Dunkin’ vs. Starbucks: Why One Coffee Chain Is Better

As an ex-barista, I’ve tried a lot of coffees in my day. But what I’ve tried even more of is food and bakery items, especially when I was working at Starbucks. There would be new seasonal releases introducing new snacks and such, and I’d be down to try them all. In fact, the Starbucks breakfast menu kept this girl going on those early morning shifts! From classic breakfast sandwiches to sugary-sweet pastries, I’m ranking all the items on Starbucks’ breakfast menu, and revealing the best ones of all time!

Ahead, a ranking of the best Starbucks breakfast menu items.

Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich


Yes. Yes, yes, and yes! The Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich is undoubtedly Starbucks’ best breakfast sandwich when it comes to taste, ease of eating, and even nutrition facts. For 230 calories, you get 17 grams of protein, which is a total plus to me, as someone who tries to eat high-protein. It’s not nearly as greasy as a lot of the other sandwiches, too.

I really enjoy that this sammie is one of Starbucks less-bulky hot breakfast offerings, which makes it easy to handle from the moment you get it in your hands. Every iteration I’ve eaten – in various states and airport locations – arrives very hot, with the cheese melting so beautifully. I will say it’s not very flavorful on its own (at least, not for my preference), so I always add a drizzle of Sriracha to this sandwich.

Iced Lemon Loaf


Oh Lemon Loaf, how I love you. It should be criminal how moist this bakery item is, and the flavor is simply top-notch, based on years worth of me eating loaf after loaf (after loaf, after loaf). Each bite is zingy yet sugary, plus the icing that lines the top makes the perfect match.

Albeit very obviously manufactured in mass amounts for mass consumption (it comes straight from a plastic wrapper), the Starbucks Lemon Loaf is an icon. It even rose to fame with hundreds of viral tweets a few years back.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake


If the Cinnamon Coffee Cake was just the crumbly-sweet streusel topping it comes with, that’d be totally fine with me. It really complements the buttery coffee cake layers that lie below, and when ordered warmed, this Starbucks snack is heavenly.

Though it’s more of an ‘every once in a while’ treat for me, I have no notes for this coffee cake. It’s perfectly sweet, the texture is bomb, and it pairs extremely well with any coffee order I’ve ever tried.

Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites


This flavor of egg bites is the best one. Period. Advertised as the lighter, healthier version of all three Starbucks egg bites, the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites are made exclusively with egg whites and not the whole egg. Perhaps that’s why they’re worlds easier for me to digest and even feel inclined to order in the first place! Anywho…

I would eat these on almost every break I took during my wacky barista days. Ordering them extra-crispy is absolutely the move, as it turns the texture into something less… soggy. Their only downfall is not being super seasoned – nine times out of ten, I would have to have salt + pepper or Sriracha to go along with them.

Glazed Donut


I go crazy – no – absolutely bonkers for a cake donut, which is why I very much appreciate that Starbucks’ star donut isn’t just a regular glazed donut like you’d get from your local shop. This denser, cakier version feels like a real treat that you have to sit down and savor instead of inhaling like a sugar monster (but trust me, I do that all the time).

The only shortcoming of the Starbucks Glazed Donut is not having the ideal icing-to-donut ratio. In my opinion, there could always be more glaze!

Impossible Breakfast Sandwich


I don’t care if Impossible meat freaks anyone else out – I personally love it, and it’s surprisingly good on Starbucks’ Impossible Breakfast Sandwich. This sammie is like your basic SEC (sausage, egg, and cheddar), comprised of the plant-based meat, cage-free fried egg, cheddar cheese all on a puffy ciabatta bun.

Every Impossible Breakfast Sandwich I’ve ever chowed down on has turned out very yummy. It’s salted to perfection, though can get pretty oily (and subsequently, messy) at times. I highly recommend snacking on it with some Sriracha sauce for that extra oomph. Just kindly ask your barista for a packet or two! All in all, I really like this pick.

Butter Croissant


It’s far from authentic – I know – but the Butter Croissant is honestly so good. I appreciate that it’s on the Starbucks breakfast menu because plain croissants have been a cafe staple for forever and there’s truly no better feeling than dipping your pastry into a steaming-hot vanilla latte.

For a fast food item, the Starbucks Butter Croissant has some impressively flaky layers, and of course, everything is super buttery, which I love.

Vanilla Bean Custard Danish


I love sweets. I love pastries! So, danishes in any form are gonna be good to me. This newer Starbucks breakfast menu item is filled with a smooth vanilla bean custard that gets folded into a sugary, layered croissant dough, and wow, it’s pretty good for a fast food-level pastry! The only requirement is that you order it warmed, though. If you don’t, this selection turns out pretty sad.

Pumpkin & Pepita Loaf


The fact that Starbucks had to revive this bakery item from being seasonally-exclusive to fall and slap it on the year-round menu proves just how tasty it is. While the Starbucks site describes this guy as “slightly spiced,” I think that description isn’t very accurate. The Pumpkin & Pepita Loaf definitely packs a pumpkin-y punch, and there are plenty of warm spices to go around – which is a good thing, IMO! I want a pumpkin bread to deliver on the pumpkin spice vibes.

Better yet is the crunchy, nutty topping that coats the top of this loaf. Scrumptious. Delicious. You just can’t beat it!

Bacon & Gruyère Egg Bites


These egg bites were super popular at my Starbucks store when I was a barista, but still, aren’t my favorite item. Smoked bacon and two different kinds of cheeses get whisked into these snack-sized bites, which creates a pretty decadent mix! Having both gruyère and Monterey jack cheese in a single bite definitely gives this item a leg-up in terms of flavor, plus the bacon does a good job at salting things up a bit more so there’s no need to add anything.

Double-Smoked Bacon, Cheddar & Egg Sandwich


I fear Starbucks kinda went off with this breakfast sammie! While it’s stacked with the expected BEC ingredients (bacon, cheddar, egg), what ties it all together with pure perfection is the flaky croissant bun. I love food that’s fun to eat, and the layers on this signature bun are unbelievably satisfying.

Though, like many other Starbucks breakfast menu items, this pick tends to slip n’ slide, and fall apart. The bacon typically hangs out past the area of the bun, and I had (very sadly) burned myself several times with hot, residual bacon grease trying to prep them behind the counter. If the sandwich was just easier to get a hold of, I’d award it an additional point or two.

Ham & Swiss Croissant


I feel obligated to deduct points from this food because more often than not, it’d come out of the oven flat, deflated, and overall sad-looking for a what a croissant is supposed to be. Like the Butter Croissant, the Ham & Swiss Croissant is not authentic in any way, but dang, does it taste good.

Looks and construction aside, the Ham & Swiss Croissant is pretty awesome. I think the balance between the meat and cheese is what does it for me. It feels like a breakfast sandwich by nature, but isn’t as bulky or as much of hassle to snack on. I ate a truly embarrassing amount of these as a barista!

Bacon, Sausage & Egg Wrap


This breakfast wrap is dense, hearty, and fairly cheesy. All wrapped up into a flour tortilla, you’ll find bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and cheddar cheese – all the savory breakfast goods you could possibly want!

During my barista era, I’d make this wrap for myself when I took my lunch break. It’s a bit too filling for breakfast time, in my opinion! One troubling factor about the Bacon, Sausage & Egg Wrap for me – and I hope I’m not alone in this – is that it falls apart very easily, which makes eating it huge challenge. I would find myself quite disgruntled with the actual eating part of this Starbucks breakfast menu item, but not entirely disappointed flavor-wise. Just make sure you grab a fork.

Potato, Cheddar & Chive Bakes


Another fairly-new item to the Starbucks breakfast menu, these square baked bites are packed with a medley of diced potatoes, cheese, spinach, egg, and chives. The consistency mimics that of a hash brown, which is great, but they are severely lacking in the flavor department. As one barista notes in this Reddit thread, there’s “nothing a little Sriracha couldn’t improve.”

Cheese Danish


Again, a danish could do me no wrong. But, now that the Vanilla Bean Custard Danish exists, the OG Cheese Danish ranks a little bit lower for me. The Cheese Danish filling is more yogurt-y and savory than its sweeter counterpart, which is not entirely a bad thing, but I think where this one fails to thrive is in presentation. Every Cheese Danish I’ve ever had from Starbucks – barista or not – has been very flat and despairing, which is not what I’d wanna be greeted with on a pastry-hungry tummy.

Banana Walnut & Pecan Loaf


While the Lemon Loaf and Pumpkin & Pepita Loaf are superbly moist, I’ve found that the Banana Walnut & Pecan Loaf is much less so. The reason why? I’m unsure, but I just know it’s not super satisfying to me. Each slice packs in a generous amount of nuts, too, which might steal some of the spotlight.

This Starbucks breakfast menu item is good, but not good enough to stand out. Especially given that Dunkin’ just released an even better (and more chocolatey) version with their most recent spring menu.

Blueberry Muffin


The only part of this muffin that matters is the delicious, sugar-crusted muffin top that sits above the wrapper – and that’s okay! The bottom half is completely discardable and doesn’t taste nearly as good as the sweet upper. This is another regular Starbucks breakfast menu item I’d get as a working barista, and it never failed me, especially when warmed. It’s nothing super special, though, hence the ranking.

Sausage, Cheddar & Egg Sandwich


The Sausage, Cheddar & Egg Sandwich is like the white bread of all Starbucks breakfast menu items. It’s basic. It’s expected. Nothing new. But, it’s still pretty yum for what it is. I appreciate that it’s built using an English muffin, unlike a few of the other picks which have varied (and often hard-to-eat) buns.

The top quality of this SEC sammie is definitely the cheese. There’s an impressive ratio of cheesiness to meatiness, egginess, and breadiness. Where the Bacon, Gouda & Egg Sandwich flops, this one slays.

Bacon, Gouda & Egg Sandwich


Gosh, did our customers love this one! With a mix of bacon, gouda cheese, and scrambled egg on an “artisan” roll, this Starbucks breakfast menu item sold out nearly every day I worked there.

Sure, the Bacon, Gouda & Egg Sandwich is an undeniable fan-favorite, but (being honest here) I really very much do not care for it! Each time I reached for it, it never felt like there was enough bacon to balance out the egg, and same thing with the cheese. It was always handed to me very dry and bready, which doesn’t quite work for my tastes. It could potentially benefit from some added Sriracha or even a ready-made spread like the Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich. Which brings us to…

Chocolate Croissant


Funny memesaside, the Starbucks Chocolate Croissant is, all in all, mid. It’s essentially like the Butter Croissant, just reshaped to fit two piped lines of very sweet chocolate.

What I think really takes away from experiencing this snack at its full potential is that, when warmed, most of the chocolate melts out of the pasty and things get real messy, real fast. So, as an ex-barista who’s seen a lot of Starbucks mishaps and unhappy customers, I’d recommend ordering this pick non-warmed.

Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites


Don’t clock me for this, but I don’t like mushrooms. Thus, my opinion on the Starbucks Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites is quite useless! Nonetheless, when I did try them, the texture was comparable to the other (and much tastier) egg bites on the menu, and not an issue at all.

Since I had learned to order Starbucks egg bites extra-crispy (AKA double-toasted) while working there, the outsides were perfectly crisp and browned a bit, which was most pleasing to me. The mushroom part, not so much.

Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich


This first breakfast sandwich made its debut earlier this year alongside the rest of theStarbucks winter menu. It features a stack of breaded white-meat chicken, egg, and a swipe of maple-butter spread all smushed between a biscuit roll.

While I wanted to like the Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich when I first tried it, there was something very off-putting about the way the layers were so… distinct from each other. I also felt like it was vastly under-seasoned. Chick-fil-A‘s breakfast offerings are way better in terms of taste + quality!

Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap


Another low- (well, lower-) calorie breakfast option, the Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap measures up pretty meh when it comes to other Starbucks breakfast menu items. Cage-free egg whites, spinach, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomato cream cheese are all rolled into a mostly seamless whole wheat wrap.

Like I’ve noted with a few other Starbucks foods, this wrap falls apart so easily, and I hate it! I also think it’s less-than-cool that it’s usually not filled with any of the filling. Sure, you get hints of the ingredients, but it doesn’t feel like a full, satisfying wrap ever.

The Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap used to be my ride-or-die order since college, but now, it feels like a flop. When I had it in my barista days, it’d turn out spongy and even a bit soggy, no matter what.



I do not have much to say about this oatmeal. It’s just oatmeal. And even with all the toppings, it never really hit the mark for me! I could make much better oatmeal at home, including sweet overnight oats that cost way less money. I will give this Starbucks breakfast menu item some credit, though, for being one of the healthiest options available. I’d recommend skipping this one entirely unless you have to eat healthy on-the-go and really have no other option.

Blueberry Scone


She’s dry. She’s crumbly. She is not at all what a proper scone should be. The Starbucks Blueberry Scone is low-key a disappointment to scones around the world. But I get it – the chain has to cater to a wide audience. But this baked version isn’t my jam at all, and scones I’ve had at local shops have been much, much better.

Plain Bagel


I’m sorry, but Starbucks is not (I repeat: NOT!) the place to be getting a good plain bagel. The Plain Bagel is exactly how it sounds, but worse. Gasp! It’s dry, cracky, flavorless, and not fresh. It’s supposed to emulate New York-style bagels, but doesn’t live up to those expectations in any way. You can get a better bagel at your local deli for less $$$, is all I’m sayin’. This bagel might be able to redeem itself, but only if you try it with Starbucks’ avocado spread or cream cheese. Even then, I’m not confident things would work out.

Everything Bagel


Continuing my bagel rant, the Everything Bagel doesn’t do the Starbucks pastry case justice, either. It’s mostly just a texture and quality thing, I think. Again, some spreads and schmears might barely level up this breakfast bite. Sorry to all Starbucks bagel truthers.

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Images via Starbucks.

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