Burger King Needs New Whopper Ideas

BK's Million Dollar Whopper Contest will award the fan who designs the perfect burger.

Bow down to me, for I have bent the power of the Whopper to my will, and I am now the king of all burgerdom. The Burger King, if you will. But you, too, can be like me—that is, if you're creative and daring enough.

For the first time ever, Burger King is hosting a Million Dollar Whopper Contest, a build-your-own-burger competition where three finalists will have their creations sold at restaurant locations nationwide, and one winner will walk away with a $1 million prize. BK notes in its press release that there are 200,000 possible customizations for the Whopper, so everyone has an opportunity to get creative.

To kick off the celebration, Burger King hosted a Million Dollar Whopper World pop-up in Santa Monica, California over Presidents' Day Weekend. The party included burger-themed games, a DJ spinning perfectly '80s dance bops, and many photo ops, including a hamburger couch with toppings-shaped cushions and a throne fit for a (burger) king. A BK-themed bar served up a spicy margarita called Whop It Like It's Hot, which did not disappoint.

While there were many fun details to be found at the event—someone handed me a crown the moment I walked into the burger-art-filled space—the real reason everyone was there was to build our own Whoppers.

Designing a new Burger King Whopper

At Million Dollar Whopper World, there was a limited supply of ingredients on the counter to choose from—but even so, trying to build a new burger is a surprisingly daunting process.

First, we had to choose between a beef patty or Impossible patty, followed by choices of vegetables and fruits (tomato, lettuce, onions, pickles, candied jalapenos, pickled red onions, smashed avocado or caramelized onions). Next, we selected the cheese (American, Swiss, sharp cheddar, pepperjack) and sauce (ketchup, mustard, mayo, barbecue, queso, chili crisp aioli, signature burger sauce, candied bacon jam, truffle aioli). Lastly, we added our choice of "crispies and other toppers," which included everything-seasoned crispy onions, prosciutto, or Parmesan cheese crispies.


Because I was on the Santa Monica Pier and having a peak LA experience, I wanted something that fit the California vibes. I went with an Impossible burger topped with American cheese, lettuce, avocado, candied jalapenos, and crispy onions—and at the last minute, made a game-time decision to add queso, too. Double the cheese? Why not? I was having it my way.

The finished product emerged from a hidden backstage kitchen on the conveyor belt of a machine that looked like it was straight out of Double Dare. My burger was absolutely delicious, and its crunchy, spicy toppings worked perfectly with the queso and avocado. Days later, I'm still thinking about it. (BK also let us design purely theoretical Whoppers using the AI generator; mine was piled high with tater tots, popcorn, mac and cheese, bacon, and Skittles. I won't be winning $1 million for that submission, but I did go home with my creation printed on a shirt.)


On another day, I might have gone for maximum meat: a burger topped with cheddar, bacon jam, prosciutto, caramelized onions, chili crisp aioli, and cheese crispies. In the moment, the pressure to create something maximally appetizing was intense.

Between now and March 17, anyone can design their own Whopper using Burger King's online AI burger generator, and unlike the Santa Monica popup, your options aren't limited to the ingredients already on hand. The rules stipulate that your creation can't include peanuts or shellfish, two major allergens, but other than that, the at-home design process is pretty free-form; you type in your preferred toppings one by one, and the AI system accepts or rejects them based on what it recognizes. When you're finished, you submit your creation.

Three finalists will be chosen to have their versions sold in Burger King locations across the country later this year. Customers will have the chance to taste them all and vote for their favorite. The winner gets a cool $1 million in prize money.

Prices of a Burger King Whopper vary depending on location, but for the sake of simplicity, let's say a Whopper costs $10. If you design the winning burger, you'll win enough to buy 100,000 of those babies—that is, unless you decide you want to throw in some fries (good) or onion rings (better). But even if you don't win, you'll still win: Entrants get a free Whopper with any purchase of $1 or more.


What's going on your burger?