We Tried Whataburger's New Chili Cheese Burger. Here's How It Went

When fast food outlets mash up two favorite items into a single deluxe creation like Whataburger has done with its Chili Cheese Burger, cults tend to form and movements are born. A burger that blends the spicy, savory goodness of a chili dog but replaces the dog with a beefy double stack is bound to draw notice and garner internet attention. When you consider that chili itself contains a fair amount of ground beef, it's really like getting three burgers in one bun, even though one is mashed to a pulp and blended with beans and sauce. Even in that state, burger beef is burger beef, which makes the Chili Cheese Burger a veritable feast for meat lovers.

Adding chili to a cheeseburger isn't exactly a new idea in fast food circles. Jack in the Box launched a similar sandwich in 2020 to decent reviews. So what inspired Whataburger to follow suit and give chili its moment in the spotlight? After all, Wendy's has been making chili for decades. Perhaps the return of fall, with its cool weather and the longing for hearty meals and tailgating football food fests with burgers and chili on grills around America stirred the hearts of Whataburger's designers.

What's in the new Chili Cheese Burger?

For this behemoth burger, Whataburger tops two of the massive 100% all-beef patties that made them famous with two slices of American cheese with a generous serving of spicy beef chili over a layer of corn chips and smother the whole thing in chopped onions. Why Whataburger would choose American cheese instead of cheddar, which would certainly offer a more authentic chili experience, is a headscratcher for sure. American is the cheese on a standard Whataburger cheeseburger, which detracts a bit from the special appeal of a special-release item. Regardless of the cheese decision, the resulting creation is a double-fister of a sandwich that promises fast-food satisfaction.

As for the structure of this monumental meal-making masterwork, the chili layer causes a bit of squishy mushiness above the patties, leading to a flattened-out burger. Advertisements proudly showing a neatly stacked burger with a perfect spread of chili peppered with corn chips are a bit misleading, which is no surprise for a marketing campaign. The blend of flavors is the prime objective here, and given the list of ingredients that goes into a Chili Cheese Burger, the formula appears to be a winning one.

How much does this colossal burger cost?

As with most fast-food menu items, the price of a Chili Cheese Burger varies depending on location. While Whataburger may be able to get away with pricing this frankenburger slightly higher than the other burgers on the menu, we found it for $7.99, which seems pretty steep for a burger by itself. That's more than two dollars above a Whataburger Jr. 

With Burger King locations in the same area offering Whoppers for $6.49 and McDonald's shilling Big Macs for $6.99, the additional deliciousness puts the Chili Cheese Burger at a premium. For $10.99, the burger can be turned into a Whatameal with medium fries and a drink to complete the trio. The colossal patty stack is also available in a Junior Size, though no price was listed on the menu.

Since the Chili Cheese Burger sounds like an exciting addition to the pantheon of burger chain inventions, the price point may be easily overlooked by fans of creative fast-food mash-ups. After all, when what might be a once-in-a-lifetime wallop of Whataburger flavor comes around, real fans don't question the price. They belly up to the drive-thru window and pay for their next favorite burger.

You can find it at select locations for a limited time

With a bit of secrecy surrounding the length of its run on the Whataburger menu, the Chili Cheese Burger may be the Yeti of fast food phenomena. The fast-food chain makes a point to declare its existence as a limited-time deal but offers no end date for the promotion. Ginning up excitement like this may be a sneaky way to get eager consumers to jump on the bandwagon, but no one ever accused marketing departments of being above board with their strategies.

Thirteen states in the Southern, Southwestern, and Midwestern U.S. are currently home to all Whataburger locations, with a whopping over 700 of those locations found in Texas. This makes for a very limited playing field for diners interested in trying out a Chili Cheese Burger for themselves. With no information to go on as far as which specific locations will be lucky enough to carry this specialty item, the best strategy for anyone whose curiosity and hunger are piqued by the prospect is to check the menu at your local Whataburger. If you find the Chili Cheese Burger listed on the menu, grab one as fast as you can. 

How does it compare to other Whataburger burgers?

The Chili Cheese Burger has some stiff competition on the standard Whataburger menu. The Double Meat Whataburger and Triple Meat Whataburger both offer similar stacks without the chili and cheese, though chili and cheese are available as add-ons. Essentially, customers can make their own Chili Cheese Burgers minus the corn chips, which strips the special edition of some of its sparkle. There are also Bacon and Cheese Whataburgers and Jalapeno and Cheese Whataburgers throwing heat of their own and tempting diners on a regular basis.

If you can add chili and cheese to your own burger, what makes this limited-time offer worth trying? The price might be a consideration. Other burgers without the add-ons have a base price near or above the Chili Cheese Burger. For a little less cash out of pocket, diners looking for a heartier version of what's already on the menu can take the flavor combination for a test drive. If the blend gets the thumbs-up, then time is no object. Chili and cheese can be added to any Whataburger whenever the mood strikes without burger fans worrying about beating the clock. Corn chips remain a bring-your-own situation.

How does it stack up nutrition-wise?

Diners watching what they eat will want to steer clear of the Chili Cheese Burger. It's not health food, by any stretch. The sandwich alone contains 1,255 calories, and the micronutrient rundown credits 700 of those to fat. And speaking of fat, this mega-burger contains 77 grams fat total, with 27 grams of saturated fat in that total. Add to those 2,480 grams of sodium and 10 grams of sugar, and anyone digging into a Chili Cheese Burger is consuming almost a full day's worth of everything, all in a single burger.

Anyone interested in adding to the hefty total should be aware that ordering a Chili Cheese Burger Whatameal with medium fries and a drink brings the total to a minimum of 2,065 calories, plus additional fat and sodium. Ordering a large combo will put you in the range of more than a day's worth of eating. Even a diet soda won't help you here. With the less-than-favorable nutritional numerology laid out like a spreadsheet of what not to eat, offering a double burger with cheese, chili, and corn chips for a limited time is probably a good thing after all.

Our verdict on the Whataburger Chili Cheese Burger

Not surprisingly, the Chili Cheese Burger tastes like chili added to a cheeseburger. All flavors on the sandwich are familiar, if not overly impressive. On the first bite, the blend tends to merge everything into a single chili-cheese-chip-burger taste, with textures standing out more than any one flavor. The second bite brings in the power of the onion, a savory kick that stands out front for the rest of the sandwich. The cheese brings a creamy coolness that tends to get lost. While the corn chip layer adds a nice bit of crunch initially, the temperature and the creaminess from the chili turn them soft before the last bite. 

A touch of spice from the chili comes through eventually but doesn't assert itself enough to proclaim dominance. Said simply, the chili plays nicely with the burgers, but the onions steal the spotlight, and the chips get lost in the shuffle. The cheese is just along for the ride.

All in all, the Chili Cheese Burger is a decent blend of elements that makes a fun, if temporary, addition to the Whataburger menu. Knowing you can make the same burger with a few add-ons means there's no rush to try this health-crushing sandwich.