This is How Low McDonald’s Prices Were in the 1970s

McDonald's Featured

This is How Low McDonald’s Prices Were in the 1970s

When you look back at McDonald’s pricing in the 1970s, the prices are definitely inexpensive. An image of the menu going around Reddit from 1973, shows some wild pricing. A milkshake for just 35 cents? It’s almost too good to be true!

Unfortunately, you can’t find a milkshake that inexpensive anywhere these days, but you have to consider what inflation looks like today. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how cheap McDonald’s pricing was in the 1970s versus 2024.

Big Mac

Big Mac History
The Big Mac has been a staple of the McDonald’s menu for decades.

Starting with the Big Mac, a McDonald’s staple, it could be bought for only 65 cents in 1973. This is a crazy low price compared to what a Big Mac costs today. Of course, it’s hard to know if the 590 calories have changed since 1973!

Bigger Mac Pricing

Big Mac
Over 50 years, the Big Mac hasn’t changed all that much.

With two all-beef patties, pickles, lettuce, onion, and American cheese, the Big Mac is a true fast food staple. In 2024, purchasing a Big Mac will cost right around $4.49, which remains a solid price for the food quantity you get. When adjusted for inflation, the 1973 price would be $4.57, making the 2024 price a better overall deal.

Chocolate Milkshake

McDonald's Milkshake
The Chocolate Milkshake is a staple of the McDonald’s menu.

A personal favorite, I would love nothing more than if a chocolate milkshake still cost 35 cents at McDonald’s. Of course, you might get a little more for your money today, but it’s still wild to think these sweet treats were ever so inexpensive.

Milkshake Goodness

McDonald's Chocolate Shake
In the case of a milkshake, McDonald’s now offers multiple flavors and flurries.

Today, a chocolate milkshake at McDonald’s offers you three different pricing options. The small size is $3.89, followed by a medium at $4.49, and a large for $4.99. When you account for inflation, a 1973 milkshake would be $2.46, making the 1973 milkshake a much better deal.

Large French Fry

McDonald's French Fry
McDonald’s french fries are the stuff of fast food legend.

In any battle for the best-tasting fast food french fries, McDonald’s makes a strong case. Sometimes crunchy and sometimes soft, there’s almost always the right amount of salt. When paired with McDonald’s ranch, the fries are delightful. A large fry in 1973 only cost 46 cents which is even more awesome.

French Fry Me

McDonald's French Fry
Having McDonald’s french fries is always a great experience.

Today’s McDonald’s offers three different sizes of french fries, up from two in 1973. A small fry is $2.19 while a medium is $3.39. You can then expect to pay $3.89 if you want a large fry. Adjusted for inflation, a 1973 large fry would cost $3.24, making today’s pricing a better deal for customers.


McDonald's Cheeseburger
Back in 1973, a McDonald’s cheeseburger was very inexpensive.

Can you imagine ordering a 33-cent cheeseburger at McDonald’s today? I’ll take 100 and feed my whole block. It was this low pricing that has continued to help make McDondald’s feel like it’s a great place to get an inexpensive meal.

All The Cheeseburgers

McDonald's Double Cheeseburger
Adjusting for inflation, a McDonald’s cheeseburger is less expensive today.

Today, you can find a cheeseburger at McDonald’s for only $1.79, which is pretty attractive pricing overall. This is especially true when you consider the 1973 inflation price is $2.32, which is a clear indicator that 2024 pricing is better.

Ice Cream Cone

McDonald's Sundae
There is just something about a McDonald’s ice cream on a warm summer day.

A 20-cent Tripple Ripple ice cream cone at McDonald’s? I can see kids begging their parents to add this mix of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla to their meals. For 20 cents, it feels like it would be impossible to say no to this in 2024 given the low cost.

More Ice Cream Please

McDonald's Sundae
McDonald’s ice cream continues to be a staple of its restaurant experience.

On a warm summer day, there is just something about a McDonald’s sundae that hits the spot. Except today, you have a choice of caramel, hot fudge, or a plain sundae. All of them will set you back $3.19. However, as the 1973 inflation-adjusted price would be $1.41, it remains a much better deal.


McDonald's Coffee
Having a McDonald’s coffee back in 1973 was an inexpensive way to get this favorite drink.

If you look back in time to 1973, you see coffee is available for just 15 cents. The good news is that coffee continues to be a low-cost item just about everywhere. While we don’t know the size of the cup from 50 years ago, for this low price, it would have been okay to get any size coffee.

Premium Roast Coffee

McDonald's Coffee
Today, McDonald’s has upgraded its coffee selection to a premium roast.

Fast forward to 2024 and McDonald’s now offers what it calls “Premium Roast Coffee.” Plus, this new coffee has three different size options. A small coffee will cost $1.29, a medium for $1.99, and a large for $2.39. Compared to an inflation price of only $1.06, 1973 was a much better deal.

Apple Pie

McDonald's Apple Pie
Some things never change, including McDonald’s warm apple pie.

A McDonald’s staple for generations, the fast food giant’s Apple Pie has been a favorite of both kids and adults. When it was sold in 1973, the “Hot Apple Pie” would only cost 26 cents, which must have felt like an absolute bargain.

Warm Apple Pie

McDonald's Apple Pie
Thankfully, McDonald’s hasn’t changed the taste of its apple pie for decades.

With the taste of McDonald’s Apple Pie treat not changing for decades, this continues to be a brand staple. Best of all, it’s still only 230 calories, which means why not order two? For $1.79, it still feels like a good deal. However, the inflation-adjusted price of $1.83 once again makes 1973 pricing look better.


McDonald's Coca Cola
There’s just something wonderful about a McDonald’s Coca-Cola meal.

Another easy McDonald’s staple to go along with your hamburger is Coca-Cola. McDonald’s has been serving this refreshing drink since 1955 and it’s been a match made in heaven ever since. In 1973, a Coke would cost you either 15 or 20 cents, depending on the size you wanted.

Coca-Cola For Everyone

When it comes to McDonald’s Coca-Cola, it’s more expensive in 2024.

Today, when you look at McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, you have three different options. Well, actually four because you can also order Diet Coke. A small Coke in 2024 will cost $1.49, a medium for $1.69, and a large for $2.19. Considering 1973 pricing of either $1.06 or $1.41 respectively, there is no question about which pricing is better.


Plain beef burger on wooden table isolated on black background.
If you want just the basics, go for a plain McDonald’s hamburger.

There’s just something about a McDonald’s hamburger that always hits the spot. Even if you have just the hamburger and the bun, it still tastes good coming off a McDonald’s grill. Of course, a 20-cent price point in 1973 didn’t hurt either.

Plain Burger For The Win

austria, vienna - 20 may 2023 plain hamburger with natural shadow. stock photo
A plain McDonald’s burger is among the company’s best-selling food items.

With an adjusted-for-inflation price of $1.41, there’s no question 1973 pricing was better than 2024. This is especially true when you consider the 2024 price is $1.49. As this is pretty close, we can likely call this a draw between 2024 and 1973. However, one certainty is that a McDonald’s burger always hits the spot.

Quarter Pounder

McDonald's Quarter Pounder
Like the Big Mac, a Quarter Pounder is another McDonald’s staple.

While not as popular as the Big Mac, the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder might be the next best thing. For only 60 cents in 1973, you could have a Quarter Pounder to go. If you wanted to add cheese, it would still only set you back 70 cents.

Quarter Pounding Inflation

Quarter Pounder Try
Even when you account for inflation, the 1973 pricing is better for a Quarter Pounder.

Looking at today’s McDonald’s menu, you’ll see a whole lot of Quarter Pounder options. You have one with bacon and another with just cheese. In the case of the latter, it’ll set you back around $5.19, compared to the adjusted inflation price of $4.92 from 1973. While it’s less than 30 cents difference, the 1973 pricing is better.

To top