Fast food employees reveal the one item you need to order

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but a close second is anything that comes from your favorite fast food restaurant. Hey, we're no snobs, and if you need a satisfying meal that won't break the bank, fast food joins and fast casual chains are the ticket.

But with such extensive menus, it can become second nature to just order your regular and never explore what else they're cooking. This is a mistake. 

According to fast food employees on one Reddit thread, some of the best foods you can get are rarely ordered, whether it's because they're a "secret menu" item or because they aren't advertised that well. 

The next time you hit up your favorite fast food restaurant, consider branching out. You may be in store for the burger you never knew you've been waiting for all your life, a dessert that has no business being so good at a pizza place, or a shake that's better than anything you can get at an ice cream shop. Read on to find out about the items fast food employees recommend above all else. 

Popeye's apple pie

Popeye's is known for its Louisiana-style fried chicken — it's so good, some legit restaurants have even been known to try to pass it off as their own — but the Hot Cinnamon Apple Pie might secretly be the best item on their menu. 

Why? Unlike McDonald's, which has been selling a baked apple pie since 1992 when consumer pressure led them to develop a "healthier" dessert option, Popeye's still fries their pies. 

"It's old school, deep-fried... delicious," according to one employee

The crispy fried pie crust shell is coated in an ample amount of cinnamon sugar, and the filling features soft chunks of apple in a sweet and sticky sauce. Once you bite into the crust, the hot filling immediately coats your tongue in fruity sweetness. 

If you miss the classic McDonald's apple pies, it's worth seeking out the nearest Popeye's to try their version. 

Jamocha shake at Arby's

People flock to Arby's for its savory options, like roast beef sandwiches (one of their slogans is actually "We Have the Meats," so it's clearly their primary focus).

But like any fast food joint worth its salt, Arby's also serves desserts, and it turns out their shakes are a serious contender for best item on the menu. 

When asked about the most underrated food served at Arby's, one employee said "Jamocha shakes... Soooooo tasty."

For those not in the know, the Jamocha shake is a coffee and chocolate milkshake, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce if you're feeling fancy. It's the perfect sweet counterpoint to all that salty meat you probably had for your meal. Like pepperoni and pizza, nothing goes with beef quite so well as a frozen chocolate dessert (just trust us on this one). You can even dip your curly fries in it, a la Wendy's Frosties, for the ultimate fast-food mash-up experience. 

Rodeo burgers at Burger King

If you find yourself tired of getting Whopper after Whopper every time you head through the Burger King drive-through, consider the Rodeo Burger. Not to be confused with the Rodeo King (we'll get to that later), the Rodeo Burger is a relatively inexpensive menu option that isn't always listed, but if your cashier seems confused just tell them what it is. 

Rodeo Burgers consist of one flame-grilled beef patty, barbecue sauce, one slice of American cheese, and onion rings for crunch served on a sesame seed bun. It's a simple but potent blend of savory flavors that bests most of the other single-patty burgers at the chain by a landslide. 

The Rodeo King burger is for those with heartier appetites. It's made with two flame-grilled beef patties (a total of a 1/2 lb of beef), three half-strips of thick-cut bacon, two slices of American cheese, barbecue sauce, crispy onions rings, and mayo, all on the restaurant's signature sesame seed bun. 

Both versions make a strong case for adding onions rings to pretty much everything. 

Bacon and cheese potato from Wendy's

Wendy's may be famous for it's square beef burger patties, but that's far from the only thing on their menu. One employee recommended the bacon cheese potato, a baked potato loaded with melted cheese and a substantial scoop of bacon bits (made of real bacon, unlike the stuff you get in a jar at the store), as one of the best items on the menu. 

Wendy's is one of the only fast food restaurants to sell a baked potato, though Carl's Junior, Burger King, and Arby's have all tried. The key to Wendys' success is that they've been making them for more than 30 years, giving them time to streamline the process. 

"We cook them from a raw state, in an oven, wrapped in foil, baked for an hour, just like you would at home," according to Lori Estrada, Wendy's VP of culinary innovation. In order to do so, the chain had to place convection ovens in each of their restaurants when they introduced baked potatoes, which other chains just aren't willing to do, due to the high cost. 

One other tasty fact about Wendy's baked potatoes? You can add any burger topping, including sauces, to amp up the flavor. 

Taco Bell's Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Taco Bell has a pretty big menu, and it seems like they're adding new options all the time, which means some of their tastiest options get overlooked. 

Case in point? The Cheesy Gordita Crunch, an employee favorite

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch combines the best parts of crunchy tacos, soft tacos, and quesadillas all in one neat little package. It features a classic beef crispy taco with lettuce, cheese, and spicy ranch sauce, then wraps it in a pillowy-soft flatbread that's covered in melted cheese, so the cheese is sandwiched between the soft and the crispy taco shells. 

There are tons of ways to customize this menu item too, from the standard Supreme (add tomatoes and sour cream) and meatless (swap beef for beans), to the more extreme Doritos Locos upgrade. Yes, you can swap the plain crispy taco shell for a Doritos Locos shell, and you might as well add some queso to the mix while you're at it. 

Italian cheese bread with creamy garlic dipping sauce at Little Caesars

"Pizza! Pizza!" is what Little Caesars is all about, but they have other items on the menu that just might outdo their signature product. According to one former employee, the most overlooked item at the chain is "'Italian cheese bread with garlic cream cheese dipping sauce."

The deep dish breadsticks have a crispy crust and pillowy interior, with a golden, crisp cheese rim thanks to the caramelization that happens while it's in the pan. The cheese is then sprinkled with Italian spices for extra flavor. You get 10 in an order, and you can usually find them in the Hot-N-Ready section so you don't have to wait to satisfy your craving.

Though Italian cheese bread doesn't come with dipping sauces, you can get the previously mentioned creamy garlic dipping sauce for about 49 cents, depending on your location. They also offer ranch, spicy cheddar, and barbecue sauces if you want to branch out. 

Chocolate Lava Cake from Domino's

Domino's may be a pizza place, but their menu offers a whole lot more than your standard pies. They have a whole selection of pastas, hot subs, and chicken (wings, boneless bites, and specialty chicken), but what we're here to talk about today is their desserts.

It turns out the pizza oven is pretty good at baking up sweet treats. While their cinnamon bread twists and marbled cookie brownies are nothing to turn your nose up at, it's the Chocolate Lava Crunch Cake that's the real star. 

One employee loved them so much, that they said "Sometimes I'd 'accidentally' break one while boxing it and eat the 'mistake' while a new one was cooked." 

What makes this chocolate lava cake uniquely delicious is the "crunch" part. Because the cake is baked in a pizza oven at a high temperature, it gets a crust on the outside. When you crack into it, out comes a burst of liquid hot fudge, ready to be spooned up. 

Chipotle's Quesarito

Chipotle has one of the smaller menus out there for a fast-casual restaurant, preferring to prioritize sourcing high-quality ingredients (what it calls "Food with Integrity") over innovation. But that hasn't stopped customers from ordering variations off of the "secret menu," which these days isn't so secret.

One employee of the chain said that they recommend the quesarito as the most underappreciated item on the menu. It consists of a cheese quesadilla wrapped around your burrito fillings. 

Unfortunately, it's kind of a pain for the employees to make, since it takes so much time to both wait for the quesadilla to be cooked and then to make the burrito. That's why other former employees recommend that you wait until it's slow in the store to order the specialty item (we're talking no line at all), being super friendly to the employees, tipping well, and being willing to wait for your food. 

Of course, you could always just order a quesadilla and burrito, then roll them up on your own, but if you don't want to go through the trouble you can just add $3.50 extra to your burrito order and they'll do it for you. 

Grilled cheese from Five Guys

When you're a vegetarian, it can be hard to find an actual meal to eat at fast food restaurants. Fries and side salads are tasty, sure, but nothing beats a warm griddled sandwich. 

Five Guys knows this is an issue for a lot of people, which is why they offer up a simple sandwich that's sure to please herbivores: the grilled cheese

What makes their grilled cheese so delicious is the fact that you can add any of the burger toppings and sauces to it, and the fact that, according to one former employee, they're spread with mayonnaise instead of butter before hitting the grill. This helps them develop a golden brown exterior with a rich flavor. It's also how Martha Stewart makes her grilled cheese sammies, so you know it's a good trick. 

It's worth a try even if you aren't a vegetarian. Add as much bacon as you want, and you're in for a real treat. 

Johnny Rocket's Big Apple shake

Apple pie and ice cream are as American as...well, apple pie. But usually, they're eaten either separately, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream simply placed atop a piece of apple pie.

At Johnny Rockets, though, they do things a little differently. 

According to a employee, the most must-order item on the menu at this chain is the Big Apple Shake. "It's actual apple pie, in a shake. What's not to like?" they ask. 

And indeed, it sounds delicious. The Big Apple Shake isn't officially on the menu, but your server will know what you're asking for. It's basically a slice of apple pie blended into a vanilla shake, a slurpable a-la-mode that's almost too easy to chug down. 

Another thing that makes their shakes stand out? They're hand-spun, meaning the ingredients are added to a blender and mixed together to order, as opposed to other chains that just have a milkshake machine running all day that can pour out shakes on demand. 

Taco Bell cheesy fiesta potatoes

Taco Bell is known for, well, its tacos. And while it does offer everything from a nacho cheese Doritos-flavored taco shell to crunchy fried chalupa tacos, it has some other menu items that are not to be missed.

According to one former Taco Bell employee, the one thing that people should be ordering way more often is the chain's Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.

They're "basically little fried potatoes with cheese and sour cream on top," sort of like nachos if you swapped out the tortilla chips for spuds. They cost less than $2 an order (price varies depending on your location), but if you're really hungry, for a little extra money you can totally customize them. Adding guac is never a bad idea, right? 

The chain itself has even referred to Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes as "the hidden gem of Taco Bell," and they probably know best. 

Another trick? You can actually add potatoes to any item on the Taco Bell menu, which is a huge bonus for vegetarians. Just swap the meat for potatoes and you'll still have a hearty, hefty meal ahead of you. 

Whataburger creamy pepper sauce

Fans of Whataburger know that there's one condiment that can truly take your sandwich to the next level — the Creamy Pepper Sauce. 

Creamy Pepper Sauce comes standard on the Patty Melt (two beef patties, grilled onions, two slices of Monterey Jack cheese, and toasted bread) and the Avocado Bacon Burger (a beef patty covered in crispy bacon, avocado, onions, tomatoes, and American cheese on Texas toast), but you can ask for it on any menu item.

If you don't live near a Whataburger, you're still in luck. You can actually buy Creamy Pepper Sauce online to use at home. From smothering your pasta in the sauce (some people recommend it!), using it as salad dressing, or just to jazz up your at-home patty melts, it can't hurt to keep a bottle of the stuff on hand. 

Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

If you don't like coffee, the Pumpkin Spice Latte craze that hits every fall probably holds little to no appeal to you. But there's another drink at Starbucks that might be the autumn sipper you've been waiting for. 

According to one employee, that drink is the Caramel Apple Spice. Apparently, it tastes "like apple pie in a cup," and because it's caffeine-free, it can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The drink is made from steamed apple juice with cinnamon dolce syrup added, and it's then topped with sweetened whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. 

You can further customize it by adding your favorite flavored syrup (toffee nut sounds delish), or getting the "secret menu" Caramel Apple Spice Frappuccino

Even if you do spend all of fall chugging PSL's, not to worry — you can order a Caramel Apple Spice all year round, leaving you as much time as you need to bask in your favorite seasonal offerings. 

Taco Bell enchiritos

Long before Taco Bell partnered with Frito-Lay and started shilling all manner of crunchified Frankenfoods like the Doritos Locos taco and Beefy Fritos Burrito, they served up classic American takes on Mexican food. 

For a long time, that meant the Taco Bell Enchirito

Enchiritos were sort of like flour tortilla enchiladas. Each one consisted of a flour tortilla stuffed with the chain's signature spiced beef, beans, and onions, and it was then topped with red sauce, cheddar cheese, and three expertly placed olives. 

Though enchiritos were removed from the official menu in 2013 and replaced by a Smothered Burrito, it turns out you can still order a slightly modified version of the favorite at most Taco Bell locations.

According to Thrillist, at some locations you can just ask for an Enchirito, and they'll know what to make. At others, order: a burrito supreme with extra beef and cheese, a side of red sauce, sour cream, and nacho cheese sauce, and two sides of shredded cheese. Then, you can ask them to add the extras on top of your burrito and to then heat it up, or you can bring it home and heat it up yourself (in a foil take-out tray if you have one, for authenticity's sake). 

Chicken pizziola subs at Subway

Subway might no longer offer $5 footlong sandwiches, but we keep returning to the chain nonetheless. 

However, if you're bored of ordering the same old Italian BMT or Veggie Delight with all the fixin's, one former employee recommends the Chicken Pizziola melt sub. 

A former menu item in the US (it's still available in the UK, the Chicken Pizziola melt is made with chicken strips, pepperoni, marinara sauce, and cheese. It's toasted on the bread of your choice, and even if it's not officially on the menu, it's easy enough to ask for since the chain still carries all of the ingredients.

To really make the sandwich stand out, another former Subway employee has a tip. Ask your sandwich artist (yes, that's really what they're called) to add olive oil and oregano to your bread before it's toasted for some extra flavor. Just don't ask during the busy dinner rush — it takes a little extra time to make.