Ranking the country's 15 best fast-food breakfasts

Dunkin Donuts Breakfast Sandwich
Bradley Foster
Bradley Foster

Because, at some point in your life, you're probably going to be on the run from the law and driving down the highway in a stolen Fiat and not have time to eat the cage-free egg white frittatas you normally prepare, we've ranked the 15 best breakfast items you can get at national and/or large regional fast-food chains. You're welcome, future-outlaw-version-of-you.

McDonald's Big Breakfast
Bradley Foster

15. McDonald's Big Breakfast

This platter comes with pancakes (which are technically optional, but are actually mandatory), a biscuit, eggs, and myriad packets/pouches full of stuff required to eat those things, making the Big Breakfast kind of a big pain in the... um, place where all 1,090cal are going to end up.

Carl's Jr. Kate Upton
Carl's Jr.

14. The Carl's Jr. Breakfast Burger

If you're really fixing for an excuse to eat a burger in the morning, its hard to go wrong with this massive 'wich, which is essentially a McDonald's breakfast topped with hash brown "nuggets", cheese, and extra meat. And it's just… a little much. Unlike our picture, which is perfectly tasteful and classy!

McDonald's Egg McMuffin
Bradley Foster

13. McDonald's Egg McMuffin

You might think it'd rank higher on nostalgia alone, but when it comes down to it, this is a list of the best fast-food breakfasts in America, and the granddaddy of breakfast sandwiches is on an English muffin. Congratulations, though, England -- you do have a nice king baby.

Jack in the Box Big Waffle Stack

12. Jack in the Box's Big Waffle Stack

This McGriddle clone piles a ton of stuff (eggs, bacon, sausage, ham & American) between two surprisingly good pre-syrup-laden waffles, and it is available all day, but tastes too damn busy to crack the top 10. That wasn't an egg pun.

Starbuck's Artisanal Breakfast Sandwich
Bradley Foster

11. Starbucks' Bacon & Gouda Artisan Breakfast Sandwich

The addition of fancy and delicious cheese works in its favor, but this sucker's small size, occasionally dry bread, and the fact that Howard Schultz callously sold the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City, and I'm from Seattle, and, so, whatever, deal with my biases, keeps it from climbing higher up the list.

Chick-Fil-A Minis
Bradley Foster

10. Chick-fil-A's Chick-n-Minis

These nuggets are wrapped in mini yeast rolls that are lightly coated with a honey butter spread, and come in boxes of three or four. Yes, they are damn delicious, though points were deducted for size, imagination, and making us type "mini yeast rolls".

Sonic's Breakfast Toaster
Bradley Foster

9. Sonic's Breakfast Toaster

The drive-in's signature AM eats item sounds great in theory -- scrambled eggs, melty cheese & a generous helping of bacon between two slices of Texas toast -- but in practice, they tend to skimp on the pork and serve it on bread too soft to be the real thing.

Jack in the Box Extreme Sausage Sandwich
Bradley Foster

8. Jack in the Box's Extreme Sausage Sandwich

Two awesomely greasy sausage patties, two slices of cheese, and some eggs on a hamburger bun makes for one extremely good and extremely not-good-for-you, sandwich.

Subway Steak, Egg & Cheese
Bradley Foster

7. Subway's Steak, Egg & Cheese

We know. We know. Subway for breakfast kind of sounds sub-par, but this thing is basically a Philly cheesesteak with eggs (and some veggies, if you want 'em) on it. Plus, it's the healthiest thing on the list. How can you argue with that?

McDonald's Hash Browns
Bradley Foster

6. McDonald's Hash Browns

If you believe D'Angelo Barksdale, the guy who invented chicken nuggets "is still in the basement of McDonald's thinking of some sh*t to make the fries tastes better"... which, is actually pretty hard to do. On the other hand, we're pretty sure the guy who invented this hand-held potato delivery device got an office on the first floor, at least. Maybe even with a window! That's how good these are.

McDonald's Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
Bradley Foster

5. McDonald's Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit

The quintessential fast food breakfast item: it's got America's favorite meat & gooey cheese, it's served on a classic buttermilk biscuit (suck it, Egg McMuffin!), and eating it leaves you just the right amount of disappointed. Sure, the bacon is probably too crispy and the biscuit a little dry, but damn if you're not getting another one tomorrow.

Burger King Croissan'Wich
Bradley Foser

4. Burger King's Double Croissan'Wich

The most extreme version of a ground-breaking sandwich was first introduced in 1983, when slapping sausage, egg & cheese inside something as buttery and rich (at least relative to other things you can get at a drive-thru) as a croissant was unheard of. Points subtracted for being on something traditionally Franch.

Dunkin' Donuts Breakfast Sandwich
Bradley Foster

You say: "But DD isn't a national chain!" We say: "Stop crowding our minds with 'facts', reader! They put bacon and pepper fried eggs inside a glazed donut. A. Glazed. Donut." They'd be higher, but... um, yeah, DD isn't quite a national chain.

Taco Bell Waffle Taco
David Hall

2. Taco Bell's Waffle Taco

The most delicious Taco Bell hybrid that doesn't involve Doritos or this is constructed with a savory sausage patty and surprisingly fluffy scrambled eggs, encased by a soft, yet slightly crispy waffle bent to look something like a taco shell. How do we know? 'Cause we were the first ones to taste-test this sucka!

McDonald's McGriddles
Bradley Foster

1. McDonald's McGriddles

The first of the new generation of drive-thru-able breakfast eats, the McGriddles and their amazingly syrup-infused, non-soggy, pancake-style buns were a bold leap forward for the fast-food industry, a (literally) handy alternative to number 15 on this list, and an obvious inspiration for several other items. So, they take their rightful place at number one. You lose, English king baby.