The right menu hack can make or break your dining experience at a fast food restaurant. The reason? Menu hacks have the power to bring flavor to bland foods, combine beloved options into a super order, and provide much-needed tips on how to make the most of every order.
On TikTok, users have brought a selection of the best of the best McDonald’s menu hacks to the mainstream. These folks are showing people how to get more for less — whether that’s chicken nuggets or soft drinks — and teaching us the proper way to curate a full order complete with burger, French fries, and drink. Others are showing that, sometimes, the best-tasting order is actually accomplished by smashing two basic orders together.
Not all of these hacks are new, as some hacks have been known by McDonald’s super fans for years. Still, by taking an explanatory approach on TikTok, the following menu hacks won’t leave you disappointed on your next trip to the fast food chain.
Order correctly to get more nuggets for less money at McDonald’s
Do you ever get the feeling that the McDonald’s Dollar Menu is undermining the rest of the menu? Well, it is. If you play your cards right, it’s possible to get more food for less money by ordering multiple Dollar Menu items instead of the full size order in the first place. "Y’all McDonald’s is scamming us," TikTok user @imsimonecardoso proclaimed in a video. "Ten piece nuggets is $5.09, when you can get a six piece nugget for two dollars. That means you can get 12 nuggets for $4! Make it make sense McDonalds!"
Other TikTok users have found this to be true as well. User @tha_broski pointed out that his local McDonald’s sold the 10 piece McNuggets for $5.79. Which brings up the point that prices do vary depending on where you’re located. Delish writer Kristin Salaky noted in a story that the prices at her McDonald’s did not in fact line up with this menu hack. So, long story short: you may be able to take advantage of this one, just be sure to check the cost first.
Create a drink that tastes like milk tea at Mcdonald’s
Milk tea — specifically boba milk tea, complete with chewy balls of tapioca — is delicious. While McDonald’s hasn’t capitalized on the popularity of boba tea yet, you can hack your way into a delicious milk tea sans boba using what’s already available at the fast food giant.
You can make the milk tea as simple or as complicated as you wish. The most basic version is to ask for sweet tea and creamer. TikTok user @ogfam0usbri tried this version out in her car by putting in two creamers and stirring (this led to a slight over flow and some ice spillage, so maybe sip it down a little before attempting). Her review: "It’s good but it’s not the best."
Spicing it up a little can help, however. TikTok user @emilylamme complicated the order, but for a good drink that’s only $1, it’s worth the extra asks. Her instructions: "Ask for a half cut sweet tea with a pump of hazelnut and when you pull up to the window ask for three creamers." Mix it all together, and there you have it.
Take your McDonald’s fries to the next level by turning them into Buffalo ranch fries
It very well may be true that McDonald’s has some of the best French fries around (though if you’re looking for a homemade copycat recipe, all you really need are shoestring frozen French fries, unsalted beef stock, baking powder, soy milk, soybean oil, canola oil, and corn oil).
One way to take McDonald’s fried to the next level, however, is to sauce them up. TikTok user @jackson.howe turned his French fries into Buffalo ranch fries by dumping them into the bag, adding one cup of ranch dressing and one cup of spicy Buffalo sauce, shaking the bag, and then dumping the well-coated fried spuds onto a plate. It’s not exactly the cleanest style of fries out there, but flavor is flavor.
You also don’t have to stop at the fries. This hack works just as well with chicken nuggets. Or, like TikTok user @sarahmargaretsandlin, coat the fries and chicken nuggets at the same time.
Could you simply dip your fries in Buffalo sauce and then dip them in ranch for a similar effect? Of course, but that would lack the even distribution of shaking it all together.
Stop choosing between a chicken sandwich or a burger at McDonald’s
Burgers get most of the love at McDonald’s, while the chicken sandwiches can sometimes feel like an afterthought. Case in point: the many different burger options with various layers versus the comparatively minimal chicken options. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you must choose between one or the other, though.
The answer is to make a sandwich that brings cattle and poultry together. While one or the other is perfectly fine for people who like standard burgers or regular chicken sandwiches, sometimes life needs a little variety. TikTok user @brooklyn._.b32 took the bun off of both a burger and a chicken sandwich, and put the chicken sandwich on top of the burger patty. Optional ranch dressing and French fries complete the sandwich it before putting one of the top buns back on.
It’s not an entirely novel creation — TikTok users can’t take full credit for creations people did long before the app was created, after all — but it’s a good reminder that a chicken burger sandwich is possible.
Create a chicken version of a McDonald’s Big Mac
Combining chicken and burgers together is one way to up the ante for your sandwich choices at McDonald’s, but maybe you want some of the flavors of a Big Mac without the beef. Remedy this by applying some McDonald’s burger logic to the chicken sandwich for a meal that rivals any hot new chicken sandwich the chain puts out to try and compete with Popeyes.
Enter the Big Chicken Mac, as detailed by TikTok user @urbansmurfin. Start with two plain chicken sandwiches and some Big Mac sauce. Remove the bottom bun of one of the sandwiches and add a slice of American cheese. Then, add the other bottom bun, followed by a chicken patty, another slice of cheese, the Big Mac sauce, and finally a top bun.
This may seem like a lot of extra work for a somewhat simple sandwich, but if the craving is there, you have the power to make McDonald’s chicken sandwiches more interesting with a little bit of assembly.
Get a McDonald’s Big Mac for half the price
"Do you want a Big Mac for half the price?" TikTok user @drepaoofficial asks in a video. "All you have to do is order a McDouble, say no mustard and no ketchup, but add Mac sauce. This tastes exactly like a Big Mac and it’s half the price."
Granted, as is the problem with some of the other popular menu hacks to get cheaper McDonald’s meals and a la carte orders, prices vary depending on which location you’re ordering from. Still, even if it’s not exactly half the price, a McDouble is cheaper than a Big Mac when you’re wanting that flavor but lacking the funds.
A Reddit user noted another way to make this order happen all the way back in 2012. They kept it simple: order a McDouble MiniMac, which is the "exact same burger as a Big Mac minus the middle bun." If you don’t trust that your local McDonald’s will understand what a McDouble MiniMac is as you’re cruising through the drive-thru, though, best to go with the TikTok version.
Hack your way to an off-menu Neapolitan ice cream shake at McDonald’s
There are menu hacks that are multi-step affairs with far-out special requests, and then there are the McDonald’s menu hacks that are so simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done them before. This Neapolitan ice cream shake from TikTok user @iluvmickyds is one of the latter.
For a Neapolitan shake, all you have to do is ask for chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream mixed. It won’t look anything like the neatly layered Neapolitan ice cream you can get from a tub in the store, though — in fact, it looks more like a tub of Neapolitan ice cream that melted, and then was refrozen and mashed even further together — but the flavor is there.
That’s not the only drink combo @iluvmickyds suggests. Apparently, there are plenty of custom shakes and smoothies you can order at McDonald’s. The trick is to know which ones actually taste good. For example, for a custom smoothie that still checks the delicious box, ask for a mango, pineapple, and strawberry-banana smoothie mixed. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions.
Make your McDonald’s to-go meal even easier to eat on the go
Sometimes the McDonald’s hack you need has nothing to do with the food itself, and everything to do with the vessel. As it turns out, McDonald’s meals are super easy to transform into highly portable, one station plates using only the containers the food comes in.
All you have to do is open your cardboard burger container and put the straw of your drink through the middle opening where the two sides connect. Then put your French fries on the other side of the open container, and voilà: the top of the drink holds the whole thing up, while both your burger and your fries are easily accessible. So is your drink, since the straw sticks out of the middle for easy access.
This doesn’t have to be limited to burger orders, either, as it works just as well with chicken nuggets boxes. You can even do it with a McDonald’s shake instead of a regular drink, as TikTok user @sontvn does. Just make sure you don’t finish your drink too quickly and throw the whole thing off balance. That’s key with this set up, after all, with some people responding to a 2019 picture of the construction with "This is a game I’m not willing to play."
Make a vanilla espresso milkshake at McDonald’s, for those who like their caffeine sweet
If you’re looking for the caffeine boost of an espresso shot but the flavor of dessert, this menu hack is for your. By combining two basic McDonald’s orders, you can make a vanilla espresso milkshake that doesn’t compromise on power or taste.
Simply ask for an espresso shot and a plain vanilla ice cream. Then, pour the espresso on top of the ice cream. TikTok user @maveena put the ratio at one shot of espresso for one small ice cream, but don’t feel limited by size alone. TikTok user @morganhumble went with a double espresso order in a medium milkshake. You can also get creative and play with the ratio, as well. A double espresso matched with a small ice cream is perfect for coffee lovers (though you may need to ask for a bigger cup to make sure it doesn’t spill over), while if you’re in the mood for an even sweeter pick me up, a medium ice cream and a single espresso shot will do the trick.
While it seems like a simple enough thing to do, you’re likely going to have to assemble the drink for yourself. When a Reddit user asked if their McDonald’s could pour a couple of espresso shots on their vanilla milkshake, they received a to-go drink tray with one vanilla milkshake and two espressos, all in different containers.
Assemble ice cream cookie sandwiches at McDonald’s
Ice cream cookie sandwiches are one of the great joys in life for anyone who’s a fan of ice cream cookies and dessert in general. And while McDonald’s has many types of sandwiches, the ice cream sandwich isn’t one of them. To that end, make your own by combining an order of a pack of cookies with a hot fudge sundae order.
TikTok user @kyde14 laid out how to make an ice cream fudge cookie sandwich that "literally slaps." First, when you order the two components, ask for the fudge on the side. Then, apply the ice cream to one of the cookies. Put the fudge on one side of the other cookie. Combine the two sides and there you have it.
Don’t stop with the fudge sundae. You can make ice cream cookie sandwiches with any of McDonald’s ice cream options. McFlurries are especially apt since they’re super thick. TikTok user @jessandisaiah went with an Oreo McFlurry to double down on the variety of cookies in their ice cream cookie sandwich. An M&M‘s McFlurry would add some bits of chocolate crunch. Of course, for the purists, a simple vanilla ice cream is more than enough of a treat.
Get the freshest burger possible by timing your visit to McDonald’s just right
"Do you want a guaranteed fresh warm burger every time you visit McDonald’s?" TikTok user @drepaoofficial asks, and who doesn’t? "All you have to do is visit between the hours of 12 and 2, or 5 and 7, and make sure you ask for a receipt. This is when McDonald’s employees are told that they may get random spot checks checking for freshness." They added that the receipt is often the giveaway, too.
There are a number of factors that go into whether the McDonald’s employees fall for this, it should be noted. If you’re a frequent customer coming at the same time every day, for example, there’s a good chance they’ll catch on because inspectors definitely don’t have that level of consistency.
There are also other ways people have suggested you get a fresh, hot burger every time. A former McDonald’s general manager told Business Insider that asking the staff to "drop your food fresh" will have the same results even if it takes "about three minutes" extra. Then again, simply asking for the receipt up front may be enough to get their attention. By some accounts, asking for a receipt indicates you may be a secret shopper or inspector. Once every McDonald’s fan starts pulling this move, however, the power of asking for the receipt might be a tad diluted.
Make Oreo McFlurries even better with McDonald’s caramel and fudge
Oreo McFlurries are delicious. Caramel is delicious. Fudge is delicious. By this logic, if you agree with it, that is, all three of these ingredients together makes for a treat that’s at least three times as delicious as any one ingredient alone. "Hey guys this is a game changer, you’ll never order a McFlurry the same again," TikTok user @sarahmargaretsandlin says in a video. "Order an Oreo McFlurry with fudge on top and caramel on the bottom." For all those who doubt the upgrade, @sarahmargaretsandlin leaves some encouragement in the caption: "Best thing from McDonald’s go try it!"
In a way, it’s like an Oreo McFlurry sandwich where caramel and fudge are the buns. But why stop there? For those who don’t already know, all you have to do to customize your McFlurry (Oreo or otherwise) is ask. The additional ingredients may cost extra, as the Daily Mail noted in 2017, so this isn’t one of those hacks that ups the flavor of an order while simultaneously lowering the price. But when the call comes for the ultimate McDonald’s dessert, ordering more things to throw into it is worth it.
Avoid the McDonald’s price decoys with smart ordering
"So you’re telling me that McDonald’s has priced a medium size drink at $1.29 as a decoy to make me buy the large drink at $1.49 instead of the small at $1?" TikTok user @moneychannel poses to all of the price conscious consumers out there. "But what if I buy the large drink at $1.49, ask for two free small cups, take away my cost of $1.49 and now we both have two small drinks and save 51 cents. Take that decoy principle!"
Also called the decoy effect, this is a common marketing technique. As The Conversation explains: "The decoy effect is defined as the phenomenon whereby consumers change their preference between two options when presented with a third option — the ‘decoy’ — that is ‘asymmetrically dominated." You might also hear it called the "asymmetric dominance effect" or the "attraction effect."
It turns out being stuck in the middle is the worst place to be when the middle is a strangely priced decoy. And while 51 cents may not be a huge difference, penny pinchers will appreciate the savings; plus, those who like to stick it to corporations and capitalism’s tricks will appreciate having the upper hand.
Customize your McDonald’s ice cream cone with your favorite cereal
Sometimes the best way to hack your favorite McDonald’s menu items is to bring in a third party food. TikTok user @liamslunchbox has a wide range of videos where he tests out what different vanilla cone toppings taste like.
There are no limits when it comes to making your plain vanilla ice cream cone into a customized dessert of epic proportions. All that’s required is a food that’s dry and crumbly, so naturally, cereal is a great go-to option to start with. Consider Cookie Crisps, for example, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Or you can go savory with Hot Cheetos, Takis, or regular Cheetos (these tend to have a more divided review, but if you like your sweet paired with your savory, feel free to experiment).
The biggest potential hiccup in this McDonald’s hack is that the ice cream machines always seem to be down for one reason or another. And while changes to the machines in early 2020 could change that, encountering "broken" ice cream machines is still a big enough problem that there’s an app that lets you know if your nearest McDonald’s has a working ice cream machine or not.