- Over the past several weeks I ate my way through McDonald’s entire menu.
- The fast-food giant had about 66 dishes for me to try, which cost me about $US270 in total.
- I gave the sausage biscuit and hamburger low marks because they were so bland.
- My favourite items were the french fries, McFlurries, and the bacon Quarter Pounder with cheese.
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Over the past several weeks I’ve eaten my way through McDonald’s entire menu.
Here’s my overall ranking of the fast-food chain’s offerings, from my least favourite to most beloved items.
Prices and availability of items based on my local McDonald’s in New York City.
Before I get into the ranking, a few thoughts on this whole experience.
This process took me nearly a month, and I ended up spending over $US270 to try every item, which isn’t too bad considering how much I ate.
Not counting beverages and extras like packaged apple slices, there were about 66 items listed at the McDonald’s locations I visited in New York and New Jersey.
My plan of attack was to order between three and six items each visit, depending on what they were. Eating four big burgers at once is hardly ideal.
I took pictures of each item before tasting and used a spreadsheet on my phone to keep track of what I was eating and how I felt about its appearance, taste, and value.
And, yes, I have seen “Super Size Me” and, yes, I feel fine.
So let’s kick off the ranking.
Hamburger — $US1.39
Still firmly in last place, the hamburger is just so bland.
It’s only $US0.30 less than the McDonald’s much tastier cheeseburger. If I found myself short those three dimes, I’d order the four-piece Chicken McNuggets for $US1 instead.
Sausage biscuit — $US1.79
I’ve eaten this dish a few times, and it’s not always consistent in quality.
On another day, this would perhaps be much higher on the list, but the sausage biscuit I tried for the test was overcooked and dry. It would have been better if it had a nice sauce or cheese.
Sausage burrito — $US1.39
I’m not sure why this combination of scrambled eggs, sausage, peppers, and onion exists.
At $US1.39 it was the most affordable breakfast option, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy me, and it didn’t taste all that great either.
Double hamburger — $US2.89
I will never order this again, mostly because it’s so plain.
For $US2.89, I’d prefer a cheeseburger and nuggets or a spicy chicken sandwich and a soda.
Quarter Pounder — $US5.49
Initially, I was expecting two patties, but there’s one large slab of beef.
The burger had onions, ketchup, and pickles, but it did little to add real flavour.
The lack of cheese and minimal seasoning made the meat stand out more, but not in a good way.
Bacon ranch grilled chicken salad — $US5.49
The taste test didn’t change my opinion of fast-food salads, but it was interesting to try them. They’re just not for me.
This one had a chicken filet on top of romaine lettuce, baby spinach, baby kale, and red-leaf lettuce. It also had carrots, tomatoes, bacon, and shredded cheese. But this salad just lacked a good flavour.
And the chicken wasn’t sliced all that well, which made the whole thing harder to eat.
Grilled chicken ranch snack wrap — $US1.99
I wouldn’t choose this grilled chicken snack wrap over the chicken-tender version.
For less than $US2 it’s well priced, but the one I ordered was subpar, and I didn’t like that the shredded cheese was cold, not melted. Plus, the flour tortilla seemed understuffed.
In this ranking, everything after this wrap is something I’d consider ordering again – maybe.
Egg McMuffin — $US3.99
The Egg McMuffin (Canadian bacon, American cheese, and an egg on an English muffin) shouldn’t cost more than the Sausage McMuffin.
I felt like the slice of Canadian bacon on this breakfast sandwich was too small and the egg puck wasn’t substantial enough to justify the price.
Sausage McMuffin — $US2.49
This has American cheese and sausage on an English muffin.
The cold edges of the cheese slice kept this sandwich from scoring a little higher for me. The sausage was OK, but those cold spots on top of it threw off the balance.
As for breakfast sandwiches overall, the McMuffins I tried paled in comparison to the biscuit-based options and McGriddles.
Sausage McMuffin with egg — $US3.49
I’m still not sure if a puck of egg was worth the additional $US1, but I like that it was moist and did not taste entirely like a cooked yolk.
The sausage was sort of dry and overcooked, which did not do this sandwich any favours.
McChicken — $US1.79
Lettuce lovers may take umbrage to this, but the McChicken I ate had too much iceberg and not enough chicken flavour.
This probably isn’t too surprising seeing as the dish is really just a chicken patty, lettuce, and mayonnaise on a bun.
I also think that trying this McChicken on the same day as the spicy version of it made the flaws of this sandwich more apparent.
Buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich — $US5.99
This sandwich wasn’t bad but was forgettable. It has a chicken fillet, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on an artisan roll.
The tomatoes on this sandwich were cut into big, awkward chunks, and there was more mayonnaise than necessary.
That said, the chicken was tender, and overall it was tasty enough to avoid being in the bottom 10 of my ranking.
Artisan grilled chicken sandwich — $US5.59
The artisan grilled chicken sandwich was saved from total dryness by its tasty vinaigrette dressing, but only enough to land it squarely in the middle of the pack.
The sandwich was just OK – certainly not the best sandwich I tried.
Southwest buttermilk crispy chicken salad — $US5.79
The salad’s highlight was definitely its chilli-lime tortilla chips, closely followed by the chicken.
It also had black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes, and poblano peppers, but I still feel like this dish was sort of dry and underwhelming.
The cilantro-lime glaze that was supposed to be on this salad was either too subtle to taste or missing altogether.
Because of the size of the salad relative to the container, mixing it myself was also more of a hassle than it was worth.
Chicken tender ranch snack wrap — $US2.19
This was basically a chicken tender inside a tortilla with lettuce, cheese, and ranch dressing.
It was affordable and pretty tasty, but I would have preferred the tender on its own (with maybe some hot sauce and ranch on the side).
McChicken biscuit — $US2.50
The McChicken biscuit came with a fried-chicken patty on a biscuit and nothing else.
It was pretty tasty, but I don’t think I could get this again unless it was topped with jelly or served with a big orange juice.
Had it been less dry, it may have made the top 20 of my ranking.
Sausage, egg, and cheese bagel — $US4.19
This was a plain bagel, sausage patty, folded piece of egg, cheese, and some sort of sauce I couldn’t identify. It wasn’t bad.
It was a more filling option compared to the breakfast biscuits, just not as delicious.
Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel — $US4.19
This was basically the same as the previous option, but with a different kind of breakfast meat.
Crispy bacon will always win over sausage, though I do like both.
Bacon ranch salad with buttermilk crispy chicken — $US5.79
I didn’t get why the bacon was added to the salad as full strips or why the chicken was not cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
The individual ingredients (fried-chicken fillet, romaine and red-leaf lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cheese, bacon, and spinach) were tasty, but they didn’t work in the salad.
Buttermilk crispy chicken tenders — $US2.00
You can order two, four, six, or 10 tenders, and I opted for two.
These tenders were a little tough to chew but inexpensive, and they’re especially tasty when paired with sweet-and-sour sauce.
Overall, in terms of value and flavour, McDonald’s nuggets and spicy BBQ glazed tenders are a better option.
Southwest grilled chicken salad — $US5.79
Of the four salads on the menu I tried, this was the best.
First, it didn’t need dressing to be tasty. Even so, I enjoyed the cilantro-glaze taste.
Plus, the greens were fresh and crunchy and the chicken was flavorful.
Hash brown — $US1.99
One hash brown on its own is not worth $US1.99 to me, but it works well as a part of a meal deal, like the McDonald’s big breakfast with hotcakes.
That said, this dish would be tastier with a little more salt.
Fruit and yogurt parfait — $US1.89
This item had nonfat yogurt on top of blueberries and strawberries.
The serving size was a bit small, but it mixed well and was nicely sweet. It also came with a small granola packet, which was perfect for offsetting the sweetness of the parfait.
Quarter Pounder with cheese — $US5.59
It’s hard to remember this burger after tasting several other that were more interesting.
For a burger that costs less than $US6, it deserves some credit. It was decent but nothing special.
Double Quarter Pounder with cheese — $US6.69
This burger tasted like charbroiled meat and onions, and it beat out the Quarter Pounder with cheese.
I’d order it again if I were especially hungry and craving something hearty.
Deluxe Quarter Pounder with cheese — $US6.49
This burger had potential with its strong flavours and variety of toppings.
That said, the one I tried was overwhelmed by a comically large piece of lettuce, which sort of skewed my opinion.
The sandwich was pretty tasty, and without the lettuce I imagine it’d be on par with its lesser-dressed cousin.
Chicken McGriddle — $US2.69
This is delightfully simple – just a fried-chicken patty and some McGriddles.
The chicken would have been better had it been crunchier and better seasoned to contrast with the spongy and sweet McGriddle.
Sausage biscuit with egg — $US3.99
The biscuit was golden and buttery, the sausage was flavorful albeit a bit dry, and the egg was pretty standard.
That said, this dish deserves some cheese or sauce to add flavour and texture. In my opinion, you ought to do your taste buds a favour and pay the extra $US0.60 to add cheese.
Bacon McDouble — $US2.99
This low-cost bacon-topped cheeseburger has one slice of cheese, pickles, bacon, onions, mustard, and ketchup. It was a little salty but otherwise nondescript.
It’s a great option for those who like bacon, but if you have a few extra bucks I suggest springing for a different burger that’s also topped with the stuff.
McDouble — $US2.29
Bacon usually makes things tastier, but the regular McDouble edged out its salty big brother in this case.
Consisting of two well-seasoned beef patties, this dish was good but not as memorable as some other burgers I tried.
Double bacon BBQ burger — $US7.49
It’s hard to justify getting a $US7.49 burger at a chain that has so many cheaper options, but this was huge and it was super filling.
It almost tasted like something I might get at a proper sit-down restaurant, so the price tag didn’t bug me too much.
It could’ve used more sauce, but overall I’m glad McDonald’s has this on its menu.
Bacon BBQ burger — $US5.99
More compact than the previous sandwich, the bacon BBQ burger was delicious, but it was hard to taste the meat patty.
The taste of the burger was overpowered by the onions and barbecue sauce – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Hot fudge sundae — $US1.79
I didn’t care for the taste of the chocolate, but the soft-serve ice cream was creamy and delicious.
Hot caramel sundae — $US1.79
I don’t love caramel, but I liked how it mixed with the creamy soft serve.
Vanilla cone — $US1.39
What more can you say about vanilla soft serve? It’s a classic for a reason, and it’s inexpensive. The portion size was quite generous for the low price.
Deluxe double Quarter Pounder with cheese — $US7.29
The patties were under-seasoned, but their charbroiled taste was not as overwhelming as others I tried.
With its patties, tomatoes, cheese, onions, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, this burger had a nice balance of flavours and textures that I liked.
Triple cheeseburger — $US3.79
I found that with McDonald’s cheeseburgers, the double was the sweet spot. The three patties were tasty, but they were not balanced with the other ingredients.
Triple the meat should be paired with more cheese, chopped onions, or other toppings.
Vanilla shake (small) — $US2.79
My least favourite of the three shakes, this was not as cold as the soft serve and the whipped cream did not add much.
Given that the milkshakes are all the same price, I would choose one of the others first.
Strawberry sundae — $US1.79
This dessert was refreshing and simple, and anyone who wants a soft-serve upgrade might enjoy this.
The freshness of the strawberries is what could make or break a sundae, and luckily these tasted pretty fresh.
Strawberry shake (small) — $US2.79
The strawberry flavoring was subtle, but I could still taste it throughout. Depending on my mood, I may even choose this over the chocolate.
Chocolate shake (small) — $US2.79
This was the best McDonald’s milkshake I tried.
I liked that it didn’t contain too much syrup (you can tell from its pale colour), so it didn’t taste like slurping down a chocolate bar with a straw.
Fruit and maple oatmeal — $US2.49
This small cup comes with the option to add in packets of diced apples or a mix of cranberries and raisins.
Although I initially gave this a pretty high spot in my breakfast ranking, I’ve had some time to think and the hype has died down.
I’m moving it down a couple of spots because I liked the McGriddles more and would be more likely to get those again instead of this.
That said, the oatmeal is still the biggest surprise of this entire experiment for me. And it’s pretty tasty.
Sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddle — $US3.89
Looking back, this sandwich was nearly perfect, and I would get it again.
The sausage was well spiced, and the egg and cheese worked with the syrupy McGriddle.
Bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle — $US4.19
In my initial review, I said that the bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle was tied with the sausage version, and I stand by that.
It may depend on the day, but I will absolutely order them both again. On this day, the crispy bacon had a leg up.
Hot and spicy McChicken — $US1.79
Perhaps I thought this was extra delicious because the McChicken was so disappointing.
Either way, the spicy sandwich is fairly priced and has the perfect amount of fiery kick.
Hotcakes — $US3.19
As with the single hash brown, I’ve found since finishing the breakfast review that the hotcakes are a better value when ordered as a part of McDonald’s big breakfast combo.
As a standalone option, they were fluffy and sweet.
They made me nostalgic for breakfasts I used to eat as a kid, and I liked that they came with whipped butter and syrup.
Filet-O-Fish — $US4.99
The Filet-O-Fish is not a part of the major food categories, so it has not appeared in my previous rankings.
The sandwich came with one fried fish patty, half a slice of American cheese, tartar sauce, and a steamed bun. The missing cheese was noticeable but did not completely detract from the crunchy fish and tangy sauce.
Double Filet-O-Fish — $US5.79
This was the same as the previous sandwich, except it had two fish patties. That said, I wish it had also had double the cheese.
For some reason, it also had less tartar sauce than the single Filet-O-Fish, but the flavours and size of the sandwich were just right.
Doughnut sticks — $US1.69
These were not available to me when I first reviewed the breakfast menu, so I circled back to try them for the final ranking.
These sticks came in a pack of six, and I sadly didn’t receive any dipping sauce with them, though ads say these come with a chocolate sauce.
The sticks were a little greasy, slightly crunchy, and heavily covered in sweet cinnamon sugar.
As a snack they were great, but I would not order them for breakfast, which is, unfortunately, the only time of day they are available.
Spicy BBQ glazed chicken tenders — $US4.79
Drenched in a sweet and tangy sauce, these new tenders were messy but quite good.
Since I ordered just four tenders, I wish the price were closer to $US4, but I would probably shell out the additional $US0.79 for them again.
Chicken McNuggets — $US1.00
My main issue with these is that four nuggets are not filling enough, even as a snack.
Sure, I could’ve ordered more (and I will in the future) – but for the sake of this taste test, I ordered the smallest sizes available.
That said, these nuggets were juicy, crispy, and overall just a joy to eat.
Spicy BBQ chicken sandwich — $US6.49
This limited-edition sandwich was the winner of my chicken taste test – but it just wasn’t as good as some other McDonald’s burgers, breakfast dishes, and desserts.
I loved the crispy chicken filet, barbecue sauce, and the sesame-seed bun. The size of the chicken was impressive, and it made for one filling sandwich.
When my self-imposed break from fast food is over, I want to have another one of these.
Big Mac — $US5.49
On its own, the Big Mac is good, but it needs a side of fries to be great.
The chain’s signature sandwich not cracking my top 10 may be controversial, but it’s a choice that I stand by because the remaining menu items are just that good.
The Big Mac was tasty, but it didn’t fill me up as much as other dishes I tried.
Soft baked chocolate-chip cookies — $US1.79
Three cookies for just over a buck is a great deal, in my opinion.
Sure, these weren’t as soft as I expected them to be, but McDonald’s cookies are excellent and not overwhelmed with chocolate bits. I recommend eating them warm.
Double cheeseburger — $US2.69
The double is more filling but similar to taste to the cheeseburger, so it comes down to price.
An extra $US1 is not too much to ask, but there is a meal option with two cheeseburgers, fries, and a drink, which I would reach for first.
Cheeseburger — $US1.69
This is what you want from a quick and inexpensive burger.
The mustard, ketchup, cheese, and meat work well together and everything is balanced taste-wise.
Overall, the chopped onions were the stars and the simplicity of the burger helped them to shine.
Bacon Big Mac — $US6.49
Remember how I said bacon usually makes everything better? That is definitely the case with the Big Mac.
The burger consists of two beef patties, bacon, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame-seed bun. I don’t think I’ll ever order a plain Big Mac again knowing that this exists.
Sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit — $US4.59
Cheese makes all the difference, and in this case it brought this breakfast bite to the next level.
It’s the perfect marriage of flavours and it’s also a decent-sized sandwich to start or end your day.
Had my sausage been a little bit less dry (the other patties I’d tasted seemed moister), this would be close to earning the No. 1 spot on this ranking.
Egg and cheese biscuit — $US2.79
Clean, simple, and to the point – the biscuit on this sandwich was flaky and warm, the egg fluffy, and the cheese melty. What more could you ask for?
Apple pie — $US1.59
The apple pie at McDonald’s is one of two items I’m always in the mood for.
The apples are soft, flavorful, and the crust is flaky with a nice crunch. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or lukewarm – this pie is delicious.
Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit — $US3.89
The perfect breakfast sandwich does exist, and it is this bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. The biscuit is nice and flaky, and the bacon and cheese add plenty of flavour.
This is the best part of McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu and worth every penny.
Double bacon Quarter Pounder with cheese — $US7.69
The name is a mouthful and so is the burger. The one I tried was almost on par with burgers that I have paid twice as much money for.
It tasted like it was cooked to a perfectly juicy medium-rare, and everything inside seemed tailor-made for my taste buds that day.
It had plenty of cheese, bacon, and meat – and it filled me up.
Bacon Quarter Pounder with cheese — $US6.69
For $US1 less, the smaller bacon Quarter Pounder with cheese took the top burger spot and now rounds out the top three.
The sweet ketchup and onions, salty bacon and beef, crunchy pickles, and gooey cheese were the fast-food equivalent of a “chef’s kiss” sound.
The McFlurry — $US2.79
All hail the McFlurry! It’s a classic for a reason.
To keep things consistent with the previous review, I’m keeping the Oreo and M&M McFlurry desserts grouped together as one item because I love them equally.
The dessert’s soft and crunchy texture and its sweet mix of flavours are what I think of first when I visit McDonald’s, and the McFlurries that I ate for this test did not disappoint.
French fries (small) — $US1.99
They’re treated as the sidekick to burgers and sandwiches, but when done right french fries are the lifeblood of the McDonald’s menu.
The thin, mostly uniform size means that there is never too much soft potato inside, the exterior always has the perfect crunch, and I’d say that they’re almost always warm and salted to perfection.
The small fries I tried for this review were exactly how I liked them – salty, crispy, and simple.
Customers can modify burgers and have lots of options when it comes to sandwiches, but the fries are the one constant and easily my pick for the best thing on the McDonald’s menu.