Mistakes Everyone Makes When Ordering A Burger At In-N-Out

In-N-Out Burger is a West Coast staple serving up delicious burgers, french fries, and milkshakes. In operation since 1948, In-N-Out offers both drive-thru and dine-in meals, with meat and produce that's always fresh, never frozen. Perhaps that's part of why the food is so remarkably tasty.

One of the most fun elements of getting food from In-N-Out is knowing the in's and out's (pun intended) of the not-so-secret menu, which includes a lot of the items and combos not listed on the chain's main menu board. Even though the tips and tricks displayed on this unofficial menu are widely known, there are still some ways in which you might not be ordering as efficiently as possible at In-N-Out, especially when it comes to the burgers.

We've compiled a list of the most common mistakes people make when ordering burgers at In-N-Out Burger, and how to avoid them. These tips can be useful to a range of people, from the novice to the In-N-Out diehard, because it's never too late to learn more about the best way to order at your favorite California-born burger chain.

Asking for a 'burger with everything'

While it might seem like you're doing them a favor by being so low-maintenance, simply asking for a "burger with everything" can be very confusing to the In-N-Out employee taking your order. We know this because we learned it first hand from an In-N-Out worker on Reddit. The Redditor explains, "A regular hamburger comes with Spread, Lettuce, and Tomato only by default, which is why we always ask if you would like onions. You can also add other items to your burger as well. If you ask for 'A burger with everything,' that might confuse your order taker since we can't know for sure if you are including onions, pickles, chiles, etc."

Just know that if you're ordering a hamburger or cheeseburger, you'll be asked about the onions but then everything else beyond lettuce, tomatoes, and spread, is up to you to clarify. Also, there's a lot that falls under the umbrella of "everything" at In-N-Out, so do your homework and study the menu online before it's your turn to fire off your order for the burger of your dreams. That's why we have the Internet!

Requesting any burger larger than a 4x4

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was no limit to how many slices of cheese and how many burger patties you could order for what was technically considered one sandwich (burger) at In-N-Out. In fact, in 2004, the blogger behind @whatupwilly! even attempted a 100x100 (100 patties; 100 slices of cheese) at an In-N-Out near Las Vegas. Nowadays, In-N-Out limits customers to up to four patties and four slices of cheese, otherwise known as a 4x4 on the not-so-secret menu. A Reddit user discussing their employment at In-N-Out in an AMA said, "​​We aren't allowed to make anything larger than 4x4's anymore. 4x4's are already ridiculously hard to wrap and anything larger would just look like a total mess."

The one exception seems to be competitive eating. According to FoodBeast, at least one In-N-Out location was willing to prepare a 100x100 for competitive eating contender Molly Schuyler, but the average Joe or Jane cannot expect the royal treatment on a regular Saturday at In-N-Out (the lines both inside and at the drive-thru are no doubt way too long for the employees to entertain such nonsense).

Skipping a meal designed for your dog

While there are a ton of fun facts about In-N-Out Burger out there to absorb, perhaps the most exciting is that the restaurant is dog-friendly with its food options. To this end, it's important to never forget when ordering yourself a Double-Double at In-N-Out that there is also a menu item your beloved four-legged canine might love, too.

Visit any In-N-Out and ask for the "Pup Patty," (you could probably even say "dog patty" or "that special burger y'all do for dogs") and land yourself a "salt-less burger" intended for dogs (via KGW8 NBC News). The pup patty is just a plain, broiled, unsalted patty that doesn't include any ingredients that could be potentially toxic, like onions or garlic, to dogs, according to Delish. If you're going to enjoy the deliciousness that In-N-Out offers, why deprive your precious pup? Everyone deserves a little In-N-Out at some point in their life.

Not attempting to order the burger "Monkey Style"

Even the never-been-to-In-N-Out folks have likely heard of ordering a burger or fries there Animal Style, so that's no secret. However, a burger mistake made by In-N-Out enthusiasts and amateurs alike is not giving themselves the gift of experiencing the glory of a Monkey Style burger.

What exactly is a Monkey Style burger at In-N-Out? According to Foodbeast, it's any In-N-Out burger topped with Animal Style fries. We know, it's hard to wrap your head around, but apparently, it's a thing, and likely a very delicious thing. To clarify, Animal Style fries are slightly different from Animal Style burgers. The Animal Style fries are In-N-Out french fries topped with the chain's famous spread, cheese, and grilled onions. 

While Foodbeast notes that not all In-N-Out employees are willing to indulge in the Monkey Style concoction (it's obviously quite messy), it's definitely a mistake to never even try ordering this secret stuffed burger. This is especially true if you're one of those people who likes their chips squished between two pieces of bread in a sandwich — this burger is definitely for y'all. Worst case scenario, you may need to order a burger and Animal Style fries and build it yourself.

Assuming you can only get a mustard-grilled patty if it's Animal Style

While you've probably heard of ordering a burger at In-N-Out Animal Style, you might not understand exactly what that entails, even though you know it sounds really cool. Basically, according to the In-N-Out website, it's just a "burger of your choice with hand-leafed lettuce, tomato, a mustard-grilled patty; add pickle, extra spread, with grilled onions." The key part of that description is the mustard-grilled patty, which is what truly makes the Animal Style burger stand out. You could get those extra add-ons by themselves without a mustard-grilled patty and it wouldn't count as an Animal Style burger. 

You should also be aware that you can get the mustard-grilled patty without having to go full Animal Style, because In-N-Out burgers are nothing if not highly customizable. Per the experts at Foodbeast, you can order any burger and request a mustard-grilled patty just to get that extra mustardy tanginess you might want in the meat. In our eyes, it's a mistake to not try a mustard-grilled burger at least once in your life, and you don't have to muscle through something you might hate (like Thousand Island-based Spread), in order to experience it.

Calling the spread 'special sauce' or 'sauce'

In case you are unfamiliar with common In-N-Out vernacular, the restaurant uses the term "spread" when referring to its famous, long-running, burger-topping secret sauce. The spread is believed to contain ketchup, mayonnaise, and sweet pickle relish, a combo that strongly resembles Thousand Island dressing. Love it or hate, just don't refer to it as "special sauce," "sauce," or "Thousand Island" when you're ordering your burger. It shall be known by no name other than spread, unless you want to earn the scorn of the employee taking your order.

An In-N-Out worker shared with Delishably, "You can ask for extra spread on any burger, or even just a side of spread for your burger or fries. Just never, EVER call it 'special sauce' or 'sauce;' it's an INO associate's pet peeve." It's a mistake to call the spread at In-N-Out by the wrong name, so definitely remember this when ordering your burger there next time.

Thinking the chiles are banana peppers

Did you know you can add chiles to your In-N-Out burger? If you like spice, In-N-Out has your back. Just be aware: You're not gonna be consuming your average, run-of-the-mill banana pepper. A Redditor learned this the hard way when ordering chiles to top their In-N-Out burger for the first time and shared the experience in a Reddit thread. The user said, "I assumed they would be regular banana peppers with just a touch of heat, but I popped a whole one in my mouth and my taste buds nearly exploded."

Other Redditors chimed in on the thread to confirm that yes, In-N-Out can meet your chile needs, but no, they're not gonna be mild banana peppers. One commenter claimed In-N-Out uses Cascabella peppers, which are inherently spicier than banana peppers, so just keep this in mind when you order a burger with chiles at In-N-Out. If you make the mistake of assuming it's banana pepper, your tastebuds might undergo quite the jolt from that first bite.

Not customizing your onions

If there's one thing In-N-Out Burger is sensitive to, it's people's onion preferences. As we discussed above, most cashiers will specifically ask if you want onions when you just order a basic hamburger or cheeseburger. You can even take it a step further than just yes or no to onions. There are multiple ways to order said onions. Although the default is to steam whole onion slices on top of the burger patty, you can also request raw onions, raw chopped onions, or grilled onions (via The Daily Meal). According to Hack The Menu, you can even ask for a whole onion grilled, or a combination of raw and cooked onions. 

One Redditor insists that a Double-Double with grilled onions is "literally the best tasting burger," and others agreed, chiming in on the thread that "Whole grilled onion is a game changer" and recommending that you "try BOTH kinds of grilled onions on a burger." The bottom line is that it's a mistake to not customize the onions to your liking if you're ordering a burger at In-N-Out. You can even get Animal Style (which includes grilled onions) with raw onions too. The possibilities are endless.

Misunderstanding how In-N-Out labels cheeseburgers

Let's get something straight: If you order a hamburger at In-N-Out, there will be no cheese. If you want everything the standard hamburger has to offer, plus a slice of cheese, you should order the cheeseburger. While this may seem like basic Fast Food Burger Joint 101, people often get it twisted at In-N-Out, especially when ordering the more intense burgers.

Do not make the mistake of ordering a Double-Double "with cheese." The Double-Double always has cheese, because "Double-Double" means two patties and two cheese slices. As an In-N-Out worker on Reddit explains, "A 3x3 is a cheeseburger. So is a Double-Double. That's what a 3x3 means, 3 meat 3 cheese." Another In-N-Out employee Redditor says, "Also if you call a 3x3 a cheeseburger the associate will probably ring up a separate cheeseburger." 

If you want extra cheese on your Double-Double, specify that, and if you want two patties but no cheese, be sure to make that clear too. They're happy to accommodate, but if you're not careful about how you word your order, you might not receive the food you want.

Not getting the Tomato Wrap if you're eating low-carb

Quick hamburger-centric restaurants like In-N-Out Burger are a great fast food option for people shunning bread. It's super easy to chuck the bun and just focus on the meat and toppings (the specific toppings might depend on the person's particular diet and degree of low-carb devotion). By now you probably know that you can get a lettuce-wrapped burger, but you could be making a big mistake at In-n-Out if you assume that a lettuce-wrapped patty is your only option for a low-carb meal there.

If you don't want a bun, but lettuce isn't your thing, you can also order something called the "Tomato Wrap." This secret menu item consists of a burger sandwiched between four tomato slices, with zero lettuce to accompany it (via Delish). Sometimes eating a low- or no-carb diet can get monotonous and boring, so it's nice to know you've got a few low-carb burger options at In-N-Out if you know how to order right.

Not ordering the Flying Dutchman if you're eating Keto

The Keto diet is unique in that it isn't simply an "eat this, not that" low-carb diet — it involves calculating the right percentage of fats, proteins, and carbs for a person depending on their goals. In fact, there are a lot of foods you think you can eat on the Keto diet but can't. And while vegetables are certainly permissible (it's a myth that you can't eat veggies on Keto), they do account for some carbohydrates.

If you've hit your max carb count for the day, the best option at In-N-Out Burger might be a non-published menu item known as the "Flying Dutchman." If you order this item, you'll receive two slices of American cheese sandwiched between two beef patties (via Statesman Journal). If you're committed to sticking to your macros on Keto, it would be a mistake to assume your only option at In-N-Out is a lettuce-wrapped burger with tomato.