In the United States today, there are nearly 200,000 fast food joints. You can bet your bottom dollar that the vast majority of these restaurants have a dessert menu. If you’re getting a burger through a drive-thru window, you might as well get some ice cream to go with it, right?
If you aren’t already thinking about getting something sweet when you roll up to the restaurant, many fast food companies prominently display backlit dessert advertisements to try to inspire an impulse purchase. If you end up with something yummy, you won’t mind. But if you get a disappointing dessert, it could ruin your whole meal.
With such high stakes, you should do your research to discover which fast food desserts are worth buying. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and we’re willing to share it. Scroll through this list of 21 popular desserts found at fast food joints, ranked in order from worst to best.
21. Chocolate Shake from Burger King
When it comes to popular desserts available from a fast food restaurant, opting for a Chocolate Shake from Burger King would undoubtedly go down as a decision you fully regret. Theoretically, a cold, sweet treat with chocolatey goodness is exactly what you want to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sadly, a Chocolate Shake won’t fit the bill.
First of all, the texture of this shake is all wrong. Instead of being thick and luscious, it’s super skinny and liquidy. If your shake sloshing around in your cup doesn’t cause you to throw it away, when you taste it, you will be surprised by the milkiness of it and the fact that it barely has any chocolate flavor at all. To top off this disappointment of a dessert, the Burger King’s Chocolate Shake is topped with whipped cream that is just gross. The whipped cream isn’t sweet but instead has a chemical taste to it.
If you want a dessert from Burger King, order anything else other than this shake. Even a Whopper would make a better dessert than this cold, milky mess.
20. Vanilla Cone from McDonald’s
On your way home from a long day at work or an extended night of partying, you catch a glimpse of the iconic Golden Arches in the distance. It hits you that some ice cream would be a perfect way to wind down, so you drive toward the alluring golden symbol of fast food expertise. When you get to the drive-thru intercom, you place your order for a Vanilla Cone. That’s when the McDonald’s worker utters the seven words you’ve heard far too often in your life: "Sorry, our ice cream machine is down."
While there might be a legitimate reason for why McDonald’s ice cream machine is seemingly always broken, in retrospect, you realize you were wrong to head to the Golden Arches for a Vanilla Cone in the first place. The soft serve ice cream is described as vanilla, but it doesn’t have much discernible flavor. To make matters worse, the cone sometimes has an unappetizing texture that leads you to believe that it’s stale. And even if you attempt to quickly scarf it down on your drive home, it has the bad habit of leaking and finding its way onto your clothes.
The next time a Vanilla Cone from McDonald’s is calling your name, just say no and save yourself the time and aggravations.
19. Cherry Turnover from Arby’s
While it’s been drilled in our heads that Arby’s has the meats, sometimes you will want a dessert to go along with all that protein. If you order Arby’s Cherry Turnover as a fast food dessert, prepare yourself to be completely underwhelmed.
When this pastry first catches your eye, you will be hopeful. It looks like a treat that will tickle your taste buds with sweetness. But on your first bite, you’ll realize that your assumption is a mistake. The Cherry Turnover is so flaky that it’s unpleasant to have in your mouth, as it invades every inch of your orifice and makes it difficult to swallow. Beyond the flakiness, the lack of cherry within the turnover will cause you to frown. With a minimal amount of cherry filling and a skimpy amount of icing on top, this thing lacks the sweet goodness you expected.
If you must pick a dessert at Arby’s, go with the Apple Turnover. It’s far from a top-tier treat, but the chunks of apple at least make it somewhat pleasurable.
18. Chocolate Cake from KFC
The dessert options at KFC are limited. You can either order cookies or a chocolate cake. The cookies don’t look that good (and they aren’t good, for the record), so the chocolate cake is the default choice. Unfortunately, you will soon learn that this cake isn’t worth ordering.
KFC calls its chocolate cake The Big Finish, but a more appropriate moniker would be The Big Letdown. While it has a chocolate flavor to it unlike Burger King’s shake, the cake itself is way too spongy and airy. When you bite into it, this thing has an elasticity to it that is totally off-putting. Instead of a cake like your grandmother used to make, it has a processed taste and feel that will fill you with a sense of regret. The icing on top is also overly sweet, which is another strike against KFC’s cake.
If you want a dessert at KFC, force yourself to change your mind. Their desserts aren’t worth your money. Instead of settling for less, pick one of the fast food desserts higher in this ranking.
17. Marbled Cookie Brownie from Domino’s
If you’re getting pizza delivered to your home, it’s always tempting to add fast food dessert to your order. Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie sounds like it’d be scrumptious. The description says this bad boy is a marriage between a fudge brownie and a big cookie with chocolate chunks. That’s a combination that can’t help but be great, right? Wrong. The Marbled Cookie Brownie turns out to be more of a marriage of culinary convenience than a marriage of true love.
The biggest issue with this combo dessert is the texture. It’s not quite the texture you want for a cookie or the texture you’d prefer for a brownie. Instead, the texture lands somewhere in the middle — and it’s utterly unsatisfying.
To give Domino’s some credit, the Marbled Cookie Brownie was a good attempt — the company deserves a round of applause for giving this marriage a try. And, hey, the result is so sweet that you won’t hate it. Although you won’t be too impressed, it’s just good enough that you will eat it all.
If you want a dessert to go with a pizza from Domino’s, pick the employee-recommended Chocolate Lava Cake. It’s an easy option to ignore because you wouldn’t expect a good lava cake from a pizza place, but it’s actually quite tasty.
16. Fudge Dipped Cheesecake On-a-Stick from White Castle
White Castle has a dessert called Fudge Dipped Cheesecake On-a-Stick, and there are some things to like about it. First of all, it’s undeniably cheap and convenient. You just hold it by the stick and shove it into your face. It’s also unique enough that everyone has an excuse to try it once — if only to boast that you gave this fast food dessert a shot.
While you might like the Fudge Dipped Cheesecake On-a-Stick enough to finish it with a smile on your face, you won’t be itching to order it again. Truth be told, it’s a little underwhelming. The fudge is thinner than you’re imagining, and the cheesecake is lacking a rich flavor. The stick gimmick is handy, but that alone is not enough for you to make a special trip to White Castle.
If you’re already at White Castle and have never tried it, it’s good enough to order. But don’t go out of your way.
15. Cinnamon Twists from Taco Bell
Ordering the Cinnamon Twists from Taco Bell is a gamble. If you’re unlucky, they may be too hard, too soft, or too light on the cinnamon and sugar coating. But if you’re lucky, you’ll be happy. At their best, Cinnamon Twists are a really good fast food dessert — but it’s certainly a roll of the dice.
Interestingly, a TikTok video went viral that unveiled Taco Bell’s secret to making these things. If you watch the video, it doesn’t look too difficult. It’s just rice noodles put into a basket, fried in oil until they’re crispy, and then blessed with a blend of cinnamon and sugar. Though it looks easy, you never know what to expect until you insert the first twist into your mouth.
Even if you get a great package of Cinnamon Twists, lifelong fans of Taco Bell will know they don’t hold a candle to the Cinnamon Crispas from back in the day. Remember those? They were made with tortilla chips instead of rice noodles and were reliably amazing.
14. Vanilla Shake from In-N-Out Burger
If you want a fast food dessert from In-N-Out Burger, you have three choices: a strawberry shake, a chocolate shake, or a vanilla shake. The vanilla shake is the best of the bunch — but it’s still not overly impressive. While watery shakes are disgusting (looking at you, Burger King), shakes can also be too thick. That’s the issue with In-N-Out Burger’s dessert offering. It’s impressive that they make their shakes with real ice cream, but it’s a bit of a buzzkill when it’s difficult to use a straw to sip on your shake.
If you order a shake from In-N-Out Burger, there’s a trick you can do if you want to avoid disappointment. All you need to do is get a spoon and pretend that you ordered vanilla ice cream. Looking at this dessert as ice cream instead of as a shake will leave you satisfied. It has a rich vanilla flavor that is the perfect way to finish off any meal.
13. Cookies from Subway
If you’re in search of a ridiculously cheap fast food dessert, go to Subway and order the cookies. For less than a buck per cookie, you can stop your sweet tooth from shouting at you. While the types of cookies available at Subway can vary, safe choices include Oatmeal Raisin, White Chip Macadamia Nut, and Double Chocolate Chip. All of these cookies are soft and overflowing with flavor.
As good as these cookies taste, it’d be impossible for them to rise higher on this list. Although these goodies are an inexpensive treat from Subway that are friendly to your taste buds and your wallet, at the end of the day, they’re still just cookies. We’ve all had so many cookies in our lives that it’s difficult to be overly impressed. Besides, if you know the way around your kitchen and have a handful of necessary ingredients at your disposal, you can probably make similar cookies at home.
12. Cinnamon Sticks from Pizza Hut
For those individuals with a demanding sweet tooth, Pizza Hut’s Cinnamon Sticks are a fine option. These things have a healthy amount of cinnamon on them. However, it’s really the sweetness from the sugar that stands out. The sweetness doesn’t stop there, as Pizza Hut also gives you a tub of icing for dipping purposes. After you dip these sugary sticks into the sugary icing and bring it to your lips, your sweet tooth will be in heaven.
These Cinnamon Sticks aren’t perfect, though. Some people will find that this dessert is actually too sweet. Additionally, it’s not always easy (and it can get messy) when you’re trying to dip the sticks into the icing.
Before finalizing your order for Cinnamon Sticks, check to see if the Hershey’s Toasted S’more Cookie Pizza is available. It has come and gone multiple times from Pizza Hut’s menu. But if it’s back, don’t hesitate to order this fast food dessert. That cookie pizza is a certified masterpiece.
11. Concrete from Shake Shack
Shake Shack has a host of quality menu items that are worth spending your hard-earned dollars on. If you’re looking for a filling dessert, you can’t go wrong by ordering a Concrete. This dessert is made from Shake Shack’s tasty frozen custard that is a combination of milk free of artificial hormones, eggs from cage-free chickens, and cane sugar.
The cool thing (no pun intended) about these Concretes is that they are completely customizable. You pick either vanilla frozen custard or chocolate frozen custard as the base. From there, you select which mix-ins you feel like eating at that moment. Available mix-ins can differ depending on the location and the time of year, but you can have confidence that everything Shake Shack offers is of pristine quality.
While these Concretes aren’t the best of the best when it comes to fast food desserts, they are flavorful and will pleasantly fill your tummy to the brim.
10. Cherry Limeade Slush from Sonic Drive-In
A slush as a dessert? Absolutely! The Cherry Limeade Slush from Sonic Drive-In is worth going out of your way to get your hands on. If you’ve never had this must-try fast food drink, prepare to be thrilled. The cherry flavor is delightful, and things only get better when the lime aftertaste kicks in. You’ll be thoroughly impressed by each and every sip. This slush is definitely worth being in the top half of our list of best fast food desserts.
Want to kick things up a notch? First, go get your Cherry Limeade Slush from Sonic Drive-In. Make it a Route 44 size so you’ll have more to work with. Next, bring it home. If you drink a few sips on your journey, that’s okay. Once you’re in your house, add some vodka to it, and you’ll have a world-class cocktail to enjoy. Be warned that if you do this once, you’re going to want to do it over and over again.
9. Icedream Cone from Chick-fil-A
One of Chick-fil-A’s most popular items on its menu is the Icedream Cone. And, no, that’s not a typo. It’s Icedream — not ice cream. But, essentially, it’s exactly what you’re expecting.
The Icedream Cone is like the aforementioned Vanilla Cone from McDonald’s, except that this dessert is actually tasty — and you don’t have to worry about dealing with McDonald’s ever-iffy ice cream machine. Chick-fil-A’s version has a deep vanilla flavor that you can taste in your soul. It’s smooth and isn’t prone to melting right away. Once you make it to the cone, you’ll be surprised just how good it tastes — it’d be good enough to eat by itself, in fact. The cone’s crunchy texture is also a joy, especially when you compare it to the fast food dessert that McDonald’s offers. If you look closely, you will see that it says "Eat It All" on the cone, and you won’t hesitate to oblige that request.
8. Hershey’s Sundae Pie from Burger King
Was Burger King forced to repent before the gods of chocolate after creating the fast food dessert disaster that is its Chocolate Shake? Taste the Hershey’s Sundae Pie, and you may believe that’s a plausible explanation. While Burger King’s shake lacks anything remotely chocolatey, this pie is the exact opposite.
First, the crust of the Hershey’s Sundae Pie is made with a generous amount of chocolate and a serious amount of crunch. Next, the cream filling is made with rich chocolate. Thirdly, there are Hershey’s chocolate chips added to the mix. Last of all, as if that weren’t enough chocolate, whipped cream and chocolate syrup are added on top. It may sound like the Hershey’s Sundae Pie could be too much of a good thing, but it works. It absolutely works.
If you want a little bit of a break from the chocolate, just hack your Burger King order by adding ice cream to it. Hershey’s Sundae Pie a la mode is as good as it sounds.
7. Cinnamon Apple Pie from Popeyes
At Popeyes, it’s virtually unanimous that the Cinnamon Apple Pie is the king of fast food desserts. This pie is served warm, and it smells amazing yet tastes even better. While McDonald’s has sold its Hot Apple Pie since the 1960s, Popeyes took everything great about the McDonald’s pie and improved upon it.
What makes the Cinnamon Apple Pie from Popeyes superior to similar pies other fast food joints peddle? Their advantage starts with the cinnamon. While competing pies have a hint of cinnamon, Popeyes went all the way — and the result is glorious. Beyond the cinnamon, the crust is the perfect texture and seemingly never gets soggy. Inside of the Cinnamon Apple Pie, the fruit filling is dense and explodes with flavor each time you bite down.
Despite all the flavor and all the goodness, Popeyes’ dessert pie has fewer than 300 calories. That means you can eat one (or even two) without feeling an ounce of guilt for ruining your diet.
6. Cookies & Cream Milkshake from Chick-fil-A
The honors don’t stop when discussing the Cookies & Cream Milkshake fast food dessert that’s available at your local Chick-fil-A. Not only is this shake the most popular flavor at Chick-fil-A, it’s the best fast food milkshake in America. If you doubt that opinion, order one of these shakes, take a big, chilly swig, and you too will be convinced.
Everything about the Cookies & Cream Milkshake is a grand slam. It’s thick but not too thick. The crumbs of the Oreo cookie are the perfect size, as they fit through your straw but aren’t so big that you need to waste time chewing. The vanilla-flavored cream is ever-present and rich. Sometimes the cookies can overshadow the cream in similar milkshakes, but that’s not the case here.
Chick-fil-A also has chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla milkshakes, but there’s really no need to switch up your order. Stick with the Cookies & Cream Milkshake, and you will always end your yummy meal on a high note.
5. NY Style Cheesecake from Jack in the Box
There must be something magical about Jack in the Box’s NY Style Cheesecake. It’s so, so good that it doesn’t even make sense. Compared to the Fudge Dipped Cheesecake On-a-Stick from White Castle, it lacks the fudge and the handy stick. Jack in the Box’s dessert offering isn’t even that big and isn’t aesthetically pleasing enough to stand out from the crowd of fast food desserts.
But take a bite of the NY Style Cheesecake, and you’ll understand why it’s this high on the list. Start with the humble graham cracker crust. It doesn’t look like anything to write home about, but it’s satisfyingly crunchy and packed to the gills with flavor. The cheesecake itself is unbelievably creamy and equally as tasty. The combination will make you savor each bite. When you’re done, you’ll be tempted to get another slice.
Back when Arnold Reuben invented the New York-style cheesecake over a hundred years ago, even he couldn’t imagine his cheesecake could taste this good.
4. Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen
The Dairy Queen Blizzard fast food dessert comes in a wide array of flavors — from Lemon Meringue to Turtle Pecan Cluster and Choco Cherry Love to Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. However, the most popular Blizzard flavor is the Oreo Blizzard — and for good reason. This thing is a phenomenal dessert. For as wonderful as Chick-fil-A’s Cookies & Cream Milkshake is, the Oreo Blizzard is similar, but it’s an unmistakable step above. The Oreo cookie pieces are blended perfectly and retain their great taste. The ice cream, as is the case with all Blizzards, also tastes really good.
Though it’s hypothetically possible to make your own Oreo Blizzard, let the experts at Dairy Queen handle the heavy lifting. Your job should just be to chow down on the final result. Besides, if your Oreo Blizzard isn’t served upside down, Dairy Queen will pay for your next one. And, yes, a free Oreo Blizzard tastes even better.
3. M&M McFlurry from McDonald’s
Many McDonald’s patrons looking for a fast food dessert make the mistake of picking the Oreo McFlurry. While that’s a decent dessert option, both the Cookies & Cream Milkshake and the Oreo Blizzard are quite a bit better. For that reason, never order an Oreo McFlurry unless you’re there’s not a Chick-fil-A or a Dairy Queen within a 50-mile radius.
At McDonald’s, the best dessert by far is the M&M McFlurry. Real milk chocolate M&Ms are taken for a ride in a blender along with vanilla soft serve. The resulting deliciousness will blow your mind — and your taste buds. If you’ve only known the Oreo McFlurry, make the switch and never look back. Yes, it’s worth the trip, even if your local McDonald’s might have a malfunctioning ice cream machine. That’s how good it is.
There was a time when the M&M McFlurry almost disappeared from McDonald’s menu. Mars Inc., the candy company that produces M&Ms, thought about pulling the plug on their partnership. Thankfully, they thought better of it. That would have been a tragedy.
2. Peach Mango Pie from Jollibee
Although Jollibee is primarily known for Chickenjoy, its delicious fried chicken that is expertly marinated and breaded by hand, what you’ll remember most about your visit is the fast food dessert. The Peach Mango Pie is so good that you will be left in a state of shock. What’s Jollibee’s secret? Maybe it’s that this Filipino fast food company imports the mangoes for this pie directly from the Philippines. Whatever the case may be, American fast food companies can learn a thing or two from this luscious dessert.
If you like McDonald’s Hot Apple Pie or the previously mentioned Cinnamon Apple Pie from Popeyes, you will totally love this pie. The peaches pop with flavor, and the mangoes add a layer of gentle sweetness that is a joy to experience.
Jollibee also sells a Buko Pie that is made with coconuts. It looks like it would be amazing. Sadly, it’s only available in the Philippines, so Americans may never get a taste.
1. Frosty from Wendy’s
What is the best dessert in the fast food world? The answer to that question is surprisingly easy. Wendy’s Frosty is head and shoulders above the competition. This relatively simple treat doesn’t rely on any gimmicks or trickery. It’s just the perfect fast food dessert.
These days, you can either order a Classic Chocolate Frosty or a Vanilla Frosty. While the Vanilla Frosty is good in its own right, the Classic Chocolate Frosty is what you should order. It’s the real deal. When people speak about their love for the Frosty, it’s the chocolate one that they’re talking about. Besides, the Classic Chocolate Frosty is actually made by combining chocolate and vanilla together, so you’re getting the best of both worlds in the same cup.
What are you waiting for? Go treat yourself to another Frosty, and experience the best fast food dessert in all its glory.