For many West Coasters, In-N-Out is more than just a local burger joint—it’s a full-on institution, a glorious benchmark for bun-and-patty excellence. With perpetual 20-minute lines spiraling around the parking lot and late-night hours, In-N-Out has long ago cemented its legacy.
In-N-Out’s simple, pared down 10-item menu is a winning formula. But as locals and insiders know all too well, one thing that has contributed to its cult status is the franchise’s secret-but-not-so-secret menu items.
But where do Animal Style burgers and grilled cheese land on the spectrum of greatness? To find out, we dove into the treasure trove of secret-menu items to assess their worth. Ranking some of the greatest fast-food cuisine California has to offer is a daunting task, but someone’s gotta do it.
Here are 10 items off In-N-Out’s secret menu, ranked from worst to best.
Photos by Sienna Hill
10. Veggie Burger
Selling point: Vegetarians deserve In-N-Out too.
The verdict: Salad is good. Bread is delicious. But together, these two do not work. In-N-Out’s veggie “burger” is essentially just every vegetable the restaurant has on hand, stuffed into a bun (think something along the lines of Subway’s Veggie Delite). For vegans and lactose-free vegetarians hoping to indulge in the In-N-Out hype guilt-free, this burger is could be ideal. Unfortunately, the fresh vegetables result in a soggy burger bun, making each bite an unpleasant experience.
9. Flying Dutchman
Selling point: Pure beefy goodness.
The verdict: The Flying Dutchman is the protein-obsessed bro’s dream. With two slices of cheese stuffed in between two patties, there is no need to mess around with the unnecessary carb-filled bun (because let’s be real: you only care about the gains anyway). Yet without the buffer of fresh lettuce and tomato, the Flying Dutchman can be a salty nightmare. Why shy away from a double-double?
8. Animal Style Fries
Selling point: Fries on steroids.
The verdict: For most In-N-Out customers, Animal Style burgers and fries are far from a secret menu item. Word of mouth travels fast, and for good reason. Animal Style fries elevate the typically bland In-N-Out potato nubs by drenching them in Thousand Island dressing, cheese, and grilled onions. While no one’s complaining about saucy cheese fries, they can get soggy rather quickly.
7. Protein Style Burger
Selling point: Moms get down with it.
The verdict: It is a truth universally acknowledged that cutting your favorite foods in preparation for swimsuit season is the absolute worst. The great people over at In-N-Out understand this dilemma, which is why the Protein Burger option is a junk-food obsessive’s fantasy. Crisp iceberg lettuce is a blessing in disguise, especially during the blazing summertime heat. You can order virtually any burger Protein Style, including the double-double with cheese.
6. Roadkill Fries
Selling point: Like Animal Style fries, but better.
The verdict: If you’re the type of fanatic looking to push the boundaries on matters of taste and decency, look no further than Roadkill fries. Adding a Flying Dutchman burger on top of a bed of Animal Style fries is an extreme feat of eating, no doubt. Although select In-N-Out locations do not offer this item, you can easily make your own. Personally, I would have preferred to have my patty broken up on top of the fries, but the the flavor combo still obviously hits the mark.
5. Grilled Cheese
Selling point: Vegetarian paradise.
The verdict: As we’ve discussed, the beauty of In-N-Out should not be limited to meat-eaters. The combination of the Thousand Island spread in conjunction with the melted cheese and crisp, toasted bun appeals even to the most hardcore meatheads.
4. Monkey Style
Selling point: An In-N-Out rarity.
The verdict: The elusive Monkey Style burger has recently been making waves since FoodBeast tipped off the public in a secret-menu hacks video. After being denied the item by three different In-N-Out locations, I had to make my own by stuffing Animal Style fries into a traditional burger. Each overloaded bite allows your mind to drift to a happy place. The question then becomes: Why hasn’t In-N-Out officially added this to its secret menu yet?
3. Neapolitan Shake
Selling point: A shake for those who can’t decide on one flavor.
The verdict: One part chocolate, one part strawberry, and one part vanilla, the Neapolitan is really the only shake you should be ordering. It’s the perfect counterpoint to the salty mounds of protein you’ve mostly likely been devouring.
2. Animal Style Burger
Selling point: The blueprint for experimental burgers.
The verdict: Bow down to greatness. This iconic bun-and-patty combo features a mustard-marinated patty, grilled onions, spread, veggies, and pickles. The pickles add extra crunch that In-N-Out burgers are missing, which makes you wonder why they’re not a regular feature.
Selling point: For times when a Double-Double just doesn’t cut it.
The verdict: Coming in at number one is In-N-Out’s monstrous 4×4. In an age of extra thick patties and over-the-top accoutrements like foie gras and fried eggs, In-N-Out has long been ahead of the curve, perfecting burger maximalism that has come to define the gluttonous zeitgeist. Long live the 4×4!