The Best New Fast Food Menu Items We've Tried In 2023 So Far

Many fast food restaurants frequently release new items to try. These new offerings not only create a buzz around the brand but can also intrigue customers enough to keep coming back. Sometimes, the newest items are not as good as we hoped they'd be (we're looking at you, Dunkin' Breakfast Taco), but other times, they exceed our expectations or at least keep our taste buds satisfied.

That said, there have been several fast food menu item releases that we've gotten our hands on in 2023 that absolutely made us want to keep ordering more. Because we want our readers to experience the best options for themselves, we've detailed our top favorites in this guide. We've visited the restaurants, bought the food, and tried it ourselves so that you don't have to experiment with your own money. From Burger King to Culver's, these fast-food favorites have dropped some tasty new items that we think are absolute must-tries.

Burger King's Spicy Chicken Fries

Chicken Fries are among the most convenient and tasty snacks we've tried at Burger King. People especially seem to love that they're a convenient finger food they can eat when on the go. When we found out that there was a spicy version coming to the menu this year, we said "Take our money" and didn't look back.

One thing we were hoping for was that the Burger King Spicy Chicken Fries wouldn't turn out like lots of other "spicier" versions of menu items from various fast food places that claim to be super spicy but barely have a mild spice. If we're going for spicy, we want some heat. Fortunately, the Spicy Chicken Fries bring the heat. Maybe not in the way you'd want if you were craving something more like hot Buffalo wings, but they definitely have a good kick that we were pleasantly surprised by. We even compared them to Wendy's Spicy Chicken Nuggets and found that the Chicken Fries reigned supreme in the spice department.

KFC's Double Down

KFC's original Double Down—a "sandwich" made with two pieces of fried chicken rather than a traditional bun — was off the menu for an entire decade. But in March 2023, KFC announced that the beloved menu item would be returning, complete with cheese, bacon, and either mayo or spicy sauce sandwiched between the chicken filets. It took us no time to head to our local KFC to grab one and find out of the new Double Down was as good as the original version. 

Not surprisingly, it's quite similar to the original version, albeit maybe even a bit larger than it used to be. Of course, that makes eating the Double Down interesting because it can be quite a challenge to fit a full bite in your mouth. Still, if you love bacon, cheese, and fried chicken, you'll likely love this unique take on a sandwich. It's savory and full of flavor and leaves our bellies feeling full and happy after eating one. If there's one thing we wish were different, it would be the price tag of about $9, depending on your location. But when you consider that you're getting two pieces of chicken in one item, we suppose it's not too bad of a deal.

Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Wings

If you're looking for something to add to your Taco Bell order that isn't Cinnamon Twists, chips, or a taco, consider adding the new Crispy Chicken Wings. These delectable wings used to be on the menu at participating locations, and they returned in January for another limited run. An order includes five wings with a Mexico queso seasoning and a side of spicy ranch dip.

Texture-wise, they remind us quite a bit of the crisp you get from KFC hot wings. However, the flavor on these is really impressive, especially from a fast food place. Dipping them into the ranch sauce elevates the flavor a bit, but even if your store forgets to add the sauce to your order, these wings probably still have enough flavor to please your palate. 

The wings have unfortunately left the menu again at most restaurants for now. But we suspect we might see them back in January or February of next year, right in time for the Super Bowl.

Starbucks' Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew

Calling all cold brew fans: You definitely are not going to want to pass up the new Cinnamon Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew from Starbucks. There's a reason you're probably seeing this drink all over your Instagram feed or on your TikTok For You page. Plain and simple, it's worth every bit of praise it's been getting since its March release.

This cold brew blends cinnamon and caramel flavoring into cold brew coffee and tops it off with cinnamon sweet cream cold foam and a cinnamon and caramel-blended topping. If you're already a caramel coffee fan, we don't think you'll be even slightly disappointed by the cinnamon addition. It's not overpowering but instead adds a hint of spice with each sip, helping to perk you up on even the most mundane weekday mornings.

As with other Starbucks drinks, you can always order yours to suit your taste buds, so feel free to add extra sweetener or creamer as needed. We love it through and through just the way it comes, and we think it has just the right amount of sweetness balanced with strong coffee flavors.

Wendy's Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's delivered us a tasty holiday gift when it announced its latest menu items in December 2022: the Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich and Garlic Fries. We tried both of Wendy's new offerings, and while each one completely stood out in terms of flavor, the Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich really had us wanting more.

Think of it like a savory chicken parmesan meal on a bun. It comes with melty mozzarella cheese and aged Asiago cheese on a thick piece of chicken drizzled with marinara sauce. All of that is added to a toasted garlic knot bun to bring all of the Italian flavors together. The bun is, perhaps, the true star, as we aren't sure if the sandwich would taste quite as good if it were on, say, a traditional hamburger bun or pretzel bun.

If you are considering trying the Garlic Fries too, heed a bit of advice: Think about ordering them for a different meal. Together, the garlicky flavors of each item can become overwhelming, but apart, their unique tastes seem to shine a little brighter.

Chick-fil-A's Cauliflower Sandwich

Hear us out on this one. We realize that a plant-based sandwich from Chick-Fil-A goes against the company's chicken offerings, and we were a little confused when we first heard about it, too. But we tried it anyway because that's what we do. And it's safe to say that we were pleasantly surprised by what the Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich brought to the table. This sandwich, which went on the menu in February 2023 for a test run in participating locations, has a breaded cauliflower filet that's topped with dill pickle chips and served on a toasted bun.

When we tried it, we weren't necessarily expecting the flavor to be the same, and we certainly didn't think the sandwich would look like Chick-Fil-A's famous chicken sandwich. However, aside from the cauliflower being thicker than the traditional chicken filet, the sandwiches were almost identical. And, yes, the flavor and texture of the cauliflower are a bit different from the chicken version, but we actually love that. In fact, this fried cauliflower was probably the tastiest we've tried, and it wasn't mushy or dry like some cauliflower-based foods can be. Overall, the Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich is a menu item we'd order again, and we urge you to try it for yourself with your favorite Chick-Fil-A sauce.

Freddy's Frozen Custard Reese's Peanut Butter Concrete

In April, Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers announced its new Reese's Peanut Butter Concrete and Shake, two menu items being offered for a limited time. Fortunately for us, we could run right out and grab one of each to try so that we could report back to our readers with a solid opinion. While both new items are absolutely worth every penny, we think the concrete edged out the shake slightly.

Like the shake, the Reese's Peanut Butter Concrete uses Freddy's popular vanilla custard as a base. They also both infuse everything you love about Reese's Peanut Butter Cups into the custard, so you get bold peanut butter flavor in each bite. But the concrete goes an extra step to add some chunky bits of chopped peanuts, which gives it a textural component we really enjoy. Plus, it's thicker than the shake, which keeps it from melting as quickly and gives us a little more time to savor it. If you could only choose one to try, we'd suggest the concrete. But as soon as you can visit Freddy's again, the shake is definitely worth an order, too.

Shake Shack's White Truffle Menu

In February, Shake Shack announced the return of its White Truffle Menu, an elevated selection of burgers and fries incorporating Regalis organic white truffle oil. We were champing at the bit to try this menu because it's so unlike anything that other fast food chains offer. We left no stone unturned in our taste test, grabbing one of each of the three new items: the White Truffle Burger, the White Truffle 'Shroom Burger, and the Parmesan Fries with White Truffle Sauce.

To be honest, it's tough to choose just one item as our favorite after trying these three, which is why we've included all three on this list. The Parmesan Fries with White Truffle Sauce are a welcome change to traditional fast food fries, and they're definitely something we'll order again when we feel the need to switch up our usual fast food orders. Also, we appreciate the cheesiness of the mushroom burger and how thick the mushroom patty is. Finally, the White Truffle Burger gives us the same flavors we love from regular Shake Shack burgers with an extra touch of "Mmmm" from the truffle oil.

The best part of the menu is that it's still affordable, despite including white truffle oil, which can be extremely pricey. Each item is less than $10, so you can enjoy an upscale fast food meal for something close to traditional fast food prices.

Culver's Smokehouse BBQ Cheddar Pub Burger

In April 2023, Culver's added its Smokehouse BBQ Cheddar Pub Burger and Crispy Chicken Sandwich to its menu, and we gladly opted to try both. We ended up liking the burger a bit more, primarily because the toppings went so well with the flavor of the beef patty.

The Smokehouse BBQ Cheddar Pub Burger includes cheddar cheese, a smoky barbecue sauce, mayo, pickles, and crispy onion rings atop the burger patty (or patties — standard orders from Culver's are doubles). One of our favorite parts of the burger is the bun, which is infused with cheddar to create a cheesy flavor. It's truly unique for a fast food chain.

If we have one suggestion for this new burger, we'd say to skip the mayo and either have the barbecue sauce on its own or try a small amount of one of Culver's other popular sauces with it, like its ranch or Buffalo dipping sauces. The mayo can almost overpower the barbecue flavor, and we want to taste the barbecue sauce in all its glory on this burger.