From McDonald's to Starbucks the best fast food breakfast items, ranked

Breakfast heroes

<p>McDonaldsUK/Facebook</p>

McDonaldsUK/Facebook

They're convenient, crowd-pleasing and relatively affordable, so it's little wonder that fast food chain breakfasts are so popular. In some cases, they're considered such classics that their recipes have barely changed in decades. But which breakfast beats the rest? From Burger King to Subway, and from global favourites to regional specialities everyone wants to try, we count down the most brilliant fast food breakfast items of all time.

Read on to see if your favourite fast food breakfast made the list.

Our ranking is based on reviews, accolades and the popularity of each item, taking into account sales, longevity and the reaction to the products at the time of their release. 

23. Ham & Cheese Croissant, Pret A Manger, various locations

<p>Courtesy of Pret A Manger</p>

Courtesy of Pret A Manger

The Ham & Cheese Croissant is a wildly popular breakfast option at sandwich and coffee shop chain Pret A Manger, founded in the UK and now with locations in the US, Germany, Canada, UAE and others. Freshly prepared on the day it's sold, and served warm and toasty, the dish consists of French croissant pastry folded over a delicious filling of cured ham, Emmental cheese and rich tomato sauce. It's consistently rated highly by customers, and is one of a handful of items that's kept its place on Pret's permanent menu for years. It's such a classic, it was even included in the chain's recipe book.

22. Sunriser, Krystal, USA

<p>Krystal/Facebook</p>

Krystal/Facebook

Reinvented in 2023, the all-new Sunriser sandwich has already gathered a faithful group of fans, who appreciate its flavour and affordable price. The recipe is simple, but effective: a savoury breakfast sausage is topped with a slice of cheese, then slotted into one of Krystal's signature steamy buns along with a fried egg. Customers can pay a little extra for a combo meal, adding a small drink and a side of potato tots.

21. Breakfast Burger, Whataburger, USA

<p>whataburger/Facebook</p>

whataburger/Facebook

Business is booming at Texan favourite Whataburger, despite the chain never expanding outside the US. A big part of its charm is the excellent breakfast menu, which comes filled with delights like taquitos, pancakes and, of course, breakfast sandwiches. Introduced as a limited-time item, the Breakfast Burger has proven so popular, it's now earned itself a permanent spot on the menu. The fully loaded burger features a beef patty, two slices of bacon, a fried egg, crispy hash browns, American cheese and a drizzle of Whataburger's signature Creamy Pepper Sauce, all crammed into a bun.

20. Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, Bojangles, USA

<p>Bojangles/Facebook</p>

Bojangles/Facebook

A Southeastern US favourite, Bojangles specialises in fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits – and the latter is also at the heart of its breakfast offering. The classic Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit (a made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuit layered up with a folded egg, country-style sausage and a slice of American cheese) is a firm fan favourite. Available on Bojangles' all-day breakfast menu, the ever-popular biscuit is best enjoyed with a side of the chain's signature Bo-Tato Rounds.

19. Enormous Omelet Sandwich, Burger King, USA

<p>Justin Baeder/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0</p>

Justin Baeder/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0

This colossal sandwich quickly conquered hearts when it appeared on Burger King's breakfast menu in 2005. Consisting of a hearty hoagie-style bun stuffed to bursting with eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage, the Enormous Omelet Sandwich was a real crowd-pleaser; after it launched, the chain reported a 20% boost in breakfast sales. However, not only was it filled with tasty breakfast foods, but it was also loaded with 330 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,940 milligrams of sodium and more calories than a Whopper. The sandwich was eventually discontinued, but is still remembered fondly today.

18. Bacon, Egg & Cheese, Subway, various locations

<p>subway/Facebook</p>

subway/Facebook

Some might think Subway's Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich is a little basic, but it's a classic for a reason. To make this hearty morning snack, typical breakfast foods like poached eggs and smoked bacon are paired with melted American-style cheese and sauce, slotted into your choice of bread, then toasted to perfection. It's a solid choice when you're craving a simple, filling breakfast.

17. Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, Carl's Jr., USA

<p>carlsjr/Facebook</p>

carlsjr/Facebook

Who doesn't love a grilled cheese sandwich? Carl's Jr. takes the classic recipe and makes it even better by cramming in the breakfast favourites. Grilled sausage or bacon, American and Swiss cheeses and a folded fried egg are all squeezed between two thick, buttery, fried slices of sourdough toast. Melty, crispy and pretty irresistible, it's an indulgent way to start the day.

16. Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Asiago Bagel, Panera Bread, USA

<p>Courtesy of Panera Bread</p>

Courtesy of Panera Bread

Offering a healthier take on fast food, Panera Bread has created plenty of tasty breakfast options over the years, including parfaits, oatmeal and soufflés. However, it's the chain's sandwich menu that receives rave reviews from customers; complete with a touch of garlic aioli, the Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Asiago Bagel is a consistently popular choice.

15. Avocado, Egg White, Spinach & Cheese on Multigrain Bagel Flat, Panera Bread, USA

<p>Courtesy of Panera Bread</p>

Courtesy of Panera Bread

A beautifully balanced choice, Panera's Avocado, Egg White, Spinach & Cheese on Multigrain Bagel Flat contains 350 calories, plenty of protein and fibre, and even some healthy fats (thanks, avocado) – making it one of the healthiest fast food breakfast options around. With the addition of vine-ripened tomatoes and aged white Cheddar, it's packed full of flavour, too.

14. Big Breakfast Wrap, Tim Hortons, various locations

<p>TimHortonsUK/Facebook</p>

TimHortonsUK/Facebook

Come for the doughnuts, stay for the breakfast. You'll be surprised by how great Tim Hortons' breakfast menu actually is. Take the Big Breakfast Wrap, for example. A great choice if you don't want to start the morning with too much bread, this thin and tasty tortilla comes filled with a sausage patty, bacon, a fresh egg, a hash brown and plenty of sauce.

13. Spicy Chicken Biscuit, Chick-fil-A, USA

<p>Courtesy of Chick-fil-A</p>

Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside – the biscuits from Chick-fil-A taste just like homemade ones. Pair them with the crispy yet tender fried chicken Chick-fil-A is famous for, and you've got yourself a filling, flavour-packed breakfast. This spicy snack first arrived in 2016, but was swiftly taken off the menu 'to make way for new offerings'. Customers lamented the decision and, in summer 2023, the beloved breakfast item finally made a return after a seven-year-hiatus.

12. Sausage & Egg Muffin, LEON, various locations

<p>LEONrestaurants/Facebook</p>

LEONrestaurants/Facebook

LEON is a high street go-to in the UK, where it was founded, plus a handful of other European countries including Norway and the Netherlands. (A brief foray into the US market, with locations in Washington DC and Virginia, ended in early 2021, due to COVID-19.) Available on the chain's breakfast menu, this soft, lightly toasted sourdough muffin comes filled with Cumberland sausage, egg and LEON's signature ketchup.

11. Seared Steak, Egg and Tomatillo Wrap, Starbucks, USA

<p>Starbucks/Twitter/X</p>

Starbucks/Twitter/X

Added to Starbucks' breakfast menu in 2017 as part of its seasonal summer line-up, the Seared Steak, Egg and Tomatillo Wrap was a big hit with customers. Featuring slices of seasoned steak strips, fluffy scrambled eggs, caramelised onions and tomatillo salsa all wrapped inside a warm tortilla, it was the perfect protein-fuelled breakfast. To fans' despair, the popular wrap was discontinued – and countless online recipe creators have attempted to recreate it.

10. Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap, Starbucks, USA

<p>starbuckstrinidadandtobago/Facebook</p>

starbuckstrinidadandtobago/Facebook

Another Starbucks breakfast option – but one that's remained firmly on the chain's US menus for years – the Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap is considered one of the healthiest choices around. This tasty wholemeal wrap comes filled with egg whites, spinach and feta cheese, as well as a sundried tomato cream. The vegetarian meal is high in protein but low in fat, making it the perfect balanced breakfast to pick up on the way to work.

9. Breakfast Slider, White Castle, USA

<p>Courtesy of White Castle</p>

Courtesy of White Castle

If you want to grab breakfast at any hour of the day, White Castle is where it's at: here, you can get your hands on a delicious Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Slider whenever you like. To make it, folded egg is layered up with bacon or sausage, topped with your choice of American, jalapeño or smoked Cheddar cheese, then slotted inside one of the chain's unbelievably soft steamed buns. It's comforting, filling and perfect for breakfast on the go.

8. Beyond Meat or Impossible Breakfast Sandwich, Starbucks, various locations

<p>starbucksuk/Facebook</p>

starbucksuk/Facebook

You might be surprised to find a plant-based item so high in our rankings, but even meat-eaters love Starbucks' vegetarian and vegan alternatives. Some parts of the world, including the UK, get a fully vegan breakfast sandwich, made with a Beyond Meat pea protein sausage patty, while others – including the US – get a vegetarian version, featuring an Impossible plant-based sausage, a cage-free egg and plenty of aged Cheddar cheese. Whichever one you enjoy, it's a reliable, protein-rich breakfast that makes the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee.

7. Wake Up Wrap, Dunkin', various locations

<p>Courtesy of Dunkin’</p>

Courtesy of Dunkin’

Though it's more commonly associated with doughnuts, Dunkin' (formerly Dunkin' Donuts) is actually one of the best fast food chains for coffee and breakfast options. Tasty and affordable, the egg and cheese Wake Up Wrap is a reliable choice. A simple combination of fried egg and American cheese nestled in a warm tortilla wrap, it's fuss-free, yet just enough to satisfy the most niggling of breakfast cravings.

6. French Toaster, Sonic, USA

<p>sonicdrivein/Facebook</p>

sonicdrivein/Facebook

Back in 2015, fast food chain Sonic had the genius idea of blending two breakfast icons into one: eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage were squeezed in between two slices of French toast, forming a sweet-and-savoury breakfast delight. It captured the hearts of fast food fans across the US and beyond. Unfortunately, it was discontinued, soon to be replaced by the Breakfast Toaster, made with Texas toast. Although the latter is still on the menu today, it's never been quite as popular as the much-missed French Toaster.

5. Croissan'wich, Burger King, various locations

<p>burgerking/Facebook</p>

burgerking/Facebook

Burger King's Croissan'wich range was first launched back in 1983, with the standard US version consisting of a sausage patty, bacon or ham, eggs and American cheese in a croissant bun. An irresistible combination of breakfast items, the sandwich was born out of a need to compete with McDonald's mega-successful breakfast offering. While it still hasn't quite reached the same iconic status as some its rivals' breakfast options, the Croissan'wich is still very popular across the US, Canada and New Zealand, as well as in Korea and Taiwan.

4. Breakfast Baconator, Wendy's, various locations

<p>wendys/Facebook</p>

wendys/Facebook

An early morning version of Wendy's popular Baconator burger, this breakfast sandwich combines grilled sausage, American cheese, smoked bacon and a free-range egg – then loads it with even more cheese, and even more bacon. Everything is smothered in Wendy's signature cheese sauce, then stuffed into a soft burger bun. As Wendy's says: "Don't just break your fast. Destroy it."

3. Breakfast Crunchwrap, Taco Bell, various locations

<p>tacobell/Facebook</p>

tacobell/Facebook

A firm Taco Bell favourite among early risers, the Breakfast Crunchwrap embodies the spirit of the original Crunchwrap – it's a similarly cheesy, greasy affair. This griddled tortilla wrap comes stuffed full of egg, sausage, hash browns, and a blend of cheese and sauces. A fixture on Taco Bell menus in the US, Canada and many other countries since 2005, it's a real guilty pleasure (and it's said to be a miracle hangover cure too).

2. Sausage McMuffin with Egg, McDonald's, various locations

<p>McDonaldsUK/Facebook</p>

McDonaldsUK/Facebook

Launched in the 1980s, along with an eggless option, the Sausage McMuffin with Egg capitalised on the success of McDonald's classic Egg McMuffin – credited with starting the trend for fast food breakfasts. The star is a herby sausage patty, packed into a fluffy muffin with a fried egg and slice of American cheese. In most locations, it's only served until 11am – though many would order these all day, given the chance.

1. Egg McMuffin, McDonald's, various locations

<p>McDonalds616EGreenSt/Facebook</p>

McDonalds616EGreenSt/Facebook

It's a close-run contest but, while the Sausage McMuffin with Egg is hugely popular, McDonald's original Egg McMuffin is one of the chain's biggest-selling items overall. To its many fans, this is breakfast perfection – a slice of Canadian bacon, a griddle-fried egg and a slice of American cheese sandwiched in a toasted, buttered English muffin, designed to resemble eggs Benedict. This was McDonald's first breakfast item, launched in 1972, and a pioneer of the morning menu; in fact, it's debatable whether many of the items of our list would exist without it.

Now discover the greatest fast food burgers of all time