Hardee's sign

If the fast food restaurant Hardee’s doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s probably because you live in a state where it’s called Carl’s Jr. That’s right: They’re the exact same thing! While the two restaurants used to have separate menus, they’ve since merged into one entity. But what the sign on this restaurant says doesn’t matter as much as the food you’ll find when you go through the drive-thru. While this fast food joint may not be as popular as national favorites like Taco Bell or the slightly more upscale Chipotle, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some delicious items on the menu.

At the same time, some of the food you’ll find at Hardee’s leaves a lot to be desired. If you haven’t eaten here much, you may be wondering which menu items fit into which category. That’s why we’ve created this ranking: to let you know what you should order and what you should skip entirely. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular items on the menu.

23. Beef Taco Salad

Beef Taco Salad from hardee's

Let’s be clear: While Hardee’s offers a lot of different kinds of food, the focus of this place is on hamburgers. The restaurant does that well, but we guess they felt like they needed to expand their boundaries and that’s how we ended up staring at the beef taco salad on the menu. As you could probably assume, it’s definitely not a delicious salad. The bowl is made with a flour tortilla (and we tend to prefer corn). But that’s not the only problem. The lettuce is sad and wilted, the refried beans are clumpy, and you might get way too much sour cream on top of the whole thing.

Look, fast food salads usually aren’t particularly good, but this is one you should definitely stay away from if you want a pleasant meal. If you really want a good salad for lunch, we urge that you drive right past Hardee’s anyway.

22. Jumbo Chili Dog

Jumbo Chili Dog from hardee's

One day, we hope to find a delicious fast food hot dog. But alas, that day hasn’t come yet, especially not when you order the jumbo chili dog from Hardee’s. This hot dog comes covered in beef chili, mustard, and onions … and that’s it. The chili isn’t particularly tasty here, so it doesn’t add much to the entree. While the onions add a nice crunch and a bit of flavor, we wish that there were cheese on top of this hot dog as well.

And when you get to the hot dog itself, well … we weren’t impressed on that front either. The meat isn’t very flavorful — it basically feels like you’re biting into a tube. And even though this dog is described as "jumbo," it’s not even necessarily that big. If you’re like us, you’d have to order something else just to feel full after chowing down on one of these dogs. Our advice? Just make your own chili cheese dog at home.

21. Beer-Battered Fish Sandwich

Beer-Battered Fish Sandwich from hardee's

It should come as no surprise that a fast food fish sandwich at a restaurant like Hardee’s ranks less than perfectly. That’s why the beer-battered fish sandwich isn’t working its way up to a higher spot on our list. In fact, if you didn’t have to order this sandwich by name, you may not even realize it has fish in it at all. It comes out looking like a piece of chicken. The fish has a uniform-looking shape, and it’s covered in thick breading. Unfortunately, the breading truly is the best part of the equation. The fish itself isn’t even flaky — overall, it’s pretty tasteless.

The breaded fish is presented on a seeded bun with a piece of lettuce and tartar sauce. The lettuce adds a touch of freshness, but we wish there were more veggies added into the mix. The tartar sauce is surprisingly good (though not as good as the stuff you’ll find on the fish filet at McDonald’s). This lackluster sandwich isn’t horribly disgusting, but it doesn’t really have much about it that’s appealing at all.

20. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich from hardee's

We love a good grilled chicken sandwich every now and then, but the charbroiled BBQ chicken sandwich you’ll find at Hardee’s is just not it. The actual chicken itself is super flavorful. The fact that it’s charbroiled, which lends it a wonderful smoky flavor you won’t be able to get enough of. Our real problem comes in with the BBQ sauce that’s slathered unceremoniously all over the top of the chicken. It leaves a lot to be desired. It’s way too sweet, and it throws off the balance of flavors in the whole dish. Plus, it doesn’t even come with a slice of cheese on top, which might add a bit more interest.

While we appreciate that this sandwich comes decked out with veggies, they just can’t compete with the overwhelming flavor of the BBQ sauce. Unless you want a sandwich that’s completely overtaken by one distinct smoky-sweet flavor, we think you should pass this one up.

19. Big Hot Ham ‘n’ Cheese

Big Hot Ham 'n' Cheese from hardee's

If you’re looking for something that’s on the simpler side compared to some of the other items on the menu, you might be attracted to the Big Hot Ham ‘n’ Cheese. When you order this sandwich, you’re going to be getting a lot of meat, which might be great if you’re feeling really hungry. But once you actually start eating this sandwich, there’s a good chance you’re going to get tired of it fast. That’s because it’s a lot of the same, bite after bite. All that’s on this sandwich is sliced ham and Swiss cheese — literally nothing else. We think some Dijon mustard and onions would take it to the next level, but you’d have to add that yourself.

Though the meat and cheese itself isn’t bad, eating so much of it without anything else to break up the flavor gets really old, really fast. If you want that same taste but with less of an overbearing amount of meat, we recommend trying the Original Hot Ham ‘n’ Cheese instead. It’s the same thing but offered at a reasonable size.

18. Monster Roast Beef

Monster Roast Beef from hardee's

Can you tell we’re not huge fans of the sliced meat sandwiches you can find at Hardee’s? It’s true. While the Monster Roast Beef might be a step up from the Big Hot Ham ‘n’ Cheese, it’s still not a winner in our books. That’s because there’s nothing at all that lends this sandwich the slightest bit of freshness. Instead, it’s just an obscene amount of animal products all stacked on top of each other. That may sound to the most carnivorous of readers out there, but even they might start to think it’s too much by the time they get halfway through the sandwich.

In addition to the roast beef slices, you’ll also find lots of bacon on this sandwich. Additionally, melted American cheese adds to the overwhelming flavor (but in the worst way possible). We would’ve preferred Swiss on this sandwich, but we guess that’s not our choice to make. The one thing that saves this sandwich from ranking even lower? The au jus sauce — it actually is really delicious.

17. Small Hamburger

Hardee's Small Hamburger

We get it. Sometimes, you just want something small to eat in between meals or even when you’re just not that hungry but you know you have to get something down before your blood sugar crashes. That’s why the small hamburger at Hardee’s might be attractive. It’s not that much food, but it might just sate your hunger for a short time. However, there’s nothing that makes this sandwich interesting at all. That doesn’t make it bad, per se — just boring.

When you order this burger, you’re going to get a charbroiled patty in between a seeded bun. Ketchup, mustard, and pickles are the only adornments you’ll find on this sandwich. Without any other veggies or even a slice of cheese to make this burger more interesting, you may just fall asleep when you’re eating it. The exception? Picky eaters might find this burger pretty inoffensive. Plus, the taste isn’t too bad if you’re not looking for anything special. However, with so many items on the menu that are actually fantastic, we don’t know why you would choose this option in most cases.

16. Chicken Grilled Burrito

Chicken Grilled Burrito from hardee's

A grilled burrito sounds amazing, right? It’s all the goodness of an average burrito but with a crispy, crunchy tortilla that takes it to the next level. And while the chicken grilled burrito at Hardee’s isn’t the worst thing on the menu, we weren’t really impressed with it at all. It’s not surprising considering that Hardee’s definitely isn’t a Mexican (or even Mexican-adjacent) fast food joint, but we can’t help thinking that they’d be better off just leaving it off the menu altogether.

The main problem with this burrito is the fact that it’s filled to the brim with refried beans. We don’t mind some beans in our taco, but we don’t really want that to be the star of the show. The grilled chicken is sparse, but when you do get a bite of it, it’s not bad. The rice, cheese, and salsa add an interesting touch, but it’s not enough to earn this burrito a higher spot on our ranking. If you really want a good burrito, there are better spots to find one.

15. Loaded Omelette Biscuit

Loaded Omelette Biscuit from hardee's

Alright, we have to give this one points for originality. We’ve never seen an omelette turned into a sandwich before, and we kind of love the idea. But that doesn’t mean that the loaded omelette biscuit is particularly well-executed. This omelette is packed with bacon, sausage, ham, and cheddar cheese. That’s a lot of meat. In fact, it’s so much that the meat fully becomes the star of the show instead of the egg. We wish this omelette was a bit egg-ier, but that just wasn’t the case.

While those meats all taste great, it gets a bit overwhelming after a while. When all that meat is combined with the dense biscuit, this turns into a very heavy breakfast. It might not be bad after a night out on the town, but we just don’t think it’s delicious first thing in the morning. If you do want a super rich breakfast, though, you may want to check it out for yourself so you can make your own judgements.

14. Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Roll from hardee's from hardee's

Every once in a while, you’ll want to end your meal with something sweet. Or if you’ve made your way to Hardee’s in the morning, you may want to get your day off to a sweet start. Whatever the case may be, the cinnamon roll might seem like a viable option. If that’s what you’re craving, we say go for it. But just be warned: It’s probably not going to be the best cinnamon roll you’ve ever tasted. You didn’t really expect that from Hardee’s, though, did you?

The cinnamon roll at Hardee’s, like many cinnamon rolls out there, is ridiculously sweet. If you have a really aggressive sweet tooth, you may like it. Otherwise, it may be a better idea to share it with someone so you don’t have to eat all that sugar at once all by yourself. The cinnamon flavor isn’t too strong, which could leave you feeling mildly disappointed.

Plus, we were surprised to learn that this side item comes in at a whopping 520 calories — more than the jumbo chili dog!

13. Bacon and Cheese Angus Burger

Hardee's BACON & CHEESE ANGUS BURGER

Perhaps what Hardee’s is best known for is their thickburgers. These thick beef patties are incredibly tasty, and it’s one reason why we love visiting the fast food spot. While the thickburger patty makes an appearance in several different sandwiches, one that we aren’t huge fans of is the Bacon and Cheese Angus Burger. This doesn’t have anything to do with the burger patty itself — that part is actually pretty good. The bacon, lettuce, and tomato add both meatiness and freshness that balances itself out well, which we love. What we’re not fans of, though, is the mayo that’s poured all over the ingredients in this burger.

There’s just too much of this creamy mayo, and it covers the taste of the other ingredients. The cheese already provides enough creaminess, so it seems like the mayo is just overkill. It has a really strong flavor, even though the bacon and burger patty add plenty of richness to this dish already. We think Hardee’s was just going overboard when they created this sandwich.

Other than the mayo, though, this is overall a pretty solid sandwich.

12. Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shake

Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shake from hardee's

When it finally comes time for dessert, you have some decisions to make. What do you want to eat? If you love frozen sweet treats, then you may have a difficult time deciding whether you want ice cream or a shake. Well, at Hardee’s, you don’t have to choose. They have the hand-scooped ice cream shake, and it’s the only frozen treat on the menu. These shakes come in three different flavors: strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. As you may have guessed, the vanilla is pretty boring, but the strawberry and chocolate aren’t bad.

These shakes aren’t anything special, and they don’t hold a candle to some of the frozen treats you’ll find at other fast food places. But considering there’s nothing else like it on the menu, it’s a good option if that’s what you’re craving. The shakes are super thick, so they’re not something you’ll finish in a few minutes.

We’d probably go somewhere else for ice cream if we had the choice, but if you’re already there, ordering one of these won’t hurt.

11. Frisco Angus Burger

Frisco Angus Burger from hardee's

This is a burger unlike any other on the menu. It’s so different, in fact, that we don’t really know where we stand with it. The unique combination of ingredients may be strange, but it certainly doesn’t taste bad. When you order the Frisco Angus Burger, you’ll be getting a beef patty, crispy bacon, and Swiss cheese on toasted sourdough bread. We love the fact that this burger isn’t served on an average bun — it makes things more interesting and unexpected. The addition of mayo and tomato is really what sets it apart, though. While you might expect to see lettuce as the only veggie on a burger, it’s unusual to see a tomato and nothing else.

We actually do like this combo of flavors. While it’s very rich and indulgent, there’s something about that tomato that gives it a touch of freshness we love. At the same time, this isn’t a sandwich that we’d order over and over again. Once you’ve had it one time, it’s not likely to be something that you keep going back for.

10. Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders from hardee's

You know the deal. You’ll find chicken tenders at pretty much every single fast food restaurant you go to. And overall, they taste really, really similar to each other. There’s just not that much you can do with a piece of chicken and breading. However, some places do chicken tenders better than others, and we think that Hardee’s is one of those places. Their chicken tenders are super juicy, but the breading still has that crispness you’re looking for in a good piece of chicken. It’s easy to eat several in a row, and even the pickiest eaters are likely to enjoy them.

Additionally, it’s easy to order the number of tenders you actually want. You can get them in packs of three, five, 10, 15, or 20. So whether you’re just feeding yourself or feeding the whole family, it’ll be easy to get what you need.

Wondering why the tenders didn’t rank higher if they taste so good? In general, we think tenders are a pretty boring order. Even if they’re amazing, they can only be so good. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t order them if that’s what you feel like eating.

9. Big Cheeseburger

Big Cheeseburger from hardee's

Now, you know how we feel about the small hamburger. It doesn’t taste good, but with its lack of ingredients and small size, it can come off as looking pretty lackluster. If you want the same kind of flavor profile but are looking for just a bit more, then your best bet may just be the big cheeseburger. As you’ve probably already guessed, this burger is larger, meaning it’s going to fill you up more than it’s smaller counterpart. In addition, it also features a slice of American cheese. While it may not seem like the cheese would matter much, you’d be surprised at what a great texture it imparts on the burger.

Just like the small hamburger, you’ll get pickles, mustard, and ketchup on this burger. But what really makes it taste great is the addition of chopped onions. You wouldn’t believe how much flavor this adds. While it’s still not the most interesting option on the menu, we definitely think it’s worth trying at some point.

8. Hardee Breakfast Platter

Hardee Breakfast Platter from hardee's

Generally, when you visit a fast food restaurant for breakfast, you’ll find yourself ordering some kind of breakfast sandwich. That’s fine and all, but don’t you ever want something that resembles more of a "real" breakfast? You know, one you would make at home if you had the time to do that in the mornings? That’s where the Hardee Breakfast Platter comes in. Just be warned: If you order this for breakfast, you may not be hungry for the rest of the day. It comes with biscuits and gravy, bacon, and hash rounds. All of these individual breakfast items taste amazing — especially the biscuits and gravy.

In addition, it comes with two folded eggs — and that’s our only complaint with the platter. We wish we could get real eggs here, as the folded eggs have a strange texture and don’t necessarily taste like eggs. However, we’ll deal with these strange eggs if we get to enjoy all the other amazing breakfast items on the platter.

7. Monster Biscuit

Monster Biscuit from hardee's

The breakfast platter may just be the most filling breakfast you can find at Hardee’s. But if you’re looking for a close second, the Monster Biscuit may just be it. This thing is absolutely massive. In between the two buttery biscuit layers, you’ve got bacon, sausage, sliced ham, folded egg, and two slices of American cheese. We’ll start by stating the obvious: This breakfast sandwich is incredibly heavy, and you probably shouldn’t order it unless you’re feeling super hungry. With all that meat, it can definitely weigh you down. But if you’re absolutely starving and aren’t doing much for the rest of the day, it’s a delicious choice.

While all those meats are a bit greasy, the biscuit holds them together surprisingly well. And if you need a little something extra, we recommend asking for a ketchup packet and spreading it on one of the biscuits. We know, we know — it’s not for everyone. But that touch of sweetness can definitely make this breakfast sandwich even more appealing than it already is.

6. Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger

Western Bacon Cheeseburger from hardee's

You don’t always want something heavy from a fast food restaurant, but when that’s just what you’re craving, you definitely can’t go wrong with a Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Hardee’s. This sandwich might be a little over the top, but it’s pretty delicious at the same time. In addition to two beef patties, you’ll also get bacon, melted American cheese, and a savory BBQ sauce all on a toasted bun. That’s not it, though. The very best part of this burger is the two onion rings that add some crunch and sweetness to the mix.

We love the idea of putting onion rings on a burger. In fact, you might do that anyway when you order a regular burger with a side of onion rings. This combination is genius, and we’re glad we don’t have to do the dirty work ourselves. This may not be the freshest burger of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste amazing.

5. Sunrise Croissant

Sunrise Croissant from hardee's

If you want to get your day off to a simple start, you can’t go wrong with the Sunrise Croissant. While some of Hardee’s menu items can seem a little wacky, that’s definitely not the case with this option. It all starts out with a butter croissant bun that holds the sandwich together perfectly. Inside, you’ll find a folded egg and cheese. You also have your choice of meat. Choose from the sliced ham, the bacon, or the sausage patty. We think all of these choices are solid — it just depends on what you’re looking for. The sliced ham might provide a lighter breakfast, while the sausage patty is going to pack that umami flavor and tends to be a bit heavier.

While there’s nothing unusual about this breakfast sandwich (you can find something similar just about everywhere), the components all come together really well. The cheese melts perfectly into the croissant, and we don’t even mind the folded egg in this sandwich.

4. Famous Star with Cheese

Famous Star with Cheese from hardee's

When you’re going to a fast food joint that’s known for its burgers, you may just have to stick with some of the simpler items on the menu. This will give you a good idea of what the chain does well. That’s certainly the truth when you choose the Famous Star with Cheese from Hardee’s. This is just a classic cheeseburger, but it’s done in the best way possible.

It all starts with the seeded bun, which creates the perfect bed for all of the other ingredients. Then you have the beef patty, the American cheese that gets all melted and creamy, lettuce, tomato, onions, dill pickles, and mayonnaise. Oh, and there’s also the Special Sauce, which is what truly takes this burger to the next level.

We love that this burger is so hearty yet still so fresh at the same time. All those veggies add a lot of crunch and flavor, and that pairs with the rich, indulgent burger patty and cheese perfectly.

3. Pork Chop ‘n’ Gravy Biscuit

Pork Chop 'n' Gravy Biscuit from hardee's

Now here’s something you don’t see every day: the Pork Chop ‘n’ Gravy Biscuit. This is definitely not something you’d see at most fast food establishments. In fact, many fast food joints don’t carry pork at all. But if you’re looking for a Southern favorite first thing in the morning, you are going to fall head over heels for this biscuit. The pork chop is surprisingly juicy, so luckily, the thick, dense biscuit soaks up all of that fatty goodness. We also love that this pork chop comes out breaded. No, that doesn’t make the meal whatsoever healthy, but it does make it taste amazing.

The real magic is in the gravy, though. The sausage gravy adds a creaminess but also a ton of flavor that just adds to the existing flavor of the pork. We wish more restaurants would carry breakfast sandwiches like these, but until they do, we’ll just have to make our way to Hardee’s for this a.m. treat.

2. Original Angus Burger

Original Angus Burger from hardee's

The Original Angus Burger might sound a lot like the Famous Star with Cheese, but we definitely think that this one has something special. It has all the classic toppings like American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles, and you can’t forget about the condiments, which include ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. All of these flavors mix and meld together really well. And while it’s a simple sandwich, it still tastes absolutely incredible.

But what really sets this burger apart from the Famous Star with Cheese is the potato bun. This bun definitely takes this sandwich from standard to luxurious. The pillowy soft bun is super hearty, so it holds all of the other ingredients well.

Just a word of warning: This sandwich gets pretty saucy, so it’s not necessarily the best thing to eat when you’re on the go. But that’s really for the best: You’re going to want to enjoy the masterpiece that is this burger.

1. Hot Honey Hand-Breaded Chicken and Waffle Sandwich

Hand-Breaded Chicken and Waffle Sandwich from hardee's

This one could be a bit controversial: We know that not everyone is going to love this sandwich as much as we do. But the Hot Honey Hand-Breaded Chicken and Waffle Sandwich is something special, and we won’t apologize for that. This sandwich features a thick chicken patty that’s breaded to absolute perfection. It’s surrounded by warm Belgian waffles that have just the slightest hint of sweetness to them. The best part, though, is the hot honey. This stuff will literally make all of your dreams come true.

Chicken and waffles is a classic dish, but we love how Hardee’s turned it into a sandwich. It could be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, so there’s no need to skip out on this one just because of the time of day. If you want to taste something that’s seriously creative and out of the ordinary when you go to Hardee’s, the Hand-Breaded Chicken and Waffle Sandwich is definitely the way to go.