Surprising Sides You Can Find At Almost All Fast Food Restaurants

We all know your typical fast food joint is likely to offer fries as a side on the menu. But sometimes, you just want something a little more ... well ... unusual. Don't get us wrong here. French fries are freakin' delicious, especially when they're done right. Still, french fries can get a bit boring over time and leave us craving something out of the box.

Is there any solution? Of course, there is. Many fast food chains offer other creative options you may not notice if you aren't actively looking for them. Don't worry, though. While you might not be on the lookout for the next creative side dish, we certainly are. As usual, we've gone out of our way to do all the menu searching for you, so you won't have to. From sweets to veggies, there's a little something for everyone at virtually any fast food joint you're planning to hit up.

We hope you've come hungry. Let's dig in!

Culver's: Pretzel Bites

Wisconsin-based Culver's is known for juicy burgers layered with delicious cheese and crispy crinkle fries. What fans may not know, however, is that the restaurant also offers pretzel bites as a side dish to accompany its amazing burgers.

That's right. Culver's made permanent a once limited-time-only option, and people can't get enough. Chewy on the inside with just enough external crisp, this out-of-the-ordinary side dish is accompanied by a cup of Wisconsin-proud creamy cheese sauce, making it a winner among both the locals and those from afar.

There is one drawback to ordering pretzel bites from Culver's, and it has nothing to do with the flavor. Many have complained that the $4(ish) spent for this yummy treat isn't quite worth it. While the flavor is good, some fans balk at the idea that you get so few of them for the price. Still, we think 10 pretzel bites for a few bucks is reasonable, especially since you aren't likely to find these babies at any other drive-thru.

Zaxby's: Fried Pickles

Zaxby's is another restaurant that has wisened up to the fact that limited-time options aren't always fit for a limited time. We're happy to announce that Zaxby's fried pickles are now a part of the core menu for this chain with more than 900 locations in 17 states, and as such, you can have these finger-lickin' rounds anytime you wish.

Zaxby's fried pickles are coated in breading and deep-fried until golden brown. Originally an Arkansas tradition, fried pickles have now become a craving nationwide, and we're stoked to find a fast food chain that has them at the ready. Zaxby's, which is headquartered in Georgia, claims the noteworthy side has become a long-time favorite with guests. We wouldn't be surprised. Still, some taste-takers say otherwise. A few say the pickles taste odd due to the overuse of cornmeal. Others claim the serving size is too small. Either way, we'd encourage you to try Zaxby's fried pickles for yourself. Oh, and don't let 'em forget your side of ranch for dipping!

Burger King: Mozzarella Sticks

Move aside french fries. Burger King has something more eclectic up its sleeve! These days, you'll find all sorts of different goodies at local fast food restaurants, and Burger King is no different. Aside from its fries and even chicken fries are mozzarella sticks. 

Burger King Mozzarella Sticks come in two sizes: a 4-piece serving and an 8-piece serving. Both sizes come with marinara, which we all know is the perfect sauce pairing for cheesy, stringy, and gooey mozzarella sticks.

The issue? Despite the delicious looks and the tempting marinara dipping sauce, some Burger King devotees have been unimpressed with BK's cheese stick offering. Reviews have consistently claimed the sticks lack the gooey stringy meltiness often associated with mozzarella. Instead, some reviewers attest that the Italian snack tastes freezer burnt, seems old, or breaks up when cracked open. All in all, it seems BK has missed the mark when attempting to achieve America's beloved cheese stick. After all, what's a mozzarella stick without that infamous mozzarella stretch, right? Right!

Sonic: BBQ Chip Seasoned Tots

If you love BBQ and tater tots, hold on to your seat for this one. Sonic has added BBQ Chip Seasoned Tots to its menu, and people who have tried them are going bananas. Despite Sonic's somewhat vague description of the side dish, some of those who have ordered the tots were surprised to find their hot potatoes covered in actual sauce.

The taste verdict? People weren't disappointed. In fact, most who have commented on Sonic's seasoned tots have found them to be downright amazing. The taste can be likened to the sweet and spicy notes of a BBQ flavored chip, hence the interesting and slightly perplexing Sonic-chosen name. Apparently, what you hear is what you get when it comes to Sonic's BBQ Chip Seasoned Tots. They really do taste like potato chips, and we're digging it!

Not that into BBQ flavor? It's all good. Try sampling some of Sonic's plain tater tots dipped in traditional ketchup instead. But if you're feeling frisky and want a bit of excitement for the day, take a gamble on the BBQ tots and see what you think. We're willing to bet you won't be disappointed.

Wendy's: Oatmeal Bars

Oatmeal bars at Wendy's? Say what? Yep, it's true. You can totally grab a Double Stack at Wendy's with an oatmeal bar on the side if that suits your fancy. Yes, this oatmeal bar comes as a surprising addition, but one that is welcome nonetheless. In a world full of fast food menus with very limited wholesome food choices, it can sometimes feel really good to grab something you know will benefit your body a little more than a run-of-the-mill order of fries.

Apparently, Wendy's oatmeal bars are packed full of flavor, but they also feature a little more than just oatmeal. According to the ingredients list, this oatmeal bar dishes up infused cranberries and blueberries for a few added health benefits.

Those who have sampled the oatmeal bars claim they're delish and taste exactly like an oatmeal cookie. So, if you're looking for a gingery sweet and slightly tart-tasting dessert option at Wendy's that you can eat on the go, rejoice. This one's for you!

Taco Bell: Cinnabon Delights

Itty-bitty globular nuggets covered in cinnamon sugar and filled with icing? Umm, yes, please. Taco Bell's Cinnabon Delights have found a way to truly delight us! These tiny treats may not look like much when compared to the average cinnamon roll, but the taste is surprisingly comparable. Not only that, but eating these bite-sized nibblers will undoubtedly yield less mess than you'd incur eating a cinnamon roll.

So, how many of these do you get? Sadly, a side order will get you only four. But don't fret. Taco Bell also offers these yummy bite-sized treats by the dozen. Score!

As for whether or not Cinnabon Delights are considered a breakfast item ... well, that's up for debate. According to Taco Bell, the treat is "Dessert, disguised as breakfast, disguised as dessert" ... whatever that means. Still, you can expect to be able to enjoy these miniature cinnamon rolls any time of the day or night as long as they remain available!

Chick-fil-A: Kale Crunch Side Salad

Did you know that Chick-fil-A offers kale salad? It's true! And according to consumer reviews, it's surprisingly tasty. 

Let's be honest. Most people don't equate kale greens with breaded chicken sandwiches. Because of this, we were quite shocked to see Chick-fil-A offering such a healthy meal. The Kale Crunch side salad comes packed with cabbage, salted almonds, and, of course, loads of kale. It is then topped with apple cider and Dijon mustard vinaigrette for just the perfect balance of sweet and tang. According to Amber Pankonin, a registered dietician and food blogger, ordering up the Kale Crunch side salad along with the grilled chicken nuggets is the way to go if you're looking for a quick high-protein, low-calorie meal. But that's not all. People who were brave enough to swap their trusty fries out for this almond-stuffed kale salad proclaim it to be startlingly flavorful with a taste similar to coleslaw. 

Need another reason to check out this salad? How about the fact that Chick-fil-A has deemed it 100% vegan and vegetarian-friendly? Rock on, Chick-fil-A.

Jack in the Box: Halfsie Fries

Jack in the Box never fails to wow us with its unique and colorful food offerings, and its Halfsie menu item is no different. Featuring a blend of both regular and curly fries, this side dish scratches the itch for those who simply cannot decide which of the two they love more.

Taking a closer look at these two popular side items individually, we can see why the Halfsie menu item is such a stellar mashup. When ordering Halfsies, you can expect the salty plain fries to come exactly as you'd expect ... warm and salty. The curly fries, on the other hand, have a little more oomph in the flavor department. The ingredients listed on the Jack in the Box website state that the curly fries are coated in flavors that include onion, garlic, and other arbitrary spices. All we know is that both types of fries are delicious in their own right, and, because of this, we feel honored to be able to sample them double time.

Not wanting to order them both? No worries. As you might imagine, both the regular fries and curly fries come a la carte, so don't feel like you have to stick with the Halfsies. Jack in the Box has you covered!

Panda Express: Super Greens

Panda Express is already known for dishing up savory Asian-inspired fast food cuisine with hearty helpings of veggies in many of its entrees. Still, we can't help but make special mention of the seemingly uber-healthy side it's been doling out that's commonly referred to as "Super Greens."

Much like the Kale Crunch salad served at Chick-fil-A, Panda Express Super Greens come packed with tons of delicious kale. But wait, there's more. Veggie enthusiasts can rejoice at the fact that the leafy green concoction also includes broccoli and cabbage. It is then drizzled and mixed with a flavorful garlic sauce that'll tickle your taste buds in the best possible way.

Though many will flock to have Super Greens added to their order, gluten-free fast food connoisseurs should note that this health-conscious veggie-heavy side dish includes wheat ingredients. And while we can only assume that the wheat comes from the sauce, we can't be too sure as Panda Express has yet to fully detail the ingredients that encompass its delectable meals.

McDonald's: Apple Slices

McDonald's has been around for ages, and we all know it isn't exactly known for serving health food items. Nevertheless, you may be surprised to know that McDonald's actually offers apple slices, and no, they aren't just for kids!

McDonald's apple slices come in a pack of 4 or 5 and often come as an option in Happy Meals. Even so, you can order apple slices a la carte or as an upgrade to your meal if you don't particularly feel up for fries that day.

If eating plain apples as a McDonald's side dish makes you feel blue, consider jazzing them up a bit with McDonald's pure honey. Yep, along with apple slices, McDonald's actually provides pure grade A honey upon request that can be used to top your sandwich, flavor your coffee, or, you guessed it, level up your apple slices. We must admit, though, that paying a dollar for such a tiny portion of apples seems a bit sad, especially if you're particularly hungry. In that case, be sure to order a few packs of them, or, just skip the fruit altogether if the payoff doesn't seem worth it.

Rally's: Funnel Cake Fries

Rally's Funnel Cake Fries were a banger when they first dropped as a limited-time-only item, and now, Rally's fans get to snag them practically anytime they want. These county fair-inspired fries are dusted with powdered sugar to emulate everything you crave in a funnel cake but in a simpler and less messy form.

In case you're wondering, you get 10 funnel cake fries per order, which we think is fairly generous for the $2 price point. The downside? The funnel fries don't come "loaded" (at the moment), don't have any yummy dipping sauces, and have also received mixed reviews. While most agree that Rally's funnel cake fries are indeed delish, there are a few who claim the fries to be "sad" in terms of both taste and flavor. Thus, whether you'll deem these fun or flat will depend on your taste buds ... give 'em a try and see how it goes!

Carl's Jr.: Fried Zucchini

If you're in the mood for a fast food side dish that is quirky and tasty all at the same time, take a trip to your local Carl's Jr. The menu features all the typical fast food fare you'd come to expect from a burger joint, but with a little something extra. Alongside fries and onion rings, you'll also notice fried zucchini. So, what gives? Apparently, Carl's Jr. is shaking things up, and from what reviewers are saying, it's a really good thing.

Fried zucchini has gained popularity as a fun out-of-the-ordinary snack, and most people who have tried the Carl's Jr. version really enjoy it. While many agree that zucchini on its own can be rather bland, the first bite of a Carl's Jr. fried zucchini tastes anything but. And although Carl's Jr. doesn't explicitly state what's in the breading, we're guessing there are plenty of spices and flavorings added to make those bad boys taste as good as they do.

The only issue we have is that Carl's Jr. fried zucchini isn't as crispy as the thickly breaded coating might lead you to believe. Instead, they've got a soft chew to them, even at the initial bite, which might be a turnoff for some. Still, the flavor is there, and the portion size is awesome. So, if you can, try to sample these the next time you're at Carl's Jr.; you might just walk away glad that you did!

Smashburger: Brussels Sprouts

Move over french fries. There's a new and very unexpected side dish in town! Love 'em or hate 'em, Brussels sprouts have made their way to Smashburger's fast food menu, and people are intrigued. Brussels sprouts have gotten a really bad rap for being unappetizingly bitter, but tossing them in garlic and dunking them in ranch dressing just might help remediate things.

Though a peculiar choice of side dish, the Brussels sprouts addition to the Smashburger menu has garnered a lot of attention from the low-carb community. Brussels sprouts are known for being keto-friendly, and for this reason, those adhering to these sorts of dietary restrictions probably can't help but feel a bit giddy inside. Upon tasting, most people are split as to whether or not they actually dig this interesting offering. Of course, Brussels sprouts haters will continuously hate, but those who actually like Brussels sprouts have been on the fence about Smashburger's rendition of this controversial veggie. Most really enjoy the crispiness of the sprouts, while others prefer them roasted at home over the fast food fried version.

Church's Chicken: Fried Okra

If fried okra is your thing, then Church's Chicken might just be the place to be! Church's Chicken is one of the very few fast food joints to serve up hot and delicious fried okra. Despite its humble appearance, this side dish is described as having a crispy bite to it and plenty of flavor. In fact, okra enthusiasts claim Church's fried okra to be just perfect, with one Yelp reviewer even claiming it to be "to die for."

Not too familiar with okra and its roots? For those who aren't aware, fried okra originated in the South and continues to very much be a "thing" in Southern culture. Without frying, okra has a mild grassiness to it that gives it a unique flavor. If that doesn't sound very appealing to you, know that once okra is fried, it often mellows out a bit in terms of flavor. Besides, Church's Chicken fried okra is coated in seasoned breading and cut into smaller pieces, so you can expect to taste less of the "grassiness" and more of the seasoned breading. All in all, the flavor must be amazing because people are returning for more ... and more!