Hardee's: What Only True Fans Know About The Chain's Breakfast Menu

Updated 11/21/2022 an earlier version of this article stated Beyond Meat products were currently available on the Hardee's breakfast menu. 

When it comes to culinary-related pieces of delicious Americana, you'd be hard-pressed to find something that fits the bill as much as Hardee's (unless it's a massive slab of mouthwatering apple pie perhaps). Hardee's is synonymous with comfort food, featuring a full menu of charbroiled burgers, plates of juicy chicken, from-scratch biscuits, and towering platters of tempting breakfast faves like biscuit sandwiches and French toast ticks. Hardee's fans can't get over everything biscuit-related on the menu (via Reddit). And since the restaurant prides itself on serving up fresh, homemade biscuits every day, you're bound to savor a tasty, steaming hot, straight-from-the-oven batch every time you swing in.

If you need a break from Hardee's signature burgers and fancy getting up at the wee hours for some stick-to-your-ribs grub that will keep you full well past lunch, Hardee's has got you covered. Read on for the inside scoop on everything there is know about Hardee's breakfast menu, including how you can maximize your bucks and savor an unforgettable meal that sets the standard for fast food.

Have a true diner experience with the Hardee Breakfast Platter

Not content to just offer standard fast food fare, Hardee's takes it up several notches with its iconic Hardee Breakfast Platter. It's a towering triumph of Hardee's famous biscuits smothered in creamy homestyle gravy, served with eggs, bacon, and savory hash rounds. At some locations you can also customize your meal with smoked sausage, chicken, steak, pork, or a generous slice of country ham. The breakfast platter is Hardee's nod to a "real" meal, a bigger-than-normal fast food breakfast that is guaranteed to keep you full and satisfied throughout the early hours of the day and beyond (according to RestaurantNews.com).

Although the Hardee Breakfast Platter is undeniably hard to eat on the go, its lack of portability is just one downside to what has got to be the most generous serving of breakfast goodies ever dreamt up by a fast food restaurant. With a calorie count to match its heft, the breakfast platter probably isn't a meal you should eat every day, but it's certainly one you should make a point to enjoy.

Can't get to Hardees? Get your biscuit fix at Carl's Jr.

If you live in a part of the country that doesn't have Hardee's restaurants, you can still satisfy your breakfast biscuit craving at sister chain, Carl's Jr. Like Hardee's, Carl's Jr.'s menu includes breakfast sandwiches and premium biscuits. Furthermore, the brand, which is owned by the same parent company, started selling Hardee's coveted scratch biscuits back in 2011, using the same process that put Hardee's on the map. The recipe, which dates back to the 1970s, is a Hardee's staple, and the good folks at Carl's Jr. took it upon themselves to pay homage to the formula and meticulous biscuit-making process with special biscuit bakers who roll out and bake the yummy bread every day in the wee hours of the morning. 

It's really no surprise that Carl's Jr. adopted Hardee's biscuit formula. The key difference between the two restaurants really just hinges more on marketing than on their food offerings. While Hardee's is decidedly more wholesome, Carl's Jr. traditionally has gone for more memorable and shocking messaging, although it's more recently started veering back towards a food-focus (via New York Times). Formulaically, the food, including the trademark biscuits, is the same.

Earlybirds in Florida can get breakfast at 5 a.m.

When it comes to cashing in on that Hardee's goodness, early birds in the Sunshine State are in luck. According to The Breakfast Hours, Hardee's starts serving up great grub at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. Most other locations around the country start breakfast service around 6 a.m., so if you're not a Floridian, you still don't have to wait too long for your flaky breakfast biscuits or mega sammies. Open Close Hours has a relatively comprehensive list of general hours of operation and a menu rundown for Hardee's, but if you want to be extra sure, it's a good idea to check in with your local franchise.

It's also worth pointing out that, like many fast food joints, Hardee's tends to have different weekend hours. Familiarizing yourself with when and where you can get your Sunday breakfast fix will save you a trip to a shuttered location, so do your homework before the hunger strikes. 

You'll enjoy cage-free eggs at Hardee's

Along with Carl's Jr., Hardee's made the cage-free egg commitment in 2016, promising to give hungry patrons the ability to nosh in a cruelty-free fashion at all of its locations by 2025 (via St. Louis Post-Dispatch). As The Journal Record notes, the twin CKE Restaurant chains started buying some cage and crate-free pork and eggs back in 2007 as part of a commitment to animal welfare, and more than a decade later they are expanding on that promise. Hardee's and Carl's Jr. join several other major chains like Burger King, Sonic, Tim Hortons, P.F. Changs, and White Castle who've also confirmed their commitments to transition completely to cage-free eggs within the next several years (via WATT Poultry).

In 2022, CKE Restaurants issued a statement detailing Hardee's plan to be entirely cage-free and American Humane Certified in the next three years at all of its American locations. This move only further solidifies Hardee's position as both an American icon and a fast food restaurant chain committed to evolution and excellence, while keeping it in very good company with other heavy hitters who have made the switch.

Vegetarians used to be able to enjoy Beyond Meat products

According to PETA, Hardees' sister chain, Carl's Jr., became the first fast food joint in the entire country to roll out Beyond Meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in 2018. A year later, Hardee's followed suit, giving vegetarians something to celebrate and offering hungry veggie-eaters Beyond Meat products in select markets (via Beyond Meat). And by January 2020, Hardee's offered Beyond Meat breakfast options at all its locations. Breakfast options included the Beyond Sausage and Egg Biscuit and the Beyond Sausage Burrito. Of course, customers still got piles of gooey cheddar cheese, crunchy hash rounds, and cage-free eggs, but the meat was all veggie-based. And with such a sumptuous spice mix and authentic meaty texture, even hardcore carnivores may have had trouble telling the difference.

According to Beyond Meat, Hardee's served plant-based meat substitutes all day long and in several forms, including as the base of its legendary Thickburger. As of November 2022, the current Hardee's breakfast menu doesn't offer any Beyond Meat breakfast items. No problem though — sister restaurant and Beyond Meat pioneer Carl's Jr. still serves the product on its menu.

Save money with the $2, 3, More menu

Thanks to Hardee's entrée and drink combos, you can get your early morning fill without draining your bank account. Hardee's $2, 3, More Menu offers breakfast favorites, like the hearty Breakfast Platter with Sausage, the classic Sausage Biscuit, and tasty French Toast Dips, that you can probably pay for with just the change in your cup holder. Plus, these meals are substantial enough to fuel you properly throughout the morning, especially when paired with a piping hot cup of Rise and Shine Coffee.

Hardee's hits the fast food sweet spot with this value menu, making its from-scratch biscuits accessible and affordable for everyone. The Breakfast Platter with Sausage is a fantastic bang for your fast food buck, clocking in high on the calories but full of enough protein and carbs to keep you going all day. In a world of ballooning inflation and sky-high food costs, Hardee's is a budget-conscious safe haven.

Enjoy freshly made biscuits every 15 minutes

According to Hardee's, the comfort food chain takes special pride in its flagship biscuits, employing special biscuit makers to come in at the crack of dawn to bake them up. In addition to being prepared from a finely-tuned recipe, Hardee's biscuits are piping hot and fresh, with new batches coming out every 15 minutes. 

Although Hardee's biscuits are what the brand is known for, they weren't always on the menu. According to The Virginian-Pilot, enterprising franchisee Mayo Boddie fell in love with biscuits after a colleague took him to a local joint outside Atlanta to try a breakfast sandwich. Boddie and a partner started testing out their own biscuit recipe in a few of their locations in Tidewater, Virginia, catering to the military personnel there. Although the biscuits were a massive hit, it took Hardee's corporate several more years to jump on board.

Today it's difficult to imagine a Hardee's without biscuits. Hardee's late foray into baking excellence joins other fast food Hail Mary ideas that almost didn't make it to fruition, like Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte (via CBS News). And it's arguably of the greatest decisions in all of fast food history.

The Harold is a Hardee's secret menu favorite

The Harold is a gushing love letter to everything Hardee's, packed with all of the chain's top breakfast hits, like flaky biscuits, decadent sausage gravy, crisp hash rounds, and a pile of eggs. This not-so-secret menu item has been featured in the Sandwich Tribunal and though it's a beloved breakfast hack, its origins are a bit of a mystery. As one story goes, the famed Harold was a farmer from Macomb, Illinois, who dreamt up the concoction and would order it every morning as soon as his local Hardee's opened. While the original Harold was a hard-working farmer, the carb-loaded, fat-filled dish soon became a staple among college students from the nearby Western Illinois University, thanks to its ability to sop up excess booze and hit the salty spot after a night out.

The Daily Kos has a different take on this legendary platter, crediting an inventive employee named Harold for cooking up the marvelous madness. Whether this well-known secret menu concoction was the brainchild of Harold the farmer or a rogue but creative Hardee's employee, we might never know. But what smart customers do know is there's nothing that quite matches the magic of the Harold Special at Hardee's.

You may be able to get King's Hawaiian buns at Hardee's

Sweet bread lovers rejoice! Both Hardee's and Carl's Jr. are testing out King's Hawaiian buns on their menus in a few markets. The new menu items include a tasty riff on the classic breakfast sandwich made with a soft and slightly-sugary King's Hawaiian bun base instead of a signature biscuit. According to Brand Eating, the promotion is pretty limited, but if you're lucky enough to be in one of the three test markets, for a temporary period, your taste buds can cash in on a bacon, egg, and Swiss cheese breakfast delight nestled between a King's Hawaiian bun, which retails for well under $5 at both Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. The King's Hawaiian bun adds a whole new element of nuance and flavor to the traditional breakfast sandwich, playing nicely with the saltier, sharper flavors of cheese, bacon or sausage, and egg. Here's hoping this test leads to a wider rollout of King's Hawaiian sandwiches at Hardee's. 

It's totally possible to eat healthy at Hardee's

Although Hardee's is legendary for its calorie bombs and waist-swelling breakfast options (looking at you Hardee Breakfast Platter), it is entirely possible to stay within your diet while chowing down at your local Hardee's. According to Eating Rules, grits are a fantastic menu option that will fill you up and still save some of your calorie allotment for lunch or dinner. A single serving of Hardee's grits will set you back just over 100 calories, as long as you don't drown them in butter. Naked pancakes — sans jelly, butter, or syrup — are another great pick, coming in at just about 300 calories per serving.

Although Hardee's scratch biscuits are the stuff of foodie dreams, Very Well Fit cautions that they might not play so nicely with your diet, as each biscuit is just shy of 500 calories and doesn't provide the protein to keep you going all day.

Nearly half of Hardee's sales are made at breakfast

Hardee's breakfast is a booming business; the chain garners nearly 50% of its sales from the first meal of the day (via USA Today). Interestingly enough, sister chain Carl's Jr. enjoys substantially less profit from its breakfast, with a mere 17% of its business coming from the morning meal. Since the two chains offer similar products and both feature Hardee's fantastic scratch biscuits, the discrepancy is a bit of a mystery, but it might all come down to marketing. Hardee's leans hard into its Americana image, and the popularity of classic, filling breakfasts for hard-working folks could factor into things (via The Drum).

Hardee's also pushes its signature biscuits hard, constantly reminding patrons — through its marketing strategy and restaurant operations — of the care that goes into each flaky and tasty round, prompting hungry consumers to set their alarm clocks for a fresh batch.

And biscuits make up a huge portion of the revenue

Hardee's homestyle lunch and dinner food is a perennial hit, specifically the chain's succulent and generously portioned thickburgers. But according to QSR Magazine, the bulk of Hardee's profits come from one essential food item — its famous, fresh, homemade biscuits. Since these biscuits have a rabid fan following, it's no surprise that the iconic item is a big part of what keeps Hardee's afloat, with over 30% of total sales stemming from the hot, flaky treats. 

Hardee's biscuits are light years ahead of frozen ones when it comes to texture and flavor, thanks to a meticulous recipe coupled with top-notch biscuit bakers. In fact, these biscuit wizards take their job so seriously, they routinely compete to be crowned the top Hardee's baker in national competitions. According to QSR Magazine, these competitions revolve around not just inherent biscuit-making skills, but also proper equipment handling, and adherence to Hardee's exact biscuit-making standards of excellence to produce the ultimate breakfast treat. 

Hack your Hardee's breakfast to fit your diet

Hardee's famous biscuits might be carb-laden heaven on earth, but low-carb eaters can still get ketolicious dishes at Hardee's with a few simple menu hacks. According to Reddit, you can order your breakfast sammie sans biscuit and instead load up on additional meats, eggs, and cheeses. This mix should keep you fully in ketosis, while still satisfying your savory breakfast cravings, and it won't really set you back much more than anything else on the menu in terms of fat and calories. 

Breakfast Bowls can make for another great low-carb option that you can customize to fit your dietary preferences, according to suggestions Reddit. Nutrition Charts has a handy breakdown of all Hardee's dishes, so you can make smart choices when it comes to your first meal. Although you might miss the from-scratch biscuits depending on your diet, you'll still find plenty of mouthwatering options.

You can drink Hardee's biscuits in beer form

If breakfast wasn't enough for you, now you can enjoy your Hardee's scratch-made biscuits for Happy Hour, thanks to the latest boozy offering from Southern Grist Brewing Company. The Nashville-based brewery teamed up with Hardee's to create their Strawberry Biscuit Ale, which features the rich buttery taste of Hardee's flagship biscuits paired with the sweet tang of strawberries and fresh cream (via Nation's Restaurant News). 

The fusion, which was created to honor both National Biscuit Month and National Beer Lovers Day, is a comfort-food match for the ages, with two classic feel-good products, biscuits and beer. Each batch of Strawberry Biscuit Ale features several hundred pounds of biscuits and fresh strawberry puree. It's a quirky, clever, and utterly charming slice of Americana in a can, and we are here for it. And if this sounds like your kind of happy hour drink too, then act fast. According to Southern Grist Brewing, the Strawberry Biscuit Ale is a limited-time offering.