Did you know that McDonald's used to sell something called the McHotDog? Or a sandwich made out of pineapple? Or that there used to be cherry pies sold alongside the apple pies? These aren't limited edition or secret menu items or things you can hack at individual McDonald's restaurants; these are canceled McDonald's food items and unlike the McRib, we don't think they'll ever come back (even though we wish some of them would).
The fast-food giant tests new menu items at different restaurants, which is why some of these canceled McDonald's foods may be among your fondest memories and why you've never heard of others.
10 of our Favorite Canceled McDonald's Menu Items.
Like the McHotDog, McDonald's tried into other menu items that the chain thought would appeal to its main audience. In the 1980s, that meant venturing over into Italian foods, including McSpaghetti and McPizza. But spaghetti can't compare to Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and french fries, and the McPizza took 11 minutes to cook (not so fast food), so this late 80s food experiment went the way of pegged jeans and Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television.
It looks like it recently made an appearance in Italy and the Philippines if you are really wanting to try it for yourself.
The McDLT wasn't about innovating the McDonald's hamburger, it was about changing the packaging. Keeping the hot side hot and the cool side cool. By offering a styrofoam container with two wells, one for the hamburger on the bottom of the bun and one for the top of the bun with all the toppings, you were supposed to be able to keep the cool toppings from getting warm and the warm burger from getting cold. Sounds like a great idea, except no one waits that long to eat a fast burger. And it was an environmental nightmare. Introduced in 1984, it did manage to hang around for a while but was finally became a canceled McDonald's food in 1991.
The Arch Deluxe was a grown-up burger. In 1996, the fast-food chain, home to the Happy Meal, tried to appeal to adults with a gourmet burger. But adults didn't buy into the new burger and it didn't last long. I mean, when you've got the Big Mac, why would you need a gourmet burger?
Today, it's not that difficult to find lobster rolls even in landlocked states. In 1993, when McDonald's tried adding the McLobster to their menu, that wasn't the case. Basically, just a hot dog bun stuffed with lobster and special sauce, the sandwich was a hit at first. But it cost $6, which today would equal $10.65. Maybe still not a bad price for lobster, but it wasn't profitable for the chain so the sandwich was discontinued shortly after it was introduced, though it's rumored that you can still find the McLobster in some New England stores.
Honestly, I think McDonald's was just ahead of the hipster curve on this one. McSalad Shakers were salads layered in giant McDonald's cups. Pour the dressing over the salad, place the lid back one, and shake it up, covering all the salad in a delicious dressing. Plus, it's so much easier to hold a to-go salad in one hand rather than trying to balance the giant flat containers. Today, you can find recipes for layered salads in mason jars, so even though it only lasted from 2000-2003, maybe we can convince the chain to bring these canceled McDonald's McSalad Shakers back.
Big 'N Tasty
There's always been a competition between McDonald's Big Mac and Burger King's Whopper, but with the Big 'N Tasty, McDonald's answer to the Whopper, the chain decided to join them instead of beat them. The Big 'N Tasty was added to the McDonald's menu at Disney's California Adventure theme park in 1997, but it was pretty much a flop. The burger moved overseas and to the chain's dollar menu under the name Big Tasty, but in 2011, the chain canceled the burger for good.
In 2013, McDonald's fish went bite-sized. The restaurant tried to take the popularity of chicken nuggets over to fish, except nobody was hooked by the deep-fried fish nuggets. Fish McBites joined the canceled McDonald's list the same year.
You'd think that anything in the onion ring family would be a winner, but these nuggets of diced onion that were dipped in batter and fried were canceled because customers did not like them. Onion nuggets were introduced in the late 1970s--before Chicken McNuggets, by the way--but were discontinued shortly after.
Yes, one of the canceled McDonald's menu items is a pineapple burger. Introduced in the 1960s, the chain was trying to appeal to adults who were practicing Catholics and thus couldn't eat meat on Friday. A slice of grilled pineapple and two slices of American cheese replaced the beef patty. Yeah, we would have stuck with the Filet-O-Fish, too.
Chicken nuggets are by far the most popular McDonald's chicken item, so in 2004 the chain introduced a fancier, bigger version of the McNugget called Chicken Selects. The item never sold very well and became an official canceled McDonald's item in 2013. However, on today's McDonald's menu, you can find Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, so maybe the idea of Chicken Selects lives on. Now if we could only get McDonald's to bring back the good McFlurry flavors!