If you’ve ever audibly groaned at a drive-thru speaker, you were probably at a McDonald’s and had just asked “are you still serving breakfast?” only to be told, “No, that just ended.” McDonald’s breakfast is pretty damn good as far as breakfast-you-can-eat-without-leaving-your-car goes, you could even argue that the breakfast offerings are better than McDonald’s standard lunchtime menu. However, over the last year, McDonald’s has ditched their all-day breakfast despite their website claiming otherwise.
I know this because for the last few months I’ve been routinely dining on McDonald’s breakfast items from multiple restaurants in my area in an effort to rank the entire breakfast menu. And on multiple occasions, I’ve had to leave empty-handed, which is painful and pretty embarrassing. It’s weird to leave the house to go to a fast food chain and even weirder to drive up to one and leave empty-handed. Eventually, I started ordering French fries, even though what I really wanted was a Sausage McMuffin with Egg.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that I’ve done it! I’ve tried every food item on McDonald’s famed breakfast menu and I’ve separated the good from the bad. Here is the entire McDonald’s breakfast menu, ranked. From oatmeal to sausage burritos to hash browns.
12. Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
Coming in at last place on the breakfast menu is the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Have you ever stared at a fast food menu and wondered if some items were actually being ordered by humans, or if they are there merely for show? That’s how I feel about this oatmeal and most salads from fast food joints. Who is rolling up to a McDonald’s at breakfast time and ordering oatmeal? Something doesn’t add up!
This dish consists of oatmeal, diced apples, dried cranberries, and raisins, bound together with light cream with sprinkles of brown sugar across the top. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention any maple, and that’s because the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal has none! It’s weird for a menu item to outright lie to you, which is further proof that nobody orders this. That said, I was actually relieved that this didn’t have any maple, as maple in fast food usually means maple-flavoring, which is just corn syrup.
As far as oatmeals go, this stuff isn’t great. It’s a little too mushy and overcooked, though definitely a step up from instant oatmeal, but not really worth going to McDonald’s to order. Having two different types of apples, as well as cranberries and raspberries is a nice touch for a more interesting flavor experience, but when brown sugar is the best thing in your oatmeal, you’re in trouble.
The Bottom Line:
Avoid this at all costs. And don’t you dare get fooled into buying this as the “healthy” option.
11. Sausage Burrito
There are all kinds of things wrong with this burrito — first of all, McDonald’s has no business having tortillas on their menu. I don’t think I’ve ever had a worse tortilla in my entire life. It’s overly gummy, that’s the problem. It’s also way too thick for its small size. And I swear to you that they don’t heat it up on a grill or anything. I think they actually open up a package, remove one overly processed tortilla, and then wrap some food inside of it. It’s all wrong.
To add insult to injury they put American cheese in it. What. The. Fuck. I’m no hater of American cheese, I think it’s the ideal choice for a burger, but American cheese on a tortilla is really weird, and it provides an awful flavor combination. Plus it’s the same texture as the tortilla. Honestly, this burrito is better without cheese, which is something I’ve never said about a burrito. Ever.
Inside you get almost-flavorless-peppers, some pork sausage, onions, and McDonald’s weird scrambled eggs. The innards aren’t horrible, but the tortilla makes this thing a slog to get through.
The Bottom Line
No amount of sauce can ever save this thing, if you’ve ever ordered a Sausage Burrito at McDonald’s, you must’ve been high and forgotten where you were.
I’ve seen some of the other McDonald’s Breakfast rankings floating around the internet and I gotta say, the fact that the Hotcakes generally rank highly is proof enough that all of those lists are just flat out wrong. Most reviewers point to a nostalgia they have for the Hotcakes, and I too have fond memories of waking up at my Grandma’s house in East LA on certain weekends to a surprise Hotcakes Deluxe breakfast with bacon and an orange juice.
But fond memories aside, these pancakes are probably the worst pancakes you’ll ever taste in your life. They’re dry and way too thick. I love my Grandma (RIP) but that has nothing to do with pancakes. The Hotcakes are served with salted whipped butter which spreads easily despite the pancakes being lukewarm at best (and I ate them immediately after ordering). Naturally, you’re given a side of “sweet maple-flavored hotcake syrup” which, you guessed it, is your standard corn syrup sweetener.
This meal results in a lot of waste thanks to the utensil, the individually wrapped butter, the styrofoam packaging, and the giant hot cake syrup which you’ll never use all of.
The Bottom Line
Don’t be fooled into ordering McDonald’s “Big Breakfast with Hotcakes” meal. Order those hash browns, eggs, sausage, and biscuits in something else, McDonald’s Hotcakes are essentially freezer aisle microwaveable pancakes — you can do a lot better.
9. McDonald’s Sausage
I went ahead and ordered McDonald’s Sausage for all you keto heads out there and, considering it’s a side order on the pancake meal, I figure we should include it. I’d never order this thing on its own because it reveals how lackluster McDonald’s sausage really is, but… if you must!
The flavor here is one note — peppery. Aside from that it has a sort of grainy chew and offers little else. Not a great sausage, but what are you expecting from McDonald’s? I’d still take just the sausage over that burrito though. See that blown-up photo of a sausage patty above? (McDonald’s doesn’t have photos of just the patty) It tastes as grainy as it looks.
The Bottom Line
If you’re doing the keto thing, McDonald’s isn’t your place.
8. McDonald’s Bacon
McDonald’s Bacon is slightly more appetizing than the sausage, despite the equally horrible photo above. It has a decent smokey flavor and it’s nice and crispy but its weak point is that it’s incredibly thin. You might be inclined to order the sausage on its own, whereas you’ll never order the bacon by itself.
Still… the bacon tastes better, so it ranks higher!
The Bottom Line
If you want to get your Hotcakes meal with a side of bacon over sausage, I’d advise that.
7. Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
It seems hard to imagine that a sandwich consisting of a biscuit, egg, and cheese could possibly rank this low but, here we are. A biscuit sandwich is a great idea, but there is almost nothing worth liking about McDonald’s line of biscuit sandwiches. First, we have the egg, McDonald’s has two egg styles, scrambled (though it’s really more folded than scrambled), and fried, of the two, the folded is the weak link. It’s way too dry, with a grainy texture that feels weird in the mouth, especially when you have no sauce binding the ingredients together. The brushed butter on the biscuit is a nice idea, but in practice, it just leaves your hands greasy, it doesn’t do much for the flavor of the sandwich.
A good gravy sauce would save this sandwich, but McDonald’s doesn’t have that. It’s so dry that you’ll need a drink to get through this thing. And to add insult to injury McDonald’s throw a slice of American cheese on the whole thing. Whose idea was that? Call me crazy, but I don’t think American cheese belongs on a biscuit. Under any circumstance.
Cheddar? Sure, gravy? Definitely. But American cheese? I’m not for it, and this sandwich proves me right.
The Bottom Line
Bacon, eggs, cheese, biscuits, all good things, but unfortunately none of it works here. Easily McDonald’s weakest breakfast sandwich.
6. Sausage Biscuit/ Sausage Biscuit with Egg
While the Bacon, Egg, & Cheese biscuit tasted like a bunch of random breakfast foods thrown together, the sausage-topped version at least makes a little more sense from a flavor perspective. The pepper-forward savory qualities of McDonald’s sausage pairs well with the buttery slightly-sweet biscuit, and while I prefer the sandwich sans egg, if you want the whole thing to taste more complete, go wild, get that egg!
It would still work better with a sauce to hold it all together, but at least it doesn’t taste like it’s missing something like the bacon version. When paired with the egg, the sandwich provides more to chew but doesn’t really enhance the experience. It gives the sandwich a sense of completeness, but it still tastes like it missing something. Ultimately, I’d rather have each individual item on its own, which isn’t a good sign for any sandwich.
The Bottom Line:
Slightly better than the bacon-topped version but still a lackluster sandwich, If you really want a biscuit sandwich, go to Wendy’s.
5. Sausage Egg & Cheese McGriddles/Sausage McGriddle
Calories: 550 (Sausage, Egg, & Cheese) / 430 (Sausage)
Much of McDonald’s breakfast menu consists of different combinations of the same food, so I was torn on whether each iteration of the McGriddle, McMuffin, and biscuit sandwich deserved its own entry. I’ve decided unless the meat is different then no, they don’t. I don’t know how many words per sandwich I can muster when the only variation is egg and cheese, so I’m lumping them all together. That’s just the way it’s going to be.
The McGriddle definitely has its fans, and while I’ll admit that it’s a significant step up from the biscuit sandwich, it hasn’t completely won me over. The griddle cake that acts as this sandwich’s bun is essentially a thicker, chewier rendition of McDonald’s Hotcakes, with that artificial maple flavor that makes the sandwich a little too sweet for my liking.
However, if you’re indecisive and you want all of your favorite breakfast foods in one bite, the McGriddle is kind of perfect. You get the comforting sweetness of a warm pancake, savory and peppery sausage, and scrambled eggs (albeit dry scrambled eggs).
The McGriddle also used to have a fried chicken version, but McDonald’s has essentially given up on chicken as a breakfast meat option, as each chicken iteration version of their breakfast sandwiches is now discontinued.
The Bottom Line
All of your favorite breakfast foods in one bite, the Sausage McGriddle is a solid sandwich though it leans on the sweet and heavy side.
4. Egg McMuffin
If you know the McDonald’s breakfast menu intimately, you probably have a pretty good guess at this point where this ranking is leading to. The McMuffin is McDonald’s greatest contribution to breakfast food, but the Canadian bacon topped Egg McMuffin is the weakest in the line. Featuring a fried egg, sitting atop a slice of American cheese, and a buttered English muffin, the Egg McMuffin is the “lean” version of this sandwich at just 310 calories.
McDonald’s — and this is weird to say about a food establishment — doesn’t really know how to do meat. Sausage and bacon, they do those fine enough, but this weird chewy ham just isn’t it. There are several ways McDonald’s could level this sandwich up, they could swap out the bland and chewy Canadian bacon with a more interesting cut of meat, I’m not saying we need Prosciutto di Parma or Capicola (though that’s an idea) but something better than this low-quality ham would go a long way to giving this sandwich a better flavor and mouthfeel.
The Bottom Line
If you’re on a calorie-restrictive diet and you’re craving a McMuffin this will definitely get you there and satisfy that craving. As far as McMuffins go though, it’s my least favorite and that’s all due to the lackluster Canadian bacon.
3. Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddle
I was torn on the placement of this one, I think the McMuffin is vastly superior to the McGriddle, but gun to my head, I think I rather have the Bacon, Egg, & Cheese McGriddle as my last meal over the Egg McMuffin. Again, this one is all your favorite breakfast foods in one bite, assuming you like bacon over sausage (which I do). Because the bacon takes up less room than the sausage, this one is slightly lighter and easier to eat. I find the flavors of this one a little more complimentary, it’s smokey, sweet, and incredibly filling without weighing you down. The sweetness is less of a distraction here thanks to the smokey bacon flavor and crunch.
McDonald’s doesn’t offer the Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddle without the egg, though you can request it. I’ve never done that, the egg doesn’t bother me as much here because the sandwich isn’t as much of a mouthful.
The Bottom Line
All your favorite breakfast foods in one bite… part two!
2. Hash Browns
When I embarked on this journey to rank all of the McDonald’s breakfast items, I was fully expecting to give the hash browns the number one spot. As far as I’m concerned, these are a must if you’re picking up McDonald’s breakfast. They’re so good that even if you weren’t planning on stopping at the Golden Arches for breakfast, the thought of biting into one of these hash browns might be enough to convince you to work your way through the always-long drive-thru line.
Crispy and golden on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside, the hash browns always provide the perfect crunch, making way for molten hot potato inside. You can eat them on their own, or smear ketchup all over them, or dip them in sauce — it’s very hard to hate these. If you grew up on McDonald’s hash browns, the first time you saw the griddle-cooked shredded version at a restaurant or at home, you probably freaked the f*ck out.
But as good as these things are, I can’t actually give them the number one spot because the idea that a hash brown can be better than a straight-up breakfast sandwich is absurd. They do however rank #1 on breakfast menu hacks. Just get hash browns as a side and then stick that sucker into whatever sandwich you’ve chosen.
These can even save the burrito. That’s saying a lot.
The Bottom Line
The McDonald’s hash browns are so good that it’s worth it to wait through a 15-minute drive-thru line just for this, which I’ve done multiple times. I’ve had so much McDonald’s breakfast in these last couple of months that I’m good for a while, but if you offer me hash browns right now, I’ll take them without hesitation.
On some days this is the best item on the whole McD’s menu.
1. Sausage McMuffin with Egg/Sausage McMuffin
Calories: 480 (Sausage McMuffin with Egg), 400 (Sausage McMuffin)
Here we are at the champ — the Sausage McMuffin with Egg may be the best breakfast sandwich in all of fast food. Savory and peppery sausage on top of a slice of melted American cheese, sandwiched by a fried egg, and then sandwiched again between two perfectly toasted English muffins… this is the only McDonald’s sandwich that isn’t in desperate need of a sauce to pull it all together. It’s protein-rich, salty, and doesn’t have the intense sweetness of the McGriddle or the so-dry-you-can-choke quality of the biscuit sandwiches.
The Sausage McMuffin is the best way to have breakfast on the go, and that’s due to its ingenious form factor. You can eat it with one hand while driving in a car, which means you can unwrap this sucker right after you buy it, which I highly recommend because that’s when it’s at its best. If the Sausage McMuffin with Egg isn’t quite heavy enough for you (calm down, Joe Rogan) feel free to toss a hash brown between it and be prepared to enter a wonderland of savory and salty flavors.
Even without the egg, this sandwich is still amazing, and would still rank as McDonald’s best.
The Bottom Line
McDonald’s best breakfast sandwich and quite possibly fast food’s best breakfast sandwich. If you haven’t given the Sausage McMuffin with Egg a try because you’ve been too tempted by what the McGriddle offers, give it a try and prepare to kick yourself over how dumb you’ve been for thinking a pancake sandwich could ever top this.