Try the Best Side Dishes at Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurants
Even the most filling fast food burger needs a side dish, and you want to get the most delicious meal you can for your buck. If you happen to swing by any of the following spots, you might want to wear loose-fitting pants. We found the best fast food side dishes money can buy. We dare you to get all the way to the top spot without craving all of these.
The top slot winner probably surprises exactly no one, but it will make you hungry (page 15).
15. Deep-fried cheese curds at Culver’s
The only way we can think of improving cheese curds? Deep fry them. At Culver’s, they take the squeaky Wisconsin stand-by and improve on it by wrapping the curds in batter before tossing them in hot oil. The result comes out creamy, crispy, and udder-ly delicious.
Next: This side dish choice may sound controversial, but hear us out.
14. Mac and cheese at KFC
OK, we understand that everyone gets mashed potatoes at KFC. They go great with fried chicken, no one can deny that. But have you also tried the thick, creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese? If not, go do it. Yes, right now. You will not regret it.
Next: The following chain may have singlehandedly reinvigorated this food.
13. Chili cheese tater tots at Sonic
At Sonic, you have to order the tater tots. That just goes without saying. But if you really want a true taste sensation, you will also get them with chili and cheese. This one could almost substitute for a meal, but we won’t judge if you order it as a side dish.
Next: When at the following fast food joint, we have a pro move for you.
12 Mashed potatoes and a biscuit at Popeyes
At Popeyes, order mashed potatoes and a biscuit, but with this key alteration. Get the gravy on the side, for both biscuits and gravy plus chicken and mashed potatoes. Dip that biscuit in the gravy and you have an amazing side dish. Then, dip your chicken in the gravy, and you’ll think you died and went to heaven.
Next: Forget fries at the following burger-centric restaurant.
11. Onion rings at Burger King
Many of us probably think of Burger King as the second fiddle to McDonald’s, but it has some truly delicious options, too. Skip the fries and go for the onion rings with your burger. These crunchy little rings of goodness will really up your meal game.
Next: The fast food version of this snack tastes just as good as the bar kind.
10. Mozzarella sticks at Arby’s
You might think the seasoned curly fries represent the pro move at Arby’s. But their mozzarella sticks really take the cake. They even come with a little bit of that signature seasoning, which just levels it up even further. Go with the mozz sticks — you’ll never go back.
Next: If you like cheese, check out the following food.
9. Jalapeño poppers at Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s
Spicy food fans, have we got a side dish for you. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s fills jalapeños with cheese and covers them in batter, making them the most delicious vegetable ever. The cheese also moderates the spice level, which has us wondering why we don’t eat every veggie that way.
Next: The only better food than macaroni and cheese is this next one.
8. Baked mac and cheese at Church’s
How can you possibly improve on good ol’ mac and cheese? Why, adding a crispy, crunchy layer of baked goodness on top. At Church’s, they do just that and the results have us salivating. If you have a better chicken side than cheesy mac, we need to hear it.
Next: Speaking of baked, don’t sleep on the next side.
7. Baked potato with chili at Wendy’s
If you want to forego the fried food, go for a baked potato at Wendy’s. And to basically negate that healthy choice, add cheese and chili. Rumor has it, Wendy’s makes its chili from discarded, overcooked burger remnants. So you sort of have two burgers, if you think about it. We call that a win.
Next: The following chain also took a classic and made it even better.
6. Chicken rings at White Castle
Sometimes, you’d rather mix it up at White Castle than order a dozen tiny burgers to stuff down your gullet. If so, enter the chicken ring. Yes, White Castle took the classic chicken nugget and married it with an onion ring. The result also comes in the perfect shape for snacking, or you can order these as their own sliders.
Next: Don’t forget dessert at this next iconic chain.
5. Baked apple pie at McDonald’s
A lot of people harbor serious admiration for the McDonald’s apple pie. And that love does not come unfounded. Even though the baked version lacks the shattering crispiness the fried ones used to have, they still taste pretty great. And yes, an apple pie also makes a great side for savory burger or chicken sandwich. But don’t take our word for it.
Next: You should not leave the following chain without these.
4. Cheesy potato wedges at Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box’s bacon cheddar potato wedges could make a meal in and of themselves. But come on, you really want them as a side. These little miracles come with potato wedges, melted cheddar cheese, cheese sauce, and bacon. Yes, you counted two kinds of cheese.
Next: This side almost seems like a healthy choice. Almost.
3. Red beans and rice at Popeyes
We all know that Popeyes has some seriously solid side options. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but the red beans and rice earns points for pure originality. The surprisingly authentic Louisiana standard makes a great substitute for fries and will give you a taste of Cajun country. Or at least, a fast food approximation of it.
Next: This side also satisfies a carnal need.
2. Nachos at Taco Bell
When we say nachos, we don’t mean the full meal with all the fixin’s. We mean the little paper packet of chips with a cup of cheese the color of toxic waste. Those Taco Bell chips don’t taste like much on their own, but the cheese more than makes up for it. Go ahead and scoop out the last little bit with your finger. We won’t tell.
Next: The following side represents a perfect fast food, period.
1. McDonald’s french fries
No list of fast food sides would be complete without the iconic McDonald’s french fries. You can taste them right now, can’t you? These perfectly crispy little beauties represent the very best of all fast food side dishes. For that matter, they’ve earned themselves a spot on the best fast food, full stop. If you go to McDonald’s and don’t get fries, you didn’t really go to McDonald’s. Hey, we don’t make the rules.
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