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When you’re on a fast food run, you pretty much know what to expect: Big Macs, Whoppers, Crunchwrap Supremes, you get the gist. These popular items have become permanent menu fixtures for a reason, but sometimes, it’s exciting to stray from the tried and true. That’s when a secret menu can help.
A secret menu is a list of food or drink options that aren’t advertised on the chain’s actual menu. These items can range from simple tweaks to complete custom orders made with ingredients already found at the chain. Sometimes referred to as “menu hacks,” secret menu items gain attention via word of mouth, social media, and even websites dedicated to the fast-food phenomenon. So no, secret menus aren’t not exactly top-secret, but they do add some intrigue to the ordering process.
If you’re eager to shake up your usual fast-food order, there are endless possibilities worth investigating. Here are eight fast-food chains that serve up some attention-grabbing secret menu items.
Note: Not all employees will know about the secret menu items or how to make them, so you’ll want to know what’s in your order ahead of time.
If Starbucks’ menu wasn’t expansive enough for you, the coffee giant also serves a wide variety of creative and colorful secret menu items. Surf the web or scroll through social media, and you’ll encounter all sorts of beverages. And we mean all sorts.
From cereal-inspired sips like the Cap’n Crunch Frappuccino to candy-themed drinks like the Pink Starburst Refresher, Starbucks’ secret menu showcases an impressive range of flavor profiles. One item that’s recently gained heightened attention, thanks to the newly released “Barbie” movie, is the hot pink Barbie Frappuccino. The Instagrammable drink calls for a vanilla bean crème Frappuccino with three pumps of vanilla, one scoop of dragonfruit inclusion, and whipped cream. However, some versions will feature strawberry purée, while a previous iteration included raspberry syrup, which Starbucks discontinued in March.
Starbucks isn’t the only coffee chain with drinks that are kept somewhat under wraps. Dunkin’ is home to many of them, too. Do you have a birthday coming up? The coffee giant can help you celebrate with its Birthday Cake Coolatta. Just ask for a Vanilla Bean Coolatta with a hazelnut swirl. Another fan favorite is the Nutella Surprise, which is an iced coffee with a mocha swirl and two shots of hazelnut.
Beyond its secret frozen drinks, Dunkin’ can also whip up an assortment of exclusive hot beverages. Back in 2018, the coffee chain released some of these, calling them “menu hacks.” For a fruity spin on your usual hot chocolate, you can order the Chocolate Covered Raspberry Hot Chocolate, which is just Dunkin’s hot chocolate with a shot of raspberry.
Chipotle is famous for its burritos and bowls, but those are not the only menu items customers can order. Among the options on the chain’s unofficial secret menu is the Quesarito. Arguably the most well-known off-menu order, this item resembles the recently discontinued Quesarito from Taco Bell because they’re both burritos wrapped in quesadillas.
Similarly, there’s also the Burritodilla, which the site SecretMenus describes as a “crunchy, slimmer alternative to the monstrous Quesarito.” Unlike the larger menu item, the Burritodilla is essentially a quesadilla filled with about half of the fillings you’d get in a burrito. A few other secret menu items at Chipotle include nachos, double-decker tacos, and double-wrapped burritos.
Taco Bell serves several creatively named menu items—and its secret menu options are no exception. Take the Hulk, for example. While its name might raise some eyebrows, the recipe is actually quite simple, as it’s just a burrito filled with beans, cheese, and guacamole. To give this item some extra oomph, you can ask for the Incredible Hulk, which is Taco Bell’s 5-Layer Burrito made with guacamole instead of the usual nacho cheese sauce.
Staying with the superhero theme, Taco Bell can also make you the Superman, which, as SecretMenus notes, “does everything in excess.” This fast-food item consists of a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito packed with extra potatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and crispy tortilla strips.
Unlike the majority of fast-food chains, In-N-Out Burger has its secret menu available on its website, playfully calling it the “not-so-secret menu.” According to the chain, some of its most popular items on this menu are burger modifications, though there are also custom fries and shakes, as well.
To give your regular burger a twist, you can order it animal-style, which means you’ll get a mustard cooked beef patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions, and extra spread. Don’t want a bun? Order it protein-style, which will give you a burger wrapped in lettuce instead.
If you want to add even more meat, there’s the 3X3, which features three beef patties and three slices of cheese, along with lettuce, tomato, spread, and the option to add onions. For something even bigger, there’s the 4X4, which is just the 3X3 with an additional beef patty and slice of cheese.
In addition to its beloved burgers, crinkle-cut fries, and milkshakes, Shake Shake can also prepare some enticing options not available on its standard menu. Like In-N-Out, the chain’s burgers can be ordered “protein style.” The fast-casual hotspot also has its own four-patty burger, which has been dubbed the “Quad Burger.”
The unofficial menu items don’t stop at burgers though. Get your fries topped with chili peppers and cheese. Cool down with an ice cream sandwich made with potato buns. Quench your thirst with a root beer float featuring Shake Shack’s famous frozen custard. The list of hacks goes on.
As the world’s largest fast-food chain, it only makes sense that McDonald’s has an extensive selection of secret menu items. This spans across burgers, fries, desserts, and drinks, several of which merge multiple menu items together. For instance, the Big McChicken replaces the three buns found in a Big Mac with chicken patties. Meanwhile, the Apple Pie McFlurry is a McFlurry with McDonald’s apple pie blended into the frozen dessert. Additional off-menu items include the McCrepe, Neopolitan Shake, and the Land, Air, and Sea Burger.
While most secret menu items are created by the consumers themselves, Panera took a different approach by launching its own “hidden menu” in 2013. The fast-casual chain also set these items apart by straying from the typically heavy choices you see at fast-food chains and promoting low-carb, high-protein dishes. Although the hidden menu is no longer available, you should still be able to order these menu items, according to Tasting Table. Some of these include the Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey, Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, and Power Steak Lettuce Wraps.
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