After what seems like an eternity of drab weather, summer is here. But how are we supposed to get our pot of coffee a day without sweating up a storm from all that fresh-brewed heat? Two words: iced coffee. We’re convinced iced coffee is one of the wonders of the world and that it belongs with summer the ways peas belong in a pod. We’ve rounded up your options for grabbing the best fast food iced coffee on a hot day, as well as exactly which food items to pair with your beverage. But be forewarned… You might have trouble choosing your brew.
Chick-fil-A may not be well known for its iced coffee, but customers consider it one of the best fast food iced coffees. You can order a traditional with 2% milk or their vanilla flavor option. According to their website, their coffee beans are sustainably sourced by THRIVE Farmers, a farmer-direct coffee company that enriches the lives and communities of those who grow it.
Pair it with: Chick-Fil-A Nuggets
These savory bites are going to result in a flavor explosion as they’re washed down with premium-roasted coffee.
It’s not really a surprise that Starbucks would be on any list that includes the word “coffee.” Of course, Starbucks is a pro at all of their iced coffees, but a couple favorite seem to be the Iced Caramel Macchiato or Iced Vanilla Latte. They also have blended iced coffee options in various flavors if you’re looking for a coffee that resembles the texture of a milkshake. To keep things dairy-free, substitute almond milk for regular milk.
Pair it with: Smoked Turkey Boxed Lunch
Smoked turkey combines with Swiss cheese in this flavorful sandwich box, offering a nice contrast to all that sweet vanilla or caramel.
McDonald’s keeps its coffee game strong by offering different flavors of McCafe iced coffees, such as the Iced Caramel Macchiato, Mocha, Caramel Mocha, and more. Hazelnut and sugar-free flavors are also available at select locations, so be sure to ask what your local spot offers. Their “base” iced coffee, if you’re looking to keep it simple, contains light cream, liquid sugar, premium roast coffee, and, of course, ice.
Pair it with: Fruit n’ Maple Oatmeal
Balance out your iced coffee with a cozy bowl of classic oatmeal if this is your breakfast run.
Dunkin’ has obviously made a name for itself in the coffee world, being a donut and coffee shop after all. When it comes to iced coffee, they offer plenty of options. Each of their flavor shots, including french vanilla, hazelnut, toasted almond, blueberry, raspberry, and coconut are all unsweetened and sugar-free. Their flavor swirls, which contain sugar, come in caramel, french vanilla, hazelnut, and mocha.
Pair it with: Glazed Donut
With all those flavor options, the traditional glazed donut will serve as a solid, sweet base for any flavor of your choosing.
Wendy’s flavored iced coffees are a good bet if you’re craving a sweeter blend. They currently offer three flavors: vanilla, mocha, and caramel, and coffee lovers claim their extra sweetness makes them taste like a dessert. Could an iced coffee be the new frosty? Perhaps.
Pair it with: Spicy Chicken Sandwich
With each sip of sweet, you’ll get a contrasting bite of spice if you pair your coffee with the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
6. Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme’s iced coffee is underrated, but what else is going to pair with that donut in the summer time? They offer a variety of flavors as well, including some that feature whipped cream like their Caramel Mocha Latte. They also offer a standard iced coffee with a splash of two percent milk and hazelnut flavor.
Pair it with: Cake Batter Donut
Because finding good iced coffee is a reason to celebrate.
If you want a slew of options with your iced coffee, Sonic is your spot. They serve traditional iced coffee made with a blend from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, as well as blended coffee options like Iced Coffee Twists. Try the Praline Pecan flavor for a sweet, nutty option. But if you’re looking to keep things on the lighter side, order a traditional iced coffee with skim milk to keep fat and calories to a minimum.
Pair it with: Breakfast Burrito
To balance one of Sonic’s sweet coffee flavors, we recommend pairing it with one of their breakfast burritos. The crispy bacon rounds out your meal with a salty bite.
8. Tim Horton’s
This Canadian cafe chain does many things well, and iced coffee is no exception. While they don’t offer flavors, customers claim their premium roast is exceptionally creamy in its iced version and makes an ideal quick-grab coffee on a hot day. Additional cold coffee options at Tim Horton’s include the Iced Latte, a sweetened beverage, or the Iced Capp, a sweet, frozen, and blended coffee drink.
Pair it with: Maple Donut
Tim Horton’s donuts are made with coffee in mind. They’re always fresh and hand-dipped into that unforgettable maple glaze.
9. Panera Bread
While Panera’s iced coffee comes in just one flavor, original, it does have one thing going for it: it’s refillable like other soft drinks. You can also jazz it up with a few dashes of cream and sugar to your liking with each refill you make.
If you’re looking for something a little more delectable, Panera also offers blended coffee drinks like the Frozen Mocha and Frozen Caramel, as well as the Cold Brew Madagascar Vanilla Cream and the Cold Brew Madagascar Vanilla Almond.
Pair it with: Baja Mac n’ Cheese
The Baja Mac n’ Cheese is loaded with flavor, so your traditional iced coffee can compliment it nicely.
Jack-in-the-Box iced coffee is another similar to Wendy’s, in that it tends toward the sweeter side. They offer an original and mocha flavor, both sweetened, so be sure you’re looking for more of a “dessert” coffee when you order this one. Otherwise, pair it with an extra savory or spicy menu option to offset the sweetness.
Pair it with: Sourdough Jack Sandwich
Loaded with bacon, this salty-savory sandwich will wash down well with that extra-sweet iced joe.
11. Taco Bell
Iced coffee at a taco joint? You heard that right. While it’s not considered the best iced coffee out there (and only comes in two flavors: traditional and vanilla), it pairs with tacos or other Mexican goodies in a pinch. Some customers say it can have a bitter tinge, so we recommend asking for a sugar packet if the roast is too dark for your liking.
Pair it with: Breakfast Crunchwrap
The Crunchwrap balances out this coffee with savory eggs, and adds a delightful smoky crunch to round things out.
Not only is iced coffee an iconic summer item, it is perfect for all those travel plans. As a bonus, many iced coffees are reasonably healthy. But don’t stop your health roll there. Check out how you can still eat healthy while traveling.