We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.
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. Spending less at McDonald’s is wayyy bigger than just ordering from 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 lets you place a pickup or delivery order, but most importantly, it 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 Rewards code BEFORE you order to earn points.
The MyMcDonald’s Rewards Program (only available via 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.
Tip: If you forget to scan or give your code, you can contact McDonald’s with your order info. It’s cumbersome, but if you’re patient, they’ll do their best to add the points to your account.
3. Every $15 you spend at McDonald’s gets you free McDonald’s food.
There are four different tiers of freebies with MyMcDonald’s Rewards, and each one unlocks new menu items. Go to the McDonald’s Rewards tab in the app to pick your freebie, and either add it to your mobile order or pick “Use at Restaurant.”
At 1,500 points ($15 spent), you can choose from . . .
- Hash Browns (reg. $2.09)
- Vanilla Cone (reg. $1.59)
- McChicken (reg. $2.29)
- Cheeseburger (reg. $1.89)
At 3,000 points ($30 spent), you can choose from . . .
- Medium Fries (reg. $3.39)
- Sausage Burrito (reg. $1.99)
- 6 pc. McNugget (reg. $2.50)
- Large Iced Coffee (reg. $2.79)
At 4,500 points ($45 spent), you can choose from . . .
- Large Fries (reg. $3.89)
- Large Frappe (reg. $3.89)
- Filet-O-Fish (reg. $4.39)
- Sausage McMuffin with Egg (reg. $2.50)
At 6,000 points ($60 spent), you can choose from . . .
- Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit (reg. $4.49)
- Big Mac (reg. $4.69)
- Quarter Pounder with Cheese (reg. $4.79)
- Happy Meal (reg. $4.09-$4.79)
We compared MyMcDonald’s Rewards to Burger King’s Royal Perks program. Guess which one’s better?
4. Get free McDonald’s 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 McDonald’s Fries when you spend at least $1. (That’s the price of a fountain drink.)
5. Get free food when you complete the McDonald’s survey on your receipt.
Your McDonald’s receipt will get you a McDonald’s coupon for a free item such as a Hamburger (reg. $1.69) 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. $4.79).
Visit 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.
There are lots more ways to get free food at restaurants — always save your receipts!
6. Get a Poor Man’s Big Mac from the McDonald’s secret menu for less than half the cost of a Big Mac.
You can get Big Mac taste for less by ordering a 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 $2.69, as opposed to $4.69 for a regular Big Mac.
One of the best items from the McDonald’s secret menu.
7. Get a sundae with toppings — it’s a cheaper, McDonald’s secret menu alternative to the McFlurry.
Love a McFlurry, but not crazy about the price? Order a sundae instead and ask for McFlurry toppings to save $0.60. 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 $2.89. That saves you 17.2% on your order. And it’s JUST as good.
8. Order a burger with no patty to get the McDonald’s 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 $1.89.
9. Order a McDonald’s coffee 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 $1.89; Starbucks costs $2.95 (36% savings)
- Iced Coffee (16 oz.): McDonald’s costs $2.29; Starbucks costs $3.75 (39% 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)
Of course, if you need your Starbucks fix, we have all the Starbucks menu hacks that no barista will tell you.
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 $4.79 separately, but as a bundle, you save $1.79 (37%).
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 McDonald’s 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 (Including the McDonald’s secret menu item, the Mc10:35 Burger).
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 McDonald’s app not only gives you points to get free McDonald’s, but it also costs the same as going in the store. Good to know, right?
14. Expect to pay about $1.49 to get McDonald’s Delivery.
You can get McDonald’s Delivery — or McDelivery — 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.
If you signed up for one of the delivery services’ unlimited subscriptions, you’ll get free delivery on all orders of $15 or more.
15. The McDonald’s breakfast menu also has a $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu.
McDonald’s breakfast lasts from 6:00 a.m. to 10:29 a.m. at most locations 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. $1.69) 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.
Why? Because if you compare the cost per nugget, the 20-piece Chicken 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 $1.89, or $0.47 per nugget
- 6-piece Chicken McNugget box $2.50, or $0.42 per nugget
- 10-piece Chicken McNugget box $3.99, or $0.39 per nugget
- 20-piece Chicken McNugget box $6.59, or $0.33 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 $4.49, 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 16).
18. Ask for no salt on your McDonald’s 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.
It’s an easy restaurant hack that will get you fresh food every time.
19. Order your McDonald’s 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.
TIP: You can get some of the best McDonald’s coupons, like BOGO Big Macs (reg. $3.99) from Restaurant.com with their Dining Discount Pass.
21. The McDonald’s senior discount is 10% at participating McDonald’s locations.
The McDonald’s senior discount is available for customers ages 50 and older and can get you 10% off at participating McDonald’s locations. 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. McDonald’s wifi is free for all customers.
The McDonald’s wifi is free for all customers 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. The McDonald’s birthday reward is a free dessert through the McDonald’s app.
McDonald’s used to give out Happy Meals to kids on their birthday, but now, they’ll send you a McDonald’s coupon for a free apple pie (reg. $1.69) or ice cream (reg. $1.59) through the MyMcDonald’s Rewards app.
And 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 McDonald’s burgers 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. Become a McDonald’s employee to get 30% discounts on food.
A McDonald’s employee gets 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)
Things get even crazier overseas. Fifteen countries serve the “McBeer” as a beverage option. France has McMacaroons, Italy has the “Gran Crispy McBacon” sandwich, and Israel has the McFalafel.