Fan favourite McDonald's menu items that deserve a comeback

The Golden Arches orders we miss the most

<p>Robson90/Shutterstock</p>

Robson90/Shutterstock

As much as we love a classic Big Mac and fries, ideally followed by an apple pie or a McFlurry, there's always something new to try at McDonald’s. Since the fast food chain was founded in 1940, it has regularly switched up its menu with innovative bites to keep us coming back for more. But not all of the dishes were lucky enough to become permanent fixtures. From Mighty Wings and McDonald’s Pizza to the McDLT, we look at the menu items that sadly no longer exist.

Read on for some of the most-missed McDonald’s menu items, counting down to the dish we'd most like to see back on the menu.

Our ranking is based on reviews, accolades and the popularity of each menu item, taking into account sales, longevity and the reaction to the dishes at the time of their release (and discontinuation).

27. McLean Deluxe

<p>Jamie/Flickr/CC BY 2.0</p>

Jamie/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

It’s hard to believe the McLean Deluxe, available in the US in the early 1990s, was 91% fat-free. It contained just under 0.4oz (11g) of fat compared to the Big Mac, which contains around 1oz (28g). To keep the patty bound together, it swapped the fat with carrageenan, an additive from red seaweed, helping to keep it juicy. Despite this, it wasn’t massively successful and this item, along with the rest of the Deluxe range, was discontinued in 2000. The Deluxe range has been described as having one of the worst marketing campaigns in McDonald's history.

26. Fruit and Walnut Salad

<p>theimpulsivebuy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0</p>

theimpulsivebuy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Not like anything else sold at McDonald's at the time, the Fruit and Walnut Salad was launched in the US in 2005 as a lighter alternative to desserts like the McFlurry. It featured apple slices, red grapes, candied walnuts and low-fat yogurt. Customers actually enjoyed it, and it stayed around until 2013.

25. McDLT

<p>Jim Ellwanger/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0</p>

Jim Ellwanger/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Soggy salad in burgers is a problem McDonald’s tried to solve with the McDLT, which launched in the US in the mid-1980s. Styrofoam packaging separated the hot beef patty with half of the bun, while the other section featured the cool ingredients, including crisp lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickle, sauce and the other bun half. It was discontinued the following decade, as the box wasn’t the most environmentally friendly.

24. Strawberry and toffee sundae

<p>mcdonalds_bulgaria/Instagram</p>

mcdonalds_bulgaria/Instagram

Complete with soft ice cream and a sticky, flavoured sauce, these sweet treats disappeared from UK menus in September 2018. McDonald’s confirmed via social media that the decision was due to lack of popularity, along with British government recommendations on sugar. You can still find the dessert at a select few locations around the world, including Qatar and Bulgaria.

23. McHotDog

<p>maynard/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</p>

maynard/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A few different countries tried selling the McHotDog at various points between the 1990s and early 2010s, including Canada, Chile, Japan, the UK and the US, despite company founder (and franchise pioneer) Ray Kroc’s wishes for the item to never appear on the menu. The early McDonald’s executive and franchising agent had health concerns about the classic American dish, which he expressed in his autobiography. Just as Kroc had predicted, they didn’t last long on the menu.

22. Szechwan Sauce

<p>AdamL212/Flickr/CC BY 2.0</p>

AdamL212/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Inspired by the spicy, mouth-numbing flavours from China’s Sichuan province, Szechwan Sauce at McDonald’s was a sweet condiment that accompanied Chicken McNuggets. It was first released in 1998 in the US as a tie-in with the release of Disney film, Mulan. It made a comeback for a short period in 2017-18, after it featured in an episode of the animated sitcom, Rick and Morty. It later came back for a select few days in March 2022 while supplies lasted, but it hasn’t been seen on the menu since.

21. Fish McBites

<p>McDonalds2423GalenaAve/Facebook</p>

McDonalds2423GalenaAve/Facebook

When Fish McBites joined McDonald’s menus in the US in 2013, it was the chain’s first new seafood dish since the Filet-O-Fish debuted in 1965. Bitesize pieces of battered Alaskan pollock were served in a cardboard box with tartare dipping sauce, and it came in three sizes: snack, regular and shareable. Sadly, the innovative menu item didn’t last longer than a few months.

20. McDonald’s Big Breakfast

<p>David Lee/Alamy Stock Photo</p>

David Lee/Alamy Stock Photo

For UK fans, long gone are the days when you could look forward to a McDonald’s Big Breakfast piled with all the essentials, including scrambled eggs, sausage patty, English muffin and a crispy hash brown. Sure, you can enjoy a McMuffin and hash brown instead, but this was the only dish where customers could enjoy creamy scrambled eggs. A tasty version is available in the US still, featuring a breakfast biscuit instead of an English muffin.

19. Strawberry Cheesecake McFlurry

<p>McDonaldsSuriname/Facebook</p>

McDonaldsSuriname/Facebook

The Strawberry Cheesecake McFlurry was available to customers at UK locations of McDonald’s. It featured soft-serve ice cream, strawberry sauce and chunky cheesecake bits, but sadly didn't last on menus for very long. In 2023, McDonald’s launched a similar Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry in the US for a limited time, but reviews online were mixed.

18. McDonaldland Cookies

<p>McDonaldsCanada/Facebook</p>

McDonaldsCanada/Facebook

Nothing like today’s gourmet chocolate chip cookies the size of your hand, McDonaldland Cookies were small, crunchy biscuits similar to Animal Crackers. Sold from 1974 in the US, they were in the shape of famous McDonald’s mascots including Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Hamburglar, Birdie and Captain Crook. They disappeared in the 1990s, but you can still find them available on the dessert menu in Australia.

17. Rolo McFlurry

<p>McDonalds7505DayDr/Facebook</p>

McDonalds7505DayDr/Facebook

A sorely missed summer treat, the Rolo McFlurry was available in 2012 in some locations, and came back on the menus for a limited-edition run in 2017 in the US. It featured soft-serve ice cream swirled with crushed Rolos (caramel-filled chocolate bites), and it was one of the most popular McFlurry flavours. Though it's yet to resurface again, many fans are keeping their fingers crossed for a future comeback.

16. Super Size Fries

<p>Thomas Hawk/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0</p>

Thomas Hawk/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Remember when you could get Super Size Fries and Super Size Coke at McDonald’s? Bigger than a large portion, they first landed on US menus in 1987. A McDonald’s spokesperson told CBS News that 'menu simplification' was the reason the items were axed from US menus in the early 2000s. Others have since speculated that it was because there was also a lack of interest and the range didn't align with McDonald’s 'Eat Smart, Be Active' campaign, which launched in 2003.

15. McSpaghetti

<p>McDo.ph/Facebook</p>

McDo.ph/Facebook

Back in the 1970s, when McDonald’s was still figuring out its menu, you could get a hearty, carb-loaded dish called McSpaghetti at its outposts in the US. It featured pasta, marinara sauce, meatballs and grated cheese. It’s still available at some restaurants around the world, including the Philippines – where it comes served with a side of fried chicken.

14. Big Mac Sauce

<p>dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo</p>

dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

You can still enjoy this delicious delight slathered on a classic Big Mac, but can you remember when McDonald’s brought out small pots of the sauce you could buy? The world-famous sauce was first sold on the side in the UK and Ireland, where it launched for six weeks only in 2020. It then appeared in the US in April 2023 – again, for a limited time only. Research by Top10casinos.com revealed that the sauce was the top dish people would like back, with 110,800 online searches from March 2023 to February 2024.

13. Shakin’ Flavor Fries

<p>Dan Keck/Flickr/Public Domain</p>

Dan Keck/Flickr/Public Domain

In 2014, McDonald’s customers in the US got creative with their fries thanks to three new seasoning sachets: Garlic Parmesan, Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Ranch. The idea for Shakin’ Flavor Fries came from a similar dish sold at McDonald’s in Asia from 2005. Some countries still sell similar items, including Sweden’s Shaker Fries featuring El Maco seasoning.

12. Chicken Legend

<p>Martin Lee/Alamy Stock Photo</p>

Martin Lee/Alamy Stock Photo

Another beloved dish that was sneakily discontinued was the Chicken Legend. Available in the UK, it was first introduced onto menus in 2007 but disappeared in 2022, when the chain rolled out a series of new items. The McCrispy is the closest item available now, but fans say it’s just not the same.

11. Mighty Wings

<p>McDonalds/Facebook</p>

McDonalds/Facebook

McDonald’s usually leaves bone-in chicken to its competitors. But in 1990 it decided to try something a little different, with Mighty Wings. The crispy bone-in chicken wings were sold in the US until 2003, and have returned briefly twice since. There are varying reasons why they stopped selling them, including priciness compared to other menu items and the spice level being too high for some customers. Some countries do have variations on the wings, including the McSpicy in China and McWing in South Korea.

10. McLobster

<p>McDonaldsCanada/Facebook</p>

McDonaldsCanada/Facebook

This rather fancy fast food was introduced in the US in 1992, and has since appeared on Canadian and New England menus during summer, when lobsters are most abundant. Consisting of claw, knuckle and leg meat, it was sandwiched in a hot dog bun with shredded lettuce and lobster sauce. Its price was dependent on the value of lobster each season, and subsequently it hasn’t been seen on the menu for a few years.

9. Angus Third Pounder

<p>RosieTulips/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</p>

RosieTulips/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After a franchisee requested a bigger burger to be put on the menu, McDonald’s introduced the Angus Third Pounder in the US in 2009. As well as a generous patty, it had deluxe topping options such as thick slices of bacon, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. It was discontinued in 2013, as the toppings were reportedly too expensive. Angus burger options are still available in some countries, including Australia – there, the Classic Angus features a beef patty with cheese, tomato, onions, pickles, mustard and mayo.

8. Cheddar Melt

<p>mcdonalds_br/Instagram</p>

mcdonalds_br/Instagram

Can you remember this popular cheesy item? The product featured a quarter pounder loaded with onions, teriyaki sauce and a rich Cheddar cheese sauce, served in a rye bun. It was first introduced in the US in the late 1980s before being discontinued, making a brief reappearance in 2004. An adapted version of this is available in Brazil, featuring a beef patty, Cheddar-flavoured sauce and onions in soy sauce, all on a dark sesame bun.

7. McDonald’s Pizza

<p>Roadsidepictures/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</p>

Roadsidepictures/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Only a few will remember McDonald’s Pizza, which was tested at select restaurants in the US and UK in the late 1980s and 1990s. It was served in a personal size with four slices, and had toppings such as cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and onion. Slow cooking times and other problems, such as its box being too big for the drive-thru window, prevented it from becoming a permanent menu item. There's now just one location – in Orlando, Florida – still serving up the enigmatic pie.

6. Chicken Selects

<p>McDonalds/Facebook</p>

McDonalds/Facebook

The seasoned, breadcrumbed chicken strips (which are different to Chicken McNuggets in that they’re less processed, larger and spicier) joined McDonald’s menus in 2004. They were discontinued in the US in 2013, at the same time as the Fruit and Walnut Salad and the Angus Third Pounder. Chicken Selects are, however, still sold in the UK.

5. McRib

<p>Robson90/Shutterstock</p>

Robson90/Shutterstock

Fans have been calling for this classic barbecue-flavoured pork sandwich to be a permanent fixture since it initially launched in 1981. It's been discontinued and reintroduced in markets around the world many times, returning to select US locations in late 2023 for a limited time (after a 'farewell tour' for the sandwich the previous year). Fans in the UK, however, have been the most disheartened, with the popular product last seen on menus in 2018. Will it return once again? We’re holding out hope.

4. Snack Wrap

<p>McDonalds/Facebook</p>

McDonalds/Facebook

Fans were furious about seeing the back of the Snack Wrap, which featured a Chicken Select, shredded cheese, lettuce and ranch sauce, all wrapped inside a soft tortilla. They debuted stateside in 2006 before being phased out a decade later. They were discontinued from the UK market during the COVID-19 pandemic and haven't returned since. It's been reported that the popular item may land back on menus in select markets in 2025, in the form of a McCrispy Snack Wrap. Fingers crossed!

3. Big n’ Tasty

<p>McDo.ph/Facebook</p>

McDo.ph/Facebook

This Whopper-like burger from McDonald’s was launched in California in 1997 and nationwide in 2000. Similar to the Big Tasty, the Big n’ Tasty features a quarter-pound beef patty with tomato, lettuce, onions and ‘new sauce’ in a sesame seed bun. It initially cost 99 cents and was moved onto the dollar menu before it was scrapped for good in 2011.

2. Cheesy Bacon Fries

<p>McDonalds31WMainStreet/Facebook</p>

McDonalds31WMainStreet/Facebook

What’s better than cheesy loaded fries topped with crisp bacon bits? This indulgent take on a classic, with Cheddar and applewood-smoked bacon, became available in the US in 2019. Sadly, it was only available for a limited time. Some campaigned to have them added to menus permanently, though were sadly unsuccessful.

1. Fried apple pie

<p>McDonalds/Facebook</p>

McDonalds/Facebook

Can you remember when McDonald’s had fried apple pies? Based on a family recipe, the fruit turnover was fried in hot oil for a crisp and flaky crust when it first joined menus in the 1960s. The recipe switched to baked in the early 1990s. Some say the change was to make them healthier, while others suggest it was to avoid customers burning their tongues. Locations in Hawaii and one McDonald's in Downey, California, still serve up the fried versions.

Now discover the best special McDonald's menu items around the world

Last updated by Natasha Lovell-Smith.