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Burger King Impossible Burger Taste Test: Almost Like the Real Thing

(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty)

Which national restaurant chain makes the best meatless burger? Earlier this summer, we tried Impossible burgers and Beyond burgers from a number of patty slingers, including Applebee's, Bareburger, Carl's Jr. and White Castle.

At the time, Burger King's Impossible Whopper had not yet arrived in New York. That changed last week, so we went to see how it stacked up to our favorites — Bareburger and White Castle. 

Using Burger King's touch-screen ordering system, we bought both a regular Whopper and an Impossible Whopper with the same toppings — ketchup, lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles and cheese. Interestingly, when we entered our order for the original Whopper, the touch screen asked us if we wanted to try the Impossible Whopper instead. Have it your way!

We then rated the Impossible Whopper using the same criteria as we did the other burgers: Presentation, Flavor, Texture, and Beefiness. Here’s what we thought.

Presentation

Look, Whoppers are not the most visually appealing burgers I've tried — and that applies to both the regular version and the Impossible burger. They're slathered in mayo, smothered in American cheese, and buried in an avalanche of shredded lettuce and slices of mushy tomato. All that aside, the Impossible Whopper looks like it comes in a preformed patty, which you'll notice by looking at the burger's near-perfect edges. The regular version looks a little more rustic. — Caitlin McGarry

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In terms of size and build, the two Whoppers appear identical. Both are covered by broad, seeded buns and piled with a hefty array of bright toppings, concealing the patty during my 360-degree inspection. After I cut each in half, though, the faux meat made itself known. The Impossible Whopper looked like it was shaped in a Play-Doh mold, whereas the original looked more untamed and mulchy. — Kate Kozuch

Visually, there was almost no difference between the two Whoppers. When we sliced both in two, it was hard to tell from the cross-section which was which. It was only when I looked closely at the exterior that I could tell the difference: The Impossible Whopper has a much more uniform edge than the meat-based Whopper. — Mike Prospero

Flavor

As a former longtime vegetarian, I am well versed in the flavors of veggie patties. Boca Burgers, Morningstar patties, high-end restaurant versions made from mushrooms — you name it, I've tried it. And the Impossible Whopper tastes nothing like those soy or vegetable-based burgers. It tastes like beef. Of course, this is Burger King, so the bar isn't all that high. But I tasted the flame-broiled char on both patties — a little more so on the Impossible version — which is what Burger King is known for. The fake burger delivered. — CM

(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty)

I abhor traditional veggie burgers. However, all the buzz around Impossible "meat" piqued my interest, so I overcame my distaste for plant-based patties in the name of science. And man, was I shocked. I actually preferred the Impossible Whopper's broad flavor profile to the real Whopper's traditional one, opting to finish the former for lunch. — KK

Considering that both Whoppers were loaded with all the fixin's, the taste of the patty itself was almost secondary. I did notice a difference between the real Whopper and the Impossible Whopper — the latter was less moist and had more of an earthy flavor — but they weren't that far apart. — MP

Texture

After I sliced both Whoppers in half, I stared intently at both. I couldn't tell the difference between the texture of the Impossible Whopper and the regular one. Both burgers were thin and clearly had been smashed on the flat top, but there was enough substance for me to tell that if Burger King ever decided to swap out the Whopper for the Impossible version, no one would ever be able to tell. In terms of mouthfeel, Both burgers were the same — not gourmet by any means, but solidly beefy. — Caitlin

If Burger King ever decided to swap out the Whopper for the Impossible version, no one would ever be able to tell.

If I had tried the Impossible Whopper and the meat-based Whopper without toppings or a bun, I might have been able to notice a difference in texture. But between the spongy bun, crisp lettuce and juicy tomato, nuances in the patty's consistency were lost on me. — Kate

I was hard-pressed to tell the difference in texture between the two burgers. Both were pretty thin, as Whoppers are wont, and had the same consistency when I bit in. — Mike

Beefiness

I wouldn't call either of these Whoppers juicy — which is why Bareburger still has the edge when it comes to Impossible Burger preparation — but both were equally beefy. The Impossible Whopper had the same umami flavor, the result of beef and salt charring on a flame broiler, that the regular burger had. I wish Burger King would lighten up on the toppings so you could really taste the beef flavor — next time, I'll do just cheese. (And pickles.) — Caitlin

MORE: Taste Test: This Chain Serves the Best Impossible Burger

Though odds were against the Impossible Whopper on beefiness, it fared just fine. The original Whopper had better variation in color and more resistance on the bite as real meat, but the Impossible version provided a comparable experience. The plant-based Whopper lacked the juiciness of real beef, though. — Kate

"Where's the beef?" is no longer a plaintive cry for ground bovine. Now, it's a statement of confusion. Which was real meat, and which was the Impossible Whopper? — Mike

Overall

This is the fast-food Impossible Burger to beat, because it tastes just like the real thing. If you handed an unsuspecting friend or relative this burger, they wouldn't think twice before gobbling it down. — Caitlin

The Impossible Whopper is not a lesser burger. Unless they're Whopper connoisseurs, unsuspecting eaters probably wouldn't know the difference if they were served Burger King's newest menu item by mistake. I think I'd opt for the Impossible Whopper going forward because of its reduced environmental impact. It's also an accessible vegan option (I checked; you can ask for it cooked on a grill separate from the meat), and I'd like to see more major fast-food chains introduce Impossible items to their menu. — Kate

Unless they're Whopper connoisseurs, unsuspecting eaters probably wouldn't know the difference if they were served Burger King's newest menu item by mistake.

The appeal of the Impossible Whopper is everything that comes between the buns as much as the patty itself, but even so, this is the closest you'll get to the real thing. If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint but don't want to give up your fast-food habit, the Impossible Whopper is the best you're going to get. — Mike

Impossible Whopper vs. Traditional Whopper: Not Exactly Health Food

While the Impossible Whopper is less destructive to the environment, it won't do your hypertension any favors. Here's a comparison of the two Whoppers, both with and without the works (lettuce, mayo, ketchup, onions, tomatoes and pickles on a sesame seed bun).

Calories

Fat (g)

Saturated Fat (g)

Cholesterol (mg)

Sodium (mg)

Impossible Whopper630

34

11

10

1080

Impossible Whopper (patty only)

210

12

7

0

330

Regular Whopper

660

40

12

90

980

Regular Whopper (patty only)240

18

8

80

230

Additional eating/reporting by Mike Prospero.