Discontinued McDonald's Items That Are Making A Comeback

Whether you're a Big Mac or a Chicken McNuggets person, and regardless of your opinion on the french fries on tap at your local McDonald's, there's one thing we all know to be true. The McDonald's menu you grew up on looks a lot different than the one you'll see today. The nearly 70-year-old brand has grown well beyond its roots as a local California burger joint and is now an international franchise that's recognized as the biggest fast food chain in the world (via Investopedia). It's since served up hundreds of different items at its locations around the globe over the years, from spaghetti in the Philippines to fried shrimp in Switzerland, and just about everything in between, menu-wise. 

Just within its original homeland of the United States, the McDonald's menu has undergone numerous changes over the years, sometimes expanding to include a range of appetites, and sometimes shrinking to focus on the company's bottom line and cut some of the business fat, metaphorically speaking (via Bloomberg). 

Of course, those changes don't always please the customers, who are a varied bunch with similarly variable opinions on each and every detail of the McDonald's menu over the years. And when they raise enough fuss, sometimes McDonald's listens. Keep scrolling for the discontinued McDonald's items that are making a comeback after some time away from their fans. Perhaps you might even spot them on a menu near you.

The McRib returned to fan acclaim in 2020

The McRib has had a tumultuous history at McDonald's. It was introduced in 1982 and then removed from menus nationwide in 2012. Since then, the barbecue-flavored pork sandwich has made limited appearances at some select locations over the years, but for the most part has remained an elusive, nostalgic sandwich from the hazy McDonald's memories of our childhoods. It's all part of McDonald's business strategy to leave customers wanting more, which is simultaneously frustrating and canny from diners' perspectives. 

But now, fans of the McRib everywhere can rejoice. That's because, while the year 2020 didn't bring us very many good things judging by the state of the news every time you dared to open it, that year did at least bring back the McRib to McDonald's menus nationwide. McDonald's just put the McRib sandwich back on its menu at locations around the country in December, according to the fast food chain's official Twitter account. It's not clear at this point how permanent this move is going to be, given McDonald's past propensity for pulling things off the menu. But as long as folks keep coming back for it, there's a good chance that the widely beloved McRib will stick around for a while.

Hi-C finally made its way back into McDonald's soda fountains

One of the more nostalgic and iconic favorites from McDonald's isn't even on their food menu. We're talking about the old-school soda fountain classic, Hi-C Orange Lavaburst. It's practically made to be paired with a happy meal or, now that we think of it, a 20-piece nugget meal for adults. After all, you're never really too old for the occasional Hi-C, thank you very much. 

Despite Hi-C Orange Lavaburst's popularity with at least some segment of McDonald's diners, the drink option was removed from the menu back in 2017. McDonald's apparently attempted to appease Hi-C fans with a similar bright orange fountain drink, Orange Fanta, but it clearly wasn't good enough for the most dedicated fans, who begged for its return. 

Finally, their effort paid off. In February 2021, McDonald's had this to say: "To those who have passionately asked for us to bring it back over the years, we're excited to say we 'C' you" (via AP News). Well, we see what they did there, and we're quite excited about it, along with tons of other McDonald's Hi-C fans who will be able to sip the tangy orange goodness again at McDonald's locations nationwide by summer 2021.

The Bacon McDouble returned in the midst of a pandemic

For those in search of a quick, cheap, and indulgent burger, McDonald's Bacon McDouble was a dream come true. It's loaded with two beef patties, cheese, and thick-cut bacon, and all for just two dollars. McDonald's introduced the burger in 2013 as part of its Dollar Menu & More, which was almost a spinoff of its once-beloved Dollar Menu of yore. But the Bacon McDouble was among several menu items the chain decided to cut in 2020 — including some of its breakfast items and many of its chicken offerings — as the COVID-19 pandemic led McDonald's to streamline its operations across the board (via Reuters). 

Luckily for bacon lovers, McDonald's decided a few months later that the Bacon McDouble, along with a handful of other fan favorites, would be coming back to menus nationwide, as The Washington Post reports. So, the next time you need a fast bacon fix, you can most likely find the Bacon McDouble on a McDonald's menu near you. Perhaps, if you don't have it nearby just yet but still ask nicely, you can even get the staff at your local McDonald's to help you out with making a close facsimile of the thing while you wait for the Bacon McDouble to come along.

McDonald's vanilla ice cream cones couldn't stay off the menu forever

McDonald's isn't just beloved for its burgers and fries. Many people head to the drive-thru to get their sweet tooth fix in the form of a milkshake, McFlurry, or some other ice cream concoction off the fast food chain's dessert menu. For many, their go-to sugary fix is none other than McDonald's humble but mighty vanilla soft serve cone. Made from McDonald's special recipe (which changed a few years back to cut out artificial preservatives and other additives) the signature soft serve is featured in most of the chain's shakes and ice cream desserts. That's all despite the fact that the ice cream machine always seems to be on the fritz at your local McDonald's franchise. 

Ice cream cones were one of the items that McDonald's decided to cut at the beginning of the pandemic, quite possibly to the joy of many employees who hate working with the machines and dealing with upset customers when the soft serve maker inevitably broke down. However, as The Washington Post reported in June 2020, they were also among some of the first items McDonald's said it was bringing back to the menu, so your sweet tooth can now rest easy.

Chocolate chip cookies came back to the McDonald's menu after a short break

Cookies have been a feature of the McDonald's dessert menu for decades. Back in the day, there were the signature boxes of crunchy McDonald's cookies that only exist in our memories. For a while, sugar and oatmeal cookies were also offered at various McDonald's franchise locations, but those were discontinued sometime in the mid-2010s (via Quora). More recently, the signature soft-baked, chewy chocolate chip cookies were the only kind you could get from McDonald's. But, if you were amongst the many fans of this fast food baked treat, you were more than content with your lot. 

Until 2020, that is. That's when the chocolate chip cookies were one of the first menu items to go when McDonald's decided to consolidate its menu during the pandemic, much to the disappointment of many fans (via The Washington Post). While the chocolate chip cookies apparently come frozen to each location before being baked and sold (via Reddit), they were still good and popular enough that people sought out the secret recipe for them online in places like Reddit's r/TopSecretRecipes. Luckily, McDonald's announced that the chocolate chip cookies were returning to the menu in December 2020, according to The Washington Post, so fans of this treat should be able to get their cookie fix easily now.

Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce blazed back on the McDonald's menu

Spicy chicken is having a moment in fast food, if the ongoing fast food chicken wars are any indication. McDonald's, never one to be left behind in such a rivalry, decided to go beyond the sandwich wars and debuted Spicy Chicken McNuggets with Mighty Hot Sauce late in summer 2019, as per its official Twitter account. Though those not in the know might shrug their shoulders, this was a big deal for many reasons. The Mighty Hot Sauce was the first new sauce McDonald's had debuted since 2017 and was the first time ever that the chain offered a new spin on its classic Chicken McNuggets

It was a huge hit for many, though Eater London was less impressed, saying that the new offering was only the regular Chicken McNugget menu item "with a spray tan". Still, amongst diners, the new nuggets and sauce were so popular that McDonald's started selling out of the limited-time items just two weeks after they hit the menu (via Business Insider). So obviously, fans of the new nuggets immediately began petitioning McDonald's to make them permanent. And this time, it seems like McDonald's is listening. The chain announced in January 2021 that the Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce would be back on the menu starting in February. Even better, said McDonald's, the menu items would stick around as long as supplies last.

Szechuan Sauce came back to McDonald's menus thanks to Rick and Morty

Perhaps one of the most storied and controversial items McDonald's has ever offered is actually one of its condiments — Szechuan Sauce. It's a sweet and tangy sauce with a hint of sesame oil — and no actual Szechuan pepper, by the way — that was introduced as a limited-time item in 1998 to promote the release of Disney's Mulan, according to Salon.

Szechuan Sauce disappeared shortly after, only to make a major comeback in 2017 after being featured on an episode of the popular animated show Rick and Morty. The episode led to renewed mass demand for the sauce, including a popular Change.org petition. With so much support behind the initiative, McDonald's decided to bring it back for a limited time. However, the chain didn't anticipate just how many people wanted to get their hands on it, and the lack of supply led to literal riots among angry customers (via CNBC). 

McDonald's tried to make it up to people with a second release for the nigh-mythical Szechuan Sauce in February 2018.  Not everyone liked the stuff, however. Eater deemed it hardly better than strawberry jelly, saying that customers "might just as well pour this Szechuan sauce on pancakes."

McDonald's brought back the Szechuan sauce yet again in 2020. However, this time around it's only available in New Zealand (via Pop Culture). It's not clear if and when the sauce will make a stateside comeback, however.

All day breakfast left and came back again

McDonald's started offering all day breakfast in 2015 after admitting this was the number one request it was getting from customers. So you can imagine many people have not been taking it well since McDonald's decided to discontinue its all day breakfast amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It makes sense that this would happen from an operational perspective, at least, as kitchens were forced to streamline operations while enacting social distancing measures and downsizing on-site staff. But that doesn't mean fans didn't almost immediately start asking for McDonald's to bring it back. 

There are reasons to believe that McDonald's doesn't want to make all day breakfast a permanent thing ever again, given that some franchisees argued that the menu had impacted their speed and quality of service (via Wall Street Journal). However, there are also reasons to have hope in this comeback despite the resistance from behind the counter. Eat This, Not That! did some in-depth investigating and found that McDonald's locations in several states are actually still offering all day breakfast. McDonald's also confirmed this to be the case on its official Twitter

It's also worth noting that, after McDonald's officially discontinued its all day breakfast in March 2020, the chain's U.S. president, Joe Erlinger, suggested on his own Twitter that it would indeed be back at some point. Midnight McGriddle lovers everywhere, stay strong!