The Real Difference Between Wendy's And Burger King Burgers

Maybe you can't put your finger on it, but you always knew, deep down, that there had to be a difference between the two. After all, Wendy's signature burgers are made with square patties — a tongue-in-cheek testament that Wendy's, apparently, doesn't cut corners.

But aside from their shapes, the two burgers hold some very substantial differences. They're prepped differently, their ingredients vary, and different eaters have very different takes.

It starts with the beef. For decades, Wendy's has advertised a "fresh, never frozen" approach to its hamburger patties. While this claim has been contested, it seems to hold up: Even during food shortages, Wendy's has committed to stick with fresh beef (via Business Insider). Journalist Kayla Blanton, a former Wendy's employee, testified that during her years as a team member, all beef was delivered refrigerated (via Insider). They go from fridge to griddle: No freeze in between, as far as we know.

While Burger King can't make that claim, it does have its own secret weapon. Burger King's Whopper is broiled. That's why those glossy, colorful Burger King ads always feature a photogenic char on the patty (via The Washington Post). That char that adds a smokiness, and it's so crucial to the Whopper experience that BK broils its Impossible Whoppers the same way (via Tampa Bay Times).

How it's made

Wendy's serves its burger on a shiny, toasted bun, along with the usual fixings: lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup, onion, and mayonnaise. (Oh, and let's not forget the melty American cheese.) Burger King's Whopper comes on an untoasted, sesame seed bun, with all the same toppings (via Eat This). However, we think it's worth noting that Wendy's opts for red onion, which packs more flavor and acidity than Burger King's milder white onion slices.

Like any sandwich, though, the bread makes a difference. Upon reviewing the two burgers, some of the staff at Eat This really didn't go for the Whopper's bun, commenting that the untoasted sesame bun was a little overwhelming. The Eat This editors also didn't cut corners (ahem) while criticizing Burger King's meat, stating that it tasted flavorless, overly charred, and just plain distracting.

Maybe you prefer the soft, sesame bun of the Whopper. Maybe you're attached to Wendy's square cut. Whatever floats your fast food boat.

Where we stand

In the meantime, we know where we stand: When it comes to a burger, we want some good, fresh beef. While Burger King's char is innovative, and yes, it reminds us of a summer cookout, Wendy's fresh, surprisingly juicy patty rises above the rest. How often do we get to feel assured that our fast food burger hasn't been sitting in a freezer for months on end? If Wendy's wants to offer that, we'll take it. 

That doesn't mean Wendy's is the end-all. If you truly have the option, and you're on the west coast, go for In-N-Out. Why? It's fresh across the board: even the veggies and fries are prepared fresh each morning. How wholesome is that? And instead of the tired combination of ketchup and mayonnaise, the In-N-Out burger features its deliciously mysterious and creamy spread. According to chef J. Kenji López-Alt, who pieced together a copycat recipe, the spread features ketchup, mayonnaise, pickle relish, vinegar, and "a pinch of sugar" (via Serious Eats). A next level burger? We think so.