A Big Mac attack can hit at any time of the day or night.
When the craving for McDonald’s strikes at odd hours, you may wonder if your local McDonald’s is even open.
We all know that McDonald’s serves breakfast early, but when exactly do the restaurants open?
Do they ever close?
Learn everything you need to know about what time McDonald’s opens.
What Time Does McDonald’s Open?
Most McDonald’s start serving the full breakfast menu bright and early at 5:00 a.m. at the drive-thru and in-store.
Exact hours may vary by location as McDonald’s runs on a franchise business model that allows store owners to set their hours based on demand, but it’s safe to assume that your nearby restaurant opens at 5:00 a.m.
If for some reason, your restaurant is closed, try the second closest location.
How Many McDonald’s Are Open 24 Hours?
Quick! Name a late-night place to get food quickly.
Granted, you are reading an article about McDonald’s, but many people would answer McDonald’s unprompted.
Is McDonald’s truly a late-night eatery, though?
As of 2018, about 80% of McDonald’s locations operate continuously without ever closing the drive-thru.
In 2002, only 40% of McDonald’s restaurants were open 24 hours.
More and more restaurants saw the financial benefits of staying open.
One franchise owner even saw a $90,000 increase in revenue per year in his area after he made the decision to keep restaurants open 24 hours.
For some restaurants in low-demand areas, the limited sales at night don’t justify the cost of paying the staff.
You will find more McDonald’s open 24 hours in large, metropolitan areas compared to rural areas.
Most McDonald’s that are open 24 hours switch from the full dinner menu to the full breakfast menu at 5:00 a.m.
As with the opening time, this may vary based on your location.
For people who don’t have a car, you should know that only the drive-thru is available at most 24-hour locations between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
The lobby is closed at this time for employee safety.
All-Day Breakfast Menu
McDonald’s serves its full breakfast menu until 11:00 a.m. (at most locations).
What happens if you have a craving for breakfast at noon?
Are you out of luck and stuck with a burger?
McDonald’s heard demand from customers for breakfast all day.
To accommodate the stragglers, McDonald’s offers an all-day breakfast menu that you can order from at any time of day.
Items on the all-day breakfast menu include:
- Egg McMuffin
- Sausage McMuffin (with or without egg)
- Hotcakes with sausage
- Sausage burrito
- Hash brown
Noticeable items not on the all-day breakfast menu include bagel sandwiches or McGriddles.
You also can’t get egg whites outside of standard breakfast hours.
McDonald’s removed the all-day breakfast menu in March of 2020 to simplify kitchen operations during a tumultuous time.
With things back in order, they recently reinstated the all-day breakfast menu on October 6, 2021.
Availability may vary based on your location.
All Day Lunch Menu
What happens if you want a burger at 8:00 a.m.?
Can you get a Big Mac at any time?
Similar to the all-day breakfast menu, McDonald’s also offers an all-day lunch menu with limited options for people who want lunch items early in the morning.
Demand for lunch items in the morning wasn’t as high as the demand for breakfast items in the evening, and the menu reflects the demand.
Items on the all-day lunch menu include:
- Big Mac
- Chicken McNuggets
Specialty sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and many burgers aren’t available until 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.
McDonald’s typically stops serving the complete lunch and dinner menu at 5:00 a.m. when they switch to breakfast.
You can get McFlurries, shakes, and café items at any time (assuming the ice cream machine isn’t broken, but that’s a topic for another discussion).
Tips For Getting The Freshest McDonald’s Breakfast
Have you ever been disappointed with an adequate but not perfectly fresh and hot breakfast at McDonald’s?
However, you can take certain actions to ensure you get the freshest breakfast possible.
1. Get There Early
Wake up a tad earlier than normal to beat the crowd.
If you get to the restaurant right at 5:00 a.m., there’s usually a freshly brewed pot of coffee.
The cooks also just cleaned the grill when they made the switch from lunch to breakfast.
2. Order In Advance
Place your order slightly in advance and schedule it for pickup right after they open.
This is especially important when it comes to large orders for a busy household or office meeting.
Advance notice allows the staff to cook and store your food in the best way to keep it hot and fresh while they finish the rest of your order.
Springing a large order on them can lead to distractions thanks to the other orders coming in.
3. Request Round Egg
Did you know that you can request to swap out the standard folded egg you find in McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches with a fresh round egg free of charge?
Request to sub your breakfast sandwich egg with “round egg” to have the cook use a fresh egg from a carton.
Best of all, it’s free!
I was so excited to learn this that I don’t even mind McDonald’s has been using subpar eggs this entire time.
It may save some time to use the folded egg, but I personally prefer quality food over speedy food.
4. Order Fries Instead Of Hash Browns
As part of the all-day lunch menu, you can order fries as your side with your breakfast combo instead of hash browns.
Since most people don’t order fries in the morning, the staff will put down some fresh fries specifically for your order.
If you like the hash browns, you can always keep them and add a side of fries.
5. Eat Inside Instead Of Going Through The Drive-Thru
When you go through the McDonald’s drive-thru, you risk the car in front of you holding you up while your food waits and gets cold.
When this happens, quick-thinking staff may ask the car at the window to park and wait so that you can pull up.
However, sometimes, the damage is already done.
When you eat inside, you get your food as soon as it is ready.
Eating A Healthy Breakfast At McDonald’s
It’s a misconception to assume that you must eat unhealthily if you stop at McDonald’s for breakfast.
Everyone deserves a decadent treat from time to time, but a healthy breakfast can start you on the right track.
Follow these simple tips for a healthier McDonald’s breakfast.
1. Avoid High-Calorie Menu Items
Certain ingredients, such as sausage, pancakes, and hash browns are high in fat and calories.
Avoid menu items that contain those ingredients.
While you may think that’s impossible, you have plenty of options.
An Egg McMuffin uses Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon, which is lower in fat and calories.
While the breakfast burrito uses sausage, it’s only a limited amount.
You can also pick oatmeal or a fruit parfait instead of a breakfast sandwich.
However, keep in mind that both items contain a significant amount of sugar.
Skip the hash browns altogether.
You don’t have to get a meal.
Don’t convince yourself to get a meal by justifying the price of the combo compared to the price of the sandwich and drink by themselves.
You pay a much higher tax when you step on the scale.
McDonald’s makes nutritional information about all items readily available for all customers.
Use this information to help you make your meal choices when you’re not sure about the nutrition of certain menu items.
2. Switch Out Eggs For Egg Whites
McDonald’s now offers an egg white delight muffin that uses healthy egg whites that don’t have the high fat content and cholesterol that come with egg yolks.
It also uses light cheese instead of the standard cheese.
You can swap out folded eggs for egg whites on any breakfast sandwich for a slightly healthier option than your favorites.
3. Manage The Number Of Calories In Your Coffee
Many people ignore the calories in the drinks they enjoy throughout the day, starting with their coffee.
McDonald’s offers delicious options that rival Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks.
However, like their competition, many of the tastiest drinks contain a shockingly high calorie count.
Avoid syrups and whipped cream, no matter how tasty they make your coffee.
Since McDonald’s uses whole milk, limit the milk you put in your coffee as well.
You can’t go wrong with a simple black coffee.
4. Portion Control
If you order less food, you will consume fewer calories.
You don’t need to order two sandwiches or extra hash browns.
You don’t even need to eat your entire meal in one sitting if you start to get full.
Instead of ordering a breakfast burrito meal with two burritos and a hash brown, order one burrito without a hash brown.
You’ll save money by ordering less, too.
Now that you know when McDonald’s opens and how to eat McDonald’s breakfast responsibly, you can make McDonald’s part of your regular morning routine.
If you do frequent McDonald’s, you should take advantage of the new loyalty program they launched that rewards customers for their loyalty by adding up points for each purchase made on the account.
You can use the points for a variety of free menu items and other perks.
You get a free large order of fries just for signing up (no purchase necessary).
After you make your first purchase, you can choose a second reward of hash browns, a cheeseburger, a McChicken, or a vanilla cone.
The rewards keep adding up from there.
You won’t accumulate points when you purchase outside of your account, so get familiar with ordering via your app.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Embrace McDonald’s breakfast and make it part of your routine.
Just make sure you wait until they open at 5:00 a.m. (at most locations).
Don’t forget to order your breakfast through your app so that you can accumulate points and earn free lunch or breakfast for tomorrow.