The moment you scan the menu and see the price of a salad, your eyes gloss over. You slyly, yet protectively place your hand over your wallet and silently curse the creator of the $7.92 Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad. Just when you thought your dinner plans were tarnished, the glow of the neon lights – your saving grace – catches your eye. You knew they’d be hiding somewhere – the cheap fast food options.
While it’s true, fast food prices continue to rise, we will always dig up the latest dollar menus, dinner meal deals, and dirt-cheap fan favorites. This time, we’re sharing the top-rated cheap fast food options from the world’s favorite powerhouses, from drinks to snacks and full-blown meals so you don’t have to worry about your budget come mealtime.
Cheapest Fast Food Options in 2020
1. Tacos – Jack in the Box
Jack in The Box is a rare find favored by the late-night snackers. If your area is lucky enough to be graced with one of these restaurants, the unbelievably cheap deals might shock you. To kick things off, let’s start with the two-for-one tacos. This cheap snag is arguably one of the best deals in the fast food industry. Jack in the Box boasts over its tacos on social media with impressive regularity, claiming the glorified hashtag #TacoObsession. For a single Washington? We’re obsessed, too.
Price: 2 for $1
2. All American Cheeseburger – Checker’s/Rally’s
As if choosing something off the menu wasn’t hard enough, Rally’s throws another curveball at us – drive-throughs on both sides of the building. Whether your local joint goes by Checkers or Rally’s, this quirky franchise serves some of the best cheap fast food options, including the one-dollar All American Cheeseburger. Take comfort in knowing this burger is exactly what you’d expect it to be – a single beef patty, American cheese, pickles, and mustard. Cheap, greasy, and delicious, the American way. The only thing that could possibly make this burger better is bacon.
3. Cheesy Nachos – Taco Bell
Cheesy Nachos at Taco Bell are one of life’s simplest (and cheapest) pleasures. With perfectly salted tortilla chips and piping-hot, creamy nacho cheese, you can’t go wrong with this cheap fast food option, especially because an order of these bad boys is only a buck. Serving as a perfect side for your tacos or burrito, you’ll scarf down these nachos in a few bites. Seriously… The portion sizes are small (like everything at Taco Bell), so plan accordingly.
And if you want to get really fancy – and spend a few more dollars – you can try their Grande Nachos box. This Mexican fast food option is basically the Cheesy Nachos on steroids, topped with ground beef, tomatoes, and sour cream.
4. Small Frosty – Wendy’s
Wendy’s fast food chain has comfort food down to a science, and if you ask us, there is no greater comfort food than a Frosty. For just one dollar, you can treat yourself with a vanilla or chocolate dessert, which somehow pairs well with everything on the menu. Oh, and have you tried dipping those perfectly-salted Wendy’s French fries into your ice cream? As odd as it sounds, it blows a side of ranch out of the water.
If you’re in the mood for a full meal at Wendy’s, you can always swap your drink for a Frosty, too.
5. Whopper Jr. – Burger King
We debated including a McDonald’s burger on this list, but nothing trumps the Whopper. As part of the Whopper family, this single patty burger is the best value you can get for a burger from BK. It has all the qualities you love about the Whopper – the toasted sesame bun, grilled beef patty, and loads of toppings – but in a smaller, much less guilt-inducing burger with fewer calories. If you want to make it a cheeseburger, just ask. A lot of people are surprised Whoppers don’t come with a slice of cheese. If this doesn’t sound like enough food, add a drink and fries to make it a combo meal.
6. Chicken Sandwich – Jack in the Box
Let’s face it – any fast food items competing with the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich has their work cut out for them, but at a mere $1.29, we’d say this is a solid deal if you’re not into Jack in the Box’s top-selling Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It’s got 410 calories, which is pretty good as far as fast-food chicken sandwiches go
7. BK Stacker – Burger King
Another frontrunner at Burger King is the BK Stacker, a single patty cheeseburger with a slice of American cheese, thick-cut hardwood smoked bacon, and zesty BK sauce on a toasted bun. Fun fact for you: this cheap fast food option is part of a family of burgers at Burger King that includes the Single Stacker King, Double Stacker King, Triple Stacker King, as well as the BK Double, Triple, and Quad Stacker. Talk about a mouthful. You can always make this a combo meal with a drink and fries, too.
8. Checkerburger or Rallyburger – Checker’s/Rally’s
Rest assured, you’ll get the same explosion of flavor whether you order this cheeseburger on the right or left side of the building. This classic option is named after the restaurant for a reason, serving up a beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, melted cheese, mayo, and ketchup. Add a drink and curly fries to make a full meal that will cost just a few bucks extra.
9. Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap – McDonald’s
McDonald’s is encouraging us to eat this menu item as a snack, right? They are quite small, but if you ask us, a couple of these puppies makes for a filling meal, with options to drown your grilled or crispy chicken in chipotle BBQ, honey mustard, or ranch. (If you’re in the market for something on the lighter side with fewer calories, check out these eight McDonald’s healthy choices.)
10. Chicken Burrito – Taco Bell
Taco Bell caters to the fast food lover in all of us, teasing us with those glorified beef tacos, exclusive sugar-packed Mountain Dews, and melt-in-your-mouth cheese quesadillas. Whether we know what they’re made of or not, these cheap fast food options never fail us. But, that seasoned beef isn’t for everyone. For less than $2, you get all-white-meat chicken, Latin rice, creamy avocado ranch sauce, and cheddar cheese wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. Plus, you can swap the meat for beans if you want to go vegetarian. That’s quite the deal.
Plus, it’s much cheaper than opting for Chipotle, Qdoba, or El Pollo Loco.
11. Large French Fries – McDonald’s
A large fry is quite versatile, serving as a great food to scarf down after a breakup, a side to share with a friend, or a satisfying meal in itself. Be warned – the calories add up fast if you add a burger to your order, but the taste and price are unbeatable. If you’re in the mood to really indulge, we recommend pairing this salty treat with a sweetened iced coffee or soft serve vanilla cone. Toss the ketchup and dip your fries in the ice cream. You won’t regret it.
12. Crispy Chicken Ranch Wrap – Burger King
The Crispy Chicken Ranch Wrap from Burger King is comparable to the McDonald’s Snack Wrap, except there isn’t a grilled option. If you’re ordering something smothered in ranch, you’ve already lost the health battle, anyway, but it’s one of the most affordable items on the menu.
13. Spicy Chicken Sandwich – Checker’s/Rally’s
Your loyalties may be with Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but this price is quite persuasive. For just three bucks, you can score two of these sandwiches that are topped with shredded lettuce and mayo. A side of those Rally’s fries is never a bad idea, too. This is one of the best value chicken sandwiches, in our opinion.
Price: 2 for $3.00
14. Chicken McNuggets (20 Pc.) – McDonald’s
We’re confident when we say the Chicken McNuggets are the Michael Jordan of McDonald’s, withstanding time and remaining adored in the public eye throughout the years. For just $4.99, you get a more-than-filling meal or a great opportunity to share. Add a small soft drink for just $1 extra.
Side note: if you are curious about which nuggets and tenders match up to McDonald’s, check out our Power Rankings for 2020: Fast Food Chicken Nuggets and Tenders.
15. $5 Fill Up – KFC
Wait… $5? You may be wondering why in the world we’d include a price tag so hefty on our list of cheap fast food options, but with KFC’s $5 Fill Up, you get your money’s worth because it’s one of the best offers in the industry. With five fast food fried chicken options to choose from, you can customize your box to include a Crispy Colonel Sandwich, 3 Extra Cripsy Tenders, one Chicken Breast, a Pot Pie, or a Famous Bowl, all accompanied by a cookie and a drink. Select options even include potato wedges or mashed potatoes, as well as a biscuit.
16. Chicken Quesadilla Snacker – Del Taco
You can’t beat a delicious quesadilla for a buck and only 190 calories. Plus, who doesn’t want a mini quesadilla to fulfill your daytime cravings or late night munchies? Del Taco has snack time down to a science with this perfectly-portioned menu item. It’s stuffed with grilled chicken and cheese and pairs well with tacos or a burrito if you’re in the mood for a full meal.
17. Sliders – Arby’s
You can order Arby’s Sliders at any time of day, but if you grab them during Happy Hour, you’ll only pay a buck each. You can choose from Buffalo Chicken Slider, Chicken ‘n Cheese Slider, Ham ‘n Cheese Slider, Jalapeño Roast Beef Slider, Pizza Slider, Roast Beef ‘n Cheese Slider, and Turkey ‘n Cheese Slider. Other items on the menu that are just a buck during Happy Hour include cookies, small potato cakes, small curly fries, small shake, and small drinks.
This Happy Hour deal typically takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day, but this may vary by location so it’s a good idea to double check with your local restaurant first.
Price: $1 (During Arby’s Happy Hour)
18. Corn Dog – Sonic
You can’t beat a classic corn dog from Sonic. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, add a frozen drink to your order, like the Cherry, Blue Raspberry, or Blue Coconut Slush that cost just a couple of bucks. Sonic also has a full list of mini snacks like tater tots, fries, onion rings, and popcorn chicken for 79 cents each, which is the cheapest fast food you can find.
19. Waffle Fries – Chick-Fil-A
You can’t order a full meal at Chick-Fil-A for a dollar or two, but you can snag a medium order of their iconic waffle fries for just $1.65. A medium is a perfect size for a snack, but if you want to make it a meal, you can’t go wrong with the Original Chicken Sandwich or nuggets, along with an iced coffee. To see other options to pair with your fries, check out the latest Chick-fil-A menu.
Price: $1.65 (medium)
20. Sliders – White Castle
The cheapest fast food you can find? White Castle sliders. You have the choice of more than ten different flavors, including Cheese, Sloppy Joe, Fish, Chicken Ring, Veggie, Bacon Cheese, Crispy Chicken, Chicken and Waffles, and more. And if you’re feeling extra lazy (face it, ordering White Castle is laziness at its finest), opt to get your meal delivered through Door Dash, UberEats, or Postmates.
21. French Toast Sticks – Burger King
We couldn’t round out our list of the cheapest fast food without a breakfast item. If you’re eating in the AM, you can’t go wrong with BK’s French Toast Sticks. You can order this breakfast item as a 3-piece for $1 or 5-piece for $1.99. They may not be the friendliest when it comes to calories, but they sure do taste good. Other cheap breakfast options from Burger King are the Muffin Sandwich with Egg & Cheese with Sausage, Bacon, or Ham, as well as the Biscuit Sandwich with Egg & Cheese with Sausage, Bacon, or Ham for $2.99.
Opting for the cheapest fast food can help you save a few bucks. So, what’s your favorite cheap fast food to eat? Comment below to share the menu item you can’t live without.