12 Food Items That Have Arrived And Disappeared At McDonald's So Far In 2023

While McDonald's doesn't tend to cycle through menu items as quickly as some other fast food restaurants do, plenty of foods have already arrived and disappeared in 2023. So far, the changes have mainly been variations on existing themes or seasonal items like the Shamrock Shake that shows up each year around St. Patrick's Day. The chain has provided sauce in a different format, brought back some old favorites, made old menu items better, and added a few new flavors to current selections.

Overall, the changes aren't as dramatic and the new flavors aren't as daring as we've seen from some other restaurants. Despite the items we've seen come and go in 2023, McDonald's continues to fill its menu with classics. Even if a sandwich gets a new sauce or some bacon or the chain brings out a new Frappé, McFlurry, or pie flavor, it's still very recognizable as a McDonald's menu item and tends to please the masses. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes you won't see every new menu item arriving all over the U.S. if executives don't think it will be as popular in some areas as others. After all, the point is to release only profitable new products. There have been a lot of new menu arrivals at McDonald's this year, but if you blinked, you might have missed a few. Luckily, there's always the hope that they could come around again.

1. Arrived: Big Mac Sauce (for more than just Big Macs)

Big Mac Sauce has been around as long as Big Macs – since 1968. However, for the past 55 years, this special sauce (or secret sauce, as some call it) has mainly been reserved for Big Macs. Many people have mistakenly assumed the sauce is Thousand Island salad dressing, but McDonald's told USA Today that the sauce is "unique to McDonald's and includes a classic combination of ingredients." The McDonald's website lists soybean oil, sweet pickle relish, egg yolks, vinegar, and vegetable protein among the components. Plus, the sauce contains onion and garlic powders, turmeric, paprika, and other spices for flavoring. So, it doesn't contain some ingredients like tomato puree and dried bell pepper that you're likely to find in Thousand Island.

The first time Big Mac sauce has been served somewhere other than on a Big Mac was in 2017 when McDonald's produced 10,000 bottles of the sauce to sell to customers at select restaurants. So, you could put it on your burgers at home. Despite McDonald's declaration that it's not the same as Thousand Island, we're betting it ended up on a few Reuben sandwiches and salads at home as well. As of April 27, 2023, McDonald's started selling it as a dipping sauce so that you can dunk your chicken McNuggets and fries into it. Alternatively, you could liberate it from its dipping container and spread it on any other McDonald's hamburger or chicken sandwich.

2. Arrived and disappeared: the Cardi B & Offset Meal

McDonald's has been serving special celebrity meals from time to time since 2020. These meals typically involve favorite combinations from specific celebrities. The first one with artist Travis Scott was so successful that it resulted in a few burger shortages at some locations and a decision to turn the marketing move into a regular feature. Singers Cardi B and Offset became the first celebrity couple to have a joint McDonald's meal, which the chain debuted on Valentine's Day 2023. The Cardi B & Offset Meal came with a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a large Hi-C Orange Lavaburst (Offset's favorites), along with a cheeseburger, tangy BBQ sauce, and large Coke (Cardi B's favorites). You also got a large order of fries and an apple pie to share. To play up the relationship part of the meal and the V-Day launch, the meal came in a bag that was supposed to remind you of a cute Valentine's Day card.

Not long after the Cardi B & Offset Meal debuted, many McDonald's franchise owners boycotted the pairing, saying that the partnership with these two musical artists breaks the internal Golden Arches Code for a family-friendly restaurant. That code includes not making "music partnerships associated with content that includes offensive language in the lyrics" (per Bloomberg). Regardless of whether your local McDonald's franchise owners boycotted the meal or not, it was only available through March 12 anyway.

3. Arrived: McCafé Oreo Frappé

If you were one of the many McDonald's customers who bemoaned the loss of the McCafé Oreo Frappé in 2015, then May 17 was a happy day for you in 2023. After eight long years, the Oreo Frappé is back. The sweet treat is definitely on the dessert side of coffee drinks. This blended mocha drink only has a scant amount of coffee flavor to go with its cookies & cream syrup and Oreo cookie pieces. Plus, it comes topped with light whipped cream and even more Oreo crumbles.

This Frappé is practically a meal in itself since even the small one clocks in at 550 calories, which is almost as many as you will find in a 590-calorie Big Mac. Plan on consuming 600 calories if you order a medium one or 870 calories if you order a large one. Just so you know, the large size packs more calories than a 740-calorie Double Quarter Pounder with cheese. Even if you stick with a small Oreo Frappé, you'll want to note that it has 12 grams of saturated fat and 66 grams of sugar. The added sugars alone (60 grams) are 120% of the recommended amount of sugar any human being should be eating in a day, so approach this drink with caution.

4. Arrived: Strawberry and crème pies

McDonald's first started selling its famous apple pies in 1968. If that year sounds familiar, it's because that is the same year Big Macs arrived on the menu. Apple pie has been a staple on the chain's menu, but there have been other flavors in the U.S., like blueberry and crème, cherry, and chocolate. The chain even tried lemon. Back in 2012, you could find strawberry and crème pies on the menu, but they weren't around for long. At the end of March 2023, strawberry and crème pies landed on the menu again. Interestingly enough, the rerelease of the dessert nationwide revealed a secret; some McDonald's customers had been able to get this flavor for years in their cities, while the rest of us went without.

The strawberry and crème pies have strawberry filling piped in on one side and vanilla crème on the other. Plus, the outer pastry has the same sugary coating as you'll find on the classic apple pie. Like the apple versions, the strawberry pies are made at Bama Companies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but McDonald's employees finish the baking process in the restaurant so that you get a piping-hot pie. Interestingly enough, some people like strawberries and crème pies better than the classic apple pie. However, it could just be a case of preferring new over old, so you'll want to try it out for yourself to decide.

5. Arrived: Bagel breakfast sandwiches

McDonald's first started selling bagel breakfast sandwiches in 1999, so they had a long run before disappearing from menus in 2020. What we're about to tell you now is going to make some of you a little upset. Bagel breakfast sandwiches are back at McDonald's, but not everyone will get them. Customers first started seeing them pop up in select locations in the Midwest and New England at the end of 2022. The rollout has been slow and has seemed to focus mainly on East Coast states and Midwest locations so far. For example, the official return in the Miami, Florida, area didn't start until May 8, 2023. For the time being, you can only find them in places like Chicago, Orlando, and New York City. However, since the rollout is only regional and may only be available in some places for a limited time, there's no guarantee they'll be back at your McDonald's at all in 2023 (or ever).

If you're lucky enough to get bagels at your McDonald's, there are three bagel breakfast sandwiches you may see on your menu: steak, egg, and cheese bagels; bacon, egg, and cheese bagels; and sausage, egg, and cheese bagels. The bacon one comes in at 590 calories, while the other two are both 680 calories. You can also opt for a plain bagel (260 calories) or a bagel with cream cheese (340 calories).

6. Arrived: Spicy chicken McNuggets

Spicy chicken continues to be a popular menu item in fast food restaurants across the U.S. In September 2020, McDonald's made spicy chicken fans happy with the debut of spicy chicken McNuggets. It was the first time the chain released a new McNuggets flavor, and it sold out quickly. The arrival of spicy chicken McNuggets has continued to be a tease since they keep disappearing and then returning for a limited time each year. It happened in 2021 and 2002, so we're not expecting them to stick around for long in 2023 either.

Spicy chicken McNuggets returned to the menu in April 2023. If you don't see them on the website, you'll find them available on the app and at the restaurant. Since there's been no indication yet that they've become a permanent menu item, you'll want to get some while they last. Unfortunately, this year, McDonald's doesn't seem to be stocking the mighty hot sauce to go with it as it did in 2021 and 2022.

7. Arrived: Frozen Hawaiian Punch fruit juicy red

When the weather starts to warm up, frozen drinks become more and more appealing to beat the heat. Being able to go through a drive-through window to get slushies makes them far more accessible than having to go inside to get them from a convenience store like 7-Eleven or QT. Some of the frozen drinks you could traditionally get from McDonald's includes frozen Dr. Pepper, frozen Coca-Cola, and frozen Fanta blue raspberry. If you keep watching your menu, you may also see frozen Hawaiian Punch fruit juicy red among the offerings. It appeared on the website and store window advertisements in April 2023. Customers also started sharing videos and images of themselves enjoying the frozen drink in places like Pasadena, California. We hope it eventually rolls out across the country.

Surprisingly, the small is only 60 calories, the medium is 70 calories, and the large is 110 calories. That compares with the extra small Hi-C Orange Lavaburst that is 110 calories. It's also far lower in sugar than some other fountain drinks, with only 15 grams of sugar for the small as compared to 29 grams of sugar for an extra small Hi-C Orange Lavaburst. We suppose that it's all the ice taking up space in McDonald's frozen drinks that make them a healthier choice when you want a flavored beverage to cool you off or go with your meal.

8. Arrived: Strawberry shortcake McFlurry

A new McFlurry flavor is an event worthy of excitement. On April 12, 2023, U.S. customers started racing to McDonald's to try the new strawberry shortcake McFlurry. If you were expecting strawberries and cake, though, you might have been surprised to find the McFlurry filled with strawberry-flavored clusters instead of real strawberries and shortbread cookies instead of cake. The clusters taste somewhat like the crumbles you might find on strawberry ice cream bars. In Singapore, where they've been selling the flavor for a while, the treat contains strawberry sauce and Oreo cookies instead of shortbread cookies. We like the idea of the Singapore version better, but that doesn't seem to be in our future here in the U.S.

The strawberry shortcake McFlurry will set you back 550 calories. Despite being made with vanilla reduced-fat ice cream, it has 13 grams of saturated fat, which is 63% of the recommended amount you should have in your daily diet. And you'll want to reserve it as your only sweet treat for the day since the 62 grams of sugar you'll find in it exceeds your recommended daily sugar allocation. If you're ready to blow your sugar limit for the day with this McFlurry, you'd better do it soon since it's a limited-time menu item.

9. Arrived and disappeared: Guava and crème pie

While the rest of us were enjoying strawberry and crème in our mini pies, Hawaii was getting to test out guava and crème flavored pies. They came out on March 28 and were only on the menu until supplies ran out. South Florida first got to try the flavor in 2016 and again in 2020, so it must have been successful enough to try in a new state. Hawaii and southern Florida both grow guavas commercially, although the tropical fruit is not native to either location. Still, McDonald's probably thought customers were more likely to embrace a pie made with guava filling in those states rather than in other U.S. states. After all, most of us probably couldn't pick the flavor of guava out of a lineup since we just don't encounter the exotic fruit that often. If you're wondering, guava tastes like a mix between a pear and a strawberry.

Like the strawberry and crème pies, the guava and crème pies came with guava piped in on one side and vanilla crème on the other. These pies packed 270 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat (41% of the daily value), and 13 grams of sugar. So, while eating a guava and créme pie for dessert would use up 25% of your recommended sugar allowance for the day, it's not that bad as far as desserts go.

10. Arrived: Bacon ranch McCrispy and bacon ranch deluxe McCrispy

When you see McCrispies on the menu, you'll soon realize that they're nothing new. The chain's crispy chicken sandwiches have just finally been upgraded with a special McName. However, new to the crispy chicken sandwich team in 2023 are the bacon ranch McCrispy and the bacon ranch deluxe McCrispy. Both sandwiches showed up on menus on March 13.

The original McCrispy features a fried chicken fillet and pickles on a toasty, buttered potato roll bun. According to the McDonald's app, both of the new sandwiches also come with McCrispy ranch sauce and applewood smoked bacon. The deluxe version pretends to be healthier by featuring shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes. The bacon ranch McCrispy contains 660 calories, 8 grams of fat, 12 grams of sugar, 50 grams of carbs, and 1,490 milligrams of sodium. The deluxe version adds 10 calories, 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of carbs, and 120 milligrams of sodium. Lettuce and tomato don't have a lot of sodium naturally, so we're guessing that McDonald's salts its tomato slices.

11. Arrived: Premium lemonade

Lemonade has been around for eons, but it seems lately that chains are now vying to see who can sell the best fast food lemonade. It's gotten popular enough in many restaurants that they've introduced multiple flavors to the menu. While McDonald's is brand new to the premium lemonade scene in 2023, it's already getting high marks from customers who compare it to quality sips from Wendy's and Chick-Fil-A.

Prior to March 2023, you could buy Minute Maid lemonade from the soda fountain. However, the new lemonade doesn't come from soda fountain syrup. Instead, it contains real lemon juice as well as real cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Plus, you'll find real pieces of lemon pulp in it. You'll want to watch how much you drink since a small one is 150 calories, a medium is 230 calories, and a large is 320 calories. As for sugar content, the small size has 34 grams, the medium one has 54 grams, and the large one has 75 grams. As such, drinking either the medium or large one will exceed the recommended amount of sugar you should have for the day. The large one actually has one and a half times the amount of sugar you should be consuming for the day, so maybe it's best to buy it with the intention of sharing it.

12. Arrived: Triple cheeseburger

A triple cheeseburger showed up at McDonald's in early 2023 without any fanfare whatsoever. It doesn't appear among the burgers on the web menu. However, when you view the menu through the McDonald's app, you'll see it there beckoning you to purchase it. Even with three meat patties, it's still not the most unhealthy burger at McDonald's since it only has 540 calories. The unhealthiest burger at McDonald's (and the 12th most unhealthy among all fast-food chains, according to a 2023 Mashed ranking) is still the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese.

This sandwich is exactly like a regular McDonald's cheeseburger, only with three pieces of meat instead of one and two pieces of American cheese instead of one. It still has mustard, ketchup, pickles, and rehydrated onions like the smaller burgers. A single cheeseburger has 300 calories, 13 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbs, 15 grams of protein, and 720 milligrams of sodium. Meanwhile, a triple cheeseburger has 540 calories, 31 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbs, 32 grams of protein, and 1,280 milligrams of sodium. So, if you're in the habit of ordering two single cheeseburgers, a triple cheeseburger would actually be a healthier option since having fewer buns leaves it without as many calories, carbs, or sodium. It also provides more protein, since you're getting triple the meat and double the cheese. So, a triple cheeseburger may not be the beast you thought it was at first glance.