I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair | Two burgers enter. Only one burger leaves. It's the ultimate taste-test showdown between the burger behemoths: McDonald's and Burger King.

I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair

I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair

I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair

I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair

I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair

I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair
I ate similar meals at McDonald’s and Burger King to see which would do it better, and the smaller chain beat out the bigger one by a hair
  • By: businessinsider.sg
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Burger King has made it a recent habit to troll McDonald's.
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Burger King has made it a recent habit to troll McDonald’s.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider
  • McDonald’s and Burger King are the biggest rivals in fast food.
  • Burger King has been aggressively trolling the larger chain in recent years. But does it have the bite to back up its beef?
  • To find out, I went to both chains and ordered similar meals. While I was impressed by neither, Burger King won out with its better fries and more balanced burger.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Every rivalry must end with a reckoning.

McDonald’s and Burger King’s fast-food feud has been raging for ages. McDonald’s is the Big M, the chain that puts the “global” in “global corporation.” But recently, the slightly smaller global chain Burger King has decided that it’s spent enough time languishing in the shadow of the golden arches.

In the last few years, the smaller chain has ramped up its taunts at its bigger rival, releasing a “Big Mac-ish” menu Europe, releasing “Real Meals” to counter Happy Meals, and offering customers a one-cent Whopper if they went within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location and instead ate at Burger King.

But you know what they say about barking dogs. Does the snarkier burger chain have the bite to back up its beef?

I set out to find out.


I went to a Burger King in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Inside was a cozy, modern space with large windows and red vinyl seating.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

This was a newer location, so it came with self-ordering kiosks. Other chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s also have these at their newer locations.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But I just ordered the old-fashioned way: at the counter.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I ordered a Whopper with cheese and made it a meal ($9.69 before tax).

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Pricing is accurate to the Manhattan locations I went to.


Burger King’s fries are, in my opinion, severely underrated.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

They’re thicker than McDonald’s fries but just as crispy outside, and they have a lovely soft interior.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

These weren’t the best Burger King fries I’d had. The texture inside was oddly sticky.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But in general, I’d take a Burger King fry over a McDonald’s fry any day.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Unlike the Big Mac, the Whopper doesn’t come with cheese unless you add it. So, I added it.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The Whopper is a whale of a burger. It’s both wider and heavier than the Big Mac.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s also more of a classic burger, with the standard stack of lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on a patty.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There’s also no extra bun in the middle — a big bonus in my book.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s a dense, crunchy, well-textured bite.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The sour, crunchy pickle slices and crisp raw onion make all the difference.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s flavorful and it’s solid — maybe a little too solid.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The thick patty tastes distinctly of charcoal and smoke, and it’s not nuked to oblivion. It’s okay.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But really, it’s the veggies that balance out the beef and make the burger appetizing.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Still, at a certain point, the heaviness of the Whopper began to weigh on my stomach.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I went for a couple more fries before packing up my leftovers.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Even though I was stuffed, my bag was still full and heavy. One Whopper meal could easily feed two.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I went to a McDonald’s located across the street from Business Insider’s New York office.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was a larger, older location than the Burger King I’d gone to.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

While newer McDonald’s have ordering kiosks, this one’s technology was a little more old-fashioned.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Every McDonald’s looks slightly different. This one looked like the inside of a spaceship.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I grabbed my food and found a table upstairs.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I got a medium Big Mac meal ($9.79 before tax).

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

McDonald’s fries are THE fries for many people, but not for me.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

If you need to use a “trick” like ordering unsalted fries to get good fries, the fries weren’t that good to begin with.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

McDonald’s fries are salty and crispy, but they’re thin and lacking flavor or substance.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The salt and the crisp — that’s all they have. None of that lovely inner gooeyness you get from a thicker potato.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

McD’s fries ultimately just taste like cardboard.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There’s a brief moment of satisfaction the moment they hit your tongue, but that dissipates as quickly as the fries lose heat — which is quickly.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I found the pleasures of the Big Mac to be equally hollow and fleeting.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Why, oh why, does this burger have a third bun in the middle? Buns don’t add flavor, just structure.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The Big Mac is exceedingly beige, beefy, and bready, and its ingredients separately are all unremarkable.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The only thing that makes the Big Mac taste like anything is the signature Big Mac sauce, a slightly sour, creamy take on Thousand Island dressing.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But compared to the Whopper, eating a Big Mac is like eating a big cloud of nothing.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There’s no veggie crunch, no pungent onion, no leafy lettuce. The beef is also very mild. But the sauce is distinct.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

So which burger behemoth bested the other in this bite-off?

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

If I was stuck on a desert island that only had a Burger King and a McDonald’s and nothing else, not even coconuts, I’d choose Burger King — but just barely — for its better fries and more balanced burger.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But honestly, my body felt like total crap after both meals. All I wanted to do afterward was dive into a pile of salad. Given the choice, I’d choose neither chain.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider
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