REVIEW: Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger and Pickle Fries

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger and Pickle Fries

I have no shame in admitting that I am what is known as a “pickle girlie.” There is always a minimum of two open jars in my fridge at any given moment, and I will always argue why we should get the fried pickle chip appetizer anytime we go out.

Pickles have popped up in many different forms over the years, although they never seemed to get the same trend saturation as sriracha or bacon. While they have been a common component in fast food sandwiches, they never seem to be the focus. But now, Sonic Drive-In is giving us our first pickle-centric burger this summer, the Big Dill Cheeseburger, as well as the new Pickle Fries.

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger Bun

The Big Dill Cheeseburger consists of a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, crinkle-cut pickle slices, crispy pickle fries, and a dilly ranch on a brioche bun. The crispy pickle fries included in the burger are also available as a stand-alone side. I got both, but let’s start with the burger as it didn’t shine as much as the Pickle Fries.

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger Top

The dill pickle smell is unmistakable and loud. My poor husband’s car smelled of them for a solid day after bringing home the items. Trying the burger first, I was fairly impressed by the higher quality brioche bun. Soft and hearty, it was a nice upgrade from the standard fast food bun. The burger patty and cheese are what I’ve come to expect from Sonic. As odd as it might sound, the meat and cheese not standing out works well for this item as it allows the pickle flavors to shine. The description said the spread was a “dilly ranch,” but I’m certain it was just mayo.

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger Split

The regular pickles you get on other items were very present and overshadowed the pickle fries the more I tasted the sandwich. The fries didn’t add much texture. I thought they would be the star, but they were just sort of there. The more I ate it, the more I thought I should just order a cheeseburger with extra pickles the next time I want to satisfy my pickle desire. With my expectations low, I took a swig of my cranberry limeade slush to cleanse my palate before trying the stand-alone pickle fries.

Sonic Pickle Fries Closeup

I was impressed with how well Sonic had nailed the fry shape in how the pickles were cut. So often, we get alternative “fries” that don’t eat like fries, especially when it comes to the dipping part. Trying one sans the ranch they gave as a dip, I was very impressed by them. The batter was like mozzarella stick breading and tempura melded together: light and crispy, but also hearty and bready. The pickle inside managed to stay firm and not get overcooked. Dipped in ranch, they held up well and were delicious. The dill flavor was strong but not overpowering, which probably explains how they got lost in the burger.

Despite being disappointed by the Big Dill Cheeseburger, the Pickle Fries are an absolute home run for me. I do think I’d prefer to try them with a different dip next time (Sonic Signature Sauce?), but they nail that hard-to-walk line between keeping the pickle’s firm texture and crispy outside coat. Both are available for a limited time, so if you’re also a self-identified pickle person, I highly recommend trying the fries as soon as possible.

Purchased Price: $5.19 (Burger), $3.29 (Fries)
Size: Medium (Fries)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Burger), 8 out of 10 (Fries)
Nutrition Facts: Burger – 780 calories, 51 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1860 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein. Fries – 420 calories, 31 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 1660 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, 1 and grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Cup

With the recent temperature increases in Florida, my slush cravings have hit hard. As if magic (or just a targeted ad), Sonic Drive-In’s new Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush was popping up on my feed. I’m already a huge Red Bull fan, so a chance to try the limited edition summer flavor in slush form seemed like an easy choice.

While Red Bull has been periodically releasing Summer Editions since 2014, it wasn’t until 2020 that Sonic started offering the limited edition flavors as part of its slush lineup.

As with most fast food companies, Sonic is very much pushing the use of its mobile ordering app. I bring this up only to note that if you order a drink through the app, they are all half price all day. I ordered a medium of the summer slush and raced it home. I had worried the 20-minute drive would cause it to lose some oomph. Luckily, the styrofoam cup kept it at the perfect temperature.

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Hello Kitty

Before transferring it into my Tervis tumbler, I took a few sips of the light pink slush. Red Bull tends to have a very sweet start and a slightly tangy finish in the flavors I’ve tried. This one was sweet all the way through. In fact, had you not told me it was part of the Red Bull brand, I would have thought it was just any other sweet-flavored slush. The strawberry and apricot (which comes across as more peach flavored) are subtle but present and blending the energy drink with the slush ice made for a pleasant sipping experience.

I reached out to Sonic about the caffeine content (I couldn’t find it anywhere on its website). I was shocked when I was told a medium has only 40 milligrams. For reference, the 8.4-ounce can has 80. It would appear it uses half a can which explains why the flavor might be more subtle than if you drank it straight. Honestly, learning that it wasn’t even an entire can in the medium (20 oz) lowered my opinion of the item. If I’m getting a Red Bull drink, I’m looking for the caffeine that comes with a Red Bull.

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Top

While a fine treat, the Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush doesn’t deliver on what I feel a Red Bull slush should. The flavor in this form doesn’t stand out as uniquely as a Red Bull, and the lack of caffeine (in relation to what is expected from Red Bull) doesn’t have me racing back to get it again. If you’re curious, make sure to use the app to order so you get half off because I wouldn’t recommend it at the regular $3.99 price.

Purchased Price: $1.99 (half off via the Sonic app)
Size: Medium (20 oz)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 65 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Broccoli Cheddar Tots

Sonic Broccoli Cheddar Tots Closeup

In the pantheon of deep-fried fast food sides, you’ve got some notable inclusions. Arby’s curly fries, for example. McDonald’s fries. Taco Bell’s…fries. Okay, so most of these are fries. But what if you don’t like your fried potato served up in an elongated rectangular fashion? Well, there’s always Sonic’s tater tots.

Long recognized as fast foods’ champion of the tatered tot, Sonic’s pillowy potato barrel is so impossible to top that I hadn’t bothered to try its version of the French fry until earlier this year. (And with sincere apologies to Sonic’s head chef, I wasn’t missing much.)

But, okay, what about those of you out there who don’t like potatoes at all, in any form? (I know this sounds crazy to most, but I actually work with a lady who hates potatoes of all sorts — mashed, smashed, fried, totted, home-styled, and even chipped. So, it’s a thing, trust me.) What are the Elena’s of the world to do when they go get a burger from Sonic? The chain’s food scientists have heard you, anti-potato people, and they present to you their newest offering, Broccoli Cheddar Tots.

According to Sonic’s website, they are “warm broccoli and melty cheddar cheese in a tot-sized, crispy coating. Served with ranch for dipping!” The important thing to note is that these are not TATER tots stuffed with broccoli and cheese; there is no tater here at all. And while that idea sounds pretty great — tots stuffed with broccoli and cheese! Or impregnated with bacon! Or infused with chili and hot dog bits! — this is, simply put, broccoli and cheese, deep fried.

And how are they?

Really great, honestly.

Sonic Broccoli Cheddar Tots Innards

The exterior coating is a little less grittily textured than Sonic’s typical tot covering. It’s more of a cheese curd coating, really, which provides a bit more (buttery?) crispiness. The inside is simple, as you might imagine — piping hot cheddar cheese and improbably fresh-tasting broccoli. The cheese is a softer, creamier cheddar than you’d find in, once again, a cheese curd, or in Sonic’s dearly departed Ched’ R’ Bites (RIP), you beautiful angel.

The broccoli itself gets lost a bit in the breading, but I mean, how healthy do you really want these to taste? In most of my pieces, the veggie’s texture was almost that of a steamed piece of broccoli; it had plenty of give, but every once in a while, an occasional slight snap. It melded harmoniously with the cheese and managed to impart plenty of broccoli deliciousness without being too aggressive about the fact that, hey, you’re eating broccoli.

Sonic Broccoli Cheddar Tots Ranch

The Broccoli Cheddar Tots come with a side of ranch for dipping. While you don’t necessarily need it to enjoy the side, being from the Midwest, I’m of the firm belief that everything is better dipped in that white, tangy goodness. Sonic’s ranch is a good one, too, with just the right amount of zest and creaminess.

While many things I’ve read about these tots try to push them as some sort of bite-sized broccoli-cheddar casserole, I think that’s a bit silly. But as a nice alternative side to fries, rings, or regular tots, these are an excellent offering. It’s too bad they will only be around until November 28th or until they run out.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Small (10 tots)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 210 calories, 13 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Banana Pudding Shake

Sonic Banana Pudding Shake Cherry

The first thing you should know before we really get into this review is that I love banana-flavored anything. Are you one of those insane people who pitch your banana Laffy Taffy or Runts? I will gladly take both off your hands. But my lust isn’t relegated to artificial banana flavoring alone, oh no. I am just as wild about bananas that come in a pie or in bread. You might say that I *checks notes* go ape for bananas.

There is, however, one blind spot in my yellow-fruit fanaticism: banana pudding. Honestly, it has less to do with my disinterest in that particular flavor and more to do with the fact that my pudding consumption is probably below average. According to an actual website I saw on the internet, 150 million Americans ate pudding in 2020; I’m honestly not sure if I was one of them. (And if I did, it was a very unimpressive amount — likely a single pudding cup.)

So how, then, would I find Sonic’s new Banana Pudding Shake? Let’s review.

Sonic’s shake-take on this Southern dessert classic features vanilla ice cream, banana pudding, banana pieces, Nilla wafers, whipped topping, and a maraschino cherry. As expected, this shake is VERY banana-centric.

The pudding was indiscernible from the vanilla ice cream, which was probably due to, you know, the blending process. So really, it ended up tasting like soupy banana ice cream. Thick chunks of banana abounded throughout the concoction necessitating the need for a spoon at times.

Sonic Banana Pudding Shake Top

The whipped topping was creamy and sweet and provided a nice blanket for a mess of crushed up Nilla wafers. Speaking of, I was surprised and impressed that the wafers held their crunch for as long as they did; Nilla makes a sturdy wafer, it seems. The cherry was probably fine, but I don’t know since my daughter stole and ate it when I wasn’t looking.

Sonic Banana Pudding Shake Soupy

This is the part of the review where you might be wondering how this compares to Sonic’s regular banana shake. Well, for starters, it’s much runnier. The pudding compromises the consistency of the treat, as one might expect. It does, however, also elevate the banana taste as well as add a nuanced layer of additional creaminess. The wafer pieces are also a noticeably different component, adding a welcome textural variance to the affair.

So is it worth it? For sure, but ONLY if you’re crazy about banana. This thing may even be too much for a casual banana fan. And if you don’t like bananas at all, it’s sort of weird that you read this whole thing. But thank you for your time, regardless, and I hope you have a great day.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: Small
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (small) 760 calories, 38 grams of fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 24 grams of saturated fat, 100 mg of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 94 grams of total carbohydrates, 64 gram of total sugars, less than 2 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Twisted Texan Cheeseburger

Sonic Twisted Texan Cheeseburger

I am always on board when an American fast food chain in a non-US location unveils its version of regional American fare.

Take, for instance, McDonald’s “Big America Burgers” in Japan. The most recent iteration of this popular offering gave Japanese consumers the Texas 2, the Idaho, the Miami, and the Manhattan burgers. Some of these have very reasonable — and dare I say interesting — inclusions. A hash brown on the Idaho burger, for example, is a particularly fetching choice. And then sometimes, something seems to get lost in translation. While I applaud the pastrami topping on the Manhattan, I’m a little perplexed by the mozzarella and “sour cream sauce.”

Ditto, McDonald’s “Great Taste of America” burgers, which have popped up multiple times in the UK, the most recent being 2019. While I am impressed that the “Alabama Chicken” has a white BBQ sauce, the “New York Stack” is all over the road by serving it on a sesame and poppy seed bagel (nice!), but topping it with “bacon, cheese, creamy coleslaw, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and pickles.” Because nothing says “New York” like mixing up your coleslaw with ketchup, mustard, and cheese, right?

Sonic Twisted Texan Cheeseburger  1

Sonic’s “Twisted Texan” Burger (or footlong, quarter-pound hot dog, if you’d rather) doesn’t really come close to some of those weird combinations, to be sure, but it also isn’t very inspired. It is a regular quarter-pound beef patty on a regular bun, topped with its regular chili, a cheese slice, and “crispy onion strings.” Do these things work well together? Sure, I suppose so.

I’m on record as being a fan of Sonic’s patties, and I usually have good luck with its buns, too. Its chili — which is almost like a Coney-style chili-sauce, if you’ve never had it — is great on its dogs and tots, and it’s fine here. The single slice of cheese got lost in the mix, which ultimately made it inessential; a second slice might’ve added more oomph.

Sonic Twisted Texan Cheeseburger  2

Now that brings us to the onion strings.

While the first bite or two of the burger noticeably benefited from them, the “crispy” exterior of the strings quickly turned to mush, making the veggie indistinguishable in consistency and taste from the chili. I’m not sure how you combat this unless you use whole onion rings. (Which, you know, could’ve been done; I’m not sure that onion strings are any more or less “Texan” than onion rings.)

In the end, this is just an okay burger, but I’m not sure what screams “TEXAS!” about it, other than the red chili. Which, I mean, is sort of Texas-y? But it’s also something that you can get a really good bowl of just about anywhere. How could have Sonic made this more of a Texas thing? Oh, I don’t know… by putting it on Texas toast, perhaps? Or maybe adding brisket. Or a tiny little, sandwich-sized cowboy hat. Anything more than just “chili and onion strings.”

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1030 calories, 68 grams of fat, 17 gram of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 1940 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.