Popular Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Menu Items Ranked Worst To Best

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a chain of fast food restaurants with a nostalgic appeal. Each Freddy's outpost is decorated like a diner from a bygone era. And the food is retro, too, in a good way — the burgers are made using 100% lean ground beef that's cooked to order. They're nothing like the warmed-over patties you'll get at some lesser chains. The restaurant's old-school attitude and attention to food quality have allowed it to expand from a single location in 2002 to over 400 locations today.

But even though we dig Freddy's overall vibe and a lot of its food, that doesn't mean everything the restaurant serves is great. We decided to do you a favor by tasting and ranking some of the most popular items on the chain's menu (nothing at Freddy's is outright bad). It wasn't easy eating all of that fried food and ice cream, but we care about informing our readers. Here are the results of our delicious experiment.

13. Chili cheese fries

We love a heaping plate of chili cheese fries, but not the version from Freddy's. In this case, the addition of toppings to the fries actually subtracted from the eating experience.

The toppings themselves weren't bad. We were particularly enamored of the chili, which was quite thick and beefy (with no beans). The ground meat had been braised for so long that it had the unctuously soft texture of ragù Bolognese. Flavor-wise, it reminded us of 7-Eleven chili, which isn't an insult. It wasn't spicy, but it had a rich savory flavor from a generous dose of cumin. The cheese sauce was creamy but didn't bring much to the table beyond that. We wished it had a sharper cheddar tang.

The real problem with this dish is that Freddy's fries are too thin and delicate to support this amount of toppings. In the time it took us to snap a picture of the chili cheese fries, the fries had already become irredeemably soggy and leaden. With all the starchy potato, the overall flavor was rather bland as well — it needed hot sauce to perk it up with acidity and spice. If you want to get these toppings at Freddy's, we'd recommend putting them on a hot dog instead, as it wouldn't crumble under the weight of the chili as the fries did.

12. Fries

Freddy's Fries were better plain than they were with chili and cheese, though not by much. For our tastes, the chain just cuts its fries too thin. We understand that shoestring fries give you the largest possible crispy surface area, but they come with drawbacks too. Each fry was so thin that we couldn't really detect any of the fluffy mashed potato texture in the interior that we crave from a perfect french fry. The shoestring fries seemed to go cold much faster than conventional fries too. Our biggest complaint is that they were difficult to eat. We like grabbing several fries at once to give us a satisfying bite, and it was hard to corral enough Freddy's fries to make that happen. It felt like they took forever to eat because they were so small and hard to wrangle.

That's not to say they were all bad. We particularly enjoyed the seasoning mix sprinkled over the fries. We thought we could detect salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder in the mix, and the blend enhanced the fries' flavor. Also, Freddy's Fry Sauce is best-in-class. This might be our favorite fast food dipping sauce we've ever tried. The original version tasted like it had mayo, mustard, paprika, sugar, and vinegar in it; there was also a jalapeño version with a ton of chile pepper flavor. Both were equally excellent.

11. Chicken tenders

We'll start with what we liked about the chicken tenders: The breading was excellent. It was super-crispy and didn't feel greasy at all. It also adhered to the chicken quite well and didn't flake off of the meat as we ate. The breading was quite well-seasoned with a spice mix that reminded us quite a bit of the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices; we picked up a hefty amount of black pepper in addition to dried herbs, onion, and garlic powder. The chicken itself was also well-seasoned all the way through. We'd guess that it was brined since it was evenly salted throughout.

The main problem with the tenders was that some of them were cut too thin. This led to an unsatisfactory breading-to-meat ratio, but even worse, it meant that the strips of chicken breast were pretty dry. The cuts weren't uniform — parts of some of the tenders were significantly thicker and juicier. This made them feel more handmade, which was nice, but if they had been cut evenly, the thin parts wouldn't have been overcooked.

Fortunately, a dip in some sauce partially solved the tenders' moisture problems. At first, we tried Freddy's ranch, which was one-note and underwhelming. We liked the tenders dipped in either barbecue sauce or Fry Sauce much more (seriously, the Fry Sauce is good on everything).

10. Crispy chicken sandwich

We preferred the chicken patty inside the chicken sandwich to the chicken strips. It was a little thicker, which resulted in a moister, juicier interior. The breading seemed like it was the same as the one on the tenders, and it was just as tasty in this context. However, the sandwich as a whole still felt dry because it lacked condiments.

This sandwich follows the mold of Chick-fil-A's original chicken sandwich quite closely with its minimalist build. It's just chicken and pickles on a toasted bun. However, it's missing one element of the Chick-fil-A version that adds both moisture and flavor: butter. Without a buttered bun, Freddy's crispy chicken sandwich makes you reach for your soft drink early and often to wash the sandwich down. If we ordered this again, we'd probably choose the spicy version, which comes slathered with Extra Spicy Jalapeño Fry Sauce. Of course, you can also doctor this sandwich up using Freddy's generous condiment bar, but we preferred other items that needed no help from outside sauces.

The simplicity of this sandwich did make it a good vehicle for showcasing Freddy's excellent pickles. They're cut in long planks and are both crunchy and juicy. We thought they tasted less sweet than typical fast food pickles too.

9. Hot dog

Hot dogs from Freddy's come plain by default, so if you want yours with toppings, make sure to ask for them when you order. We went with simple yellow mustard because that's how the dog was pictured on the menu board, and because we wanted to be able to evaluate the dog on its own merits without being distracted by excessive toppings.

When we opened the Styrofoam clamshell that held our dog, we discovered it had been placed in the bag upside-down, smearing the mustard everywhere and making the frank look a little haggard. Once we got over this bad first impression, however, we were pleasantly surprised by the hot dog's flavor. Freddy's uses all-beef Vienna Beef franks, and you can tell that they're higher quality than your average dirty water dog. Although it was a skinless sausage, it still had a nice snappy texture, and it was both beefy and smoky. The top-split bun was also great; it arrived perfectly toasted — crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.

We were mildly disappointed that the sausage itself seemed to be steamed or boiled rather than griddled. The burgers from Freddy's have a beautiful crispy char on the outside, and if the hot dogs were treated the same way they'd taste even better. Despite this one minor quibble, we still really enjoyed the hot dog. However, ultimately, it's still just a hot dog — other Freddy's foods are far more exciting.

8. Onion rings

Freddy's onion rings are a big step up from its fries — we'd say it's worth the upcharge to swap out the fries in your combo for onion rings. The breading was super crunchy and hadn't absorbed an excessive amount of oil during its bath in the fryer. The onions themselves were perfectly cooked as well. They were soft and sweet, almost on the way to tasting like caramelized onions. We hate when onion rings come out of the fryer crunchy on the outside but with essentially raw onions in the middle. Annoyingly, when we bit into the onion rings, often the entire slice of onion would come out in one bite, leaving us with a handful of empty breading. This is a common problem with onion rings in general, however, so we won't fault Freddy's too much for this.

What we will fault these onion rings for is their lack of seasoning. Given that so many of the other items from Freddy's were perfectly seasoned, it was weird that the onion rings tasted so under-salted. Happily, that problem was nothing a dunk in fry sauce couldn't fix.

7. Original Patty Melt

We tend to enjoy patty melts more than conventional burgers — they usually have fewer toppings and a higher meat-to-bread ratio, so they're perfect for beef lovers — but we found Freddy's Original Patty Melt to be the lesser of the two burgers we tried.

That's not to say it was bad; Freddy's does burgers really well, so even a slightly worse burger option from the chain is still going to be better than an average fast food burger. We particularly loved the griddled rye bread. It had some tang from caraway seeds and held its structure quite well, not dissolving into mush from all of the burger juice. The Swiss cheese was also delightful, adding just a hint of funk and lending the sandwich tons of smooth creaminess.

The best part about Freddy's burgers is that they're smashed onto the griddle as they cook, giving them thin, extra-crispy, caramelized edges. Sadly, that crispy texture got lost in the patty melt. The patties absorbed moisture from the toppings around them and became soft. They still tasted great, but we missed the crunch. The grilled onions on the sandwich were pleasantly savory, but they were cut in long threads and weren't super-soft, which made them hard to bite through. We wish that they had been cooked down until they were fully caramelized.

6. Dirt 'n Worms sundae

The two best reasons to visit Freddy's are right there in the name: frozen custard and steakburgers. The top half of this list is almost entirely frozen treats and burgers.

The Dirt 'n Worms sundae looked really cute with its colorful gummy worms and maraschino cherry. It threw us back to early childhood. We weren't sure how the combo of frozen custard, Oreo crumbles, and gummy candy would appeal to our adult palates, but we actually quite enjoyed it. The milky flavor of the custard was an obvious home run with the Oreos, and the mild fruitiness of the candy didn't clash with the chocolate. Even more fun, the cold custard partially froze the gummy worms, giving them a wonderfully chewy texture.

Freddy's custard is delicious, but we did find ourselves wishing it tasted a little eggier. Instead, it tastes mostly like pure milk, and thus more like regular soft-serve ice cream than like true custard. Our only other minor gripe about this dish was that it would have been easier to eat if the gummy worms were cut into pieces. Yes, that would make the aesthetics less fun, but it would also make it easier to get a little of each component in every bite. There was no chance our puny plastic spoon was going to cut through cold gummy worms, so we wound up alternating spoonfuls of ice cream with bites of worms instead.

5. Signature Turtle concrete

A concrete at Freddy's is similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard or a McFlurry: Ice cream that's blended with toppings until it's a little loose but not as liquidy as a milkshake. The difference is that Freddy's custard tastes way better than the ice cream from DQ and Mickey D's, so its concretes are more delicious than similar items from other chains.

Flavor-wise, the Signature Turtle concrete gave us everything we could ever want from an ice cream dessert. The blank canvas of Freddy's vanilla custard was painted deliciously with caramel, hot fudge, and toasted pecans. The hot fudge added just enough chocolate flavor, and the caramel was amazing, with notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and butter. The true stars, however, were the pecans. They had a slightly bitter savoriness that was essential for counterbalancing the sweetness of all the other ingredients. They also didn't lose their crunch even after sitting in ice cream for a good 15 minutes. The one fault that knocks this concrete down a few spots on the list is that it wasn't quite thick enough. It was basically the same texture as the milkshake we tried, and much runnier than a Blizzard. If Freddy's did the upside-down cup trick with its concretes that DQ does with Blizzards, its employees would end up wearing a lot of ice cream.

4. Cheese curds

Freddy's is not a safe space for the lactose intolerant. Most of its best items are heavy on dairy, none more so than its delicious fried cheese curds. As if it weren't enough to gorge on deep-fried nuggets of fresh cheese, the breading on these curds is made from butter crumbs. How many milk products can Freddy's cram into one menu item?

Clearly, the butter is doing some good work, as the curds faced none of the bland breading problems of the onion rings. The test of fresh cheese curd is if it squeaks when you bite into it — they stop squeaking within a few days of being made. Freddy's must be using super-fresh curds, because these squeaked like rubber between our teeth (that's a good thing). Beyond the well-seasoned breading, the cheese inside was also super flavorful. It had a creamy, mild cheddar taste with plenty of salt. We really enjoyed dipping the curds into Freddy's Jalapeño Fry Sauce; the pepper flavor added some zing to the dairy overload.

The one negative of the cheese curds was that they were almost too intensely rich. We'd probably prefer to order them on their own instead of as a side with an entrée.

3. Root beer float

With its neon signs, red vinyl seats, and checkered tile, Freddy's is shooting for midcentury diner vibes, and nothing screams an old-timey diner like a classic root beer float. It's not hard to pull off this menu item — as long as you have vanilla ice cream and root beer, you can make a decent float. But Freddy's version just hits the spot and gets all the details right.

First off, this drink came with a massive scoop of ice cream in it. It easily contained twice as much ice cream as our mini Dirt 'n Worms sundae. The float was served with a long-handled spoon on the side, which we appreciated, as it took a long time for the ice cream to melt to a drinkable consistency. As we've mentioned, Freddy's vanilla custard has a fairly neutral flavor, so it brings a frosty cold temperature and creaminess to the root beer without changing its overall flavor profile. The chain makes its floats with Mug Root Beer, a brand that leans into the vanilla and caramel notes of the soda — compared to other brands, it has less bite. The strong vanilla flavor of the root beer worked perfectly with the ice cream, making the float taste sort of like vanilla cream soda. It paired beautifully with the salty, fried food we ate it with.

2. Original Double

For our money, Freddy's basic burger, the Original Double, is the best savory item on the whole menu. It's all killer, no filler: two smashed, crispy patties, pickle slices, raw onion, American cheese, and mustard on a toasted bun. There's not a single superfluous element, and each ingredient works with the others to create a harmonious whole.

Though Freddy's patties don't get quite as crispy as those from some other Smashburger-style chains (Culver's ButterBurger patties are crispier), they have an incredible level of caramelized, even charred flavor. They're seared so deeply that they almost taste like they're cooked on charcoal. And unlike many smashed patties, they're also super juicy. This burger literally spurted juice as we bit into it. The patties were also aggressively seasoned with salt, which is always welcome in our book. The intense savoriness of the patties was set off by the mild sweetness of the bun and the crunch of the pickles. Mustard and onions cut through all the fat, and the American cheese blanketed everything in rich creaminess. This burger tasted exactly like how we imagine the ones from '50s drive-ins tasting.

1. Chocolate shake

With all of the elaborate ice cream creations on Freddy's menu, we never would have predicted the chain's basic chocolate shake to come out on top, but here we are. When a business makes something simple like this so much better than any of its competitors, it's worth celebrating. We're not lying: This was, by far, the smoothest milkshake we've ever consumed. Its silken mouthfeel was not marred by a single ice crystal.

The taste was just as good as the texture. Lots of chocolate milkshakes barely taste like chocolate. If you sipped a Frosty blindfolded, could you tell it was supposed to be chocolate-flavored? We don't think we could. In contrast, Freddy's chocolate milkshake was intensely chocolatey. It had a robust, bittersweet flavor that reminded us of premium dark chocolate bars. We never knew a milkshake could taste this much like chocolate. The bitterness of the cocoa helped temper the sweetness of the custard as well, which meant that even though this dessert was super dense and rich, it never became overwhelming. We easily finished it and wished we had ordered a larger size. Predictably, it also tasted amazing as a french fry dip. If we ever order Freddy's fries again, it will exclusively be as an accompaniment to the chocolate shake.