McDonald's Menu Experiments That Never Quite Worked Out

Ashley Hunte
A McDonald's hot dog with all of its regular burger fixings.
reddit | [deleted]

McDonald's has plenty of memorable and iconic menu items that most of us know pretty well (even if we don't eat McDonald's food all that often). But they've also had some pretty strange menu items in the past.

In this list, we'll talk about the offerings McDonald's intended to keep for good, but just didn't work out the way they planned.

"McDonalds cookies!"

The old animal cracker-like cookies McDonald's once offered, each shaped like a different mascot.
reddit | doctor_biteme

Back in the 90s, getting one of these with your McDonald's happy meal was kind of a huge deal. Sadly, it's been years (decades, really) since these sweet treats were last on the menu. At least McDonald's still has some cookies, though.

The Crispy Catfish Sandwich.

In the 90s, a catfish was just the fish (and didn't have the same connotation it does today). But do those battered fish sandwiches ever really work out? I guess when you already offer the fillet-o-fish, you don't really need another one.

"McDonald's Mighty Wings."

A box for McDonald's and NFL mighty wings.
reddit | Puzzleheaded-Let2007

Not to be confused with the McWings (which are apparently a thing in global McDonald's stores), the Mighty Wings of 2013 and 2014 didn't last long. According to the fan-run McDonald's wiki, it seems like they were just too overpriced for what you got.

McDonald's once sold salads... in a cup.

The McSalad Shakers, a menu item from McDonald's in 2000.
reddit | Avoiding_Working

It's now been over 2 decades since McDonald's unveiled the McSalad Shakers. I guess the idea of a salad in a cup was that you could shake them to get the dressing on?

"McDonald's apple pie when they were FRIED."

A McDonald's apple pie from back when they were deep fried.
reddit | Okama_G_Sphere

This menu item is technically still around, it's just that the pies are baked instead of deep-fried. Sure, they're a bit less unhealthy now, but man, those deep-fried pies really hit different.


Believe it or not, McSpaghetti was a real menu item.
reddit | CellSaga21

In the 70s, McDonald's tried their hand at incredibly basic pasta. The McSpaghetti was discontinued in the 80s, but can still be found in Orlando and the Philippines, so there's still hope if you ever want to try it.

"Anyone else remember the Pasta Zoo Happy Meal from McDonald’s?"

The McDonald's Pasta Zoo meal, which consisted of raviolis and sides.
reddit | CrispyBirb

It seems like this might've only been a thing in Australia and New Zealand (I definitely don't remember it). But from all accounts, it was pretty gross, so it's no wonder it got discontinued.

"McDonald's FISH McBITES who tried this?"

The McDonald's Fish McBites were just popcorn fish bites.
reddit | REMO_Williams1985

Another failed fish dish from McDonald's. Apparently, they were actually added to menus twice (once internationally, and then more recently stateside). But again, it seems like when it comes to fish-based McDonald's food, the fillet-o-fish is the only one that can hold its own.

The McDLT, which was basically just a deconstructed burger.

The whole idea was that one side of the container had the meat and cheese, while the other side had all the veggies -- to keep them hot and cool, respectively. But that seems like a lot of unnecessary work, so it makes sense why they didn't last.

The Nerds McFlurry.

An ad for a 2000s McFlurry flavor that featured Nerds candies.
reddit | Conversation_Dapper

I'm not gonna lie, it sounds like this would taste really good. But at the same time, it'd probably break every single tooth in your mouth the second you took a bite, so yeah.

"McDonald's Cinnamon Melts."

A box for McDonald's cinnamon melts, a discontinued menu item.
reddit | weathermanknowsbest

Okay, but this discontinued menu item seems like it would've been really good. According to the fan wiki, there's no known reason why these breakfast treats ended up being discontinued, but it's making me pretty sad (and I've never even tried them).

At one point, McDonald's had onion nuggets.

McDonald's once sold breaded onion nuggets.
reddit | Majorpain2006

I'm imagining these are just like onion rings, but in nugget form. They'd probably taste better than the name would imply, but I'm guessing they weren't marketed very well...

The beefsteak sandwich.

It honestly looks like some kind of cheesesteak sandwich, which means it couldn't have been bad. In fact, a bunch of commenters on the add (which was reposted to YouTube) claimed it was actually really good. Like, McRib level good.

"I don’t know why the chicken McBites didn’t last ."

The short lived McDonalds chicken McBites.
reddit | buffalobiscuit

You really can't go wrong with popcorn chicken. But something tells me that the popularity of the chicken McNugget is the reason why these bad boys ended up getting discontinued.

"You guys remember McDonald's Chicken Fajitas?"

A McDonalds fajita.
reddit | ZebraBoat

Not to be confused with their wraps, the chicken fajitas are, well, fajitas. From the looks of this picture, though, I can sort of see why they ended up getting discontinued. That fajita looks a little too plain.

The Arch Deluxe.

A picture of the short lived Arch Deluxe McDonald's burger.
reddit | Marlo_Yonge

In the 90s, McDonald's wanted to market food specifically toward adults, and tried it out with the arch deluxe. But people weren't having it, and it was discontinued quickly. Apparently, it's considered one of the most expensive marketing flops of all time.

"McDonald’s Hot Dog."

A McDonald's hot dog with pickles on it.
reddit | [deleted]

Apparently, you can actually still find McDonald's hot dogs at certain locations, but only in baseball stadiums and that kind of thing. I... don't really know if I'd trust a hot dog from McDonald's but it's good to know they're a thing.

"McDonald's Big N Tasty Dollar Menu (2002)."

A McDonald's Big N Tasty burger ad.
reddit | Puzzleheaded-Let2007

What I find amazing, is the sheer number of burgers McDonald's comes out with. Like, sure, they're a burger joint and all. But do we really need a thousand varieties of basically the same thing?

The Chicken McNugget Shanghai.

Vaguely insensitive commercial aside, there's an idea in there that's actually good. Namely, bringing flavors from around the world. In fact, McDonald's has done campaigns like the Great Tastes of the World in the past.

And of course, the McPizza

The McPizza, a beloved discontinued menu item.
reddit | savvyf***

As far as I can tell, the McPizza was actually really well-loved, but got discontinued because making it wasn't fast enough to be considered fast food. At least you can still get it in Orlando (if you're willing to make the trip).