Fast Food Holiday Menus, Ranked, According To Customers

The holidays bring with them a certain level of comfort that's virtually unmatched. From warm lights to the chill of the air nipping at your nose, the holidays encompass everything we associate with love, family, and, of course, food. This utterly magical feeling is only further amplified when our favorite fast-food joints pump out their renditions of holiday treats created to encapsulate this seasonal vibe in their own distinct and oh-so-delicious ways.

What can you expect from fast-food joints this year? Overall, we're pretty impressed with their seasonal offerings. Still, there are some menus that prove better than others, especially when it comes to taste, options, and quality. In this post, we're revealing which fast-food holiday menus are worth checking out and which you may as well avoid. Our rankings are based not only on customer reviews but also on availability, variety, and our own personal experiences. And though you may disagree with our take at times, we've done our best to rank this year's holiday menus from best to worst. Join us as we ring in the best and worst holiday fast-food menus of the season.

12. Taco Bell

You may be surprised to see Taco Bell make the list, and indeed, there aren't many true holiday offerings from the restaurant, which is why we've ranked this popular fast food chain so low. Nevertheless, Taco Bell rolled out a couple of new menu items around holiday time, and therefore, we thought we might as well make you aware — even if the offerings here aren't quite as "festive" as the others. 

First and foremost, Taco Bell rereleased its rolled chicken tacos back in September. They were originally released in 2014 and disappeared around 2019. They're now gracing menus once again as part of a Deluxe Box and are still available just in time for the chilly holiday season.

Aside from crispy flauta-style rolled chicken tacos, you can also snag an order of Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Nacho Fries. As silly as this item may sound, our staff views it as quite tasty. Not enough reviews exist from the customer lens just yet since these are quite new, but judging by what we've already heard, the description, and how they look, these aren't likely to let anyone down. Get 'em while you can — both the rolled chicken tacos and grilled cheese fries are available for a limited time.

11. KFC

You're not going to get something super-festive like peppermint mocha or fanciful Christmas cookies from your local KFC, and it's for this reason we've decided to list the chain on our holiday menu bottom rung. Interestingly, despite not quite dishing up what other contenders on this list offer, this fried chicken joint has found its own way to get in on a little of the holiday action. KFC is still doling out its fan-favorite traditional recipe chicken, only this time, it comes in Christmas-inspired blue-hued buckets.

As far as menu items go, you'll be interested to know that KFC is giving customers a little something different, even if it isn't the gingerbread treats you're used to. Instead, get a load of the family-sized brownie available November 12 or take a savory bite out of the company's new mac and cheese wrap. Looking for even more comfort food options? KFC naturally offers those comforting menu items you crave this time of year, including warm mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, mac and cheese, and crisp coleslaw.

Christmas buckets and brownies are nice, but they may not quite be enough to truly put us in the Christmas spirit. It's not the best holiday menu you'll find — but hey, at least KFC is trying, right?

10. Wendy's

When it comes to Wendy's holiday menu this year, you shouldn't expect to be blown away in terms of quantity. Because of this lack of choices, we're going to have to throw a bit of shade Wendy's way for not providing us with as many options as other fast food chains. We're well-acquainted with the chain's Peppermint Frosty, and, honestly, some people like it more than others. According to some customers, the peppermint flavor in it may seem a bit weak. We're thinking that's because the peppermint Frosty is only a vanilla Frosty blended with peppermint syrup. Thus, you'll be likely to get more of a vanilla-y mint flavor than a powerful peppermint explosion. Nevertheless, members of our own staff have sampled the Wendy's Peppermint Frosty and absolutely adored the flavor — so we guess it's a toss-up as to how you'll take to this one.

Still, we are encouraged by the introduction of Wendy's Peppermint Frosty Cream Cold Brew this year. It features Frosty mix, peppermint syrup, and, of course, cold-brewed coffee. And while we can't find many reviews for this new release at the moment, we can surmise that it's probably pretty darn delicious. Pair it up with a hot and juicy Wendy's burger and you'll be indulging in some of the most comforting flavors of the holiday season.

9. McDonald's

McDonald's can be hit or miss when it comes to its holiday offerings, and unfortunately, even the three measly holiday items we think may be released this year are subject to limited availability at only a few locations.

The infamous McRib sandwich, for example, is incredibly controversial amongst haters and fans alike, and McDonald's even went as far as to proclaim that the McRib was finally being phased out in 2022. Despite this fact, we've found the fast-food giant ushering in the McRib once again this holiday season, but, as mentioned, you'll only be able to snag this polarizing menu item at select locations.

Apart from the McRib, McDonald's also tends to offer its custard-filled rainbow sprinkle holiday pies as well as its peppermint mocha around the holiday season. Whether you'll find either on the menu this year will depend on your specific McDonald's location and availability near you — but from what we hear from customers, both are pretty fabulous holiday selections.

8. Panera Bread

This fall season, Panera Bread set out to provide us with nothing but culinary comfort, offering not only plenty of pumpkin grabs but savory choices as well. Its hot ham and cheese breakfast sammies, turkey chili, autumn squash soap, and maple and pumpkin-infused baked goods were an awesome way to usher in the autumn weather and Thanksgiving festivities. As for drinks, don't expect to find your infamous pumpkin spice latte here — Panera Bread chose not to emulate it but instead feature its own Cinnamon Crunch Latte for your sipping pleasure. Sadly, customers seem to not like this rendition of a fall drink as much as the PSL; in fact, from reviews we've seen, some people think it quite drab due to its apparent lack of sweetness.

As for the winter holiday season, we haven't quite yet gotten word on what Panera Bread plans to do. Still, we do remember the epicness of last year's "mitten" cookies and hope to see some sort of festive baked good soon returning. So why the middle-of-the-road ranking? Though we love Panera Bread, we don't often see it offering a plethora of winter holiday and Christmas choices the way other fast food establishments do. We suppose it'll reveal whatever delicious ways it plans to usher in the winter season soon after Thanksgiving. Until then, we're excitedly waiting. 

7. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is undoubtedly delicious all year round, but when it comes to the holiday season, it's really got it in the bag. We'll admit, there isn't too much when it comes to quantity on the holiday menu — traditionally, you'll see about 2-3 new menu items, tops, making it not the most fabulous holiday menu out there. Nevertheless, this year, Chick-fil-A has decided to experiment with a few different menu items while still bringing back the classics, which, we must say, really puts us in the Christmas spirit.

So, what can you expect from Chick-fil-A this upcoming holiday? Starting November 13, you can order the chain's new Peppermint Iced Coffee and Frosted Peppermint Cream Coffee, both of which were likely released to capitalize on the success of the fan-favorite Peppermint Chip Milkshake. The Peppermint Iced Coffee, as its name would suggest, is ice-cold coffee with peppermint essence similar to what you might grab at your local Starbucks. The Frosted Peppermint Cream Coffee, on the other hand, features the brand's cool and creamy ice cream melded with cold coffee and peppermint syrup.

All in all, we're pleased with the return of our favorites and the introduction of these festive yet java-infused new items – you'll definitely catch us in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru this holiday season. 

6. Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is known for dishing up delectably light and fluffy doughnuts, but when it comes to the holidays, we think it truly outdid itself. This year for the autumn season, the company rolled out its Caramel Pecan Brownie Doughnut, along with the Cinnamon Latte Lover, Classic Blackberry Crisp-filled Doughnut, and Spiced Apple Filled Doughnut. And that's not all. The chain also featured a variety of Pumpkin Spice-themed coffee offerings, making a perfect match for the eclectic yet delicious doughnut varieties offered at Krispy Kreme.

In addition to exciting fall-themed menu items, we also expect Christmas deliciousness to follow close behind. Last year, the company released the Gingerbread Cookie Crumb Doughnut​ and Red Velvet Cake Doughnut, along with a few others. This year, we're hearing rumors about "Elf" (the movie)-themed doughnuts, Christmas Light doughnuts, and, yes, the return of the Sant's Belly doughnut. Besides the already offered Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate, we can't wait to see what the holiday brings in terms of drinks, too. We'll stay tuned to find out — in the meantime, we'll have to keep this one out of the running for our No.1 holiday fast food menu spot.

5. Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins is always here to spread a little cheer, and the company has definitely done so this year. Offering interesting and delicious holiday options, we've been quite impressed with the selection of distinctly unique ice cream flavors introduced thus far to kick off the season.

For fall, Baskin Robbins tickled our fancy with its Apple Cider Donut Ice Cream, and then again with its Turkey Day Fixin's flavor. We'll admit the former sounds tastier than the latter, but according to our staff and Reddit threads, even the Turkey Day Fixin's ice cream wows the taste buds. Rather than focusing on savory turkey flavors, the ice cream fixates on the sweet tastes of cranberry, cornbread, and sweet potato. This leads to the ultimate Thanksgiving flavor without being too weird or overpowering.

As far as Christmas flavors go, expect to sample Non-Dairy Mint Chocochunk, Peppermint, Chocolate Cherry Bark, and whatever else Baskin might have up its sleeve to dole out this season. Also, keep a close watch on the company's ever-changing seasonal ice cream cake menu — the company has always had seasonally intriguing options perfect for serving as a sweet dessert alongside your main holiday dish. All in all, we love this holiday menu, but the chain doesn't have quite the extensive holiday selection that other fast food menus do in terms of baked goods, drinks, and other offerings. Still, if you're an ice cream buff, we think Baskin-Robbins is still a good place to get your holiday fix.

4. Dunkin'

Spiced Cookie Coffee, Loaded Hash Browns, and a Triple Chocolate Muffin? Sounds like an awesome holiday menu to us! This year, Dunkin' is rolling out a few new items along with several returning ones that will be sure to warm up your holiday.

Let's start from the top. Dunkin's Toasted White Chocolate Iced Signature Latte is an iced espresso swirled with white chocolate flavored and topped with whipped cream. The Triple Chocolate Muffin is exactly what it sounds like — it's a rich chocolate muffin stuffed with chocolate chips and chocolate chunks making for a decadent treat to pair with any coffee. The Peppermint Mocha is a delightfully warm sip infused with mocha and peppermint and topped with, you guessed it, creamy whip. The company also is featuring bacon and cheese-loaded hash browns this season, holiday-inspired donut boxes, Cookie Butter Cold Brew (topped with crumbled cookies, of course), and a Spiced Cookie Iced Coffee inspired by oatmeal cookie flavors.

Needless to say, this is one of the better holiday menus out there, as there seems to be a little something for everyone and plenty of sweet and savory options to choose from. And at its comparatively affordable cost, we must admit we're loving every minute of it. Watch out Starbucks — Dunkin' is hot on your tail.

3. Tim Horton's

Tim Horton's has all sorts of flavorful holiday picks this season, and many of them leave us intrigued. In fact, there are so many items on the menu for the holidays we're going to have a hard time listing each one, making this one of our favorite menus of the season.

One of the drinks, the Gingerbread Oat Milk Latte, is made with Chobani oat milk and can come warm or iced. This is a dairy-free latte lover's dream and gives fans options outside of Starbucks for once. The Peppermint Mocha Iced Cappuccino, though fairly basic in terms of creativity, also graces the menu as a new item this year, along with Hot Cocoa Crumble Muffins, Peppermint TimBits, Holiday Tree Donuts, Red Velvet Cream Cold Brew, and much (much) more.

Look, we know Tim Horton's isn't as popular as its Dunkin' and Starbucks competition (at least in the U.S.), but come on, this holiday menu is beyond impressive. Check it out for yourself, as there are other holiday options not mentioned here that you may really enjoy.

2. Starbucks

When it comes to ultimate holiday offerings, Starbucks is more than just popular — it truly delivers. This long-standing cafe whips up delicious treats and drinks that become popular for a reason: They genuinely taste great and make most of us look forward to new offerings every single year.

Now, don't get us wrong. No fast-food restaurant is perfect, and Starbucks has certainly produced a few flops during the holiday season, according to patrons (Chocolate Pistachio Swirl, anyone?). Still, items like its Chestnut Praline Latte, Baked Apple Croissant, Peppermint Mocha, Cranberry Bliss Bar, and other holiday grabs are proof that the cafe still creates amazing drinks and treats at this dazzling time of the year. Also, we should note that because of Starbucks' popularity, you may find that some items disappear practically as soon as they hit the menu. The fall favorite Baked Apple Croissant was a prime example of this and now the saga continues as the Sugar Plum Cheese Danish seems to magically vanish every time we attempt to order one. Sigh.

We understand that not everyone will agree with us here, and though Starbucks isn't taking our top spot, it still ranks high because of the quality, popularity, and overall flavor that most of its holiday offerings bring. Love it or hate it, Starbucks is legit.

1. Caribou Coffee

Holiday java fans rejoice — Caribou Coffee's menu packs a punch. We've counted well over 15 fall and holiday items offered. Choose from a Santa or Snowman Cookie, Pumpkin Cake Pop, Pumpkin Chai, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Vanilla Oat Nog Latte, Ho Ho Mint Mocha Espresso Shaker, Spicy Mocha, Cranberry Orange Muffin — ah, we're exhausted. There's even more on the menu than that.

So, are any of these actually worth sampling? According to reviews we've read, they definitely are. The Ho Ho Mint drink seems to be a top contender. This popular grab features creamy white chocolate and peppermint to yield a flavor similar to that of a candy cane. In addition, the Spicy Mocha's a real treat for any Mexican hot chocolate lovers out there and is also not something you'd commonly find gracing fast food menus. Feeling hungry? The Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin and Pumpkin Cake Pop are only a few of the seasonal snack items on Caribou Coffee's menu and feature the perfect amount of pumpkin taste to please fans of this popular fall flavor.

All in all, we think Caribou Coffee has an incredibly exciting holiday menu lined up for us this year, and we are chomping at the bit to try it out.