What Sonic's Peanut Butter Bacon Burger Is Missing

The new limited-time Peanut Butter Bacon Shake, however, is perfect just the way it is.

Sonic Drive-In, beloved for its cheesy tater tots, cherry limeade, corn dogs, and burgers, has never been afraid to take risks with its limited-time offers. Ahem, remember the pickle juice slushie? Sonic loves the occasional buck-wild flavor profile, and now you can get a Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger as well as the new Peanut Butter Bacon Shake. Both items are available now through February 4, but only one is worth ordering.

For the uninitiated, Sonic is an old-school, drive-in-style fast food joint founded in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1953. Though ordering via a parking spot intercom is a vintage concept, Sonic has found ways to grow. There are currently 3,542 locations nationwide, most of them scattered throughout the South. I've never really thought of Sonic as a Texas-centric fast food chain like Whataburger or Dairy Queen, but the Lone Star State has the most Sonic outposts with 949.

What keeps Sonic customers coming back is the chain's commitment to classic American fun, and I mean that unironically. Truly, the food feels like exciting carnival fare. At its foundation, though, Sonic's burger is very good and doesn't seem to get enough love; the double cheeseburger consistently scores high rankings at outlets such as Business Insider and Thrillist.

Sonic continues to churn out exciting food concepts, and the entire menu is offered all day long. That's right: You can get breakfast at night and burgers in the morning, if you wish. So where does the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger rank among their offerings?

How does Sonic’s new Peanut Butter Bacon Burger taste?

Sonic's Peanut Butter Bacon Burger comes with two beef patties layered with peanut butter, melted cheese, bacon, and grilled onions. As you can see, there's a messy, melty quality to this burger. The bigger problem, however, is that peanut butter by itself is just not a viable burger condiment. It's sweet and slightly nutty, sure, but those aren't elements that a burger really needs.


Classic condiments like ketchup and mustard offer some sort of tanginess and acidity, cutting through the fattiness of the burger and cheese. Hell, even a mayonnaise like Duke's carries some citrusy brightness to it. Peanut butter adds some richness, but fails to enhance or contrast with any of burger's other components. Ask yourself, does peanut butter shine a light on grilled onions? Does it make cheese taste better? How about beef? The answer across the board is no, but for some reason, it is confoundingly spread atop the patty in preparations like Missouri's guber burger.

With the beef and peanut butter competing within the Sonic burger, even the bacon felt lost in this messy limited-time offer. I wish I had just ordered the classic double cheeseburger beloved by so many.


Peanut sauce, of the Thai or Vietnamese variety, can be great on burgers. Just ask Guy Fieri. In two different episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, he tries two different peanut butter burgers. The first time, he absolutely does not enjoy it—a shocking reaction from Fieri, who normally heaps glowing praise on everything he eats. But the second time around, he loves the PB burger. Why? Because it also features chipotle aioli and sriracha.

Peanut butter is just not a burger condiment to be used on its own. It needs help. Sonic's new menu item is missing something important: something hot, something sharp. Guy understands this. Guy understands us all.

How does Sonic’s new Peanut Butter Bacon Shake taste?

The Peanut Butter Bacon Shake, meanwhile, is phenomenal. This was my first time tasting one of Sonic's shakes, and damn, I was floored. For this limited-time menu item, Sonic blends peanut butter into vanilla soft serve, then tops it with whipped cream, bacon bits, and a cherry. Visually, it's delightful. Texturally, it's a revelation.


The soft serve here is already among the best, and some aspect of Sonic's process makes the shakes light and airy. These aren't the sledge-like soft serve shakes you see at other fast food joints. This features a lot of whipped cream, and some of it is apparently even mixed into the vanilla soft serve itself. The flavor isn't anything too mind-blowing—peanut butter is a no-brainer in any dessert—but man, Sonic just does the little things right. Even the bacon on top was crispy, crunchy, and full of fatty flavor. I hope Sonic keeps the Peanut Butter Bacon Shake around, because when the craving hits, I might just hit up the drive-in again.