The Best Fictional Burgers, Ranked

Fiction can tell us a lot about reality. It can provide insight into what we literally see in the real world, as well as what we want — or don't want — to see. So when food enters into a fictional narrative, it's almost always with a purpose, from helping to develop character traits to providing crucial plot assistance. Burgers, in particular, seem to have found their way into our fictional zeitgeist. From tried and true classics like the Krabby Patty to the deep cuts like the Santa Burger from "Gilmore Girls," fictional burgers are all around us, both delicious and disturbing.

We've taken this opportunity to gather the best and most interesting burgers from television, movies, and even a video game, and rank them from worst to best. The burgers are arranged by their quality, originality, and finally, their overall delectability. If these fictional narratives are doing their jobs right, our mouths should be watering over the burgers that we'll never have.

20. Cartman Burger -- South Park

Appropriately bringing up the rear of our list, we have the Cartman Burger. This burger was created and distributed by the character Eric Cartman on the show "South Park." Cartman initially gets the idea for his burgers after mishearing a doctor and thinking he has "ass burgers." After pulling a burger from his butt, it is proclaimed to be delicious, and Cartman decides to go into business for himself.

There are some questionable burgers on this list, and while consumers on the show seem to really love the burger, we just can not get past one key feature. The secret flavor enhancer, as seen in this scene from Cartman, seems to only come from an outhouse. These burgers have literally touched the butt cheeks of its namesake. We don't care how delicious they are; there is nothing that can entice us to eat the Cartman Burger.

19. Burger World Burger -- Beavis and Butthead

Would you eat a burger served by Beavis and Butthead? We sure hope not. Beavis and Butthead, of the show of the same title, work at Burger World, whose red-and-white striped roof serves as an apparent homage to McDonald's. We can't be sure of the quality of the original Burger World burger, but based on the fact they would hire these two teenage slackers, we can assume their standards are not high. In the 1993 episode "Burger World," Beavis is seen cooking a mouse burger and french flies. It's enough to put you off burgers for a while.

In a follow-up 2011 episode, "Supersize Me" (a play on the movie of the same name), the duo is seen eating Burger World Burgers with the intention of eating them exclusively for 30 days to get rich. It turns out to be a truly misguided plan. While the burgers appear mouse- and fly-free this time around, any place that would hire those two has lost us as customers.

18. Krusty Burger -- The Simpsons

"The Simpsons" is a long-running television institution. One of its recurring plot devices is the burger joint Krusty Burger, owned by the crufty children's comedian, Krusty the Clown. The burger place first shows up in Season 2, Episode 17 (titled "Old Money") but has been a featured location numerous times over the years.

Although seemingly popular — there are locations worldwide and even on an oil rig — Krusty Burger's food preparation practices remain questionable, especially related to the meat used for the burgers. Krusty Burger places an integral part of the storyline in the episode "30 Day Krusty Burger," which parodies the movie documentary "Supersize Me." As you can probably guess, it doesn't go well. The reporter says the burgers come with a host of issues including E. coli, a secret sauce made of cows' tears and mayonnaise, and cramped parking lots. In "The Simpsons Movie," while Homer is enjoying a Krusty burger, Krusty himself is advertising his new pork sandwich called "the Clogger," which he proclaims to be one of the greasiest sandwiches in existence. Homer and the gang from Springfield may enjoy these burgers, but for us, it's a hard pass.

17. McBurger Town -- Family Guy

Coming in only slightly ahead of the Krusty Burger, we have another famously unhealthy cartoon burger — the McBurgertown burger of "Family Guy" fame. McBurgertown is where Stewie gets a job when all the adults in the house have disappeared. Peter notably has a stroke after eating too many burgers in this scene, and in another scene, Peter kicks the takeout window in "Road House" when asked for the correct amount of money for his food.

The burgers seem good, though. Stewie and Peter are seen eating them to the point of illness, making us wonder what makes these burgers so addictive. While no fast food is healthy, eating 30 in a row makes it seem like there might be something sketchy with the product. Working for McBurgertown doesn't seem like a walk in the park, either. And any place that would hire a 1-year-old to work the register and clean the bathrooms doesn't sound like a place we'd like to frequent.

16. Pig Burgers -- Better off Dead

Next, we have the Pig Burger from the cult classic film "Better Off Dead." This movie is known for its creative and somewhat horrifying depictions of food, including classics such as this slimy meal made with raisins.

The Pig Burger itself should be one of the better foods in the film. Lane Meyer, played by John Cusak, works at Pig Burger. The movie includes a scene that lets us into some eye-opening details about the production of its quarter-pound burgers. First, we see the owner grabbing meat with his bare, unwashed hands. Next, he puts his cigar out in burger meat and yells at Lane, who was getting up to wash his hands. He tells his young employee: "Wash your hands on your own time." The lack of sanitation at Pig Burger is truly revolting.

As we spy a sexist poster that depicts a woman wearing only an apron with the phrase "Everybody Wants Some," Lane begins to fantasize about being Dr. Frankenstein bringing his guitar-wielding burger to life. The scene ends with an animated burger jamming while Van Halen plays. It really doesn't matter how good the burger is; such unsanitary conditions place it low on our list.

15. Brontoburger -- The Flinstones

Another cartoon classic, "The Flintstones," features the Brontoburger. The eponymous restaurant first appears in the episode "High School Fred" as the burger hangout for high school students. The Brontoburger also gets a significant shoutout in the spinoff game, The Flinstones BurgerTime in Bedrock. Based on this gameplay, it appears the ingredients of the Brontoburger are a simple recipe of a burger patty, bun, tomato, and cheese.

To its benefit, the Brontoburger works because of its sparse makeup. It is a clean burger made from wholesome ingredients. Our main issue is the burger itself. It lacks a sense of sustainability as it was made from the now-extinct brontosaurus. (We'll skip the historical issue with people and dinosaurs coexisting for the sake of good television.) For a Stone Age family with a dinosaur for a pet, we can't in good conscience recommend the Brontoburger as a high-quality sandwich.

14. Honker Burger -- Doug

Next, we have another teen favorite in the form of Honker Burger from the '90s animated hit "Doug." The burger shop is a favorite hangout place for Doug and his friends, and in the episode "Doug is a Hamburger Boy," Doug tries to help the owner of the restaurant as a walking hamburger mascot advertisement. He must not have been very successful, though, because when the show hopped networks from Nickelodeon to Disney, the Honker Burger went out of business, turning into the much classier Chez Honque, and the characters started hanging out at Mr. Swirly's Frozen Yogurt shop.

Generally, teenagers' tastebuds are not incredibly refined. While the burger was likely okay, we imagine maybe Doug and his friends patronized the restaurant out of cheapness and convenience rather than actual quality, which may be why Honker Burger folded. According to Style Weekly, show creator Jim Jenkins based the restaurant on a burger joint called Kelly's, which also no longer exists today. Sometimes fiction does mirror reality. And if it's not good enough to keep you in business, it's not the best of the best fictional burgers.

13. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs hamburger/cheeseburger

For those not familiar with the classic book (and later film) "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," it's about a place where food falls from the sky, for better or worse. The book and movie differ on why the food is actually falling, but both include burgers.

In the book, we read that "sometimes the wind blew in hamburgers." The burgers in the book look rather plain, appearing to consist of just a bun and burger patty. In the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie, we see beautiful plump cheeseburgers with delectable toppings falling from the sky. However, things eventually go awry, and in the sequel, we witness the cheeseburgers turn into giant man-eating spiders due to malfunctions with the food replicator.

On the plus side, the burgers are free. On the downside, the burger can potentially eat you — kind of a mixed bag overall.

12. Boingo Burger -- Rugrats

Boingo Burger is prominently featured in the "Rugrats" episode "Hold the Pickles." Boingo Burger seems to be a parody of McDonald's. It's seen complete with a clown mascot and even the very '90s McDonald's gold and red color scheme.

Taffy, the Pickles' babysitter, orders the kids each a "Wacky Meal" (complete with toy), and Taffy orders herself a Double Wacky Boingo Burger. The cashier proclaims that "every meal is a happy surprise," and Lil declares that it is the best place Taffy has ever taken them.

We know from a mix-up in the episode that the burgers typically come with dill pickles; in addition, it appears the Double Wacky Boingo Burger also comes with a bun, two patties, cheese, and lettuce. Not too shabby.

However, we must take issue with an establishment that allows children to run rampant with their self-serve ice cream machines and babysitters who push customers out of the way, spilling their food. While it may be the best place on earth for children, if you are looking for a quiet meal, this is not the place.

11. Fatso Burger -- That '70s Show

Creepy clown-themed burger joints seem to find their way into the fictional burger realm pretty often. Fatso Burger, the burger joint from "That '70s Show," offers the next iteration of such a location.

In one scene, while the gang is trying to steal the Fatso Burger drive-through clown, a would-be patron orders a "large Fatso combo with extra secret sauce," complete with a large soda, apple pie, and onion rings. We don't know what is in that secret sauce, of course, but that combo sounds pretty good.

Fatso Burger is also the location of Eric's first job. In the background of another scene from the same episode, we see lots of prefab burgers wrapped and waiting in the background. We can assume that Fatso Burger falls into the fast food category, which makes it lose some points. Any burger destined for a warming tray will never be an excellent fictional burger.

10. Doublemeat Burger -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When Buffy needs a job quickly, she does what many of us would do and turns to the food service world. In the Season 6 episode "Doublemeat Palace," Buffy takes a job at the title location, home of the Doublemeat burger, a burger supposedly composed of both a beef patty, a chicken patty, pickles, and a secret ingredient.

Like many customer service jobs, Buffy isn't thrilled with the work environment. But matters are made worse when it becomes obvious that the Doublemeat burger's secret ingredient is truly a mystery. Things take an even darker turn when employees start dying, and Buffy begins to suspect that, like Soylent Green, the Doublemeat burger is actually made of people.

Thankfully Buffy is wrong, and it is revealed that the Doublemeat burger "isn't even meat at all, it's all processed vegetables." While it may not be everyone's burger of choice, the fact that Double Meat Palace could make such a convincing veggie burger gets it an automatic spot in our top 10 fictional burgers.

9. Big Kahuna Burger -- Pulp Fiction

The Big Kahuna Burger chain shows up in a number of Quinton Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez films, including "Reservoir Dogs," "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," and "From Dusk Till Dawn." But the burger chain's most iconic scene is in "Pulp Fiction," where Samuel L. Jackson's character Jules, takes a burger from Brett. Having never had one, Jules takes a bite and declares it a "tasty burger." He offers some to his associate Vincent Vega, who declines. Jules waxes poetic about enjoying a good burger. The burger appears to be topped with lettuce, cheese, and ketchup — a classic burger composition.

The Big Kahuna Burger is said to be a Hawaiian burger chain, which could explain why Jules had never had one. Based on his description, though, we would really like to try one, and it is a shame Vincent didn't. When Samuel L. Jackson recommends something, you try it. And make sure to go with Sprite to wash down that delicious burger.

8. Santa Burger from Luke's -- Gilmore Girls

There is perhaps no place more iconic in "Gilmore Girls" than Luke's Diner. It's possible more eating happens there than in the main characters' own house, and there's no doubt more cooking occurs there. We see several delicious burgers come out of Luke's kitchen over the years, but for this fictional burger ranking, we are going to focus on one: the Santa burger.

In this scene, Luke serves Lorelai an artfully crafted burger decorated to look like a Santa head. It's a touching scene since Luke usually does not enjoy festive endeavors, but he's willing to make an exception for Lorelai. The burger includes ketchup and cream cheese and is placed on top of two slices of Wonder Bread. It sounds repulsive. But we will never truly know since Lorelai never got a chance to try it because of a family emergency. However, with such thought and care put into this burger, it's a perfect example of the thought that counts. We would love to try a Santa Burger someday, and when it turns out to be undeniably disgusting, we will order a classic Luke's burger instead.

7. Mooby's -- Dogma/Clerks /Jay and Silent Bob

Mooby's is a fast food burger chain that first appeared in the movie "Dogma." The chain then repeatedly appears in the Kevin Smith films like "Clerks II" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." While we get to see the inside of this burger joint in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (complete with an internet kiosk — oh, the 2000s), we don't get a good look at the burger's construction. Luckily, Jason Mewes (Jay) and Kevin Smith (Silent Bob) rectify this in a video for Goldbelly by walking us through each step of a Mooby burger's construction. The burger is called "the cow tipper" and consists of two patties, cheese, mustard, pickles, onions, and special sauce, and it comes with a side of fries and chocolate-covered pretzels.

Smith has since taken Mooby's from the screen to real life and has offered Mooby's pop-ups every so often, as well as offering meal kits via Goodbelly, which makes it a rare case of fictional food becoming a glorious reality. And yes, there is a vegan version.

6. Paunch Burger - Parks and Recreation

The (fictional) town of Pawnee, Indiana, is home to the one and only Paunch Burger chain. In "Parks and Recreation," the restaurant and its namesake burger show up frequently — sometimes as a foe to the show's protagonist Leslie Knope, but also as a favorite among the locals. Paunch Burger is known for its delicious, incredibly unhealthy burgers.

"Parks and Rec" released this digital exclusive ad for Paunch Burger as a promotion for the show. The ad gives viewers an up close and personal look at the Paunch Burger Breakfast for Dinner Burger Combo, which appears to consist of three beef patties, cheese, fried egg, lettuce, and what looks like hashbrowns. As the commercial says, though, "What's in it? Who cares? How many calories? Shut up! It's awesome." While we appreciate that kind of carefree attitude, the sheer volume of this burger keeps it from being a solid everyday burger and prevents it from being ranked higher, no matter how tasty it actually is.

5. Good Burger -- All That/Kenan and Kel/Good Burger Movie

Good Burger first showed up on the Nickelodeon classic, "All That." It starred Kenan Thomas and Kel Mitchel as employees of the burger establishment. The burger, according to this sketch from "All That," consists of a meat patty, cheese, ketchup, mystery sauce, pickles, lettuce, and onions. Good Burger became so popular, it followed Kenan and Kel onto their show "Kenan & Kel" and eventually their own movie spin-off called "Good Burger" (although they played different characters).

In the film, the Good Burger restaurant is threatened by the larger and inferior Mondo Burger, which tries to steal Ed's secret sauce recipe that makes Good Burgers so delicious. It's hard to watch a whole movie about a burger and not want to try it, and while we may never know the true contents of the secret sauce, we're certain it would be delicious.

4. McLaren's burger -- How I Met Your Mother

In the Season 4 episode of "How I Met Your Mother" titled "The Best Burger in New York," the main characters meet at their regular pub McLaren's only to discover that there is a new burger on the menu. The group tries it and declares it to be amazing. Lily likens it to "Christmas in my mouth. Meat Christmas." Ted describes it as "an angel from heaven landed in McLaren's, and the chef killed it and ran it through the meat grinder." 

While the gang goes on to try burgers around the city, looking for the elusive best burger in New York, that first burger at McLaren's remains something special. Perhaps the unexpected nature of good food at a dive pub made it a standout in their search. It was a new chef cooking after all. But it is impossible to hear Barney, Lily, and Ted rave about it while taking huge mouthfuls without wanting to try the burger, too.

3. Swanson Burger -- Parks and Recreation

"Parks and Recreation" isn't just home to the fast food Paunch Burger. The show has something far more special up its sleeve in the form of the Swanson burger. The Swanson burger is named for its creator — Pawnee Parks and Rec director Ron Swanson. He is a no-nonsense, no-frills guy whose burger is the epitome of simplicity. In the episode "Soulmates," Ron Swanson and Chris Traeger have a cookoff to see who can make the better burger. The competition features Chris making an Asian fusion turkey burger made with organic turkey, a toasted taleggio cheese crisp, a papaya chutney black truffle aioli, and micro greens on a gluten-free brioche bun, with just a hint of saffron.

On the other side, Ron delivers a pared-down, uncomplicated burger of meat on a bun with nothing on it. You can add ketchup if you want. The Swanson burger wins hands down, with even Chris admitting it is a better burger. Whereas Chris relies on complicated and pricey ingredients, Ron goes for simplicity and buys all his food from Food & Stuff, a discount food store equidistant from his house and work (via Parks and Rec). Ron Swanson is, above all else, a true craftsman when it comes to burgers, and this is one we'd love to try for ourselves.

2. Krabby Patty -- Spongebob

The Krabby Patty might be the most famous of all the fictional burgers. Despite the name, we do not believe that it is made from the homophonic crustacean, as this would be a dark, cannibalistic choice for its owner Mr. Krabs. Based on the images available, it appears to be a beef patty. As SpongeBob says, the burger is a bun, patty, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes. Quite a mouthful, indeed. The Krabby Patty also includes a secret ingredient, one that is held under lock and key so Plankton, owner of the Chum Bucket, can't get his tiny hands on it.

While we will never know what is in the secret ingredient, whatever it is makes a fantastic burger. And just look at this thing, it is a work of art. Mr. Krabs may be notoriously cheap and money-hungry, but you can tell that where the Krabby Patty is concerned, he has created a quality and savory delicacy. It is near perfect, but since it's made underwater, we imagine the bun probably gets a little soggy.

1. Any Burger from Bob's Burgers

So what is the best fictional burger? Well, that's easy. It's any burger made by Bob and his family from the hit show "Bob's Burgers." Bob's Burgers is a family-run business, kept afloat through its owner's heart and soul and a small, but loyal, clientele. You can tell that Bob and his family care deeply about their product and those who eat their food.

Unlike some other burgers on this list, they are not a chain. Bob's Burgers is an independently owned business. As such, Bob has the freedom to let the creative burger juices flow. Each day he creates a daily special of his own. These include selections like "The Cauliflower's Cumin from Inside the House Burger" and "Mission A-Corn-Plished Burger."

At Bob's Burgers, you aren't just getting a burger; you are getting a Bob's burger. You're being served a burger made with care, passion, and inspiration. You are getting a literal work of art! Or at least you would be if it were actually real. If only.