Popular Wendy's menu items, ranked worst to best

At its humble beginnings, Dave Thomas simply hoped that Wendy's would be a place where his children could work when on vacation from school in the summer. Fast-forward 50 years, and now Wendy's has more than 5,800 locations in the United States. Whether you know this fast food chain for its square burgers or even just its savage Twitter feed, Wendy's has become a ubiquitous restaurant in America that is impossible to ignore.

If you're a newbie when it comes to Wendy's vast menu, you may have trouble locating the exact item you should select. While so much of the food there looks good (and, to be fair, so much of the food is good), there are more than a handful of items on Wendy's menu that should be removed from consideration.

Before you drive to the nearest Wendy's and place your order, review this ranking so that you know exactly what to get.

16. Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Unless you have a thing for eating rubber, you should keep your distance from Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Biting into the breast of grilled chicken is not a pleasurable experience, to say the least. Once the meat enters your mouth, you will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to chew the chicken into swallowable pieces. Where does Wendy's find such fibrous fowl? If you're imagining grilled chicken like you can find at Chick-fil-A that practically melts in your mouth, you're going to be appalled after taking a single bite of this sandwich.

Beyond the chewy chicken breast, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Wendy's has a honey mustard on it that has an overpowering smoky aftertaste. Maybe they're trying to distract you from the gummy meat, but the icky condiment only makes matters worse. By comparison, the tomato and the spring mix are utterly enjoyable — but you don't order a chicken sandwich for the vegetables.

Even if you're drawn to this Wendy's menu item by the fact that it only has 370 calories, just don't do it. You might quit your diet for good after dealing with this disaster of a sandwich.

15. Wendy's Double Stack

The most notable problem with the Double Stack from Wendy's is the disappointment you will feel when you first lay eyes on it. You won't help but feel underwhelmed when comparing what you thought you were going to get with what you actually received. A burger with the "Double Stack" moniker sounds like it should be something substantial. But, instead, it's really quite small. You can tell yourself that size doesn't matter, but when this puny thing is resting in your hands, you'll realize that you've been lying to yourself. You would need to order two (or even three) Double Stacks to satisfy your hunger.

What Wendy's doesn't tell you up front is that the Double Stack actually has a double stack of junior hamburger patties. If Wendy's was trying to be honest, that fact would at least warrant an asterisk on the menu.

A suitable replacement for this burger is the Bacon Double Stack. It still has the same issue of having an underwhelming amount of beef. However, the addition of Wendy's yummy bacon combines with the American cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard to at least give this sandwich a bit of a satisfying heftiness.

14. Wendy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich

If you see the modest price tag next to the Crispy Chicken Sandwich on the Wendy's menu, you may believe that you've located a fantastic fast food deal. But the truth is, however, that you really didn't. This sandwich is better than the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, mind you, but it's only moderately more edible.

First of all, like the Double Stack, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich is smaller than what your imagination will predict. Again, if you're basing your expectations on what you get at Chick-fil-A, you are going to have a bad time. Secondly, while the crispy chicken patty has a much better texture than the grilled version, it doesn't have much flavor to it at all. Remember those flavorless chicken patties from the cafeteria at your elementary school? Yeah, it's basically at that level.

The third issue is the bun is so fluffy and airy that it engulfs the patty to almost a comical degree. Finally, the last glaring problem is the giant, watery lettuce leaf Wendy's puts in this sandwich. It seems like its existence is only to distract you from everything else, and it's an annoyance that you will likely remove before you take a bite.

13. Wendy's Vanilla Frosty

"Do you want your Frosty to be chocolate or vanilla?" When the friendly Wendy's employee asks you that question, how you answer it will say a lot about you. If you say chocolate, you pass the test and can await the arrival of your legendary dessert with a smirk on your face after being asked such a ridiculous question. If, instead, you opt for a Vanilla Frosty, don't be surprised if the employee looks at you like you've lost a marble or two.

The Vanilla Frosty arrived in 2006 and has somehow managed to survive. While the chocolate version is a wondrous delight, the vanilla version is basically overhyped soft serve. It doesn't even deserve to be in the same family, much less share the same name.

If you're in the market for a Frosty alternative, Wendy's offers Frosty-ccinos that are worth ordering. Even the Vanilla Frosty-chinno is pretty good — and ordering it won't cause onlookers to question the status of your marbles.

12. Wendy's Dave's Single

Though Dave's Single is piled high with quality ingredients, it's only a mediocre burger. Why? The single slab of square meat gets lost in everything else. When you take a bite, you have to pay attention or else your taste buds will miss the beef entirely.

In addition to the hamburger patty, Dave's Single also has gooey American cheese along with generous amounts of lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles. To top it off, Wendy's adds both ketchup and mayo. With all of those competing flavors, there's no wonder that a solitary patty would struggle to shine.

As is the case with most things in life, adding bacon to this burger makes it better. If you're searching for that option on the menu, Wendy's calls it the Big Bacon Classic. It sounds like it may be a different species of burger, but it's just Dave's Single plus a glorious amount of bacon that's been smoked with applewood.

11. Wendy's French Fries

If you've ever been to Wendy's before, you know that the Natural-Cut Fries are far from a sure thing. They always taste just a little bit different each time you go. Even fry to fry, you never know exactly what to expect next.

Compared to other fast food fries, this Wendy's menu item is unique because the potato skin is left on and goes along for the ride when the potatoes are fried in vegetable oil. The company also uses sea salt to season the fries.

If you're fortunate, the fries have a satisfyingly crispy exterior. If, on the other hand, your luck isn't good, the exterior will be unpleasantly limp. But no matter what, the interior is a letdown. These fries are curiously dry in the middle. If you're eating a lot of Wendy's Natural-Cut Fries, you will need a large drink to wash it all down. Otherwise, the dryness will become a problem. It's also wise to be equipped with a vat of ketchup because these fries taste a whole lot better with the addition of some tomatoey flavoring.

10. Wendy's Crispy Chicken Nuggets

The inconsistency that plagues Wendy's fries is also apparent when ordering the Crispy Chicken Nuggets. Sometimes these nuggets are so grainy that it feels like you got sand in your mouth. At other times, they are so mushy that you wonder if they've been cooked long enough. You may get lucky and get perfect chicken nuggets from Wendy's — but you can't count on it.

Even if you enjoyed Wendy's nuggets in the past, there is talk that the quality of the chicken nuggets at the restaurant chain has taken a turn for the worse. The result is a nugget that is really tough to chew, just like the chicken you find in Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

If you are willing to push your luck and order the Crispy Chicken Nuggets, don't rely on Wendy's barbecue sauce to rescue you, as there is talk that the company changed the recipe and it's now not nearly as good as it used to be. Instead, go with the sweet and sour sauce. That stuff is reliably great.

9. Wendy's Chili

Compared to the junk that other fast food restaurants call chili, Wendy's chili is downright amazing. It has ground beef, diced tomatoes, onions, green peppers, celery, kidney beans, chili pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a host of other ingredients in it. If it's cold outside and you're looking for a quick and delicious way to warm up, get this chili from Wendy's drive-thru window, and you'll be toasty in no time.

Unfortunately, this chili is something that becomes less appetizing the more you learn about it. Did you know that the ground beef in the chili is actually expired burger meat? That's not exactly something you want to think about as you're grabbing your spoon. Also, a large chili from Wendy's has more than half of the recommended daily allowance of salt, nine grams of sugar, and 15 grams of fat (including six grams of saturated fat and a gram of trans fat).

If you can forget what you read in the preceding paragraph, you can enjoy this chili. But if you can't, you'll be scouring the menu for something that doesn't come with baggage.

8. Wendy's Homestyle Chicken Sandwich

While the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich both have their issues, the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich addresses almost all the glaring flaws. In fact, when you're ordering the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, this is probably what you were expecting. Rather than a flavorless patty, this sandwich has a juicy chicken breast that was gently and evenly breaded. The juice that hits your taste buds when you take your first bite will alert you that you've made a smart decision.

In addition to the upgraded chicken, the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich also has a tomato slice in addition to the lettuce and mayo. But the other big difference is the bun. The Crispy Chicken Sandwich has an airy bun that's basically a glorified placeholder, while this beautiful sandwich has what Wendy's calls a premium bun. The website doesn't explain why it's so much better, but the difference is truly night and day. Once you go premium, you will never be able to go back to the bland standard bun again.

7. Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger

If you want a quick, affordable, scrumptious snack from Wendy's, go with the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. This burger, which usually costs around two dollars, is small — but that's exactly what you're expecting when you order something with the word "junior" in it. Unlike the Double Stack, you know what to expect, and you can plan accordingly. If you just want a snack, one will hit the spot. If you're eating dinner and want a filling meal, you'll need to order multiple.

And while the size of the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger is lacking, there's nothing small about the flavor. The combination of beef, bacon, American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mayo has so much savory goodness that you can't help but smile.

A similar menu item at Wendy's is the Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. It's exactly the same size and might appear to be identical at first glance. However, the bacon has been replaced by pickles, onions, and ketchup. While the result is good in its own right, not many people would willfully trade in the bacon.

6. Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

It may surprise you, but Wendy's legitimately has some of the best salads you can find at a fast food joint. You can order the salads as a half order or as a full order, with the full order being enough to fill you up completely.

While all of Wendy's salads are tasty, it's the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad that is the cream of the crop. As its name suggests, this salad has roasted pecans that have been glazed with honey, a combination of red apple chunks and green apple chunks, and chicken breast (you choose whether the chicken is grilled, homestyle, or spicy). In addition to what's in the name, it also comes with dried cranberries, hunks of blue cheese, and a pomegranate vinaigrette.

While the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and the other salads from Wendy's are a good choice, don't get them just because you're watching your weight. The salads there, as good as they taste, aren't especially healthy for you.

5. Wendy's Spicy Chicken Nuggets

While fast food news usually doesn't hit the mainstream, that's exactly what happened when Wendy's brought back its Spicy Chicken Nuggets. With some help from a tweet by Chance the Rapper, the resurrection of these spicy bundles of joy went viral. Since their revival in August of 2019, they've been a big hit, and it's safe to say that they will probably be around for the long haul. Well, let us hope, at least. The world is a sadder place when these are missing from the fast food universe.

What makes Wendy's Spicy Chicken Nuggets so much better than the regular nuggets? The heat, of course. These nuggets have a red tinge for a reason — they're legitimately hot. But it's not the type of spiciness that makes you want to gargle with milk and scrape your tongue with sandpaper. It's the type of spiciness that makes you sit back in your seat and realize all that's right in your life.

The previously mentioned sweet and sour sauce is also a great choice for these spicy nuggets. However, if your mouth needs to be cooled down every now and again, ask for the buttermilk ranch. While Wendy's ranch isn't the best fast food ranch, it can help keep things cool.

4. Wendy's Dave's Double

It's amazing how much difference the proper amount of meat makes. While Dave's Single disappoints, Wendy's Dave's Double is a home run. With a pair of burger patties to supercharge the festivities, everything else about this burger just works. The vegetables are no longer a hindrance but instead become the perfect sidekick to add a bit of flavor diversity.

When it comes to Dave's namesake burgers, there's a fine line that you need to toe. Dave's Single is too wimpy, Dave's Double is perfect, and Dave's Triple is too overbearing. The massive amount of meat in Dave's Triple makes it difficult to eat. Are you able to open your jaws wide enough? If so, that's still just half the battle, as all it takes is one wrong move and the structural integrity of the sandwich is lost and it falls apart. Even if you're starving and eating very carefully, you'll agree that it's just too much beef. Stick with Dave's Double.

3. Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Like the Spicy Chicken Nuggets, the Wendy's chicken sandwiches are best when they're on fire. The Spicy Chicken Sandwich is so good that you may get addicted after giving it a try. While the spicy nuggets are enjoyable, the enjoyment level is taken up a notch when that same spicy chicken is put into sandwich form. Wendy's blend of spices it uses to turn up the heat tastes extra good with the addition of the premium bun, lettuce, tomato, and mayo — and you don't need to worry about things getting too hot.

Warning: Be careful when you're ordering this sandwich. Wendy's also has something called a Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and that's not the one you want. The Spicy Chicken Sandwich is basically the spicy version of the yummy Homestyle Chicken Sandwich, while the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich is the spicy version of the gross Crispy Chicken Sandwich. That one added word could mean the difference between an epic meal and a sad situation, so double-check that you're getting the right one.

2. Wendy's Classic Chocolate Frosty

If you're wondering how a dessert can be in the top two of the best menu items at Wendy's, you've obviously never tasted the Classic Chocolate Frosty. This isn't just the best dessert at Wendy's — you'd be hard-pressed to find a better dessert at any restaurant.

While the gimmicky Vanilla Frosty has only been around since 2006, the Classic Chocolate Frosty was an original menu item when the first Wendy's opened its doors in 1969. Back then, it was only known as the Frosty, as there was no need to differentiate it from its current cream-colored stepbrother.

While it's perfectly acceptable to grab a spoon and go to town on your Frosty, you can also use this fabled dessert for dipping purposes. Dipping fries or even chicken nuggets in your Frosty is more common than you might think. Try it, and you too will gleefully invest in a Frosty key tag.

1. Wendy's Baconator

What's the best Wendy's menu item? The godly Baconator, of course. This really isn't even a fair contest. It's a burger invention that will one day show up in the history books.

On the bottom bun of the Baconator, a quarter-pound of never-frozen beef starts things off. Next, a slice of American cheese is placed on top of the beef. On top of the cheese rests three slices of bacon. Sounds great, right? But, wait, we're only halfway done! Another quarter-pound beef patty is placed on top of the bacon, and then another round of American cheese. Before a top bun slathered with ketchup and mayo finishes things off, three more slices of bacon are put on top. For those keeping score at home, that's a total of a half-pound of beef, two slices of American cheese, and six slices of bacon.

You really have no excuse to not eat a Baconator. If you don't think you're hungry enough for all the goodness found in a Baconator, the Son of the Baconator is smaller but still wonderful. If you're only free in the morning, the Breakfast Baconator is a tremendous choice. By any means necessary, get a Baconator in your tummy ASAP, and you will be able to tackle any of life's challenges.