Review: creative fast food hacks take social media by storm

Mahika Sharma and Katelyn Chu

Chicken nuggets, french fries and ice cream are staples of many fast food menus. Although these treats may appeal to diners on their own, social media creators have shared seemingly random combinations to spice up these cheap and accessible items. Despite the often odd ideas behind these hacks, each is unique in assembly, appearance and, of course, taste.


Nugget Salad – 8/10

Chicken nuggets and french fries shaken up with sauce provide an even layer of flavor compared to the usual routine of dipping. However, be wary: the stickiness of the end product is bound to get messy, so we recommend using a fork. (Katelyn Chu)


The “Nugget Salad” hack calls for an empty salad or nugget container, chicken nuggets, french fries and two sauce packets of choice, with ranch and buffalo sauce usually stealing the spotlight. According to Mashed, first, pour in chicken nuggets, french fries and the sauce packets of choice into their empty container. Then, for the perfect sauce coating, shake it all up. 


In our version of this popular dining technique, we used Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets and fries, buffalo sauce and ranch. The end product was a saucy, and flavorful–albeit sticky–treat. 

While this sauce dipping method resulted in even sauce coverage on both fries and nuggets, it also soaked the nugget breading, causing the once crispy exterior of the chicken to become soggy and soft. However, this hack was nothing less than delicious when used on the fries, with the generous sauce application strategy providing a significantly more noticeable burst of savory flavor. 

In the final summation, the “Nugget Salad” hack is perfect for the ultimate sauce frenzy, but crispy chicken fanatics should watch out: a soggy exterior may be imminent. 


Fries in Ice Cream – 6.5/10

Dipping fries in ice cream combines two distinctly sweet and salty foods and has become an online sensation. Still, the textural issues involved in this hack show that it may be overhyped. (Mahika Sharma)


Combining sweet and salty foods isn’t exactly unheard of—after all, chocolate-covered pretzels and kettle corn are two such snacks that can be found at almost any grocery store. Nevertheless, the idea of dipping warm, crispy french fries in cold ice cream has taken the internet by storm, with #friesinicecream having 2.0 million views on TikTok as of April 28. 

Our first impressions of this viral combination were pretty positive: the tooth-aching sweetness of the soft serve ice cream pretty much balanced out the savoriness of the fries, which were slathered with salt, creating a pleasant, layered flavor.

However, the issues with this hack started to show up quickly. For one thing, the fries became soggy after being soaked in the ice cream too long, so each bite rapidly turned into mush. The food combination also left a strangely salty aftertaste in our mouths that lasted minutes after we’d finished eating.

Overall, we can’t argue that this hack is unworthy of its moment in the sun, and our verdict is clear: anyone looking to spice up their next order of fries should just stick to using a different dipping sauce.


Bubble Tea (Sans Bubbles) 4/10

Tiktok users have created and shared their favorite fast food hacks– one version being the combination of unsweet tea and ice cream, similar to another popular drink, bubble tea. (Katelyn Chu)


This fast food hack takes a sweeter turn and may be more appealing for those seeking a fun dessert. While bubble tea may not be the first food associated with drive-thrus, TikTok user @hasan_hamad, who has 60.2 thousand followers, shares a DIY combination that resembles the popular drink. First, order a soft-serve ice cream cone and an unsweet iced tea, and then, using a straw, mix the two together. 

When we tested this hack, we found that the ice cream was difficult to fully stir into the tea, but after a few minutes, the drink came together. The result was a creamy, velvety and foamy concoction that resembled a bubble tea drink. However, the ice cream failed to provide the classic sweetness that is present in most boba drink bases. 

A subtle sweet after note instead replaced the typical sugariness of bubble tea, so we only recommend this hack if you’re looking for a more toned down version of boba. If not, we recommend trying this combination with sweet tea, instead. Meanwhile, we’ll probably be sticking to enjoying ice cream and tea separately. 


Nuggets in a Pie (With Filling Sauce) – 9.5/10

Subverting many social media patrons’ expectations, this warm and comforting combination of chicken nuggets and apple pie has become a hit among some. (Mahika Sharma)


If you think this hack is weird in concept, the viral Instagram video of baker Jonny Massad actually scooping the filling out of an apple pie, stuffing the hollow pastry with chicken nuggets and dunking it back into the filling will blow your mind. Many viewers of the video evidently feel the same way, with some users in the comment section gushing over the unorthodox food combo while others spam an emoji spewing vomit to express their distaste.


Nevertheless, for all of the preconceived notions we’d developed about this hack pre-trial, it turned out to be the highlight of our taste-testing adventure. Although the assembly was more than a little messy, with the apple pie filling sticking to our fingers and work station as it oozed out of the pie, the first bite of this food fusion was all we needed to tell that this hack is worth the hype: the nuggets encased in a flaky, golden-brown shell still tinged with brown sugar made for a crunchy and hearty mouthful reminiscent of a pot pie or turnover. The aromatic and cinnamon-y apple pie filling as dipping sauce only elevated the whole experience by adding some much-needed flavor to an otherwise unseasoned crust. 

Clearly, this hack subverted all of our expectations in the best way possible, and we will definitely be trying it again—no matter how many stares of surprise we get.