McDonalds Hack: 2 Big Macs for $3


Did you know that with certain items from the dollar menu at McDonalds one can assemble two beautiful, fatty, flagship Big Mac burgers for just $3? (That’s a 60% savings) In this blog post we outline the technique and discuss the merits of this construction.

Thanks to my lovely girlfriend Michelle for not judging me (and taking these photos)


At various points in my life, my friends and family have labeled me a foodie, a fast food enthusiast, and just plain cheap. I think of myself as a fast foodie specializing in coupons and value menus.

Reading a Serious Eats article about how McDonalds burgers aren’t actually terribad led me to the realization that in fact all McDonalds burger patties, save for the Quarter Pounder, are 1.6oz. Yes, that means both the $3.49 flagship Big Mac and the $1 McDouble use same amount of beef!



Let’s deconstruct a Big Mac to see how we can build it with value menu items.

Big Mac:
– Three buns
– 2 x 1.6oz beef patties
– 1 x cheese slice
– Lettuce
– Pickles
– Onions
– Special sauce


Lucky for us, the McDouble, a $1 two-patty 1-cheese burger is a popular dollar menu favorite.

– Two buns
– 2 x 1.6oz beef patties
– 1 x cheese slice
– Pickles
– Onions


So what’s still missing in our ghetto recipe is lettuce, more buns, and special sauce. That’s where the second perennial dollar menu winner comes in, the McChicken:

– Two buns
– 1 x Chicken patty
– Lettuce
– Mayo


Now what if I told you to buy two McDoubles and one McChicken?

2 McDoubles + 1 McChicken. Total cost: $3
– Six buns
– 4 x 1.6oz beef patties
– 2 x cheese slice
– Pickles
– Onion
– Lettuce
– Mayo


Look! It’s the ingredients for two Big Macs

Ahh yes this is it. We have reached the holy grail of value menu frugaldom–constructing items off the full price menu using cheaper value menu parts. My extensive (community college) macroeconomics education dictates that surely this discovery will eliminate all unemployment.

Here are the actual instructions for those of you who have evolved higher level Ikea abilities:

– Buy two McDoubles and one McChicken
– Carefully split both McDoubles between the first patty and the middle cheese slice
– Remove the the chicken patty, lettuce, and mayo from the McChicken, leaving just the two buns
– Insert one of those buns into each of the McDoubles
– Add some mayo and lettuce scraped from the McChicken to each of the newly christened Big Macs

That’s it! You’re done. Two big macs.



These hacked Big Macs aren’t perfect. Here are some differences:
– The middle bun is just the top or bottom bun from the McChicken instead of a proper middle bun with no crust
– The top bun do not have sesame seeds like the actual Big Mac
– The special sauce has been replace by mayo.
– You don’t get the nifty box the Big Mac comes in (it’s ok, carbon footprint–)
– You have a chicken patty left over! I suggest eating it as dessert


Conclusion and impact on my philosophical world view

Total cost: $3 + free chicken patty vs $6.98 for two full price big macs
That’s a total of 57% savings (+ free chicken patty, which is of course, priceless)

So what can we conclude from this? As a grown adult you should have learned by now that the ultimate goal of capitalist endeavor is to price discriminate. The more the better. The value menu, the dollar menu, the #1 combo, they’re all examples of this. Though who study the menu less may think you’re getting a great deal by opting for a “special” or a “combo” but there’s always more than meets the eye. I can go on for ages about this but I leave you with this thought:

Why doesn’t McDonalds just serve more variety burgers (or breakfast past 10:30am?). Well simply, there isn’t enough room on the grill. So that’s why your $1 burger and your $3.49 burger differ only in trivialities.

28 thoughts on McDonalds Hack: 2 Big Macs for $3

  1. I buy a mc double no ketchup,no mustard.add shreds lettuce add Mac sauce …..u can just order three of theses for same price and no finger fuckin ur food

  2. I myself just get the MdDouble, called a Double Cheese Burger here, and have them add lettuce and mac sauce. It is a perfect Big Mac, but with Mustard added and no middle bun.
    They have gotten so use to it they sometimes just ask if I want the double cheesburger “like a mac” and the make it a perfect Big Mac without the middle bun.
    It ends up being a little over $2.

    • a mcdouble only has one slice of cheese. a double cheeseburger, has two.

  3. Daniel, you seem to have completely missed the point. Well done!

  4. Daniel…check out the McDonald’s Application website…you’d make an awesome drive through attendant. “2 McDoubles , 1 McChicken please”

    I get 3 McFlurrys and side of ranch…awesome, job well done.

  5. This is quite obviously the height of innovation. However, I would go as far as to contact the McDonald headquarters and demand they drop the price of the original restaurant-made Big Mac sandwich. Perhaps your arguments could include messes created at tables attempting this hack, alienating customers who are loyal to the $3.49 Big Mac regime, and of course this tutorial going viral.

  6. here in Canada I can’t even buy a mcchicken for $3. nope sorry. epic fail.

    • Um it is called a Jr chicken!

  7. Awesome idea! Stick it to the man!
    This is going on my Facebook wall.
    Mind you I reckon a Whopper double beef with cheese kicks the stuffing outta a Big Mac, but that’s cos I hate the special sauce lol

  8. Instructions not clear enough, got my dick stuck in the ceiling fan

  9. Or if you aren’t a poor ass bitch you just order a fucking Big Mac.

  10. You are grounded Magic Arrow!

  11. Very resourceful!

    However, as a sucker for all things condiment-related… I can’t endorse this idea. The special sauce is the key to the big-mac!

    You could probably ask for big mac sauce instead of mayo/ketchup on the other sandwiches, though, which would make this perfect!

  12. Mcdonald’s meals are getting too expensive.

  13. Here are McDonalds prices in Croatia where you earn 400$ per month on average, up to 700$ it you are lucky enough to find any work at all.

    Big Mac – 3,18$
    Mc Chicken – 3,18$
    Double Cheeseburger – 2,74$
    Cheeseburger – 1,24$
    McMenu – 6,72$
    Coke – 2,12$

    No McDouble in menu

  14. A- A big Mac is not a Big Mac without the sauce, it’s a double cheeseburger with mayo. B- Take a math class, 3 bucks vs $6.98 is a saving of 133%

  15. Actually, two Big Macs cost 133% more, or it’s a 43% savings from what you would have paid.

  16. Worked at Mcdonalds in 2000 when I was 14. Have ordered a double hamburger only mayo, shredded lettuce and onion since then. Have to ask no cheese, even when the double hamburger was technically no cheese (order taker will assume you want cheese no matter what), and then in 2008 with the McDouble this became formally required.

    Not really a hack or news…anyone with any logical sense at all can deduce that if the ingredients exist, and you can customize your sandwiches, these combinations are possible.

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  18. Em 1992, 1993 e 1995, comprava em várias lojas Mac Donald´s nos EUA o “TWO FOR US$ 2,00″ = dois Big Macs por US$ 1,00 cada…

  19. It’s rather a nice handy section of information. I will be thankful you distributed this convenient data about. Please stop us well informed this way. Many thanks giving.

  20. I realised the same sort of hack while looking at the Mc Double a few weeks before seeing a post like this. My response was to buy a big bag of baby spinach at the grocer. I just buy a Mc Double and slap my own style of green on top (when I get home mostly). I wanted to get more spinach in my diet. So, this was my college Mc Hack. =]

    • Oh, and by the way, if you eat in get a small fountain pop and just re-fill. Obvious, but some people don’t think of the obvious. ;]

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