There’s something about the existence of “secret menus” at fast food chains—the fact that there are certain off-menu items that the average customer doesn’t know about – that irresistibly tantalizing. For your fast-food dining pleasure, we’ve tracked down the most popular secret “hacks” at 12 of the most popular fast-food chains.
Ask for a burger rodeo-style at Burger King, and you just might find yourself walking out with a burger topped with onion rings and barbecue sauce. You can also order a half-serving of fries and a half-serving of onion rings, and don’t forget that you can ask for extra bacon, cheese, and veggies on anything.
Chipotle’s most popular secret menu item is a quesadilla — two large tortillas pressed together with some cheese in the middle. Its Quesarito is also quite popular: After a quesadilla’s been pressed it’s opened back up and loaded with your choice of fillings before being closed back up and rolled into the shape of a (giant) burrito. We advise against ordering this during the lunch rush, because it’s pretty labor-intensive. You can also order nachos (chips topped with your choice of toppings), and you can ask for extra cilantro on anything. But whatever you do, don't ask for all your taco components to be individually packaged for at-home assembly, or else you'll face the wrath of the internet.
Five Guys doesn’t sell veggie burgers, but if you ask for one they’ll fill a bun with every single meat-free topping they have, including nine different vegetables. You can also request that in lieu of a bun, they use two grilled cheese sandwiches.
In-N-Out advertises its own "Not-So-Secret Menu," which is home to what is arguably its most legendary creation: the animal-style burger. A patty cooked with mustard is topped with lettuce, tomato, special sauce, pickles, and grilled onions, and it’s delicious. But what about animal-style fries? An order of fries topped with cheese, secret sauce, pickles, and grilled onions? Otherworldly. You can customize your burgers and fries to your heart’s content at In-N-Out, so don’t be shy; well-done fries are especially awesome.
KFC will let you add bacon, cheese, and gravy to just about anything on the menu. Want your Doublicious sandwich topped with a schmear of mashed potatoes and a ladle of gravy? How about bacon on those Chicken Littles? You got it. You can also build your own bowl with just about anything from the regular menu.
At McDonald's, you can ask for just about anything you can think of between two buns, from simple requests like no tomato to outlandish concoctions like the Land, Air, and Sea Burger: a Big Mac, McChicken, and Filet-O-Fish all in one sandwich. Don’t forget that because all-day breakfast is now available, you can create some spectacular mashups, like asking for Canadian bacon and an egg on your Big Mac, or adding a McChicken patty to your Egg McMuffin. Another favorite: Apple Pie McFlurry, a McFlurry with a whole apple pie blended in. And you might think you’re being sneaky by asking for unsalted fries in order to get a fresh batch, but employees actually hate that; the fries are always fresh anyway.
On Shake Shack’s ample secret menu, you’ll find a cheese sauce-topped hot dog, a quadruple-patty burger, a Shack-Cago Burger (a burger topped with all the components of a Chicago dog), a grilled cheese with tomato, and ice cream on a potato bun. You can find more secret offerings here.
Deep-fried pickles (called Pickle-O’s) were once featured on Sonic’s menus but have been discontinued. But they’ve got pickles and batter back there, so try asking nicely and they’ll probably make some for you. They’ll also make you a Frito pie (ask for chili and cheese on a pile of Fritos), and they’ll add ham to your grilled cheese.
When you order a sandwich at Subway, the first thing they do is slice the bread, obviously. Before they do that, though, ask for it "old style." They’ll dig a trench out of the bread instead of just slicing it, making extra room for more cold cuts. Because you can customize your sandwich any way you please, there are infinite “off-menu” items, but we’re partial to the Pizza Sub, which is just pepperoni, mozzarella, and tomato sauce on toasted bread.
You can have a lot of fun with Taco Bell’s off-menu items simply because they’ve got so many different components in the kitchen. There’s the “Enchirito,” an enchilada filled with beef, beans, and cheese and topped with onions and red sauce; the "Cheesarito," cheese, scallions, and taco sauce in a tortilla; and a chili cheese burrito at locations that have chili. Another smart hack: Swap a normal taco shell with a Doritos one.
Like McDonald’s, Wendy’s will customize your burger in any way you choose (don’t forget about the chili!). A couple secret menu items are so popular that they have unofficial names. There’s the Meat Cube, with four quarter-pound patties, as well as The Barnyard: a burger patty, spicy chicken fillet, ham, and bacon, with a slice of cheese in between each.