Ranking The 11 Best Fast Food Ice Cubes

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Ice cube preference for many people is very personal. Some enjoy small pellets to crunch and munch on throughout the day, while others love large chunks of ice — allowing them to melt slowly on their tongue. We've probably heard numerous and passionate arguments about which type of ice is best.

According to Howards, there are seven different types of ice: regular cubes, nuggets, full cubes, blocks, spheres, crushed, and crescents. Although you'll likely never see a fast food joint add a sphere (fancy cocktail ice) with your Coke, the rest of the traditional types are well represented at these popular outlets.

Regardless of which ice camp you're in, you can probably find your favorite at a local restaurant chain. And to save you some time when a craving for ready-made frozen water rears its head, check out this breakdown of 11 fast food ice cubes, ranked from worst to best.

11. Taco Bell

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, worse than the uneven lumps of frozen water Taco Bell provides its patrons. And yes, I did refer to these ice cubes as just frozen water. Taco Bell has chunks of ice that could be called crushed but with a sprinkle of large cubes mixed in. We feel like Taco Bell ice has commitment issues–is it crushed, cubed, or something else entirely? The world may never know.

In fact, some Redditors are even asking for no ice with their drinks, which is likely due to the sub-par consistency. To be frank, we're surprised Taco Bell has such lackluster ice, especially considering the delicious Baja Blasts the joint serves up (which is chock full of ice).

Unfortunately, if you were hoping to score a pre-made bag of ice from Taco Bell, you'll be sorely disappointed. This is one of the few fast food chains that doesn't sell their ice by the bag.

10. McDonald's

McDonald's has some of the most boring ice cubes possible. Do we hate them? No, not really, we just don't even think of them at all. They're a forgettable shape and texture, and the rectangular chunks of ice are hard to crunch on, making them a non-starter for ice biters everywhere.

"A bit too big for me," Redditor BurnTheWorldPlz explained in a post about the brand's ice. "I'd prefer it if it was a bit smaller and if the ice cubes weren't all stuck to each other. Would make life much easier lol."

However, if you're truly desperate (kidding), you can likely grab a bag of cubes at your local McDonald's. We recommend checking ahead of time to see if your location sells them, as not all of them do. But nonetheless — as one local McDonald's franchise posted on Facebook – you can even score a sack of the frozen stuff for cheaper than the grocery store. With the $1 price point in mind, we're not too mad at what they have to offer (although it certainly isn't our cube preference).

9. Burger King

If you love too-large ice cubes, you'll probably love Burger King's offerings. However, we're not fans. We feel these could be better if they were half the size of their current stature.

For those who are tired of watered-down drinks, Burger King's ice may actually do it for you. Since each chunk is on the larger size, it takes longer for it to melt down into your drink. This creates a cold drink without unwanted water. Unfortunately, if you're looking for munchable ice from Burger King, you may be pretty disappointed — each piece is hard as a rock and unwieldy to chew.

Burger King ice lovers can rejoice — the burger chain typically sells ice by the bag, and for a low price. According to Query Sprout, you can purchase a five- to eight-pound bag for as little as $1.20. However, we recommend calling ahead, as not all locations stock pre-made ice bags.

8. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts may have excellent donuts (we're partial to the double chocolate glazed), but their ice is yawn-worthy. The cubes aren't easy to chew on, and we wish it took their ice longer to melt. After all, who wants a watered-down iced coffee?

In fact, customers aren't thrilled with just how much ice the donut brand puts in their drinks. "My go-to drink is a large iced macchiato," Redditor Haley232323 explained. "I notice the ice is literally almost to the top of the cup- maybe about a half inch to an inch under it. It just feels like I'm paying over $6 for mostly ice."

Most Dunkin Donuts sell ice by the bag, which is handy if you forgot to stop at a gas station prior to a shindig. Pro tip: Check Trip Advisor to see if your nearby location has any, as customers will often say in their comments.

7. Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's crushed ice occasionally moonlights as pellet ice — it's clearly whatever it feels like on any given day. The edges of each cube aren't smooth like you may see with nugget or pellet ice. Instead, the sides are more ragged. Although we think these cubes are inconsistent, some patrons love them.

"I love the ice here," Redditor ThyZombieBob9 explains. "The ice maker makes it so perfectly that I can't help but snag an ice cube from there every so often. It's the perfect size and a nice feel to just enjoy. The density is just perfect to give you a nice satisfying crunch when you bite it. It always gives me the push I need to continue furthering my shift."

If you were hoping to grab a bag of ice from Jimmy John's, we have bad news — that isn't going to happen. The sandwich chain doesn't currently offer ice for sale.

6. Starbucks

Starbucks has virtually the same type of ice that Chipotle does. However, the storied coffee brand also adds way too much ice to each drink, which is why we feel it doesn't really stack up. It's tough to enjoy your ice when there is simply too much of it in your drink.

However, some people are quite passionate about their Starbucks ice. Luckily, one Redditor has the inside scoop on which ice makers they use in their shops. "Every store has an ice machine capable of freezing hundreds of pounds of ice a day," Redditor Slanderbeak explains. "The machine is usually a Scotsman or an Ice-O-Matic model."

It is worth noting you can order any of their drinks without ice. However, the jury is still out on whether or not that gives you extra drink. Luckily, you can order a cup of ice separately if you prefer to add your own amount to your Starbucks drink.

5. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut has oddly-shaped, hollow ice cubes that you wouldn't expect to see these days. Luckily, they're large and take a while to melt, which helps keep your Coke or Sprite's integrity. Customers have even reminisced about their childhood memories involving the storied red Coca-Cola cup with the hollow cubes from Pizza Hut.

"Other restaurants (Pizza Hut) have rounded ice cubes with holes in the center," titaniumChampion explains (via the escapist). "Nothing special, but it was fun to hook them onto straws and throw them." Ah, yes. Who doesn't remember thwacking their sibling with a hard ice cube during a peaceful family pizza night? We're definitely guilty as charged here.

Unfortunately for on-the-go ice enthusiasts, Pizza Hut does not sell bagged ice and has not done so before, so you'll have to get your ice fix elsewhere. Consider picking up your own countertop ice cube maker or even a simple mold for your freezer.

4. Dairy Queen

On a hot summer's day, few things are better than a Dairy Queen dipped cone in one hand and a cup of their ice in the other. Nothing is more refreshing than a creamy treat and an icey one at the same time (at least we're convinced).

Plenty of people agree: "I've had this type of ice and can confirm it is very chewable without being too hard," Glutenous_rex remarks about Dairy Queen ice. 

According to Dairy Queen's Facebook, the eatery is kind enough to offer their nugget ice by the bag at most locations. However, it is slightly pricier than most five- to eight-pound bags at fast food joints. You'll likely pay over three dollars per bag, but your location may be different. Don't count your cubes until they've frozen — you might want to call ahead of time to confirm availability.

3. Zaxby's

Zaxby's makes pebble ice, which is similar to nugget ice. Most Zaxby's allow customers to put their desired ice amount into their cups, which adds to the customizable experience. This wins major points with us, as we don't like overfilled ice (unless it's strictly for munching purposes).

Just like Sonic, Zaxby's has a cult-like following when it comes to their ice."One guy on House Hunters is demanding that his house have a crushed ice maker like with the Chick Fil A/Zaxby's style ice," Jessica Taylor tweeted. "I clearly did my home search wrong."

If you're really committed to the pebble ice experience, consider purchasing a commercial ice maker to make Zaxby's-esque ice at home. Normally, we'd recommend grabbing a bag of pre-made ice from whichever fast food chain helps you get your fix in, but Zaxby's doesn't offer this on their menu. Maybe one day, they'll listen to the people (like Chick-fil-a and Sonic) and offer their pebbles to the public.

2. Chick-fil-a

Similarly to Sonic, Chick-fil-a makes the delicious ice nuggets you see in your favorite TikTok creator's kitchen. We love ours in a Chick-fil-a Vanilla Iced Coffee: The nugget ice perfectly chills our drink without making it too watered down.

Want to enjoy Chick-fil-a's famed nugget ice in the comfort of your own home? Pick up a five-pound bag in the drive-thru lane of your nearest location (don't forget to check for availability and price, as both may vary).

Chick-fil-a's ice cubes are so popular that some consumers go to great lengths to get their fix: "I can never throw my cup away until I've finished eating all my ice," Redditor Crc024 explains. "Whenever I stop and order something but don't get a meal because I have a drink already, I always order a cup of ice to pour my drink in. There isn't an option on the app, so I order a free cup of water and put in the comments 'don't want water, just ice' and they have got it right every time."

1. Sonic

Sonic makes the ultimate versatile ice cube. Whether you want to munch on it or put it with a soda, these ice cubes are practically perfect. The brand clearly understands the interest in the delicious nugget pieces (which are especially ideal for chewing on, by the way).

Sonic doesn't just make regular, rectangular cubes. Instead, they've created the most crunchable ice ever. The tiny pieces of ice are hard enough that they don't melt quickly yet generate a satisfying cracking sound.

Besides being able to buy it in bag form, the nugget ice from Sonic can also be acquired in the traditional styrofoam cup. Yes, you read that correctly. When you order something from Sonic ahead of time, you can also request a cup of ice via Sonic's online menu. Don't have a Sonic near you? Don't sweat it. You can purchase a countertop ice maker from Amazon and essentially get the same effect.