Aug 4, 2012

A Guide to In-N-Out's Secret Menu

An In-N-Out Animal Style burger.

Here's a quick reference to In-N-Out's Secret Menu. It's basically a list of custom orders that customers have ordered enough times to warrant being keyed into their ordering system (most other chains don't have such items in their system so it can be hit or miss if you ask for "secret menu" items. Not so at In-N-Out).

  • Default - By default, In-N-Out's burgers come with:
    • A beef patty, or two, if you opt to get a Double Double.
    • American cheese (unless you opt for a regular hamburger)
    • Hand-leafed lettuce
    • Tomato slices
    • Spread (similar to Thousand Island)
    • Onions (they usually ask if you want onions and if you want them grilled)
    • A toasted sponge-dough bun
Let's start with the "Not So Secret Menu" that In-N-Out actually lists on their website.
  • Double Meat - A hamburger with extra patty.
  • 3 x 3 - A cheeseburger with 3 patties and 3 slices of cheese.
  • 4 x 4 - They used to go up to 100 x 100 but the 4 x 4 is now the largest In-N-Out will make your burger. It's a cheeseburger with 4 patties and 4 slices of cheese.
  • Grilled Cheese - A cheeseburger minus the beef plus an extra slice of cheese. Ask for it with "extra toast" (see below) to get the full grilled cheese effect (you can also ask them to invert the bun but that can be hit or miss).
  •  Protein Style - For people who are eating low carbs or just don't like bread. It's a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
  •  Animal Style (pictured above) - This is probably the most popular secret menu item ordered at In-N-Out. It takes your default burger and adds mustard-grilled beef patties, pickles, grilled onions, and extra sauce.
Other customizations that can be keyed-in include:
  • The Flying Dutchman - This "burger" consists of two beef patties, two slices of melted cheese, and nothing else. The wax paper is the only thing that stands between you and beefy grease. I have no idea why it's called the Flying Dutchman (maybe because like the legendary ghost ship, very few have every seen it). I tried this one way before I ever started Brand Eating. Beef and cheese is nice but it was (unsurprisingly) a bit plain. Honestly, I just ordered it for the novelty of asking for a "Flying Dutchman." What I got was a blank look until another employee, who I guess was more in the know, helped out and keyed it in.
  • The Wishburger or Veggieburger - As in "I wish it had meat." This is a burger but without any beef or cheese.
But that's not all you can change on your In-N-Out burger. Here are the other customizable options:
  • Bun - You can have them toast the bun more ("extra toast"), toast it less ("less toast"), or not toast it at all ("no toast").
  • Beef Patty - You ask them to cook the beef patty medium rare, mustard fried (they spread some mustard and grill the patty in it), and can also get it unsalted. If you have dogs (or simply wish to try it), you can also order a beef patty by itself unsalted (some people call it a "pup patty").
  • Lettuce - You can ask for extra lettuce or for lettuce on the side.
  • Tomatoes - You can ask for extra tomatoes or to get them on the side.
  • Pickles - You can ask for them; you can ask for extra or on the side as well.
  • Chili Peppers - Spicy, pickled, chili peppers that you can opt to have chopped and thrown in your burger or given on the side.
  • Onions - By default grilled onions are chopped and raw onions are sliced, but you can have them slice grilled onions and chop raw onions as well. I tried chopped raw onions recently and like it better; you get that raw onion bite, but it's better distributed than a whole slice of onion.
  • Spread - You can ask for extra on your burger or for a sealed packet of spread on the side.
  • Ketchup - Optional by request.
  • Mustard - Optional by request.
You might notice that I did not mention mayo. That's because mayo is not available at In-N-Out.

What's the really nice thing? Besides extra cheese and extra patties, the burger customizations are free. Also, they'll really make it however you (reasonably) want it. Check out when I decided to try a McDonald's-style hamburger from In-N-Out. But that's not all that can be customized on In-N-Out's decidedly simple menu... the fries and shakes can be tinkered with quite a bit as well.

  • Animal Style - Similar to the Animal-Style burger, In-N-Out Animal-Style Fries feature fries with two slices of cheese melted on top using in a mini oven that's expressly used only for that purpose. The cheesy fries are then topped with grilled onions and spread. It's a bit pricey for what amounts to two slices of cheese. I think the price reflects the added labor and use of that little oven. Basically, if it were cheaper more people would order it and that little oven only takes one order of fries at a time.
  • Cheese Fries - They melt two slices of American cheese onto your fries using the aforementioned mini oven.
  • Well or Well-Done - Extra crispy fries. They can be a bit dry but are still quite tasty when cooled (they taste a bit like potato chips). You can also ask for fries "Extra-Well."
  • Light - The opposite of Well. The fries are just barely cooked and tend to be on the soft and soggy side (I don't recommend it). 
  • Light Well - It doesn't make much sense, but you can also get your fries "Light-Well."

In-N-Out offers three flavors of milkshakes (Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry) and they can be ordered in any combination. The most notable combinations include:
  • Neapolitan - A mix of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
  • Black and White - A mix of chocolate and vanilla.
  • Root Beer Float - A vanilla shake with root beer.


  1. One of these days I'll have to try an animal style burger, I'm just so used to getting the standard ones. I like your idea of getting the raw onions chopped, I usually skip on the onions but I think I might try that.

  2. No satisfying that In-n_Out urge here in hillbilly heaven since the firm has enough intelligence to shun this cultural backwater.

  3.  Nah i think it's more of a distribution thing... i worked for a supplier of theirs, they simply don't want to overextend themselves, which makes sense.

  4. I've eaten there once and can't really understand the hype...yes, hype. It was nothing special or something I will ever crave. More for you, I guess :-)

    I did read they like to order local, so they will not move into a location until they get with local farms to provide local food products...which is why I had to try them out. Didn't taste any more fresh than a Wendy's or Burger King to me.


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