26 Best Burger Chains in America, Ranked
Sometimes when you’re craving fast food, only a burger will do. Luckily, there are many burger chains in the US, many of which serve incredible burgers.
Whether you’re hungry for a quick lunch, a late-night treat, or a pick-me-up on a long drive, these burger places will satisfy your craving.
We’ve compiled a list of the best burger chains in America, each serving a wide variety of delicious burgers, from classic to more innovative options.
Checkers and Rally’s are two fast-food chains operating under different names but are otherwise identical.
There are over 560 Checkers locations and 300 Rally’s locations in the US.
Whether you’re visiting a Checkers or a Rally’s, their menus are the same, even though their names are different.
The Checkers and Rally’s menu features many different burgers, from more modest classics like the All American Cheeseburger to more extravagant versions, like the Double Fry Lovers Burger.
One of the most popular burgers at Checkers and Rally’s is the Big Buford.
It’s made with two beef burger patties, two slices of American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, all on a toasted bakery-style bun.
Checkers and Rally’s burgers are available as combo meals, served with fries and a drink of your choice.
25. White Castle
White Castle is a fast-food chain most well-known for popularizing mini hamburger sliders.
There are almost 400 White Castle locations in the United States, mostly in the Midwest or New York.
The first White Castle was opened by Billy Ingram in 1921. White Castle claims that Ingram was the inventor of the hamburger slider, a square-shaped mini hamburger.
When White Castle opened, Ingram sold hamburger sliders for only $0.05 a pop!
Nowadays, hamburger sliders are still the cornerstone of White Castle’s menu.
White Castle sells over a dozen different kinds of sliders, including versions made with Impossible Meat, veggie patties, and even breakfast versions.
However, one of the signature sliders at White Castle is the 1921 Slider, made with a mini 100% beef patty, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, Roma tomato, lettuce, and pickles, all on an adorable mini hamburger bun.
Many of White Castle’s sliders, including the 1921 Slider, are available in combos, paired with fries and a drink.
24. Dairy Queen
You may know Dairy Queen for its ice cream treats like the famous Blizzards, but select Dairy Queen locations also sell food, including hamburgers.
There are nearly 4,500 Dairy Queen locations in the United States; however, only some of them serve food.
To check whether your local Dairy Queen offers food, go to the locations page on their website and type in your zip code.
Find the location you want to visit. The location only serves ice cream if it says “Treat Only” under the address. If it says “Food and Treat,” that location also serves food.
The first Dairy Queen was opened in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. At the time, Dairy Queen only sold soft-serve ice cream.
Over the decades, Dairy Queen expanded its menu to include tasty ice cream treats we know and love today.
Eventually, Dairy Queen began serving food as well.
There are different burgers on the Dairy Queen menu, but their signature burger is the Original Cheeseburger ⅓ lb Double Signature Stackburger.
The Original Cheeseburger ⅓ lb Double Signature Stackburger is made from two 100% beef hamburger patties, two slices of sharp American cheese, pickles, ketchup, and mustard on a toasted bun.
Many Dairy Queen’s burgers, including the Original Cheeseburger, are available as combo meals, with a side of fries and a drink of your choice.
A&W is best known for its root beer, but the company also operates a chain of fast-food restaurants with over 500 locations in 38 states.
The first A&W opened over 100 years ago, in 1919.
Originally, A&W was just a root beer stand, but it expanded to become a full restaurant, serving food in addition to its iconic Frosty Mugs of ice-cold root beer.
A&W claims their Chairman Dale Mulder invented the bacon cheeseburger in 1963.
There are several different burgers on the A&W menu, including a classic hamburger and a Bacon Double Cheeseburger, but A&W’s signature burger is the Papa Burger.
The Papa Burger is made with two 100% US beef patties, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and A&W Papa Sauce on a lightly toasted bun.
22. Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is a fast-food chain famous for its wide-ranging and eclectic menu, featuring everything from tacos and egg rolls to burgers and fries.
There are over 2,000 Jack in the Box locations in 21 states.
The first Jack in the Box opened in 1951. From the beginning, the restaurant was all about championing convenience, flexibility, and a large menu that offers something for any craving.
There are nearly a dozen burgers on the Jack in the Box menu, from classic options like the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger to more innovative versions, like the Sourdough Jack.
One of the most popular burgers at Jack in the Box is the Double Jack, which comes with two 100% beef patties, American cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise on a buttery bakery bun.
If you’re extra hungry, most of Jack in the Box’s burgers are available as combos, where you can combine your favorite burger with a large side of fries and a drink.
21. Carl’s Jr.
Carl’s Jr. is a fast-food chain known for its charbroiled hamburgers.
There are over 1,000 Carl’s Jr. locations in the US, most of which are on the West Coast or the Southwest.
The first Carl’s Jr. was a humble hot dog cart, opened by husband-and-wife duo Carl and Margaret Karcher in 1941.
By the 1950s, the hot dog cart had expanded into a restaurant franchise, complete with the distinctive star logo that Carl’s Jr. still uses today.
Carl’s Jr. offers different kinds of charbroiled burgers, including the Western Bacon Cheeseburger and the Beyond Famous Star with Cheese, a vegetarian-friendly burger that still tastes like real meat.
One of the most popular burgers on the Carl’s Jr. menu is the Famous Star with Cheese.
It comes with a charbroiled all-beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, dill pickles, mayonnaise, and Carl’s Jr.’s Special Sauce, all on a seeded bun.
Lastly, almost all of Carl’s Jr.’s burgers are available as Charbroiled Burger Combos, which come with a side of fries and a drink.
There are nearly 6,000 Wendy’s locations in the US, with at least one in each of the 50 states.
The first Wendy’s was opened in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio.
From the start, Wendy’s most iconic menu items were its fresh, square-shaped hamburgers and the Frosty ice cream treats.
Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas even claims that Wendy’s was the first restaurant to utilize the modern drive-thru window.
There are well over a dozen burgers on the Wendy’s menu, including classics like the Baconator and newer favorites like the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger.
However, Dave’s Single is one of the oldest and most classic burgers at Wendy’s.
Dave’s Single is made with ¼ lb of fresh beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise on a toasted bun.
The Dave’s Single, Baconator, Big Bacon Classic, Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, and Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburgers are all available as combos, where you can enjoy them with a side of fries and a drink of your choice.
19. Burger King
Burger King is the second-largest fast-food chain globally and is most famous for its burgers.
There are over 7,000 Burger King locations in the US, with at least one in all 50 states.
The first Burger King was opened in 1954. Burger King’s signature burger, the Whopper, was introduced three years later, in 1957.
Nowadays, Burger King sells over a dozen burgers, including the barbecue-inspired Rodeo Burger, the vegetarian-friendly Single Impossible King, and the classic Whopper.
The Whopper is made with a ¼ lb flame-grilled beef hamburger patty, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mayonnaise, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun.
All of Burger King’s burgers can be upgraded to a small, medium, or large combo with a side of fries and a drink of your choice.
Fuddruckers is a fast-casual restaurant chain dedicated to making the “World’s Greatest Hamburgers.”
There are almost 80 Fuddruckers locations in 22 states.
Fuddruckers was founded in 1980. From the beginning, they’ve devoted themselves to serving burgers made from fresh, 100% USDA All-American premium-cut beef and buns baked from scratch in-house each day.
Fuddruckers serves different burgers, including classics like the Double Deluxe Cheeseburger, exotic versions like the Elk Burger, a vegetarian-friendly Veggie Burger, and even a Build Your Own Burger option.
One of the most popular burgers at Fuddruckers is The Works, which comes with a 100% beef hamburger patty, smokehouse bacon, American cheese, and grilled mushrooms, all on a freshly baked white bun.
Each Fuddruckers has a market fresh produce bar, where you can select veggies like lettuce, tomato, onions, and more to add to your burger.
17. Johnny Rockets
Johnny Rockets is a 1950s diner-themed fast-casual restaurant chain famous for its burgers and milkshakes.
There are nearly 150 Johnny Rockets locations in 26 states.
The first Johnny Rockets was opened on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California, in 1986.
Nowadays, the restaurant has expanded to over 100 locations in the US and other locations in over 25 countries.
There are many kinds of burgers on the Johnny Rockets menu, including the Bacon Cheddar, the Smoke House, and the Spicy Houston, which comes with spicy jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle ranch.
One of the most classic burgers at Johnny Rockets is the Original, which is topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, relish, pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise.
Except for their veggie burger, each of Johnny Rockets’ burgers is available as a single (with one patty) and a double (with two patties).
Johnny Rockets also allows you to swap their brioche buns for a wheat bun or Udi’s gluten-free bun.
16. Red Robin
Red Robin is a casual-dining restaurant chain best known for its gourmet burgers and bottomless steak fries, with over 500 locations in 44 states.
The first Red Robin was opened in 1969 in Seattle, Washington.
Originally, the restaurant was a favorite tavern among local university students, but when it started offering burgers on the menu, its popularity began to grow.
Red Robin serves over two dozen burgers, including the spicy Scorpion, the Asian-inspired Banzai, the cheesy, extravagant Madlove, and the aptly-named Vegan Burger.
One of the most classic and popular burgers at Red Robin is the Bacon Cheeseburger.
Red Robin makes its Bacon Cheeseburger with a beef patty, hardwood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and cheese on a sesame bun.
Noe that you can swap the sesame bun for a brioche bun, lettuce wrap, or gluten-free bun.
One of the best things about Red Robin is that each burger comes with bottomless steak fries.
However, you can exchange your side for kettle chips, a house salad, steamed broccoli, or carrot sticks.
15. Sonic Drive-In
Sonic Drive-In is a 1950s drive-thru-themed fast-food chain famous for its burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes, with over 3,500 locations in 46 states.
The first Sonic was actually not called “Sonic” at all. Instead, it was a small root beer stand called “Top Hat,” which opened in Shawnee, Oklahoma, in 1953.
It wasn’t until 1959 that Top Hat owners Troy Smith and Charles Pappe decided to change the franchise’s name to “Sonic.”
Sonic’s menu is true to its classic ‘50s theme, serving classic burgers like the Plain SONIC Cheeseburger, the Grilled Cheese Double Burger, and the SuperSONIC Bacon Double Cheeseburger.
Sonic’s signature burger is the SuperSONIC Double Cheeseburger, which comes with two beef patties, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, diced onions, pickles, ketchup, and mayo.
Many of Sonic’s burgers are also available in combos, served with a side of fries or tater tots and a drink of your choice.
14. Steak ‘n Shake
Steak ‘n Shake is a Midwest-based fast-food chain specializing in steakburgers and milkshakes with over 450 locations in 29 states.
The first Steak ‘n Shake was opened by Gus Belt in Normal, Illinois, in 1934.
To prove to his customers that they were getting the freshest, highest-quality burgers, Belt would grind barrels of steak into hamburger meat in front of their eyes, giving the restaurant’s burgers their name, the steakburger.
Steak ‘n Shake’s menu serves a dozen different kinds of steakburger, from classics like the Single Steakburger with Cheese to more flavorful versions like the Garlic Double Steakburger or the Western BBQ ‘n Bacon Steakburger.
One of Steak ‘n Shake’s signature burgers is the Original Double Steakburger with Cheese.
This burger comes with two 100% beef steakburger patties and American cheese on a bun.
You can also add lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup, or mustard.
Steak ‘n Shake’s burgers each come with a side of their Thin ‘n Crispy Fries, but you can substitute it with potato chips or applesauce.
Fatburger is a fast-casual restaurant chain famous for its made-to-order hamburgers.
There are over 100 Fatburger locations in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The first Fatburger was a three-stool hamburger stand opened by entrepreneur Lovie Yancey in 1947.
Fatburger’s signature burger is the Medium Fatburger, which is made with a fresh, ⅓ lb, 100% lean beef hamburger patty, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, relish, mustard, and mayo on a freshly toasted sponge-dough bun.
The Fatburger is also available in a ½ lb, 1 lb, and even a whopping 1½ lb size!
In addition to the classic Fatburger, Fatburger also sells a Turkeyburger, an Impossible Burger, a Veggie Burger, a bunless Skinny Burger, a Western Bacon BBQ Burger, and a 1000 Island Burger.
McDonald’s is the largest fast-food chain in the world, with several iconic burgers on its menu.
There are over 13,000 McDonald’s locations in the US, making it the most accessible fast-food restaurant.
The first McDonald’s was opened in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald.
Less than twenty years later, in 1958, McDonald’s had sold 100 million hamburgers and was on its way to becoming the world’s largest and most iconic fast-food chain.
McDonald’s sells several iconic burgers, including the Quarter Pounder and the McDouble.
However, the most iconic burger at McDonald’s by far is the Big Mac.
The Big Mac is made with two 100% beef patties, American cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped onion, pickles, and Big Mac sauce on a sesame seed bun.
The Big Mac, Cheeseburger, Quarter Pounder, and Double Quarter Pounder are all available as Combo Meals, which come with fries and a drink.
B.Good is a New England-based fast-casual restaurant chain that serves wholesome, flavorful, good-for-you food, including delicious burgers.
There are over 20 B.Good locations, most of which are in Massachusetts. However, there are also locations in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island.
The first B.Good was opened by two best friends in Boston, Massachusetts.
From the beginning, B.Good was all about serving clean, homegrown ingredients, humane meat, eggs, and dairy, and flexible options to suit various dietary needs.
B.Good’s menu features a variety of craft burgers, including the Chipotle Veggie, the Power Play, and the Beyond Burger, which is made with Beyond Meat.
The signature burger at B.Good is the aptly named Classic, made with a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and the B.Good Sauce.
10. Elevation Burger
Elevation Burger is a Washington Metropolitan Area-based fast-casual chain specializing in organic hamburgers with over 40 locations in the US.
Elevation Burger originally opened because its founders struggled to find organic, healthy, affordable meals.
From the beginning, Elevation Burger has served organic, grass-fed, environmentally sustainable beef, heart-healthy olive oil, and cage-free chicken.
Elevation Burger offers a Build Your Own Burger option and six signature burgers in delicious flavors like BBQ Bacon Cheddar, Mushroom Swiss, and Guacamole Ranch.
The most classic burger on the Elevation Burger menu is the Elevation Burger.
It’s made with two organic, grass-fed, 100% beef patties, two slices of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and Elevation Sauce on a potato bun.
In addition to its signature 100% beef patties, Elevation Burger also serves Impossible Burgers, vegan patties, and vegetarian patties.
9. Tucker’s Onion Burgers
Tucker’s Onion Burgers is an Oklahoma-based fast-food chain serving signature onion burgers with four locations in the Oklahoma City area.
Tucker’s Onion Burgers was opened in 2011, but the recipe for its signature onion burger dates back to the 1920s.
Onion burgers are the signature item on the Tucker’s Onion Burgers menu.
When you order an onion burger, you have it topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, jalapenos, ketchup, mayo, and/or mustard.
Tucker’s even sells a monstrous Mother Tucker burger with over a pound of beef and onions.
In addition, Tucker’s offers a Turkey Onion Burger and Impossible Burger for those who don’t eat red meat.
8. Epic Burger
Epic Burger is a Chicago-based fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in burgers.
There are seven Epic Burger locations, which are in the Chicagoland area.
The first Epic Burger opened in Chicago, Illinois, in 2008.
Epic Burger was founded on the principle of serving a more “mindful burger,” made without antibiotics, artificial colors or flavors, phosphates, nitrates, or preservatives.
Additionally, Epic Burger’s beef and grilled chicken are certified halal.
Epic Burger’s menu offers a variety of delicious burgers, including:
- Cowboy Burger: Black Angus beef patty, bacon, cheddar, grilled onion, pickles, BBQ sauce, and Epic Sauce
- Turkado: turkey patty, avocado, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onion, and Epic Sauce
- Beyond Burger: Beyond Meat patty, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickle, raw onion, and vegan mayo
The signature burger at Epic Burger is the Classic Epic, made with a Black Angus beef patty, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle, grilled onion, and Epic Sauce.
The Classic Epic can also be upgraded to a Double or Triple Epic, which comes with two or three Black Angus patties.
You can also “Build Your Own Burger” at Epic Burger, customizing the toppings to create the perfect burger for your taste.
BurgerFi is a fast-casual restaurant chain serving chef-created, eco-friendly, super-fresh burgers with over 120 locations in the United States.
The first BurgerFi opened in 2011, founded by gourmet chefs committed to serving high-quality, eco-friendly, chef-created burgers, chicken, fries, and frozen custard.
The BurgerFi menu features a variety of classic and creative burgers, including their vegetarian, quinoa-based VegeFi Burger, the Swag Burger, made with spicy wagyu beef, and the hilariously-named Conflicted Burger, which has both a beef patty and a vegetarian VegeFi patty.
The most classic burger at BurgerFi is the BurgerFi Burger, made with two natural Angus beef patties, lettuce, tomato, and THE BurgerFi sauce.
Smashburger is a fast-casual restaurant chain famous for popularizing the Smashburger, which is made with a special grilling technique that maximizes flavor and juiciness.
There are over 200 Smashburger locations in 34 states.
The first Smashburger opened in 2007 in Denver, Colorado.
Each Smashburger is made with fresh, never frozen, 100% certified Angus beef.
The beef is hand-packed into a round ball, then smashed with a special tool on a hot seasoned grill.
The Smashburger menu features a variety of flavorful burgers, including the Smoked Bacon Brisket Burger, the Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger, and the Avocado Bacon Club Burger.
One of the most popular burgers at Smashburger is the Classic Smash Burger.
It’s made with one or two smashed patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, Smash Sauce, and ketchup on a toasted bun.
If you don’t eat red meat, Smashburger’s delicious burgers are also available with a turkey or black bean patty.
Whataburger is a Texas-based fast-food chain specializing in burgers so amazing that they make customers shout, “What a burger!”
There are over 900 Whataburger locations, most of which are in Texas.
Outside Texas, Whataburger restaurants are located in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
The first Whataburger was opened by Harmon Dobson in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1950.
At the time, Whataburger served larger hamburgers than any other restaurant in town, so large that customers needed to hold them with two hands.
Nowadays, Whataburger’s menu still revolves around its giant, delicious burgers.
The restaurant serves a variety of burgers, including the Jalapeno and Cheese Whataburger, the Bacon and Cheese Whataburger, and the Avocado and Bacon Burger.
However, Whataburger’s signature burger, the Whataburger, remains the most popular.
It’s made with a large beef patty, tomato, lettuce, pickles, diced onions, and mustard on a large bun.
All Whataburger’s burgers can be upgraded to “Whatameals,” which come with fries and a drink.
Culver’s is a Wisconsin-based fast-food chain specializing in ButterBurgers, cheese curds, and frozen custard with nearly 900 locations in 26 states.
The first Culver’s was opened by Curtis Culver in Sauk City, Wisconsin.
The restaurant was inspired by Culver’s mother, Ruth Culver, whose famous warmth and hospitality made all guests feel at home.
Culver’s menu contains a variety of ButterBurgers, named after their lightly toasted and buttered buns.
Culver’s iconic ButterBurger flavors include the Wisconsin Big Cheese Pub Burger, the Mushroom and Swiss ButterBurger, and the Wisconsin Swiss Melt.
One of the most popular ButterBurgers at Culver’s is the Culver’s Deluxe.
Culver’s Deluxe is made with two fresh beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, and mayonnaise on a toasted buttered bun.
You can upgrade your ButterBurger to a Value Basket, which also comes with a side and a drink.
You’ll be able to choose from the following sides at Culver’s:
- Crinkle cut fries
- Steamed broccoli
- Mashed potatoes & gravy
- Onion rings
- Side salad
- Wisconsin cheese curds
- Chili cheddar fries
3. Shake Shack
Shake Shack is a fast-food chain famous for its signature ShackBurgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes.
There are over 250 Shake Shack locations in 30 states, plus Washington DC.
The first Shake Shack was a humble hot dog stand out of New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Although Shake Shack still sells hot dogs, it’s now known for its ShackBurgers.
The classic ShackBurger is made with one or two Angus beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Shack Sauce on a toasted potato bun.
Shake Shack also makes delicious variations on the ShackBurger, including the Bacon Cheeseburger, the Avocado Bacon Burger, and the vegetarian Shroom Burger.
Shake Shack’s Shroom Burger is made with a deep-fried portobello mushroom stuffed with cheddar and muenster cheese.
2. Five Guys
Five Guys is a fast-casual restaurant chain that has become a cult classic for its simple yet highly delicious burgers, hot dogs, and fries.
There are over 1,400 Five Guys locations in every state except for Alaska, plus locations in Washington DC.
The first Five Guys was opened by the Murrell brothers in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986.
From the start, the brothers were dedicated to serving fresh, hand-formed burgers and fresh-cut fries cooked in 100% pure peanut oil.
Five Guys’ burger menu is simple, offering just hamburgers, cheeseburgers, bacon hamburgers, and bacon cheeseburgers.
The classic Five Guys Cheeseburger is made with two fresh beef patties, melted American cheese, and a soft, toasted sesame seed bun.
You can top your burger at Five Guys with ingredients, including:
- Grilled onions
- Grilled mushrooms
- Green peppers
- Hot sauce
- A1 Steak Sauce
- Bar-B-Q Sauce
1. In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger is a cult classic, California-based fast-food chain famous for its delicious burgers and iconic “Secret Menu.”
There are nearly 400 In-N-Out locations in seven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.
The first In-N-Out Burger was opened by Harry Snyder in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948.
In-N-Out was California’s first drive-thru hamburger restaurant and quickly became a local favorite for its super quick service and delicious burgers.
In-N-Out’s signature burger, the Double-Double, was first introduced in 1960.
The Double-Double is made with two all-beef patties, two slices of American cheese, fresh or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and In-N-Out Spread on a soft toasted bun.
In-N-Out’s infamous “Secret Menu” offers many variations on the Double-Double, including the Triple-Triple and Quad-Quad.
Tripe and Quad versions of the burger are made with three patties and three slices of cheese, or four patties and four slices of cheese.
Another famous In-N-Out Secret Menu order is the Protein Style burger, which is made with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.
Lastly, many people love ordering In-N-Out burgers in the “Animal Style,” which comes with a mustard-cooked beef patty, extra In-N-Out Spread, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and pickles.
There is no shortage of burger chains in the US. Each of these burger places on our list has perfected its recipe for a delicious signature burger but also offers variations for the more adventurous diner.
Many of these burger chains even have options for vegetarians, vegans, or people who don’t eat red meat.
Whether you’re a burger enthusiast or a casual eater, use our list to find the best burger spot near you to enjoy this American food staple.