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The Ultimate Guide to McDonald’s Breakfast: What to Order

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In my expert opinion, McDonald’s breakfast is one of the greatest things on the planet. Ever since I tried my first Egg McMuffin as a kid, I was hooked. Since then, the breakfast menu has greatly expanded. Regardless of your taste, you can find some breakfast deliciousness at Mickey D’s.

Furthermore, now McDonald’s is offering all-day breakfast. The powers that be heard our cries, so even if you can’t wake up early or you like breakfast for dinner, you can satisfy your cravings. Unfortunately, though, not every breakfast item is offered all day.

In this article, I’ll give you all the information you need to know about McDonald’s breakfast. I’ll describe and evaluate each item on the breakfast menu.

Additionally, I’ll let you know when regular breakfast is usually offered, and what breakfast items you can get outside of the normal breakfast hours.

 

The McDonald’s Breakfast Menu

Below, I'll break down all of the items on the McDonald’s breakfast menu. The prices do vary based on location, and sadly, menu items vary by location. However, these are the current staples of the McDonald’s breakfast menu.

Keep in mind that some areas will offer unique items to cater to the tastes of the local population. For example, you can get lobster rolls in the Northeast and cranberry-orange muffins in the Midwest.

Additionally, some regions will try out various menu items before they’re rolled out nationally. In February of 2016, McDonald’s began testing low carb breakfast bowls and incorporating Chobani Greek yogurt into the Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait at locations in Los Angeles and San Diego.

The breakfast bowls that are being tested are an egg white and turkey sausage bowl with spinach and kale, and a scrambled egg and chorizo bowl with a hash brown, salsa, and Pico de Gallo.

If these items are successful, you’re bound to see them at more locations in the future.

With all that out of the way, it's time for me to guide you through the national McDonald's breakfast menu.

It's divided by “regular” and “healthy” items. I tried to list the items in order of popularity. For each item, I’ve given the following info:

  • Price
  • A description
  • A score based on taste (from 0-5 sausage patties)
  • My review, semi-ironically entitled "The Skinny"
  • Nutritional Content

 

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Regular Breakfast Items

These are the breakfast menu items for those who are less concerned about nutritional content and more concerned with flavor.

 

Hash Browns

Cost: $1.00

 

What is it?

Fried Russet potatoes. The hash browns come in one piece; it’s like an oval-shaped patty. This makes them easier to eat, especially while driving. You can hold them in your hand and eat them without utensils.

Score: 4 sausage patties

 

 

The Skinny:

If you like potatoes, a little crunch, and fried goodness, you’ll enjoy McDonald’s breakfast hash browns. While the hash browns are satisfying on their own, they can be enhanced with some ketchup. Also, they can be a touch on the greasy side, so hold them from the wrapper while you’re eating them if you want to avoid greasy fingers.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
150 1 g 9 g 15 g 530 mg

 

 

 

 

Egg McMuffin

Cost: $2.79

 

What Is it?

The Egg McMuffin is the most famous of the McDonald’s breakfast offerings. It’s a poached egg with Canadian bacon and melted cheese on an English muffin.

Score: 4.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

I’m skeptical of anybody who doesn’t like McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. The combination of the egg, cheese, Canadian bacon, and English muffin are completely harmonious. Each layer provides a different texture and flavor that works well together. It’s satiating yet not too heavy.

If you’ve never had McDonald’s breakfast, I recommend opting for this breakfast entree for your first time. It’s a safe choice.

 

Nutritional Content

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
300 17 grams 12 grams 29 grams 720 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage McMuffin

Cost: $1.00

 

What Is it?

The Sausage McMuffin is an English muffin topped with a sausage patty and American cheese. Basically, it’s an Egg McMuffin with sausage instead of the poached egg and Canadian bacon.

Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

At $1.00, the Sausage McMuffin provides tremendous value, given that it’s roughly the same size and almost as filling as the Egg McMuffin, but it’s offered for a fraction of the price. The sausage is packed with flavor, but this is the simplest of the breakfast sandwiches. It’s a good option for sausage lovers who want a basic meal.

 

Nutritional Content

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
400 14 grams 25 grams 28 grams 750 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage McMuffin With Egg

Cost: $2.79

 

What Is it?

As the name implies, it’s a Sausage McMuffin with egg. It’s a sausage patty, cheddar cheese, and poached egg on an English muffin.

Score: 4 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

This is just an Egg McMuffin substituting sausage for the Canadian bacon. Because Canadian bacon is healthier, the Sausage McMuffin with Egg has more fat and sodium than the Egg McMuffin. However, if you’re just focused on taste, you can’t go wrong with this breakfast sandwich. The poached egg cuts through the saltiness of the sausage, and the English muffin soaks up some of the grease. Each layer is tasty on its own, and you get your meat, dairy, and carbs all in one bite.

 

Nutritional Content

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
470 30 grams 21 grams 29 grams 810 mg

 

 

 

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit

Cost: $2.99

 

What Is it?

A folded egg, American cheese, and Applewood smoked bacon on a buttered buttermilk biscuit.

Score: 4.5 Sausage Patties

 

The Skinny:

This is your classic breakfast sandwich, and McDonald’s breakfast does it right. Many people prefer the biscuit to the English muffin. If you’re considering a biscuit sandwich, this is a good one to try. It’s nothing original, but taste trumps originality.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
440 19 g 24 g 37 g 720 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage Biscuit

Cost: $1.00

 

What Is it?

A sausage patty on a buttered buttermilk biscuit

Score: 3 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

This sandwich is cost-effective, but it’s a tad boring compared to the rest of McDonald’s breakfast menu. Just a sausage patty on a biscuit. At least the Sausage McMuffin comes with cheese. But, if you like biscuits and sausage, you’ll be content with this option.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
440 17 g 30 g 29 g 720 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage Biscuit With Egg

Cost: $2.69

 

What Is it?

A sausage patty and folded egg on a buttered buttermilk biscuit

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

This is the enhanced sausage biscuit. You get extra protein and flavor with the egg. Personally, I prefer the McDonald’s poached egg to the folded egg, but there’s nothing wrong with the folded egg. It’s a step up from a hospital omelet, but I’m not sure if that’s a ringing endorsement.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
510 11 g 33 g 35 g 1090 mg

 

 

 

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles

Cost: $3.19

 

What Is it?

A folded egg, Applewood smoked bacon, and American cheese on griddle cakes with sweet maple baked inside them.

The Score: 4.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

The griddle cakes on McDonald’s breakfast menu are ridiculously good. They offer a touch of sweetness with the maple-infused flavor, but the sweetness isn’t overpowering. As I previously mentioned, bacon, egg, and cheese are the quintessential breakfast sandwich combo, but the griddle cakes make this entree special.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
440 19 g 19 g 48 g 1260 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage McGriddles

Cost: $2.69

 

What Is it?

A sausage patty on maple-flavored griddle cakes

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

If you’re contemplating indulging in the excitement of the McGriddle, you might as well have more than just a sausage patty in your sandwich. This is only a good option if you don’t like the other breakfast sandwich toppings.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
440 11 g 25 g 44 g 1280 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles

Cost: $3.19

 

What Is it?

A folded egg, sausage patty, and American cheese on maple-flavored griddle cakes

The Score: 4.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

When I’m feeling extra hungry and gluttonous, this is my go-to breakfast at Mickey D’s. You have the sweet from the griddle cakes, the salty from the sausage, plus the richness of the egg and cheese. I’d give this sandwich 3 thumbs up if I had 3 thumbs.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
560 20 32 g 48 g 1280 mg

 

 

 

 

Big Breakfast

Cost: $3.39

 

What Is it?

Scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, buttermilk biscuit, and hash browns

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

When I’m getting a fast food breakfast, I prefer my breakfast in hand-held form. The Big Breakfast resembles a cafeteria breakfast. However, it’s a good cafeteria breakfast, and you get a full meal for a low price.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
730 25 g 48 g 49 g 1420 mg

 

 

Big Breakfast With Hotcakes

Cost: $5.19

 

What Is it?

Scrambled eggs, sausage patty, hash browns, hotcakes, and a buttermilk biscuit

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

This is the least healthy of all of the McDonald’s breakfast menu options. Perhaps you find that appealing. You can get a day’s worth of fat in one meal. That’s always fun.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
1050 33 g 56 g 104 g 1960 mg

 

 

 

 

Hotcakes

Cost: $2.19

 

What Is it?

Three maple-flavored hotcakes with butter

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

Don’t expect light, fluffy hotcakes like the ones you find at more upscale establishments. These are pretty basic, but they taste good, especially with butter and syrup. And the maple flavor is a nice touch.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
320 8 g 7 g 54 g 530 mg

 

 

 

 

Hotcakes and Sausage

Cost: $2.99

What is it?

Three maple-flavored hotcakes with butter and a sausage patty

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

This meal feels boring to me. If you want hotcakes and sausage, you may as well go for a Sausage McGriddle. That’s more fun, and it’s easier to eat while driving.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
510 15 g 25 g 55 g 1290 mg

 

 

 

 

Sausage Burrito

Cost: $1.00

 

What Is it?

Scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla

Score: 3 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

You probably don’t think of burritos when you think of McDonald’s, and neither do I. The sausage burrito looks sad, but it tastes decent. And it comes with McSalsa. That’s McBueno.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
300 12 g 16 g 49 g 1420 mg

 

 

 

 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel

Cost: $3.29

 

What Is it?

A folded egg, Applewood bacon, and American cheese on a bagel

The Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

Similar to the hotcakes, don’t expect the greatest bagel from McDonald’s. The bacon, egg, and cheese taste good, but I think most people will prefer these toppings on the biscuit. I’m sure my dad, a native New Yorker, would eat the entire sandwich, but he wouldn't give the bagel itself high marks.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
570 26 g 27g 55 g 1290 mg

 

 

 

 

Steak, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit

Cost: $3.79

 

What Is it?

Seasoned steak patty, grilled onions, a folded egg, and American cheese on a buttered buttermilk biscuit

The Score: 4 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

The steak patty somewhat resembles a thicker sausage patty, but it has a little more kick, thanks to the seasoning. The grilled onions add some crunch and extra flavor. This sandwich provides a hearty combination of goodness.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
520 25 g 30 g 37 g 1440 mg

 

 

 

 

Healthy Options

If you want a fast, budget-friendly breakfast, but you’re trying to eat something on the healthy side, McDonald’s has some options for you.

 

Fruit and Maple Oatmeal

Cost: $1.99

 

What Is it?

Whole grain oats, a touch of cream, red and green apples, cranberries, and two types of raisins. Available with or without brown sugar.

Score: 3.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

Normally I find oatmeal relatively bland, but McDonald’s breakfast menu serves up this dish packed with yummy flavors. The fruit is surprisingly good, the cream adds some richness, and the maple provides some additional sweetness. And it only has 4 grams of fat.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
290 5 g 4 g 58 g 160 mg

 

 

 

 

Egg White Delight McMuffin

Cost: $2.79

 

What Is it?

Grilled egg whites, extra lean Canadian bacon, and white cheddar on a buttered English muffin.

The Score: 2.5 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

I don’t know if I can endorse this one. It may be healthier than the Egg McMuffin, but it doesn’t taste as good. With fat comes flavor, and this sandwich could use some flavor enhancement. It’s similar to the Egg McMuffin, but it’s not as tasty.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
250 17 g 8 g 28 g 720 mg

 

 

 

 

Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait

Cost: $1.00

 

What Is it?

Low-fat vanilla yogurt layered with blueberries and strawberries. Topped with crunchy granola.

The Score: 4 sausage patties

 

The Skinny:

A surprisingly good treat on McDonald’s breakfast menu that is also healthy. I don’t know exactly where McDonald’s gets its fruit and how the fruit is preserved, but the fruit tastes good. The sweetness of the fruit works well with the tartness of the yogurt. And the granola adds some crunch. Not bad at all.

 

Nutritional Info

Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sodium
150 4 g 2 g 30 g 80 mg

 

 

 

 

Breakfast Hours

The full breakfast menu isn’t available all day, only during the designated breakfast hours. Outside of the designated breakfast hours, you can only get breakfast grub from the all-day breakfast menu, which has a fraction of the breakfast options.

Breakfast hours vary by location, but here are the typical McDonald’s breakfast hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 5:00 AM-10:30 AM
  • Saturday-Sunday: 5:00 AM-11:00 AM

However, you may be able to get breakfast earlier at 24-hour McDonald’s.

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The All-Day Breakfast Menu

McDonald’s answered my prayers and started offering all-day breakfast in the fall of 2015. Here are the items on the typical all-day breakfast menu. These are usually the only breakfast items you can purchase outside of the designated breakfast hours:

  • Egg McMuffin
  • Sausage McMuffin
  • Sausage McMuffin With Egg
  • Hotcakes
  • Hotcakes and Sausage
  • Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfair
  • Sausage Burrito
  • Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
  • Hash Browns

 

Beverage Choices

While I’m more focused on my breakfast food, I know some people take their beverages very seriously.

For those of you who need a coffee drink to start your day, McDonald’s has a number of options for you. It expanded from just its basic coffee when it launched its line of McCafe drinks in 2009.

Here are all your drink options and their prices.

Drink Small Medium Large
Premium Roast Coffee $1.00 $1.49 $1.69
McCafe Latte $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
McCafe Mocha $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
McCafe Caramel Mocha $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
McCafe Hot Chocolate $2.09 $2.59 $3.09
Premium Roast Iced Coffee $1.00 $1.99 $2.49
McCafe Iced Mocha $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
McCafe Frappe Mocha $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
McCafe Frappe Caramel $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
McCafe Frappe Chocolate Chip $2.39 $2.89 $3.39
1% Low Fat Milk Jug $2.29 $2.79 $3.29
Fat Free Chocolate Milk Jug $2.29 $2.79 $3.29
Smoothies (Mango Pineapple, Strawberry Banana, or Blueberry Pomegranate) $2.29 $2.79 $3.29
Minute Maid Apple Juice Box $2.29 $2.79 $3.29
Minute Maid Premium Orange Juice $1.99 $2.49 $2.89
Dasani Water $1.99 $2.49 $2.89
Soft Drinks $1.99 $2.49 $2.89

 

Breakfast Extra Value Meals

On top of the menu items, you can add a hash browns and a small coffee by ordering a breakfast entree and making it a meal. You can substitute the coffee for a juice or another beverage for an additional fee, usually the difference in price between a small coffee and your drink of choice.

Generally, when you order a combo meal, you're basically paying for your entree and hash browns, and then getting your coffee for free. So it may make sense to order the extra value meal, depending on what you want.

Here are the meals normally offered:

  • Egg McMuffin Meal
  • Sausage McMuffin With Egg Meal
  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Meal
  • Sausage Biscuit With Egg Meal
  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese McGriddles Meal
  • Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McGriddles Meal
  • Sausage McGriddles Meal
  • Two Sausage Burritos Meal

 

McDonald's Breakfast Master Tips

As a self-proclaimed McDonald's breakfast expert, here's my advice on how to maximize your McDonald's breakfast experience.

 

#1: Be Punctual

This advice is for those of you who want an item that's only offered during the designated breakfast hours. It's a fast-food tragedy to arrive at McDonald's at 10:45 AM and be told that you can't order McGriddles.

Set an alarm. Push yourself to achieve your goal of getting to the golden arches during breakfast time. Then, you can reward yourself with a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, or any other delicious breakfast treat you desire.

 

#2: Consider Your Goals

Think about what you're trying to get out of this meal.

 

Do you just want the tastiest meal possible?

If you're solely concerned with taste, then think about your preferences. Personally, I think you'll have the tastiest meal by getting a breakfast sandwich and hash browns. Determine which breakfast sandwich to order by answering the following questions:

  • Do you prefer sausage or bacon?
  • Would you rather have your sandwich on an English muffin, biscuit, or McGriddles?
  • Do you prefer a poached egg or folded egg?

Your answers will determine the best McDonald's breakfast sandwich for you. If you prefer sausage, biscuits, and folded eggs, then you immediately know that the Sausage Biscuit With Egg is the ideal choice for you and your taste buds.

 

Do you want a cheap meal?

If cost is a consideration, then first look at the cheapest entrees. Hopefully, at least one will sound appetizing to you. You can get two Sausage McMuffins or Sausage Biscuits and a hash browns for $3.

Also, if you're trying to limit your cost, I recommend sticking with a cup of water for your beverage. If you need some caffeine, go for the regular coffee as opposed to one of the fancier McCafe drinks.

 

Are you trying to be healthy?

If you want a healthier meal, order one of the "healthy" options or an Egg McMuffin, which is less unhealthy than the other breakfast sandwiches. You're probably also going to want to pass on the hash browns. I'm sorry. I know they're delicious.

 

#3: Remember: It's Fast Food, NOT Fine Food

Some food snobs will harshly judge the McDonald's breakfast because it doesn't use the same high-quality ingredients as upscale sit-down restaurants. Yes, McDonald's may use lower quality eggs than you'll find in your $14 brunch frittata, but McDonald's eggs taste good to me and millions of people.

If you can only indulge in fresh, organic ingredients, then Mickey D's probably isn't the place for you. But if you're looking for a fast, satisfying meal at a very reasonable price, then you can't go wrong with McDonald's breakfast.

My dream is that McDonald's will give me free breakfast for life for my endorsement.

 

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Justin Berkman
About the Author

Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.



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