We’ve all been there: Running out the door, already late for work, and in need of a quick calorie bomb for breakfast. We jump in the car, put on our favorite podcast, and head towards the job for another day. On the way, we have to make a stop for some fuel. For decades, McDonald’s has provided the quick release from morning hunger pangs before our day gets underway. Breakfast is so important to the fast food joint that it straight up saved them (and hurt the competition) a few years back.
Back in 1972, Santa Barbara McDonald’s franchisee Herb Peterson debuted his quick take on Eggs Benedict, the Egg McMuffin. It was a nationwide hit. The next big innovation came in 1985 when the Canadian bacon on the sandwich was switched out for a savory sausage patty — a real game changer. From there, McDonald’s has consistently expanded it breakfast sandwich menu to include 12 different sandwiches along with a smattering of other items.
But we’re not here today to talk about pancakes and wraps. We’re here to talk about the absolute best option you have when you screech into your next McDonald’s drive-thru with only minutes to spare before you’ll be ‘technically’ late for work. It’s about the perfect mix of buttery toasted bread, melty cheese, savory meats, and supple eggs. McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches are fast, easy, and cheap. And they’re almost always god-damn-delicious.
12. Sausage McGriddles
Well, this list has to start somewhere. There’s nothing really wrong here. It’s just a bit boring. It’s just a sausage patty between two McGriddles. That’s it. It kind of feels like you ordered a regular sausage with egg and cheese and they forgot the egg and cheese.
Who wants that? Go big or go home!
11. Sausage Biscuit
This one edges out the Sausage McGriddles simply because McDonald’s biscuits are nice and buttery and have more oomph to them then the sweet McGriddles. So, while there’s still a bit of a boring factor at play, this one is a little more filling.
10. Sausage McMuffin
Of the three basic sausage sandwiches, this one wins by a country mile. What’s a country mile you ask? A very long way. There, we saved you opening a tab and asking Google. You’re welcome.
McDonald’s sausage patty hits the spot with its subtle spiciness, fatty texture, and meaty goodness. Why this one wins the plain sausage battle is that single slice of American Cheese that melts into the English muffin. That extra layer of cheesy texture adds a nice dimension. Cheese always wins.
9. Steak, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit
We’re not sure this is the best idea in theory. Biscuits are inherently way too crumbly to withstand having to nash your teeth through a piece of steak. So Micky-D’s made a sort of steak patty. And it’s okay. There’s decent seasoning and the grilled onions take everything up a solid a notch from a sausage patty with cheese. But, this one feels more like a novelty sort of “tried-it-once” breakfast affair than a stone-cold classic.
8. Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Bagel
A great bacon, egg, and cheese bagel is a thing of beauty. But so, so much of that beauty is dependent on a great bagel delivery system that’s gummy and soft and maybe even a little sour that’s charred to toasted buttery perfection. The only reason this version is that low on this list is that there are so many other places to get a great bagel. Still, if you just can’t go another morning with a BECB, this will scratch that itch.
7. Egg White Delight McMuffin
Get outta here with those egg whites! It was hard placing this one. It’s still an Egg McMuffin after all — and they’re pretty solid every time. But, the switching from American Cheese to White Cheddar doesn’t add much. And let’s face it, the idea that an egg yolk is evil has been summarily debunked. Still, it’s a decent twist on a classic.
6. Bacon, Egg, & Cheese McGriddles
McGriddles are a hard sell. Are they bad? No. Are they the best? Meh. Basically from this point on we’re talking about the bread that’s delivering our breakfast sandwiches. And, for us, the McGriddles come in third behind a biscuit and English muffin. Hey, you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.
5. Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McGriddles
Like the sandwich in slot number six, this is a perfectly good breakfast sandwich — especially if you want some pancakes without having ‘pancakes.’ Still, there’s an argument to made that the other breads provide more opportunity for melding all greasy meat, melty cheese, and silky egg.
4. Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit
What isn’t better on a biscuit? Seriously. Schnitzel, ice cream, pickles, fish, jam, honey are all awesome on biscuits. So, yeah, bacon, egg, and cheese work too. Warning: The biscuit breakfast sandwiches are going to rank pretty high here.
3. Sausage Egg & Cheese Biscuit
The only reason this one is ranked above the bacon, egg, and cheese is that McDonald’s Sausage patty>McDonald’s bacon. Where McDonald’s sausage patty is soft, savory, and spicy their bacon can get a little chewy and that’s reason enough to go with the sausage over the bacon.
2. Egg McMuffin
There’s no doubt nostalgia is at play when any of us order this for breakfast. For so many of us, an Egg McMuffin was integral to our childhoods. It’s those rainy days in the third grade when your mom didn’t have time to cook before work and you both had an Egg McMuffin in the damp car before she dropped you off at school and ran to work. It’s that late night that turned into the morning in college when you saw McDonald’s was already open and you dipped in for an Egg McMuffin, some hash browns, and a cup of OJ with the desperate hope that your hangover would be lessened.
It’s so simple — Canadain bacon, well-done egg, cheese, and a buttery toasted English muffin — but it works wonders every time.
1. Sausage McMuffin with Egg
You had to see this coming. As good as the original Egg McMuffin is, swapping out the Canadian bacon for a sausage patty is just light years better. That extra matrix of fat and spice from the sausage starts to meld with cheese and then find its way into all the crooks and crannies of the English muffin where it blends with plenty of butter to create a cheesy savory sauce for the overall win.