The morning meal is big business in the fast food world. Between 2014 and 2019, breakfast visits to these establishments grew 7.7%, with an increase of 31% in spending. In 2018 alone, chain breakfast visits totaled about 7.3 billion in the U.S., up from just under 6 billion in 2009. It’s little wonder, then, that many fast food purveyors are introducing, expanding, or updating their breakfast menus. There are still some holdouts: Chipotle, for instance — which would seem a natural since breakfast tacos and burritos are increasingly common — has said that it has no plans to enter the breakfast market in 2020.
Almost everybody else, with the exception of pizza and Asian-themed chains, which would have a harder time integrating breakfast dishes into their menus, is in on the breakfast game. The breakfast sandwich — some combination of eggs, cheese, and breakfast meat on a bagel, English muffin, biscuit, croissant, or roll — anchors most fast food breakfast menus. That’s almost certainly due to the incredible success of the emblematic Egg McMuffin, the McDonald’s creation that may well have gotten us all eating breakfast sandwiches in the first place.
Many chains, though, are moving beyond the basics, offering specialty meats and cheeses, using flatbreads and tortillas in various ways, even adapting popular lunch specialties to morning use. And it’s not just chains — the independents are getting in on the act, too. In the non-chain world, these are the best breakfast sandwiches in every state.
24/7 Tempo looked at a range of fast food breakfast menus to discover those with the widest selection and/or the most interesting or innovative offerings.
It should be noted that this isn’t a list of the healthiest choices. On the contrary, the chain menus on this list were chosen because they offer the kinds of things a lot of us would like to eat if we didn’t have to worry about our weight or our overall well-being. The breakfast sandwiches and other fare on these menus should be indulgences, not daily habits. However satisfying they may be, it’s important to remember that these breakfast choices are often among the fast food items with the most calories.