In-N-Out vs Whataburger, Which is Better?

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I’m in Houston, Texas, and what is a burger fan to do but visit both In-N-Out Burger and Whataburger? At least that’s what any self-respecting burger connoisseur would do.

During our road trip, Fred, Marcela, and I were only in Houston for a few days. While Marcela and I had eaten In-N-Out Burger and Whataburger before, Fred had tried neither.

Both Whataburger and In-N-Out Burger are regional burger joints; here’s the breakdown per restaurant:

Whataburger has locations in 14 states, with Texas (its home state) at over 700 spots and Florida (my home state) at 40. So the total amount of Whataburger restaurants nationally is right around 900.

In-N-Out Burger has locations in 7 states, with California (its home state) at 156 spots and Texas (the state we were currently in) at 40. The total amount of In-N-Out Burger restaurants nationally is 279.

We hit up Whataburger right upon our arrival in Houston for lunch; In-N-Out Burger would be dinner that same night.

Whataburger – Houston

Whataburger in Houston, Texas
Whataburger in Houston, Texas

We walked up to the counter; before we knew it, it was time to order. I’m always very prepared and knew what I was eating. Unfortunately, Marcela wasn’t ready as usual, and Fred was mesmerized by the menu.

Dipping Sauces from Whataburger in Houston, Texas
Dipping Sauces
French Fries from Whataburger in Houston, Texas
French Fries

We take our seats after ordering, and Fred chooses four different sauces for his fries while Marcela & I pick a handful of the Spicy Ketchup. The shoestring fries from Whataburger are great but not on the level of the iconic McDonald’s fries which are peerless.

Fred’s first Whataburger was double meat with all the fixings; Marcela chose the abomination of an Avocado Bacon Burger, and I went with the Jalapeño & Cheese double beef. I skipped out on the lettuce and tomato, so my fella had jalapeños, onions, pickles, mustard, and one slice of American cheese.

Wrapped Jalapeño Double Cheeseburger from Whataburger in Houston, Texas
Wrapped Jalapeño Double Cheeseburger
Double Jalapeño Cheeseburger from Whataburger in Houston, Texas
Double Jalapeño Cheeseburger

Everyone finished their burgers, but some fries were left strewn on or around their containers.

Whataburger uses fresh never frozen beef for their burgers. The 5-inch burger patty and buns that inspired the Whopper never disappoint. The Jalapeño Double Cheeseburger has become my go-to whenever I’m at the orange arch.

If I could change anything, I’d probably add a second slice of cheese cause that never hurt anybody.

In-N-Out Burger – Houston

In-N-Out in Houston, Texas
In-N-Out in Houston, Texas

They were packed, so we chose the In-N-Out drive-thru route. Coincidently, the first time I ate at In-N-Out was in the car after excitedly waiting in the fast-moving drive-thru.

Drive Thru from the In-N-Out in Houston, Texas
Drive Thru

There’s something about this sign that is exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I own one!

In-N-Out Hamburger Drive-thru sign from my Burger Museum collection
In-N-Out Hamburger Drive-thru sign from my Burger Museum collection

Marcela claimed she was sitting this one out, which spelled doomsday for little ol’ me. We all know I might as well accept that I’ll be enjoying half a burger and half an order of fries.

Our full order from the In-N-Out in Houston, Texas
Our full order

I’m no Nostradamus, but my prediction came to pass, so long tasty friends. She didn’t want any of my Coca-Cola, so there was a silver lining.

Large Coke from the In-N-Out in Houston, Texas
Large Coke

Both cheeseburgers and fresh-cut fries are ordered Animal-style, which means:

Animal-style Cheeseburger – Mustard-cooked burger patty with cheese, diced grilled onions, spread, pickles, lettuce, and tomato

Animal-style Fries – Fresh-cut fries covered in a melted slice of cheese, diced grilled onions, and spread

Since I don’t like to taint my burgers with filler, I skip the lettuce and tomato. Everything else on both meals was the same.

Double Double Animal Style from the In-N-Out in Houston, Texas
Double Double Animal Style

The taste of the Animal-style burger is reminiscent of a Shake Shack Double ShackBurger. I was this many years old when I realized I prefer my In-Out Burger with just cheese, grilled onions, pickles, and spread on a toasted bun.

The goopy mess that is the Animal-style fries are better without the melted cheese slice; trust me on this one. You don’t need to add cheese on everything, just on most things. This is not one of those things.

Animal Style Fries from the In-N-Out in Houston, Texas
Animal Style Fries

Learn from this BEAST’s mistake; more isn’t necessarily better.

P.S.: Fred pretty much inhaled his food; for one minute there, I thought he was gonna eat the wrapper too, 🤣.

The Verdict

Both iconic burger joints were on their game during our visits. There was nothing negative to report, just constructive criticism and personal preference.

We agreed that Whataburger was our preferred Houston fast food joint. Both Marcela and Fred enjoyed Whataburger’s burgers and fries.

I was with them on the burger, but for me, fresh-cut fries always beat the frozen variety.

What exactly does all this In-N-Out and Whataburger in Houston talk mean? You should eat from both; I know I would if I lived in Houston, Texas.

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