From Jelly Donut Burgers To Fish Stick Pizza: The Year In Stunt Foods

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From Jelly Donut Burgers To Fish Stick Pizza: The Year In Stunt Foods

Who wants a plain ol’ burger when you can have a burger burrito? Or cheese sticks when you can have Cheetos-dusted sticks fulfilled with macaroni? In 2016, you could have these interesting mashups and so much more, as fast food restaurants and snack companies continuously tried to one-up each other. 

From Burger King to Oreos, the stunt foods making appearances on menus and shelves in the last 12 months were plentiful. Whether or not these franken-foods stick around into 2017 is another thing, however.

So, without further ado, here are some of the craziest, most interesting sounding, apparently edible food stunts of the last year.

Everyone Wants Chips

Chips: They’re a great snack. And in 2016, they became a go-to ingredient for food companies to incorporate into their menu staples or new items.

Mac n’ Cheetos: Back in June, Burger King shocked the world when it combined cheese sticks, macaroni and cheese, and Cheetos into one portable, apparently congealed, snack. While the concoction certainly caught consumers’ eyes, they received underwhelming reviews. Still, four months later, the items expanded to Sheetz convenience stores.

Cheetos Chicken Fries: Burger King just couldn’t say no to Cheetos in 2016. Four months after debuting Mac ’n Cheetos, the company offered up Cheetos Chicken Fries. That’s right, long chicken nuggets with a Cheetos crust.

Doritos Burger: Taco Bell had a hit with its Doritos Locos Tacos, so why couldn’t Burger King do the same with its burgers? In September, the company debuted a Doritos-covered burger in Spain.

Cheetos Crunchwrap Sliders: Cheetos seemed to be the new Doritos at Taco Bell this year, as the company began a test of a limited-time cheesy, chip-y creation — a Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider — in Canada.

Cheetos Burrito: Just months after Taco Bell debuted a Cheetos Crunchwrap slider in Canada, the company said it would test a similar concoction, a Cheetos Burrito stuffed with Cheetos, buttery white rice, seasoned beef, and nacho cheese at an undisclosed location in the U.S.

Weird Burgers

Burgers come in all shapes, sizes, forms of meat, and with an array of toppings that could give anyone anxiety. But this year, several fast food chains and grocery stores took their turn customizing burgers, sometimes in weird ways.

Doughnut Burger: While you would have to travel to Israel for Burger King’s latest burger creation, it might be worth the trip if you like a meaty doughnut. The “SufganiKing” burger, made special for Hanukkah, is a normal Whopper burger but with doughnuts for buns, and a ketchup filling instead of jam.

Whopperito: Burritos are delicious, Whoppers are delicious (to some), so why not combine them? That’s the idea behind Burger King’s Whopperito that went national this summer. As one might expect, the Whopper-burrito hybrid is just the contents of the burger — flame-grilled beef, American cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, pickles, and white onions — shoved into a tortilla.

The Bleeding Beet Burger: Is a burger a burger if it doesn’t contain meat? What if it bleeds? Whole Foods in Boulder debuted the Beyond Burger in May. The meal is made of peas and contains pulverized beet juice to give it the look, smell and feel of the real deal.

Nutella Burger: Why not combine dessert with your main meal? The Verge reports that McDonald’s restaurants in Italy did just that in November, debuting the Nutella Burger: a hamburger topped with the iconic hazelnut spread.

The Angriest Whopper: Because its black buns went over so well last year, Burger King chose to introduce a red, hot sauce-flavored bun for its uber-spicy The Angriest Whopper that comes topped with onions, bacon, jalapenos, and something called angry sauce, MassLive reports.

Brats, Hot Dogs, & Beer

Hot dogs are just a part of life for some people, especially during the summer. This year, restaurants and sporting venues took their customers’ love for hot dogs, brats, and beer to another level.

Burger King Hot Dogs: With a name like Burger King, you’d think hot dogs would be the last thing on the menu. But the fast food chain made “Grilled Dogs” — a classic and chili cheese — permanent menu staples.

Cracker Jack & Mac Dog: Going to a baseball game isn’t complete without a hot dog, right? A year after the Wilmington Blue Rocks of Delaware introduced the Krispy Kreme Donut Dog, PNC Park in Pittsburg debuted a dog topped with Cracker Jacks and macaroni, combining all of baseball fans’ stadium loves, the Post-Gazette reports.

Brat & Beer Chips: Lay’s is always asking customer to try out some weirdly flavored chips. This year, the company debuted Beer & Brat potato chips, the Cap Times reports, noting that the snack was only available in certain markets.

Fries, Rings, & More

The best side dish for a fast food meal is french fries, of course. This year, many chains took their love and transformed them into a different, tasty option.

All The Fries: While not a new menu item, McDonald’s made headlines earlier this year when its store “Of The Future” in Missouri said it would offer all-you-can-eat french fries. A second McDonald’s followed suit later in the year.

Garlicky Fries: Ketchup, mayo, ranch, there’s no shortage of condiments and spices that people put on their fries. This year, McDonald’s began testing Gilroy Garlic Fries, even selling out.

Tacos & Fries: Taco Bell waded into the U.S. french fries world this month announcing tests of loaded fries at one location in Irvine, CA.

Chicken Rings: While it’s not actually a fry or a ring, Burger King used those staples as the basis for turning its popular Chicken Fries into Chicken Rings this year.

Dessert Drinks

There are innumerable ways of getting your coffee fix: cold brew, drip coffee, and fancy drinks. This year, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts tried their hand at weird, too-sweet drinks.

Fruitcake No-No: Just in time for the holiday season, Starbucks thrust upon the world a Fruitcake Frappuccino. Thankfully, the sugary drink — filled with dried raisins, currants, and cranberries — was only available for four days.

Almond Joy & Heath Coffee: If you want to sweeten up you morning cup of java, you can add a bit of flavored syrup or some sugar. At Dunkin’ Donuts you could have just ordered an Almond Joy or Heath candy-flavored coffees.

Cheerwine Kreme: Cheerwine and Krispy Kreme partnered again this year to introduce a super-sweet cheerwine-doughnut drink sold only in certain North Carolina, South Carolina, and Savannah, GA stores.

Coffee Beer: In October, Starbucks combined its adult-boozy evening move with its bread and butter: coffee. The Espresso Cloud IPA  is created when a chilled shot of orange and vanilla-flavored espresso is dropped into a glass of IPA. As if a shot of espresso in your beer wasn’t enough coffee flavor, the glass is topped with coffee froth.

Crimes Against Pizza (And Tacos)

Some food combinations just don’t belong together (speaking of which, have you taken our Divisive Food survey yet?). But companies just can’t stop slapping the most random things together and selling them to customers.

Beer-Infused Pizza: Pizza Hut in London combined your dinner and drinks back in May, creating beer-infused pizza. The one-day trial involved adding craft beer to the pizza’s dough, the Huffington Post reports.

Garlic Knot Pizza: Pizza Hut was back to its usual tricks in January when it announced a new pull-apart crust for its pies, this time with garlic knots.

Grilled Cheese Pizza: You like cheese, you like carbs, so Pizza Hut figured you’d like a grilled cheese-crusted pizza in September, Eater reports.

Breaded Fish Stick Pizza: To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Pizza Hut China debuted a pie with breaded fish sticks on top of it.

KFC’s Chicken Tacos: The fast food chicken joint’s South Korea locations began experimenting with tacos containing fried strips of chicken this year.

Oreos, Pop-Tarts & Other Weirdly Sweet Treats

Image courtesy of The Impulsive Buy

Deep Fried Twinkies: A staple of state fairs around the country, you no longer have to wait until the summer for a deep-fried dessert from Hostess. The company began selling “deep fried Twinkies” in Walmart’s freezer aisle in August.

(Related: 9 Outrageous Menu Items You’ll Only Find At A State Fair)

Cinnamon Bun Oreos: Cinnamon bun flavored Oreos, first announced last year, were spotted in the wild in January.

Cupcake-Filled Oreos: In February, Oreo parent company Mondelez opened the door of the “Oreo Wonder Vault” for Filled Cupcake Oreos. The cookies are pretty much regular chocolate-filled Oreos with a dollop of vanilla-flavored creme in the middle.

Strawberry Shortcake Oreos: The company debuted another limited-time cookie in April, strawberry shortcake.

Beverage-Flavored Pop-Tarts: Pop-Tarts introduced seasonal novelty flavors of Orange Crush and A&W Root Beer pastries this spring.

Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry: Oreos, M&M’s, and other sweets aren’t enough for McFlurry lovers in Canada and Australia, where McDonald’s sold a Cadbury Creme Egg version of the dessert.

Reese’s Inside Reese’s: There’s never enough chocolate and peanut butter. In May, Reese introduced Peanut Butter Cups stuffed not only with peanut butter but Reese’s Pieces.

Blueberry & Fruity Pebbles: In May, Oreo introduced a duo of limited-time cookies with Blueberry Pie and non-branded Fruity Pebble snacks.

Choo Chip Cookie Cookies: Oreo combined all sorts of cookie goodness in July with its Choco Chip Cookie Oreos.

Easter Sundae M&M’s: Ice cream and Easter don’t exactly sound like a typical combo, but M&M’s apparently thought so. The candies have chocolate just inside the shell, and inside that is what the bag describes as “white.” Not white chocolate: just white.

Swedish Fish: Oreos are cookies, Swedish Fish are gummy candies. Swedish Fish-flavored Oreos are gross, so says PopSugar, which reviewed the limited time cookie sold at Kroger in September.