21 Fast Food Restaurants Open On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, as recent memory would have it, is a time of giving. When celebrated right, it's a truly beautiful holiday in which people share the present moment with loved ones and families, whether blood-related or makeshift. It's about being grateful and for what we have rather than being discontent about what we don't. But alas, Thanksgiving, without a doubt, is also about the food.

But not everyone can afford an extravagant meal with plenty of side dishes. Then there are the issues of time and energy. Going through all the trouble of planning an elaborate meal can take hours, let alone the hassle of shopping and then cooking up a feast in the kitchen. And for those people — and all who are genuinely interested — there are luckily other low-cost, low-stress options on turkey day. Here, dear hungry and grateful eaters, are fast food restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving. Note: Though these franchises have stores open on Thanksgiving, it's always best to check with your local store for specific hours of operation.

1. Bojangles

If you want to replace the traditional turkey with chicken, then head to Bojangles, which will be open on Thanksgiving according to Holiday Shopping Hours. Previously on Thanksgiving, Bojangles served up fried turkey, but they have yet to announce if that will be the case this season. (A food lover can dream.) Nevertheless, a juicy, crispy chicken sandwich is something many of us can be grateful for, though there are a plethora of other chicken options that will make your thankful taste buds dance this holiday season.

With that in mind, it's best to contact your local Bojangles for holiday hours as certain stores may be closed on Thanksgiving.  

2. Boston Market

Boston Market is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to skip the cooking yet still devour a Thanksgiving-esque feast. The standard menu at the chicken chain features mouth-watering poultry with endless side options (which you can never go wrong ordering), so it should come as no surprise that they offer quite the Thanksgiving spread.

Not only do they have traditional heat-and-serve Thanksgiving offerings but they also have holiday catering and à la carte options, though their website indicates that you need to order online by November 22 if you plan on ordering these options. Make sure to plan ahead so Boston Market can cover all your Thanksgiving turkey, sides, and pies needs.  

3. Burger King

If last year was any indication, then Burger King will be opening its doors on Thanksgiving this year. Yet, for what it's worth, Store Business Hours claims many of the fast-food chain's locations are open on Thanksgiving, albeit with reduced hours. 'Tis the season to deck the holidays with a Whopper – because, quite frankly, all seasons are perfectly pleasant times to chow down on a Whopper, plant-based or otherwise.

Though you can certainly order BK items à la carte (if you will), family meals will ensure everyone gets a little bit of something. Flame-grilled burgers, pies, and fries for the holidays? Yes, please — and thank you.

4. Domino's

Not craving traditional fast food treats or turkey plates? Then Domino's might be your best option as the restaurant provides pizza pies and pasta and breadsticks and wings. And, oh yeah, locations were open on Thanksgiving 2020, according to Hours Guide, so it's reasonable to assume they'll be open on turkey day as well in 2021.

We're not telling you how to order, but you could do a lot worse than a large pizza, baked pasta, salad, Stuffed Cheesy Bread, and your Domino's dessert of choice. As they say, the more, the merrier, especially if you're planning on having company. Pairing pizza with Thanksgiving is a winning combination if we've ever seen one.

5. Dunkin'

Thanksgiving might be a holiday, but that doesn't mean your caffeine intake needs to take a break, and it doesn't have to, even if you don't have coffee at home or wherever you're going. According to Romper, Dunkin' will thankfully be serving up fresh coffee on the blessed feasting day. And you know what goes well with coffee? A dozen of your favorite donuts, naturally.

Though Thanksgiving shouldn't be a competition, you could certainly earn some brownie points if you arrive early to the festivities with coffee and donuts in hand. Donuts are also great replacements for pie or other holiday-themed desserts.

6. El Pollo Loco

Turkey and stuffing are great (like, really, really, great), but loaded nachos on Thanksgiving are the twist that keeps on giving. As of November 1, El Pollo Loco hadn't yet posted its holiday hours, however, a 2020 tweet that read "Thanksgiving is a day for family" seemed to suggest that some locations may be closed. That said, Fansided reported that the chain did have something special in 2020 with a holiday family meal and chicken tamale bowls. Fire-grilled Mexican food should more than satisfy your cravings during the holiday — just be ready to trade in one type of meat for another. Chicken meals are the new turkey meals — at least at El Pollo Loco, that is.

7. Hardee's

Picture a glorious food spread consisting of a Famous Star With Cheese, a Western Bacon Cheeseburger, The Big Hardee, and, well, whatever else you desire because Hardee's will be taking orders on Thanksgiving (via Holiday Shopping Hours). Thanksgiving might be a holiday that features people eating turkey with their loved ones, but really, it's a holiday that consists of people eating the food they crave with their loved ones. If you decide to have Hardee's take over the kitchen duties this holiday season, just know you aren't alone — Hardee's is open during Thanksgiving for a reason. And cleanup duties will surely be less intensive when you trade in a traditional turkey dinner for Hardee's.

8. Krystal

If you've never dined at Krystal before, then picture really small burgers, otherwise known as sliders. Now imagine eating these wonderful sliders on Thanksgiving — because, according to Holiday Shopping Hours, you can order Kyrstal on this holiday. Not feeling a burger? Then a Classic Pup (small hot dog), Corn Pup (small corn dog), or Chili Cheese Pup (small chili cheese hot dog) very well could do the trick. Either way, if Krystal is open, there's certainly a small item for everyone. 

Sliders are perfect as year-round meals, and if we had it our way, they'd make perfect stocking stuffers — if eaten right away.

9. Little Caesars

Here's what you need to know: Little Caesars is open on Thanksgiving, according to Store Holiday Hours, however, it could also depend on the store. According to a Reddit post from two years ago, an employee said their particular store was closed on Thanksgiving.  

What you also might want to hear: If you decide to stroll to your local Little Caesars and order a pizza Thanksgiving feast, we applaud your determination and willingness to eat exactly what you want to eat on this wonderful holiday. Whether you create your own pie, order a Large Round Pizza, or opt for a deep dish, you can't go wrong with Little Caesars. Sides are always encouraged, from Caesar Wings to Crazy Bread. Just think: Your Thanksgiving meal could be done in a flash.

10. McDonald's

This may or may not come as a surprise, but, you've heard correctly, McDonald's is open on Thanksgiving. Though, according to CountryLiving, hours may vary by location since 95% of the stores are independently owned. We gotta say, there's nothing more American than a Quarter Pounder with Cheese or Big Mac (or both) on Thanksgiving — and, no, that's not a bad thing. It's a blessing, an occurrence that's worthy of endless thankfulness. While you're visiting the Golden Arches, you might as well add some fries and Chicken McNuggets to your order as this is a holiday that's known for feasting.

11. Papa John's

Again, not everyone wants turkey on Thanksgiving, nor does everyone want burgers. But if you fancy pizza, then you can rest assured that Papa John's is open on Thanksgiving. As far back as at least 2018, the pizzeria has remained open on the November holiday. Doesn't a Papadia or handcrafted pizza (dipped in garlic sauce, of course) sound like the perfect way to celebrate the eating portion of Thanksgiving? Well, it certainly does to us, as well as the countless grateful people who venture to a Papa John's on this holiday. 

Bonus points if you get enough pizza for the whole family. Legendary status if you get every Papadia Papa John's has on the menu.

12. Papa Murphy's

Papa Murphy's is the type of place that provides restaurant-quality pizza for people who want it now yet can't eat it immediately. After all, Papa Murphy's prepares the pizza for you so you can take it home and bake it in your oven. It's been staying open for Thanksgiving for at least a decade now and this year is no different. Pizza lovers rejoice: You can still have fresh and piping hot pizza slices on Thanksgiving Day. 

Papa Murphy's is perfect if you're having company over but don't want to go all-out on cooking and still want take-out quality food whenever your guests decide to arrive.

13. Pizza Hut

Turkey is the type of food that's good when it's made properly, but horrible when it's cooked poorly. You can, unfortunately, follow all the turkey-roasting steps to a tee and still have a dry turkey after the 1,000 hours it takes to cook — okay, so it only takes a few hours, but you get the point.

Or, you could opt for Original Stuffed Crust pizza — assuming your local Pizza Hut is open. Most Pizza Huts will be open this year, but that seems to have been a shift, as back in 2013, "the vast majority of Pizza Huts" were closed for the holiday. Instead of turkey, you could throw in some chicken wings from the one and only WingStreet, as well as other pizza-accompanying sides to ensure you fill up your table — and stomach.

14. Popeyes

Three words: Classic Chicken Sandwich. One word: Absolutely. Not wasting any more time, Popeyes, according to USA Today, is open on Thanksgiving. As if the fried chicken on Thanksgiving news couldn't get any better, Popeyes is also bringing back its Cajun-Style Turkey, though that's a hot, hot item you'll want to order ahead of time. You don't have to order this cherished commodity for your turkey festivities, but the option is there.

Nevertheless, ordering Popeyes for Thanksgiving is a no-brainer, and we believe chicken is best served whenever your hungry heart is craving it. Turkey doesn't have to rule everyone's Thanksgiving Day.

15. Qdoba

Though we enjoy turkey dinner just as much as the next person, one of the problems with this meal is that everyone virtually eats the same thing (yes, there are exceptions). Sure, you can add ranch dressing to your turkey or mix everything in a giant bowl, but does it really change the meal up all that much? To some, it might, yet if you're looking for a tailored Thanksgiving dinner this year, then look no further than Qdoba.  According to Holiday Shopping Hours, the chain is open on Thanksgiving, but it could be that it's only some select locations. Numerous employees on Indeed have stated that in recent years, their location was closed for the holiday.

The best bet if you're craving a Qdoba burrito bowl on the fourth Thursday in November? Call ahead. 

16. Sonic

Traveling back to a traditional fast-food joint, Sonic will be serving food on Thanksgiving, though, this likely doesn't apply to every store. We're not saying everyone's family spawns a roller-coaster of emotions, but you might need a break and from whomever and wherever you're spending the holiday. And there are certainly much worse places than a drive-in. In fact, this drive-in, in particular, serves classics like Cherry Limeade and Ocean Water, yet you can also dive into a full-blown meal.

Sonic is more than a fast-food restaurant — it's a throwback retro experience, especially on Thanksgiving Day. From shakes to burgers to tots, Sonic has your Thanksgiving food plans covered.

17. Starbucks

Everyone likes their coffee a certain way — and if you're heading to your family's house for the holiday, you might have to partake in a bad batch of coffee. No one deserves a bad batch of coffee. Unless, of course, you decide to do your coffee cravings a favor and stroll to a Starbucks, which is, THANKFULLY, open on Thanksgiving.

While a pumpkin spice latte is a natural choice this time of year, Starbucks routinely unleashes a holiday lineup that will allow customers to celebrate the season in style. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have a cup or two to help you tackle turkey dinner, whether it's before or after the big meal.

18. Steak 'n Shake

Keeping the burger train going, Steak 'n Shake will be cooking up its steakburgers on Thanksgiving. And you know what goes perfect with a steakburger? A Steak 'n Shake hand-scooped milkshake.

We're not saying you should eat before the big meal or that you're even having a traditional turkey dinner, but if you were to show up at your holiday destination with some burgers, fries, and shakes, you might receive some high-fives in response — especially if you're having a later dinner and you arrive early. Everyone is an MVP on Thanksgiving, but seriously, showing up with steakburgers on this holiday will win you the hardware.

19. Subway

Sometimes, you're just craving a sandwich with as many toppings as you desire. The holidays won't be standing in Subway's way as many, but not all of the sandwich shop's locations will be open on Thanksgiving. The thing about Subway is that it serves turkey sandwiches year-round, but don't let that stop you from ordering one on Thanksgiving. 

Not feeling like turkey? No sweat, there are other sandwiches on the menu and if there's a certain type of sandwich meat you have in mind, there's a good chance Subway has it (within reason, of course).

20. Wendy's

You should be able to eat whatever you want on Thanksgiving Day, afternoon, and night, and if you're craving Wendy's, then you're in luck as the fast-food restaurant that prides itself on "fresh, never frozen beef" is open on Thanksgiving (but again, possibly not every single location). You could opt for beef in the form of a burger, or you could go with some chicken nuggets, or a Frosty — really, the options are unlimited. 

Wendy's fries are savory, the nuggets are delicious, and the restaurant's burgers are ahead of the competition. If you do plan on eating at Wendy's on Thanksgiving, your biggest issue might be picking between all the appetizing items.

21. White Castle

White Castle doesn't close often (unless there's a big election going on), so if you and your loved ones want to split a Crave Case on Turkey Day – nay, Slider Day — then by all means, please do. The chain is open on Thanksgiving Day and it even tries to put a unique own spin on it. In 2020, they brought rapper Coolio into the fun with a Slider-based stuffing recipe. While White Castle is known for its little burgers and cheeseburgers, it also has chicken and fish sliders, among others.

Above all else, we hope you can find things to be grateful for and people to spend this treasured holiday with. But alas, we also hope you have a Thanksgiving that's filled with a hearty meal, whether it's a classic turkey dinner or via one of these fast-food options.