Original Chicken Tenders might be their most universally loved menu item. From the littlest of children to the wisest of grandparents, everyone will agree that these things are yummy. The golden exterior is stupendous and the juicy white meat in the middle is equally as exquisite. If you’re ordering for a large group of people, the safest plan at Culver’s is to just order a whole bunch of these tenders.
When you have one of these Original Chicken Tenders in your fingers, the most difficult decision you will have is which of Culver’s sauces to dip it in. The BBQ Sauce is deliciously smoky and adds a fun amount of sweetness. Alternatively, the Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce offers an entertaining whirlwind of flavors including apricot, pineapple, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
8. Chicken Noodle Soup
Culver’s Chicken Noodle Soup is so tasty that you will legitimately be shocked the first time you taste it. If you like Campbell’s timeless Classic Chicken Noodle Soup, you will absolutely love Culver’s upgraded version. You may struggle to ever go back to canned chicken noodle soup again.
The Chicken Noodle Soup from Culver’s contains egg noodles, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, pepper, chicken broth, and tender chicken chunks. Dark meat chicken is used in their recipe, which means the meat is extra savory and extra flavorful.
Culver’s has other soups on their menu that are worth ordering including Stuffed Green Pepper Soup, Potato with Bacon Soup, Tomato Florentine Soup, and Broccoli Cheese Soup. The Chicken Noodle Soup is better but these are also worth trying. The only soup you should actively avoid at Culver’s is their Boston Clam Chowder Soup. It’s a poor imitation of the clam chowder you can find in Boston and elsewhere on the East Coast.
7. The Culver’s Deluxe
The Culver’s Deluxe is the most diverse burger you can find at this fast food restaurant. It has a lot going on but at the end of your meal, you’ll be happy that you selected this burger. Get it with two patties and you’ll be filled to the brim.
Under the bun, you’ll find tomato slices, red onions, pickles, American cheese, and mayo. The two ingredients that will really stand out from the rest are the cheese and the onions. Culver’s American cheese blows Kraft Singles and every other store-bought American cheese out of the water, while the onions add a hint of sweetness that will keep you grinning.
If you’re eating on the run, stick to getting one or two beef patties on your burger. The Culver’s Deluxe with three beef patties needs to be eaten with caution, as it has a tendency to fall apart. When you’re on the go, the last thing you want to deal with is a messy burger.
6. Blueberry Cobbler Concrete Mixer
Culver’s is known for their fantastic frozen custard — and that’s no accident. They take great pride in their custard. It’s slowly churned throughout the day to keep it creamy and just slightly warmer than regular ice cream. If you walk inside of one of their restaurants, you can see the custard being churned right before your eyes.
The custard-based options at Culver’s are virtually limitless. Possible options include everything from a Vanilla Waffle Cone to a Caramel Cashew Sundae, and from a Chocolate Shake to a Banana Split. That said, if you want to try Culver’s frozen custard at its best, strongly consider purchasing a Blueberry Cobbler Concrete Mixer. This incredible dessert begins with their delicious vanilla custard and is joined by blueberries and granola clusters that are extra crunchy. The sweet and rich custard mixed with the tart berries makes for a wondrous treat, while the granola adds a delightful texture.
5. Wisconsin Swiss Melt
The Wisconsin Swiss Melt is like Culver’s Sourdough Melt except for one big difference: this sandwich actually tastes really good. What’s the difference? The Wisconsin Swiss Melt uses the same rye bread that can be found on the Grilled Reuben Melt instead of their horrendous sourdough bread. It’s truly a night and day difference that cannot be overstated.
What’s the difference between the Wisconsin Swiss Melt and a traditional patty melt? There’s actually not much difference. A patty melt usually has caramelized onions, while Culver’s uses grilled onions on this sandwich. Additionally, the rye bread in a traditional patty melt is sometimes grilled with mayonnaise. Instead of mayo, Culver’s butters their rye bread before grilling it. But, essentially, you can consider this sandwich to be this restaurant’s version of a patty melt.
Don’t be surprised if your favorite part of the Wisconsin Swiss Melt is the Swiss cheese. The cheese is super gooey and breathtakingly flavorful.
4. Onion Rings
Why would you ever get Culver’s Crinkle Cut Fries when their Onion Rings are so glorious? Not only are their Onion Rings great when compared to the Crinkle Cut Fries, they’re actually the best fast food onion rings in all the land. You could go to every other fast food chain in the United States and you won’t be able to locate better onion rings.
The secret to Culver’s success when it comes to these rings begins with the fact that they use real onions. Some chains make their onion rings with onion paste or onion flavoring but you don’t need to worry about that trickery if you go to Culver’s. Their rings come from whole onions and aren’t fried until you place your order. The batter is tasty and contains a variety of spices including paprika. You can dip these rings in ketchup or mustard but they’re so scrumptious that you really don’t need to use any dipping sauces at all.
3. North Atlantic Cod Dinner
While Culver’s may have iffy shrimp, there’s nothing wrong with their North Atlantic Cod Dinner. In fact, it’s better than anything you can find at Long John Silver’s and many other national seafood chains. If you’re craving seafood and you want to get it quickly from a drive-thru window, head to the nearest Culver’s and order this menu item. You’ll be pleased beyond words.
The North Atlantic Cod Dinner comes with multiple pieces of golden cod that have been cut, battered, and fried by hand. While most seafood in the fast food world is greasy, that’s not a problem with this fish. That allows for the focus to remain on the delicious fish that somehow manages to taste better and better with each proceeding bite. Culver’s also has some of the best tartar sauce you’ve ever tasted, which will only add to the joyous meal.
In addition to the fish, this dinner comes with a warm roll and a pair of sides.
2. Wisconsin Cheese Curds
While buying cheese curds from a fast food chain may sound like a strange idea, don’t let that stop you when you visit Culver’s. Their Wisconsin Cheese Curds are so amazing that you’ll remember them for the rest of your days as the best cheese curds you ever ate. It’s not hyperbolic to state these things deserve a top spot on your fast food bucket list.
The Wisconsin Cheese Curds are made from a combination of white and yellow cheddar cheese that comes directly from a dairy farm in their home state of Wisconsin. These bite-sized goodies take a ride in a deep fryer until they are golden in color and sufficiently crunchy. The authenticity of these cheese curds will be obvious from your very first mouthful.
The correct way to eat Wisconsin Cheese Curds is to pull them apart so you can bask in the glow of the gooeyness before you pop these lovely things into your waiting mouth.
1. "The Original" ButterBurger
"The Original" ButterBurger is the main reason why Culver’s deserves to be regarded as the absolute best chain burger restaurant in the country. This burger is so marvelous that it single-handedly has In-N-Out Burger, Five Guys, and Whataburger playing catch-up.
The name suggests that butter is the key ingredient in the burger meat, however that’s a common misconception. The butter in the name actually refers to the butter that goes on the bun. The buttery bun is also carefully toasted to add the perfect texture. Popular toppings include pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard. It’s also not a bad idea to add cheese to your ButterBurger, especially because the cheese at Culver’s is so magnificent. Then again, keeping "The Original" ButterBurger as plain as possible allows its natural buttery goodness to shine bright.
You can order this burger with single, double, or triple patties. No matter what you decide to put on this burger, you will love it and you’ll be in agreement that this is the best menu item at Culver’s.