McDonald’s is everywhere, and whether you’re a huge fan or an occasional patron, there are lots of ways to hack the McDonald’s menu to save money. And it’s bigger than the McDonald’s dollar menu.
You can literally get a McDonald’s deal on every single order you make, while racking up rewards points for freebies and more McDonald’s coupons. We’ll show you how to get all the McDonald’s menu discounts.
Note: McDonald’s pricing is regional, so the cost for these items may be a bit different depending on where you live.
1. Get the McDonald’s app for constant freebies and special deals.
This is where you get a discount. Every. Single. Order.
The free McDonald’s app alerts you to sales, shows you the current menu, and most importantly gives you all the current McDonald’s coupons that can be scanned right from your phone. We got free Large Fries just for downloading the app. New offers and freebies are added every day and are constantly changing; here are some menu specials we’ve seen in the deals section of the app:
- Free Happy Meals when you purchase a combo meal
- Free Large Fries with any purchase
- Free Medium Fries and Drink with purchase of a Signature Crafted Sandwich
- Buy 1 Get 1 Free Signature Crafted Sandwiches
The only reason to sign up for the McDonald’s email newsletter is to avoid checking the app. You’ll get a new email when the app has new deals or coupons.
2. Give the cashier your four-digit MyMcDonald’s code BEFORE you order to save money.
The MyMcDonald’s Rewards Program (only available on their app) lets you earn points on your purchases, which can be used to get free menu items.
Before you place your order in person or in the drive-thru, make sure you tap “Earn Points” and give the cashier your four-digit code to get the credit.
If you place an order through the app, you’ll automatically get the points for your purchase.
If you forget to scan or give your code, contact McDonald’s, and they’ll do their best to get your points to your account.
3. Every $15 you spend at McDonald’s gets you free food.
There are four different tiers of freebies with MyMcDonald’s, and each one unlocks new menu items. Go to the Rewards tab in the app to pick your freebie, and either add it to your mobile order or pick “Use at Restaurant.”
When you spend $15, your 1,500 points will earn you a free:
- Hash Browns (reg. $1.79)
- Vanilla Cone (reg. $1.29)
- Cheeseburger (reg. $1.79)
- McChicken (reg. $1.99)
When you spend $30, your 3,000 points will earn you a free:
- Large Iced Coffee (reg. $2.29)
- 6-piece Chicken McNugget (reg. $2.00)
- Medium Fries (reg. $2.99)
- Sausage Burrito (reg. $1.59)
When you spend $45, your 4,500 points will earn you a free:
- Large Frappe (reg. $3.89)
- Filet-O-Fish (reg. $4.29)
- Sausage McMuffin with Egg (reg. $2.50)
- Large Fries (reg. $3.49)
When you spend $60, your 6,000 points will earn you a free:
- Free Quarter Pounder with Cheese (reg. $4.29)
- Free Happy Meal (reg. $3.68-$4.28)
- Free Big Mac (reg. $4.59)
- Free Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit ($4.29)
4. Get free Medium Fries every Friday on the app.
Free Fry Fridays at McDonald’s is our favorite. Every Friday, you get a deal on the app for an order of free Medium Fries when you spend at least $1. (That’s the price of a fountain drink.)
5. Get free food when you fill out the survey from your receipt.
Your McDonald’s receipt will get you a coupon for a free item such as a Hamburger (reg. $1.59) or Egg McMuffin (reg. $4.29), or you could get an offer like a Buy 1 Get 1 Free on a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (reg. $4.69).
Head over to the McDonald’s Customer Satisfaction survey website and fill out the survey using the 26-digit survey code on your receipt. Once you complete the survey, you’ll receive a McDonald’s survey code that you can redeem on your next visit.
6. Get a secret menu Poor Man’s Big Mac for less than half the cost of a Big Mac.
You can get Big Mac taste for less by ordering a “secret menu” McDouble without ketchup or mustard, but with Big Mac Sauce and lettuce instead for no extra charge.
You might not get the middle bun found in the Big Mac, but you’ll only pay around $2.49, as opposed to $4.59 for a regular Big Mac.
7. Skip the McFlurries; add toppings to a sundae to save more than 30%.
Love a McFlurry, but not crazy about the price? Order a sundae instead and ask for McFlurry toppings to save $2.80. You’ll get a small side cup (about 2 oz.) or M&M’s or Oreos for just $0.30 (at some McDonald’s, they don’t even charge for the M&M’s!).
A regular McFlurry is $3.49, but the McDonald’s secret menu sundae with McFlurry toppings is only $2.19. That saves you 37% on your order. And it’s JUST as good.
8. Order a burger with no patty if you want a secret menu “grilled cheese.”
The grilled cheese sandwich is one of the best McDonald’s secret menu hacks for customers who want a light vegetarian meal, or you want a vegetarian-friendly option in your child’s Happy Meal.
If you just want to try one out for yourself, order the slice of melted cheese between two grilled buns. It’s not any cheaper to skip the meat on a Cheeseburger; it’ll still cost you $1.79.
9. Order your coffee from McDonald’s instead of Starbucks to save up to 39%.
McDonald’s McCafe is considerably cheaper than ordering off the Starbucks menu, so if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, McDonald’s is your best bet. Here are some of the prices for some popular items.
- Hot Coffee (16 oz.): McDonald’s costs $1.69; Starbucks costs $2.75 (39% savings)
- Iced Coffee (16 oz.): McDonald’s costs $2.29; Starbucks costs $3.45 (34% savings)
- Macchiato (16 oz.): McDonald’s costs $3.29; Starbucks costs $5.25 (37% savings)
- Mocha (16 oz.): McDonald’s costs $3.29; Starbucks costs $4.95 (34% savings)
- Latte (16 oz.): McDonald’s costs $3.29; Starbucks costs $4.45 (26% savings)
- Cappuccino: McDonald’s costs $2.99; Starbucks costs $4.45 (33% savings)
10. The best deal on the “$1 $2 $3 Menu” is the $3 McNuggets bundle.
Don’t be fooled; the “$1 $2 $3 Menu” isn’t a value menu, nor is it the McDonald’s dollar menu. It’s just a collection of menu items that cost between $1 and $3, and then some $3 bundles.
While you can find any size drinks, hash browns, and McChicken for around $1, and a bunch of coffee and smoothie drinks for $2, the real savings come from the $3 bundles. For example, the 6-piece Chicken McNuggets and Small Fries bundle would normally cost $5.58 separately, but as a bundle, you save $2.58 (46%).
11. Go to McDonald’s between 10 – 11 a.m. & 3 – 5 p.m. to avoid peak times.
It’s no joke that McDonald’s gets packed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Avoid peak hours by going between 10-11 a.m. and between 3-5 p.m. It’ll save you a lot of time and get you those fries you’ve been craving.
Also, avoid ordering any chicken sandwiches if you’re in a rush — they’re the most labor-intensive. They can take about 8 minutes to prepare, which means you can be sitting in the car a lot longer than you planned.
12. Ordering food between 10 – 11 a.m. can get you McDonald’s breakfast and lunch.
When does McDonald’s stop serving breakfast? Each McDonald’s closes their breakfast menu at 10:29 a.m., but there is a magic window of time where you can order anything off both menus.
Each McDonald’s is different, so be sure to call and ask your local McDonald’s for specific times.
13. McDonald’s prices are the same online as they are in stores.
Ordering through the app not only gives you points to get free McDonald’s, but it also costs the same as going in the store.
14. Expect to pay about $1.49 when you get McDelivery.
You can get McDelivery — McDonald’s delivery, in case it’s not mega obvious — via the McDonald’s website/app, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. And for all of those services, the delivery fee was $1.49. That doesn’t include tip or individual service fees.
Postmates also does McDelivery, but you’ll want to skip it; they charged $2.49 for delivery.
If you signed up for one of the delivery services’ unlimited subscriptions, you’ll get free delivery on all orders of $15 or more.
Of course, getting McDonald’s free delivery is totally possible with Uber Eats — we show you how.
15. The McDonald’s breakfast menu also has a $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu.
Breakfast at McDonald’s lasts from 6:00 a.m. to 10:29 a.m. and even offers a $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu where you can get 12 oz coffee drinks for $2.
For sandwiches, they offer all their sausage breakfast sandwiches like the Sausage Biscuit (reg. $1.49) which is the best price on the menu for the amount of food you get.
16. When it comes to Chicken McNuggets, the bigger the order, the better the deal (except for the 10-piece).
Why? Because if you compare the cost per nugget, the 20-piece McNuggets is the clear winner in the cheapest deal category. If you’re ordering for a large number of people, McDonald’s released a 40-piece Chicken McNugget which is the cheapest option.
- 4-piece Chicken McNugget box $1.79, or $0.45 per nugget
- 6-piece Chicken McNugget box $2.00, or $0.33 per nugget
- 10-piece Chicken McNugget box $3.89, or $0.39 per nugget
- 20-piece Chicken McNugget box $6.19, or $0.31 per nugget
- 40-piece Chicken McNugget box $10.99, or $0.27 per nugget
17. Upgrade your Happy Meal Chicken McNuggets to a 6-piece for a better value.
A regular 4-piece Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal is $5.29, but for $0.30 more you can upgrade to the 6-piece Chicken McNuggets and still get your small soda, fries, and a toy.
Only $0.30 more for two more McNuggets — not bad, when the best you can get per McNugget is $0.27 each (see Tip 7).
18. Ask for no salt on your fries; that way you can be sure they’re fresh.
McDonald’s pre-makes their fries with salt, so to make sure you’re always getting a fresh batch, ask for your fries with “no salt.”
This way, you’ll be getting hot, just-made fries every time. Plus, you can just add salt later if you miss those salty fries.
19. Order your burger with no mustard for a freshly assembled burger.
Just like with the fries, McDonald’s premakes most of their burgers and dispenses them when you order. To make sure you’re not getting a burger that’s been sitting there for an hour, order a burger without a standard ingredient to get a freshly assembled burger.
For example, I’ll order my McDouble with no mustard so that they will have to freshly assemble my burger.
20. Set alerts for discounted McDonald’s gift cards at Raise.com.
It’s rare, but sometimes Raise.com will offer discounted McDonald’s gift cards.
Just make sure you hit the “Set Brand Alert” button to make sure you’re up to date on when they offer discounted McDonald’s gift cards.
21. Get a 10% senior discount at participating McDonald’s locations.
Customers ages 50 and older can get a 10% senior discount at participating McDonald’s. To see if your McDonald’s is offering this deal, be sure to call ahead to your local McDonald’s.
We’ve got a whole list of senior discounts that’ll save you money on everything from food to travel to entertainment.
22. Get free wifi while dining in at McDonald’s.
McDonald’s offers their customers free wifi in store. So, feel free to hop on while you eat your Big Mac or McFlurry.
23. McDonald’s offers teachers and military personnel discounts throughout the year.
Depending on the time of year, McDonald’s will offer free food and discounts to educators and military personnel. We’ve seen offers for free breakfast for educators on Teacher Appreciation week and 10% discounts on Veterans Day.
24. There is no McDonald’s birthday reward.
McDonald’s used to give out Happy Meals to kids on their birthday, but now, there is no birthday reward from McDonald’s anymore.
So, if it’s birthday freebies you’re after, browse our list of places that’ll give you free food on your birthday.
25. You can purchase the Happy Meal toys by themselves for less than $2.
Every year for Christmas, my uncle buys Happy Meal toys to stuff kids’ stockings — and he doesn’t have to get a ton of food with them.
You can buy Happy Meal toys separately from the kids meals for $1.59 – $1.69 each (depending on your location).
But the cheapest way to get the Happy Meal toys (according to the cashiers at my local McDonald’s) is to just buy the Happy Meal; then any additional toy only costs $0.79.
For more ways to save this holiday season, check out our cheap stocking stuffers that don’t suck.
26. Get your bags of ice from McDonald’s for as low as $0.99.
Did you know you can get 8lb bags of ice from McDonald’s for only $0.99-$1.49? Call ahead to your McDonald’s to see how much your local McDonald’s sells them for.
That’s a big deal because ice at convenience stores will run you $2.99 for the same size bag.
27. Additional toppings on burgers at McDonald’s will cost you $0.30 – $0.50.
If you want additional tomatoes, lettuce, or onions, you’ll pay around $0.30 – $0.50, depending on your location.
Of course, any sauces like ketchup or honey mustard are free. No charge.
28. Work at your local McDonald’s to get 30% discounts on food.
McDonald’s employees get health insurance, dental coverage, a 401k plan, tuition assistance, family medical leave, maternity and paternity leave, and discounts.
They also get 30% off their orders at all McDonald’s restaurants.
29. Skip McDonald’s social media; they don’t have coupons or anything special.
McDonald’s Twitter is slightly better; that account shares some of the app’s current deals. But checking Twitter versus the app feels like an unnecessary extra step.
30. Regional stores will serve different food, so check the menu when you travel.
McDonald’s is always putting a twist on their food. Here are a few unique items that have graced the McDonald’s menu over the years:
- Canada: Poutine (French fries covered in gravy and cheese)
- New England: The McLobster (A lobster roll served in a hot dog bun with “lobster sauce” and shredded lettuce, introduced in 1993)
- Southern States: Biscuits & Gravy (A staple in southern cuisine)
- Hawaii: Spam Musubi (Portuguese sausage, sides of white rice)
- Alaska: Denali Mac (A burger that looks like the Big Mac but has two quarter-pound beef patties. This burger is named after Mt. Denali.)
- New Mexico: Green Chile Sunrise Buritto (A breakfast burrito with both bacon and sausage)