Australia’s Best Fast Food Burgers, Ranked By Deliciousness

Australia’s Best Fast Food Burgers, Ranked By Deliciousness
Snacktaku puts Australian burgers through their paces.

I consider myself something of a burger connoisseur, despite having no formal burger qualifications or any authority on the subject. But many people speak on things that don’t concern them, so I figure I’m well within my rights to pass judgement on the succulent buns of the Australian fast food industry.

From the cardboardy pleasures of a McDonald’s Big Mac to the slight-less-greasy-but-just-as-bad-for-you whoppers of Hungry Jack’s, let’s dive in with all the best burgers from Australia’s most iconic fast food restaurants and burger bars.

While I won’t be covering every burger joint around, there are some crowd favourites in the definitive Kotaku Australia burger list. Maybe your favourite made the cut.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

10. McDonald’s

best burgers australia
Image: McDonald’s

Look, we all love McDonald’s but it’s not a place you choose to go. You end up at Maccas when there’s nothing else around. Sometimes, it’s at 2:00am and you’re not sure how you got there. Other times, your feet lead you into the store before you realise what they’re doing.

Maccas burgers aren’t great. It’s why they rank at the bottom of the pile.

There’s some standouts, like the Triple Cheeseburger and the Bacon & Egg McMuffin (which still counts as a burger) but for the most part, you’re dealing with a slapped-together patty with little substance. It’s fine, but only if you’ve only got nothing better.

9. Red Rooster

red rooster
Image: Red Rooster

Much like Maccas, Red Rooster isn’t a choice. You end up there on a road trip or you stumble across it in a fever dream. Thankfully, it’s got a leg up on McDonald’s and a more interesting range (as long as you really like chicken). While there’s no classic beefs here, Red Rooster is often more adventurous than other fast food chains. Their spicy hellfire chicken burgers are great, and the Double BBQ Bacon Burger is another key standout.

Red Rooster’s burger offerings only rank so low on the list because you’ll have trouble locating your nearest store. Red Rooster tends to be more of an elusive chain, so you’ll have trouble nabbing any of these bad boys on-the-go. Still, it’s a decent feed if you stumble across one, and the burgers are slightly more edible than Maccas.

8. Oporto

oportos burgers
Image: Oporto’s

Like Red Rooster, Oporto focuses on chicken burgers. If you’re into chicken, they’re great. But if you grab a bite you’ll have to contend with one of the major issues holding the chain back: all their burgers have the same flavour profile. Some have bacon, others have more patties, and there’s a burger with grilled halloumi on board. There’s even some veggo options. But the range at Oporto really is depressingly slim.

Oporto burgers are good (and the Bondi Burger is iconic) but its lack of variety holds the menu back from being truly great.

7. KFC

kfc
Image: KFC

Every time I go to KFC, I end up with stomach cramps brought on by the grease. They’re worthy punishment for an excellent, unhealthy meal.

The Zinger Stacker Burger is a fast food legend, and the rest of KFC’s menu is just as mouth-watering. The entire range toes the line between quick-and-cheap fast food and genuine good value for money, particularly if you opt for a combo meal.

I like to think KFC is slightly healthier than other franchises because their tomatoes feel less gritty and their lettuce is always fresh, but if my gut’s anything to go by it’s probably the exact opposite. Still, it’s hard to go past their spicy chicken range.

6. Grill’d

grill'd
Image: Grill’d

If you’re looking for burgers with minimal guilt, Grill’d is the place to be. It’s one of Australia’s sole healthy burger joints, and has a menu as long as your arm. Whether you’re looking for a hearty beef, chicken, pork or vegetarian meal, Grill’d has you covered. Their burgers don’t look nearly as exciting as your typical oozing, cheese-stuffed Instagram-worthy buns, but they’re mighty tasty and deserve a spot on your fast food plans.

The Bird & Brie, a burger with chicken, brie, cranberry sauce and herbed mayo, comes highly recommended. It’s also a much healthier option than anything else on this list.

5. Hungry Jack’s

hungry jack's
Image: Hungry Jack’s

Hungry Jack’s, formed from the ashes of America’s Burger King, rocks the slogan ‘the burgers are better’. While it doesn’t quite top this comprehensive list, the burgers are pretty good.

The company’s Grill Masters range is what really rockets it up the rankings here, though. These whoppers are filled with pure, prime beef and layered with enough saucy goodness you’ll need to take a breather between bites. Whatever bun Hungry Jack’s uses are also fabulous. They strike the perfect balance between fluffiness and much-needed structural integrity.

Hungry Jack’s also has burgers called the Big Jack and the Mega Jack, so we’ve gotta give them points there.

4. Nando’s

burger
Image: Nando’s

I must confess I discovered Nando’s late in the piece. There’s only so many chicken-themed restaurants you can visit in a lifetime, but Nando’s burgers should definitely be on your list. Like Red Rooster, it suffers from the one-item menu syndrome. Their chicken burgers only vary by a handful of ingredients. But the issue pales if you do it well. 

Nando’s peri peri chicken is to die for, and putting it in a burger with lettuce and tomato is a god-tier combination. If you’re in the mood for something more salty, the Haloumi Burger is also great. Good things sometimes come in small packages, and the Nando’s menu is proof.

3. Ribs & Burgers

ribs and burgers
Image: Ribs & Burgers

Ribs & Burgers is my go-to burger place. They’re always reliable, and their menu has such a quality variety you can pick something new every time. The ever-reliable option is the Old School Cheese but if you’re in the mood for a heart attack, the stacked Wagyu Big Cheese & Bacon is fan-bloody-tastic. Another crowd favourite is the Southern Chicken, which features a great chipotle sauce and crisp, delicious chicken. (You will have to discard a mountain of pickles, though.)

While I haven’t sampled it myself, I’ve heard the veggo menu is also quite good. Ribs & Burgers is one of the few fast food joints to use Beyond Meat, and there’s an excellent-looking mushroom burger I may just try for my next meal.

2. Royal Stacks (VIC)

best burgers australia
Image: Visit Victoria

Royal Stacks is a bit of an underdog on this list because the store hasn’t yet made it out of Victoria. It’s a damn shame because these burgers are simply excellent. If you’re ever in town for PAX Australia, they’re the perfect eat on a night out, and you should absolutely make the effort (there’s a store in Collins St). They’re totally greasy and bad for your health, but the genius behind the burgers can’t go unsung. While there’s your traditional flavours like your beef and chicken classics, Royal Stacks offers a little something extra.

The Bacon Bacon is a burger stuffed with more bacon and meat than your body can process, but the other real winner here is the Miss Elizabeth. Beyond being named after an icon of wrestling, this burger is a bougie feast and features a simple patty, swiss cheese and excellent truffle mayo. It’s a toss up between the two as to which one’s better, but both deserve a look-in if you can manage.

1. Milky Lane (NSW, QLD, ACT)

milky lane best burgers australia
Image: Milky Lane

Milky Lane is a quickly-growing burger chain inspired by youth culture. They’ve got burgers named after Kanye and Kevin Bacon, and they come loaded with stacks of melting, cheesy goodness. The big daddy of them all is the Fried Chicken Weezy, a stacked Southern Fried Chicken bun with double cheese, aioli, American mustard, gravy and tomato sauce.

If you’ve never tried it before, make it your next fast food stop. You’ll absolutely clog your arteries with the sheer thickness of Milky Lane’s burgers, but it’s got one of the best, most delicious burger selections in Australia.

If you need an appetiser to wash it down, the menu also offers popcorn chicken, loaded mash potato balls and bacon mac and cheese croquettes. Yum!


Did I miss out on your favourite burger joint? Disagree with the rankings, or have a favourite to spruik? Pop on down to the comments below and share your favourite burgers with your fellow Aussie food critics.

If you’re looking for recommendations from your fellow Kotaku Australia readers, head here for the Reader Edition of this article.

Comments

  • I question Hungry Jacks being above Grill’d – I simply can’t get into their grill master range as all of them are just beef, bacon, and too much mayo, and half of them have onions rings.

    A good burger thrives off the salad imo (yes, even the heart attack that is the Zinger Stacker relies on its lettuce to cut thru the grease and provide some welcome texture). The Grill masters just have nothing except pickles in the vegetable stacks (and at the beef, bacon, sauce and cheese point, it doesn’t need anymore saltiness). Make a Aussie burger in the Grill Master range and I’d be interested thats for sure.

    Menuhacking at Oporto can get you a way, Halloumi & Chicken with an extra piece of chicken and the Mayo replaced with Chilli sauce is pretty dang good for example.

    And if anyone is ever in Canberra, we are sort of excellent for food (and especially brugers) we have Milky Lane, but have some great Canberra alternatives such as Grease Monkey, Mooki & Brodburger (just go and try and finish a Brod deluxe without falling into a food coma, lol)

    • I love Hungry Jack’s but I did go there often as a kid as well, so it might be personal bias. I love a good grilled burger. Those suggestions are great though, thank you!

    • Yes, Grill’d ranking lower than Hungrys and Oporto is lunacy. Sorry Leah, I know opinions are subjective, but your opinion is objectively wrong (in my subjectively objective opinion haha).

      There was a joint called Burger Theory in Adelaide than was the #1 best for many years, but then they kinda fumbled the ball when they changed literally everything about their store, from the burgers right through to their branding. I could get behind the new sustainable kangaroo patties, they were fine, but I just couldn’t understand their devotion to the potato flour buns (that they very unsustainably had to fly over from the US). They were thin, tasteless and soggy. That was a sad day for the burger scene. They closed down all their stores except for maybe one down South, but I don’t care enough to go find it if it even still exists. How the mighty fall.

    • +1 for Brod and Grease Monkey. Haven’t tried Mookie.

      Not a burger place specifically as they have a few other fusion like dishes, but I do have a soft spot for the fried chicken burger, in a bao instead of a bun, from Baby-Su in the city too.

  • Shout out to Burger Hounds in Waroonga, NSW. Some of the best gourmet burgers you’ll ever have, I swear.

  • Man, the Oportos of old, when it first hit Australia, was amazing. They used to have the juiciest chicken burgers. Their triple bondi just couldn’t be beaten. Now though? Dry, flavorless frozen, smashed down chicken strips that just feel like they shouldn’t belong on a burger… what happened Oporto’s 🙁

      • Yep it sure was. Every time we’d go into the Myer Center in Brisbane City in my early 20s, it was tradition for us to grab a triple Bondi, it was a task to actually finish it. I remember we’d actually struggle, it was that packed with chicken. Now? We smash one down and still feel like more… and I’m a fit, lean guy who doesn’t gorge himself these days unlike back then :\

    • Oportos re-branded themselves to be more like Nandos, which is ridiculous because they’re just as expensive, but so, so much worse.

  • Grill’d is definately NOT healthy.
    Their regular beef burgers are 2400-3000kj with the same fat content as McDonalds burgers.

    They do taste better tho.

  • Nice list but KFC is number one for me. Absolutely love smashing zinger burgers and tower burgers (has a hash brown and special sauce in it).

  • My favourite is Fancy Burgers (Crispy Bacon & Cheese, especially). Also a fan of Burger Foundry. Both have a couple of stores in Adelaide, but I’m not sure if they’re elsewhere too.

  • Milky Lane must really vary store to store, the one in Cronulla is unfortunately quite bad (and seems to be almost always empty so it’s must be more than just a few bad personal experiences) I’ll try another one day but it was disappointing.

    I always wonder how healthy the grill’d burgers are (would be interesting to see a comparison for similar sized Maccas or HJ burgers), they have the lower carb buns but their sides have so much salt on them that I fear my arteries are going to harden almost instantly on consumption.

    Tried Red Rooster the other day (strangely it was one of very few options) after a very long break from it (their roast chicken almost quite literally killed me) and was surprised that both their chips and roll taste exactly the same after so many years.

    I relegated KFC to a very occasional only on Sunday if hungover food because it’s one of the few fast food places that make me feel terrible after eating it

    Personal favourite is probably Bar Luca (or BL Burger) their take in the Big Mac is excellent and try to go there every couple of months, being close to work is also a plus.

    • I think that’s true of all places (varying from store to store).
      The one in Canberra is really good. I’ve had some exceptional KFC and Eagle Boys in my time.
      A store really is only as good as the employees they employ.

      • Oh definitely, I’d heard good things seems I just went to the wrong one. Great examples, the Eagle Boys was much better than Dominoes and the Hut where I was from and the KFC was always top notch (probably helped that the chicken was extremely fresh, only came from about 5-6km’s away), moved to the city and the KFC never seems to compare.

    • One of the few things I miss about working in the city is Bar Luca burgers.
      Damn they are so good.
      Also, yeah grill’d burgers aren’t necessarily any “healthier” than others. And their low carb bun actually has a lot of fat in it. So depending on what your macros are you may actually be better off with a regular or gluten free bun. Because you are likely going to be wanting less fat than carbs.
      Having said that I will always choose them over a maccas or HJ etc since their is a wide range of options and they taste so good. Not to mention you can get booze.

    • KFC fries used to be good but I find them a soggy salty mess these days.
      I prefer something like the sweet potato fries from Grill’d.
      The best though are always fries from the local Fish and Chips place.

      • I haven’t really had that problem. I don’t get them super often, but the one I go to seems to avoid sogginess. The sweet potato fries at Grill’d are great though, agreed.

  • Any product that gave me explosive diahorea like the ones from KFC did rule them out as an option completely for me. I haven’t eaten KFC for close to 20 years.

    Red Rooster is a decent option for me because there’s actually three of them within driving distance from me, but I tend to steer away from their burgers and prefer their subs or wraps (or roast meals if I want something healthier). Similar story with Oporto.

    Hungry Jack’s burgers are delicious, especially their bacon deluxe, but I also know they’re really bad for me. Used to eat them pretty regularly but now it’s reasonably rare.

    Grill’d and Nandos are both really good, and Grill’d even has alcoholic beverage options if you choose to dine in, but they both suffer from the same problem: price. Not only are the burgers themselves expensive, but unlike many other chains, they don’t offer combo meal deals, making you buy the burger, (expensive) chips and (usually overpriced) drink all separately. Depending on your selections you could be paying $20-$25 for a single meal so while the food is great, they are both very rare treats for me for that reason.

    I haven’t eaten at Ribs & Burgers due to not having one anywhere near me, but a look at their menu reveals they are even more expensive than Grill’d and Nandos.

    • Grill’d being more expensive so you eat it less often isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. Especially for your health. 🙂

  • I do not mind the McDonald’s Classic Angus but the vast majority of their menu is Bad. I’m trying to wean myself off KFC, because there’s enough actually good fried chicken around that I deserve better than KFC’s thin toffee coatings and cardboard chips. I find Ribs & Burgers a bit expensive for what you get – I always end up leaving with a vague sense of disappointment.
    Weirdly, I actually kind of like Hungry Jack’s? Grill’d is pretty good – like Ribs and Burgers, I think a lot of their menu doesn’t *quite* work for me but I do like me a Summer Sunset. Nando’s is also very tasty. Burger Project is pretty good, even with the dreaded brioche buns.
    (My absolute favourite place for a burger was the dear, departed Pub Life Kitchen; at least they went out on a high.)

      • I stand by that – the only thing that makes KFC chips edible is the seasoning. I had one unfortunate trip to KFC where they hadn’t seasoned their chips all day, and those chips were genuinely like eating cardboard.

  • Hot Take.
    Hungry Jacks burgers are trash. They dont cook their buns, they oversauce their burgers something fierce. They are dead last.

  • Ogalo (Marrickville in NSW in particular is great) has stolen Oporto’s Portuguese chicken crown and at a much cheaper price than Nando’s. But the best hamburgers I’ve had in years are from Big Daddy’s Burgers. The one at Redfern is quick, reasonably priced, good service and damn tasty.

    • I was going to say, 8 Bit burgers are fairly well known for being good. So weird that they started in Footscray.

  • I’m going to nominate my local cornerstone fast food burger place, that’s been run by the same lovely couple for the last 30 odd years, as number one. It is the only place where I haven’t had food poisoning, where all of the major ones listed have hit me at least once over the years. You can load in as much salad/meat/sides as you like and do so confident that you won’t spend the next day sprinting for the loo. They’re cheaper than the chains and everything tastes better.

  • The biggest problem with hungry jacks is just how different the experience is between stores. when you find a good store it is pretty top tier, but then other stores are literally bottom of the barrel. mcdonalds i find to be much more consistent at least so i generally rank it higher. but at the right hungry jacks store, nothing beats a bacon deluxe or ultimate double whopper.
    ive tried a few of these supposedly fancy burger places like bar luca, bettys, brod. wouldnt call any of them bad but i wouldnt choose them over a mcdonalds big mac or triple cheese burger.
    best burger ive ever had would have to be from 4 burgers sake in revesby. the classic aussie beef burger with the lot is perfect, and is more in the style of your local takeaway burger than the mass produced chain store stuff.

  • number 1 should just be “Your local burger joint” because everyone has a place local to them they think has the best burgers and you cant convince them otherwise.

    • I don’t. =P but that’s because there are so many burger places now and they’re all around the same price range, so it’s impossible to get through them all. Plus, a lot of my locals have started using Matcha buns, which i can’t have due to allergies. =(

  • Never gonna eat at Hungry Jacks ever again after they tried to force my local burger joint to change their name from “Wambie Whoppers” (WW) to something else – during the course of the legal proceedings, support for WW was so extensive they sold out of all products by 11am every morning, while at the same time the local Hungry Jacks had just 22 customers in the 2 week period. Hungry Jacks eventually gave it up and left them alone.

  • Grill’d can fuck right off. Their prices are ridiculous. They taste terrible, the price is high, the staff are rude and condescending. Wtf makes someone want to go there? Your local takeaways probably make better burgers than anything on this list. That being said, if not your local maccas, HJs, KFC will do the trick. Ffs its a burger, not exactly fine dining.

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