30 McDonald’s Menu Hacks to Save You Money

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Craving a Big Mac for less? Try these McDonald’s menu hacks the next time you order!

McDonalds Hacks To Try Include Turning a McDouble Into a Big Mac

Eat for less with these McDonald’s hacks! 🍔🍟🤑

Don’t let the Hamburgler steal your money! Did you know there are tons of clever ways to save at McDonald’s? I compiled a list of handy ordering tricks that will keep your wallet fat and your belly full. 💵

If you love a delicious Big Mac or a creamy McFlurry, you’ll want to know these McDonald’s hacks. Some – but perhaps not all – should work at a location near you. To get more bang for your buck, read this list before you roll through that drive-thru!

Disclaimer: These hacks may or may not work at your McDonald’s. When writing this post, I was absolutely shocked at how much McDonald’s prices vary from location to location.😱 Not only are prices different, but sometimes that difference is a $1 or more!

One hack that worked near me was a total bust for Hip2Save’s Stetson, and a hack that worked for a popular YouTuber, didn’t save me a penny. I was really torn on whether to share this list, but ultimately decided to post it. If at least a few of these hacks can help you save, I’m glad to share them with you!

30 of the best McDonald’s menu hacks:

1. Always use the McDonald’s app.

McDonalds Hacks use the McDonalds App to earn reward points

When we asked Hip2Save readers how to save on fast food, readers agreed that if you aren’t using the apps, you’re missing out on money-saving offers.

They’re right! The fastest way to find deals and freebies at McDonald’s is to use the McDonald’s app. It updates regularly with the latest offers and coupons. You’ll spot deals like a FREE Large Fry with any purchase, double points on any breakfast purchase, or Buy One Get One Free sandwiches.

You can also join the MyMcDonalds Rewards Program to earn points with every single order. You’ll receive 100 points for every $1 spent. Spend just $15 to start cashing in on awesome rewards like a FREE McChicken, FREE Hash Browns, or a FREE Cheeseburger. The more points you rack up, the better the freebies!

2. Choose items from the $1, $2, $3 menu.


McDonald’s has a special menu section where you can find your favorite sandwiches and sides for between $1 – $3. Instead of splurging on a more expensive combo, you can piece together a yummy meal using the cheapest items from this list.

At my location, you can snag a McChicken Sandwich for $1.59 and a French Fries for $1.99 (prices may be different near you). Hydrate with water and you have a filling meal for just $3.58! Or, go on a Friday and you can score this meal for just $1.59 (see tip #5).

3. Check McDonald’s website for the latest deals.

McDonald's hacks find deals on the McDonald's website

One place to check for the latest McDonald’s promotions is their website. If they have a widespread deal going on, it’s usually listed on the McDonald’s deals page. At the time of this article, you can grab any size Premium Roast or Iced Coffee for just 99¢.

4. Sign up for email alerts.

woman working on a computer

If you find yourself forgetting to check the app, you can also have the latest deals and coupons sent right to your email. Just sign up for email notifications on the McDonald’s website.

5. Use the app to get free fries every Friday.

Person holding mcdonalds fries

A great reason to download the McDonald’s app is that you can score a FREE Medium Fry every single Friday in 2023. All you have to do is make any purchase of $1 or more using the app. Talk about a good deal! 🙌

6. Build your own Big Mac.

A Makeshift Big Mac consisting of a McDouble With Big Mac Sauce Is one McDonalds Hack to Try

Creating your own Big Mac is one of the most popular McDonald’s hacks! There are a few ways to do this but the cheapest is to order a McDouble.

The McDouble is featured on the $1, $2, $3 menu. By me, it costs only $2.19. Order this sandwich, hold the condiments, and add lettuce. Then, ask for a side of Big Mac Sauce and apply it yourself! Your location may or may not charge for the sauce which is about 30¢.

Since a Big Mac costs $5.09 at my location, one can save around $2.60 – $2.90 by trying this McDonald’s hack. Your exact savings may differ, but as the Big Mac is always more than the McDouble, this hack should save you something! 😀

7. Score fresh fries every single time.

MCDonalds Fries

Want fresh fries every single time? Wait until the restaurant isn’t busy and then ask for fries with “no salt.” McDonald’s will whip you up a fresh batch that’s piping hot (but you’ll have to add the salt yourself if you want it).

One former fast food worker did tell me that asking for “no salt,” may result in the employees having to clean the fryer. 😬 Fries are being cooked up constantly so if you go during peak times, chances are the fries are already as fresh as can be. If you want to save McDonald’s employees the hassle of cleaning the fry bin while ensuring you get a fresh batch, another way to get fresh fries is simply to ask for them and wait.

8. Choose your fries wisely.

Mcdonalds fries mcdonalds hacks

It turns out the small and medium french fries from McDonald’s are just about the exact same size. Don’t believe me? Check out this video from The Deal Guy that proves me right. If you’re looking to save, go with the small size instead. 🍟

9. Make your favorite frozen drink for cheap.

MCDonald's menu hacks - make your own frozen drink

This McDonald’s hack is so popular that McDonald’s has adopted the “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude. They even posted the above photo to their Facebook page. 😆

Want to try it? Here’s what to do. Add an ice cream to a drink like Coca Cola or add your ice cream to an espresso for a caffeinated treat at an affordable cost.

The ice cream cone costs just $1.69 by me and a Small Coke costs just $1.29. That gets you a Coke Float for only $2.98. For comparison, a Small Coke Float from A&W is $4.93 near me. That’s a difference of $1.95.

If you go with the espresso drink, you’ll have to order in store. Ask for the espresso shot which is not on the menu. According to one barista, it costs about $1 per shot. Add that to your ice cream and you’ll only spend around $2.69 for a decadent drink!

10. Get a fresh egg for the same or similar price.

two egg mcmuffins on tray with mcdonalds bag in the background

All the breakfast sandwiches at McDonald’s come with a folded egg that is premade except for the McMuffin. If you want a fresh egg on any other sandwich, ask for a “round egg” instead. 🥚

11. Don’t add an extra patty to your sausage biscuit.

mcdonald's sausage biscuits

On social media, I kept seeing this “McDonald’s hack” to double your Sausage Biscuit by asking for an extra patty, so I tested it for myself and it was a BUST.

For most locations I tested, a Sausage Biscuit costs somewhere between $1 and $1.59. If you request an extra patty, you’ll be charged between $1.39 and $1.89. This is a TOTAL RIPOFF, y’all! 😕

Instead, just order yourself a second Sausage Biscuit. You’ll get the extra meat AND an extra biscuit for less than the cost of just the second patty.

12. Get more bang for your buck by making your Big Mac bigger.

Man holding a McDonalds Big Mac

Next time you’re famished, consider upgrading your Big Mac by asking for Quarter Pounder patties instead. You may get hit with an extra charge, so this McDonald’s hack won’t save you money, but it will give you a better quality burger.

13. Do the survey on your receipt to get FREE food.

McDonalds Hacks - BOGO offer on McDonald's receipt survey

If you want to be a savvy consumer, always ask for your receipt. On it is a survey you can take to score freebies and coupons. Taking the survey is a quick and easy way to score FREE food from McDonald’s. The offer will vary, but we often see BOGO deals like the one shown above.

14. Getting delivery? Check for deals.

phone with food delivery service app open

If you prefer to get McDonald’s delivery, you might just be able to score a discount. Uber Eats, DoorDash, and GrubHub sometimes offer either discounted delivery or a freebie when you request your delivery through their service. Check out McDonald’s delivery webpage for the latest delivery deals from these companies.

15. DIY a budget salad.

one McDonalds Hack is to make your own Beef or Chicken Salad Hack

Ordering a full-size salad from McDonald’s will run you somewhere around $6.29. If you’re lucky enough to have a side salad at your McDonald’s, order that instead. Then, grab a cheap sandwich or Chicken McNuggets from the $1, $2, $3 menu and crumble it over your greens. 🥗

Disclaimer: I checked several McDonald’s locations on the app and not very many offered salads or side salads. This might be a McDonald’s hack to order in person.

16. Customize your meal to get fresh food and some free toppings.

mcdonalds cheeseburger

Have you ever visited McDonald’s and spotted already-made sandwiches sitting under the heater? If you want to avoid getting an older sandwich, make some simple customizations. You’ll not only receive a freshly made patty, but most – not all – of your extra toppings will come free of charge!

A former McDonald’s worker stated that she thought the smartest shoppers were the ones who ordered a basic sandwich and added extra toppings. Often the extras were free or cost less than ordering a sandwich that already includes those ingredients.

However, I did test her theory about ordering a Sausage McMuffin and adding an egg, but that hack cost me more than just ordering the Sausage and Egg McMuffin, so make sure to check the pricing at your local restaurant before trying this hack out!

17. Want Chicken McNuggets? Order this way to get more for your money.

chicken mcnuggets

Before ordering your McNuggets, always do the math. The prices will vary by location so this might not hold for you, but typically the 20-piece or 40-piece is the best deal per nugget. Just check out the prices near me:

  • 4 Piece McNugget – $2.19 or 55¢ per nugget
  • 6 Piece McNugget – $2.49 or 42¢ per nugget
  • 10 Piece McNugget – $5.19 or 52¢ per nugget
  • 20 Piece McNugget – $6.79 or 34¢ per nugget
  • 40 Piece McNugget – $11 or 28¢ per nugget

If you can’t finish a larger size, you can always take them home and pop them in the air fryer when you’re ready to eat again.

18. Make a makeshift DQ Blizzard or McFlurry for less.

A Mcdonalds sundae topped with crumbled cookie is a McDonald's Hack for a McFlurry or Blizzard
Disclaimer: This hack didn’t save Stetson any money at his location. 😢  It did work for both myself and my coworker, Cam, so I’m sharing it in case it works for you too!

This handy trick comes from one of my favorite YouTubers, The Deal Guy. If you’re a fan of the Dairy Queen Blizzard or the McDonald’s McFlurry, try ordering this instead! Grab a hot fudge sundae ($2.49 near me) or ice cream cup ($1.69 near me) from McDonald’s and ask for a McCafe cookie (49¢ near me). Crumble your cookie and mix in with your ice cream for a comparable dessert at a much better price!

Your location prices may differ from mine, but here’s about how much you might be able to save. Near me, a McFlurry costs $3.99 and a Medium Blizzard is $5.29. With my ordering trick, it costs $2.98 for the sundae-cookie combo or $2.18 for an ice cream cup-cookie combo.

That means you’ll save between $1.01 and $3.11 just by trying this McDonald’s hack! 💰🍦

Hip Tip: Order a package of cookies and spread your ice cream on them to create your very own ice cream sandwich or order an apple pie to create your own apple pie a la mode or apple pie McFlurry. 😋

19. Never order a side of sausage with your breakfast. 

pancakes on a plate

If you know you want sausage, get it with your meal instead of as an extra side. By me, the Hotcakes meal cost $3.29. The Hotcakes With Sausage meal was $4.19. That means a customer is being charged 90¢ for the sausage patty (varies by location). If I were to order a side of sausage instead, my location charges me $1.79 which is double the cost! 🧐

As I mentioned earlier, I can order an entire Sausage Biscuit for 40¢ less than the cost of a single sausage patty side. Make it make sense, Mickey D’s! 🤯

20. Save on your specialty coffee by buying from the McCafé.

mcafe iced coffee drink

Don’t overlook the McCafé coffees! You can get your favorite specialty drinks like a Caramel Macchiato or French Vanilla Latte for WAY cheaper than your local Starbucks or Dunkin.’

A Medium Caramel Macchiato by me costs just $3! The very same drink at Starbucks costs $5.45 and $4.79 at Dunkin. I save up to $2.45 by ordering from McDonald’s instead! 🎉

21. Craving a Mocha Frappé? Swap the syrup for hot fudge at no cost.

chocolate syrup on a mcdonalds coffee drink

This tasty specialty drink has chocolate syrup as a main ingredient. According to The Deal Guy, you can swap the chocolate drizzle for the hot fudge sundae syrup at no additional cost. You’ll essentially have the same drink but it’s made with a higher-quality product instead! Yum! 😋

22. Ditch the ice in your beverage to get your money’s worth.

get no ice in your drink as a mcdonalds hack

Ice takes up SO MUCH ROOM in your drink. Anytime you want more for your money, just ask for your beverage without ice. You’ll get a lot more of the beverage you ordered!

23. Order a large drink and split it between two people.

McDonalds Menu Hacks - Split a large drink like a Shamrock Shake

If you don’t need a super large drink, consider splitting one drink into two. If you order two small sodas at McDonald’s it costs about a $1 each. Meanwhile, a large only costs about $1.79 (varies by location). You don’t save much but sometimes every little bit counts!

24. Scan your receipt to Fetch Rewards and other cash-back apps.

fetch app on iphone is one of the best cash back apps of 2022

Our team LOVES Fetch Rewards! This handy app gives you cash back on your purchases and it’s super easy to use! Just scan your receipts and Fetch will give you a percentage back. It works at over 250 different retailers and restaurants.

You can also scan the same McDonald’s receipt to similar apps too! Check out our complete list of cash back apps and give them a try! Aside from Fetch, two of my personal favorites are Receipt Hog and Receipt Jar.

25. Use discounted McDonald’s gift cards.

McDonald's Gift Card

If you frequent McDonald’s and know you’ll spend at least $25 soon, it pays to buy discounted gift cards. For example, you can pay $25 for a gift card worth $30. That’s $5 worth of FREE food you’re getting!

Discounted gift cards are sold at retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club. You can also find these discounted gift cards on sites like Gift Card Granny, CardCash, CardBear, and Raise.com.

26. Grab a McDonald’s sheet cake for cheap.

McDonalds Hacks include buying a Sheet Cake from McD's.

Many people don’t know that at select McDonald’s locations you can buy an entire sheet cake for somewhere between $6 and $9. These cakes come in chocolate or vanilla and are fitting for low-key birthdays. If you have a celebration coming up and need a quick and cheap dessert, consider skipping the expensive bakery and picking up a McDonald’s sheet cake instead.🎂

As for the taste of them, I can’t comment. 😂

27. In Autumn, scoop up the McDonald’s Halloween coupon booklet.

halloween trick or treat coupon book from mcdonalds
Occasionally, McDonald’s issues Trick or Treat coupon booklets at Halloween. These nifty little coupon books usually only cost $1 and they contain about a dozen coupons for freebies like ice cream cones, hamburgers, and apple slices. If you see them available, grab one for yourself and enjoy the free grub! 👻

28. Take advantage of your military, teacher, student, or senior discount.

mcdonalds coffee in hand

McDonald’s does not have company-wide military, student, or teacher discounts. However, during certain days of the year like Teacher Appreciation Week and Veteran’s Day, you may be able to score a discount. Just ask your cashier the next time you visit.

The company also does not have an official senior discount policy but many locations are willing to give one if you ask. It’s usually in the form of a small discount on beverages, like 10% off. If your local McDonald’s won’t help you out, swing by your local Wendy’s. The one by me gives out FREE senior coffees.

29. Need ice? McDonald’s offers affordable bags.

Ice Cubes

In need of ice? McDonald’s sells bags for an affordable price of between $1 – $2. Only select locations offer them so make sure to call ahead. 🧊

30. Become an employee to get a discount of up to 30%.

McDonalds Sign

If you’re a die-hard fan of the golden arches, consider becoming an employee. McDonald’s workers get all sorts of perks like tuition assistance, flexible work, access to Employee Assistance Programs, time off, a 401K retirement account, and an employee discount. Word on the street is that discount can be up to 30% off! 😃

Read this before trying out one of these hacks!

Disclaimer: When doing research for this article, I saw that McDonald’s prices varied greatly by location. A great hack in Davenport, Iowa might not save you any money in Waco, TX. Before trying these McDonald’s hacks out for yourself, use the app to check pricing at the various restaurants near you.

Don’t miss out on these other clever fast food hacks!

About the writer:

Kara is a writer and photographer from the Midwest. Her creative work has appeared in various publications over the past decade. With a background in finance, she loves to be money-savvy.

Join The Discussion

Comments 10

  1. rn404

    I haven’t been to McDonald’s in a good minute..I ordered a large sweet tea the other day as I can sip on it for 2-3 days, it’s sweet and I cut it with water.
    was really shocked to see it was not $1 anymore…I was like WTW

  2. Maria

    I wish McDonalds had vegetarian options. I would go there more often because the app is amazing! I get free McCafe drinks and fries constantly…. But never a meal without having “veggie” options.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      That would be nice, Maria. 💕 Glad you’re loving the app. I like snagged the offers in there too!

    • Sam

      THEIR FRIES ARE NOT VEGETARIAN OR GLUTEN FREE. They have natural beef flavor [wheat And Milk Derivatives] and fried on the same oil as the chicken nuggets. As a matter of fact not even their sliced apples can be considered vegan or vegetarian.

  3. Peaches

    I like when McD’s has BOGO breakfast sandwiches as I can save one for another day. Also, their pancakes with sausage meal is huge. You get 2 pancakes, eggs, sausage, hashbrowns and a biscuit! Set aside the sausage, half of the eggs and the biscuit for another meal. I heat the biscuit in the microwave in a small covered bowl when ready to eat and it’s like it was just made.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      YUMMY! Thanks for sharing how you’ve been able to stretch they breakfast meals! 🙌❤️

  4. Jodi P

    For the BOGO sandwich (for doing the survey on the receipt), my 2nd sandwich is always Chicken, plain (!) because I can put it in the fridge at home and heat it up later, or eat it cold, and it’s not too bad. Or I just eat the chicken without the bun. The burgers do not reheat well at all. Bleh. I order it plain, because the condiments and vegs are gross if you heat it up. I add my own mayo.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing how you order that deal, Jodi P! Good to know what tastes best when reheated! 🙌😋

  5. Kay

    When my kids were smaller, we would sometimes order the big breakfast with hot cakes. They’re around $6.00 now but we would split it…..one would get the hot cakes, one would get the sausage and biscuit and one would get the eggs and hash brown. It’s a good bit cheaper than ordering the individual items. Not only is just a sausage patty expensive but just an egg is around $2.40 here. You can get an egg biscuit for just a few cents more.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Such a great idea to split up and share the big breakfast, Kay! 🙌❤️

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