Dairy Queen vs McDonald’s | Where To Eat Next

People around the world love Dairy Queen and McDonald’s. These two restaurants offer a variety of meals, and both have unique specialties to offer. So, the question arises, which one is better – Dairy Queen or McDonald’s? Join this Dairy Queen vs. McDonald’s battle and find the winner. 


Let’s look at the comparison table of Dairy Queen and McDonald’s:

CriteriaDairy QueenMcDonald’s
Menu Better Menu
PriceLess Expensive
TasteIt’s A Tie!
McDonald’s burger vs Dairy Queen dessertsIt’s A Tie!
Breakfast menuBetter Breakfast Menu
Drink optionsIt’s A Tie!
Dessert optionsBetter Dessert Menu
Healthy optionsMore Healthy Options
Kids menuBetter Kids Menu
Secret menuBetter Secret Menu
Deals Better Deals
Modern lookBetter Modern Look
More SuccessfulMore Successful

Dairy Queen was founded by John Fremont and his son Alex in Illinois. It started as a restaurant in 1940 that served soft serves. The chain quickly became popular, and there were over 100 franchised locations. In 1959, the chain introduced blizzards, which is now one of the most popular ice creams in the world. 

Talking about McDonald’s history, McDonald’s was started by the two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald. They started their first restaurant in 1940 in California and were later taken over by Ray Kroc. Under his presence, the brand built over and became the world’s number 1 fast-food chain.  

Today’s article will dive into this fast-food chain battle and see who wins the competition. So, without wasting time, let’s get into the battle rounds and see who wins the showdown. 

Which Is More Popular | McDonald’s or Dairy Queen

who is more popular

Between McDonald’s and Dairy Queen, McDonald’s is the more popular and successful fast food chain. McDonald’s global presence is vast compared to Dairy Queen. 

The battle between McDonald’s and Dairy Queen starts now. We have two big fast-food giants who will compete with each other – McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. On one hand, we have McDonald’s, a giant fast-food chain that boasts of offering the best burgers in the world. On the opposite side, we have Dairy Queen, offering unique ice creams. 

Several factors contributed to McDonald’s victory regarding the fierce popularity battle between McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. Whether it’s a variety of menu offerings or better taste, McDonald’s has flourished in most battle rounds.

While both fast food chains have left an incredible mark on providing the best menu offerings, one will emerge as a star. So, let’s go through various battle rounds and see why one particular brand is more popular than the other.

Which Has The Better Menu?

better menu

The most crucial highlight difference between McDonald’s and Dairy Queen is that both have different offerings. Dairy Queen is known for its unique ice cream varieties and unique way of enjoying it. McDonald’s is known for its hot foods like burgers, fries, and sandwiches. 

So, it will be interesting to see who wins in this section. Let me start with Dairy Queen. 

As I said earlier, Dairy Queen is more of a dessert-oriented brand. But it does offer some of the hot foods too. The Dairy Queen menu offers burgers, chicken baskets, chicken sandwiches, fries, soft serves, sweet treats, salad bowls, side items, etc. The creative menu is mainly based on ice cream treats and drink options. 

Moreover, Dairy Queen offers good side menu items like onion rings, cheese curds, fries, pretzel sticks, side salads, salad bowls, etc. 

Over their drinks menu, Dairy Queen offers various slushies, frozen smoothies, soft drinks, and milk. 

When it comes to the dessert menu, Dairy Queen takes the spotlight. It offers blizzard ice cream treats (in over seven flavors), classic ice cream treats, cakes, and royal dessert treats. 

Now, talking about McDonald’s offers a variety of burgers, such as beef patty burgers, chicken burgers, chicken sandwich burgers, fish burgers, egg burgers, and breakfast sandwiches too. So, regarding burger options, McDonald’s has more options. 

Regarding McDonald’s side menu, McDonald’s offers hash browns, fries, apple slices, etc.etc., which are fewer options than Dairy Queen.

Regarding drinks offerings, McDonald’s has more drink options – from frozen, tea, and cold drinks to coffee options. 

Additionally, McDonald’s has various desserts such as McFlurry flavors, soft serve ice creams, milkshakes, baked apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies.    

Overall, if you calculate the total menu items the two offer, McDonald’s offers around 145 menu items with more variety and options. Dairy Queen has about 77 items on their menu. So, the winner for me here is…

Winner – McDonald’s wins this segment. 

Which Is More Cheaper?

more cheaper

Based on the prices of the two fast-food restaurants, we will see which is cheaper and more affordable: Dairy Queen and McDonald’s. Let’s start the second battle round here.

When looking at the menu price of Dairy Queen, the food items are slightly cheaper than McDonald’s. Their desserts are also priced less than McDonald’s. But the burgers and chicken sandwiches at McDonald’s are a bit cheaper than Dairy Queen. 

Besides burgers, McDonald’s offers other side menu items, drink options, and dessert options priced higher than Dairy Queen. Here is a price comparison table for both chains:

Menu ItemsDairy QueenMcDonald’s
Vanilla Cone$ 2.64$ 1.79
Cheeseburger$ 5.45$ 4.19
Chicken Sandwich$ 6.43 $ 4.79
Hot Fudge Sundae$ 3.76$ 5.99
Fries$ 3.70$ 3.89
Soft Drinks$ 1.99$ 2.49
Small Decaf Coffee$ 2.29$ 2.69

If you look closely at the table, Dairy Queen offers other items at a low price compared to McDonald’s. Hence, I found my winner. 

Winner – Dairy Queen wins this battle. 

Which Has Better Tasting Food?

tasty food

Fast-food chain restaurants are our go-to destinations when it comes to tasty food. Regarding McDonald’s and Dairy Queen, comparing who has better-tasting food depends on personal preference. 

Dairy Queen is often known for its ice cream varieties, and especially their blizzards, banana splits, and peanut butter parfait are well known. People go to Dairy Queen for ice cream treats. Moreover, they also sell incredible frozen drinks, slushies, and malt beverages. 

When it comes to McDonald’s, it has a broader customer base for many reasons. It has stipulated menu items for all breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It also serves coffee, sweet treats, savory burgers, and chicken sandwiches. The taste of their burgers is top-notch, and that’s the main reason it’s the world’s number one fast-food restaurant. 

So, who has tasty food options depends on your preferences. If you are a big dessert fan, then having ice cream treats at Dairy Queen will be your choice. McDonald’s is best for hot food like burgers, fries, and sandwiches. 

Any guesses for who will be the winner?

Winner – It’s a tie. Both fast-food chains have their signature offerings for which they are famous. 

McDonald’s Burgers vs. Dairy Queen Desserts

McDonald's Burgers vs. Dairy Queen Desserts

The clash between McDonald’s burgers and Dairy Queen desserts will create a dilemma. The burger wars are famous, but what happens when a burger giant competes with the dessert queen? Let’s find out.

I don’t have to emphasize Dairy Queen for this segment because its menu speaks for itself. Dairy Queen offers truly decadent dessert treats to many customers. It provides desserts like soft-serve ice cream, bars, sundaes, and cakes.

Some famous desserts at Dairy Queen are dilly bar, blizzard treats, and orange Julius. The dilly bar is a soft-serve ice cream cone with a chocolate dip. The blizzard treats are flavored ice creams. And the orange Julius is a blended drink. Because of the quality of its desserts and unique taste, the chain is the go-to destination. 

McDonald’s needs to catch up in offering unique burger offerings. They have the best burgers on their menu, including their famous Big Mac burger, quarter pounder cheese, and McDouble. Their burgers are 100% beef burgers and made with top quality. 

Even their patties are seasoned and grilled to perfection. That’s the reason why their burgers are so savory. Moreover, they offer many other kinds of breakfast burgers on their menu. These include sausage McMuffin and Sausage and egg McMuffin. Overall, McDonald’s has around 30 burgers on their menu.      

So, there are fans of McDonald’s burgers and Dairy Queen desserts. So, it’s difficult to say who is the winner here. 

Winner – Hence, I announce McDonald’s and Dairy Queen winners. 

Which Has A Better Breakfast Menu?

better breakfast menu

Your morning breakfast is a source of energy for your whole day. So, it’s essential to know which chain offers a better breakfast menu – McDonald’s or Dairy Queen? Let’s figure it out. 

So, McDonald’s offers a vast breakfast menu and multiple options. It offers menu items such as pancakes, combo meals, McCafe coffees, McCafe Bakery, hash browns and sides, sweets and treats, condiments, beverages, and individual items.

Moreover, McDonald’s has stipulated breakfast hours, which start at around 5.30 a.m. and end at 10.30 a.m. So, if you are visiting during this time, you will get various breakfast items to enjoy. 

Some of the most popular and best breakfast items include sausage and egg McMuffin, hot cakes and sausages, chicken McGriddle meal, scrambled eggs, and much more. 

Talking about Dairy Queen’s breakfast menu, well, it’s important to note that not all Dairy Queen locations offer breakfast menus. There are only a few locations where you can grab your breakfast. 

Dairy Queen’s breakfast menu includes various items such as side items, desserts, toast, meat, chicken, and eggs.

Some famous breakfast menu items include pancakes, egg platters, biscuits and gravy, French toast, chicken fried steak, waffles, hash browns, oatmeal, breakfast burritos, etc. The particular locations of Dairy Queen offer breakfast between 7:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 

As you can see, McDonald’s has a dedicated breakfast menu. Also, Dairy Queen’s breakfast options are more centric on sweet treats, whereas McDonald’s breakfast items are savory and hot foods, which most people prefer. 

Winner – McDonald’s wins in this segment. 

Which Has Better Drink Options?

better drinks menu

Drinks at fast-food restaurants are unique because they pair well with burgers and sandwiches. When it comes to Dairy Queen and McDonald’s, the food chains offer a variety of drink options. So, let’s start the round and see who wins this battle. 

McDonald’s boasts diverse drink choices that cater to all tastes. Their menu offers signature McCafe coffees like lattes, cappuccinos, and premium roast coffee, the best coffee drinks at McDonald’s. Their soft drinks menu is vast, offering various soft drinks, frozen drinks, milkshakes, smoothies, milk, etc.

McDonald’s also offers a variety of iced coffee drinks, which are best ranked on McDonald’s menu, such as iced caramel mocha, caramel frappe, and caramel macchiato. 

On the other hand, Dairy Queen also offers incredible drinks such as twisty, misty drinks, frozen hot chocolate, soft drinks, malt, MooLatte, Slushie drinks, orange juice, frozen drinks, coffee, and shakes.

Some famous drink options at Dairy Queen are caramel mocha chip shake, frozen hot chocolate, banana shake, peanut butter shake, summertime sunset twisty, mango pineapple smoothie, strawberry banana smoothie, etc.

Since both fast-food restaurants have varieties in their drink options, it takes time to choose which one is best. Now, I will announce the winner of this section.

Winner – It’s a Tie. Both have unique drink options. Hence, both win this segment. 

Which Has Better Desserts?

better desserts

McDonald’s and Dairy Queen both have multiple dessert options on their menu. Both are known for their quirky dessert offerings. So, who wins this battle? Let’s not waste any time and start the round. 

McDonald’s offers a wider variety of desserts. The fast food chain’s desserts include soft serves, McFlurries, milkshakes, and muffins. 

Their dessert menu includes apple pie, McFlurry flavors, soft serve and sundaes, chocolate chip cookies, milkshakes, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin and creme pie, blueberry muffins, and much more. These are some of the best McDonald’s desserts to try.  

When it comes to Dairy Queen’s dessert options, the options are common but rare. This fast-food chain has multiple desserts like soft-serve ice cream, bars, sundaes, and cakes.

Some famous desserts at Dairy Queen are dilly bar, blizzard treats, and orange Julius. The dilly bar is a soft-serve ice cream cone with a chocolate dip. The blizzard treats are flavored ice creams. The orange Julius is a blended drink. The quality of its desserts is top-notch. Hence, the chain is the go-to destination for sweet treats. 

Now, when I compare the dessert options of McDonald’s and Dairy Queen, McDonald’s has more classic desserts, whereas Dairy Queen’s bucket is full of unique desserts.

So, I have my winner with me.  

Winner – I announce Dairy Queen as the winner in this segment.  

Which Is More Healthy?

healthy menu

Fast foods are considered unhealthy because they are high in calories and fat. So, when we say who is more healthy, it simply means which is a better choice when considering moderately healthy food. Let’s begin the round.  

I have made a table below to check the nutritional value of standard menu items.

Menu ItemsDairy QueenMcDonald’s
Cheeseburger570 cal300 cal
Hamburger356 cal250 cal
Chicken Sandwich597 cal470 cal
Coke280 cal150 cal
French Fries302 cal230 cal
Hot Fudge Sundae300 cal330 cal
Milk110 cal100 cal

So, looking at the standard menu items between both fast-food chains, Dairy Queen’s menu items contain more calories. Also, it’s okay to understand that Dairy Queen’s menu items are desserts and sweet treats. Hence, they will have more calorie intake compared to McDonald’s. 

However, many people think McDonald’s food is terrible. But when we look at McDonald’s menu items, it offers various low-calorie menu options, too, if you are fitness-centric. 

Now, it’s time to announce the winner.

Winner – McDonald’s is considered more healthy than Dairy Queen. 

Which Has A Better Kids Menu?

kids menu

Both fast-food chains have some classic favorites for the little ones. McDonald’s and Dairy Queen offer kids’ menus, but which one is better? For that, we need to dive deep into the kids’ menu offerings of both chains. Let’s start. 

McDonald’s Happy Meal toys have a vast history. From those fun toys to exciting meal options, grabbing a kid’s meal from McDonald’s has always been a pleasure. Currently, the McDonald’s kids menu options include a hamburger, 4-piece chicken nuggets, and 6-piece chicken nuggets. 

They also launched McDonald’s adult Happy Meal in collaboration with Cactus Plant flea market boxes. Customers had to choose between a Big Mac or 10-piece chicken nuggets, including fries, a drink, and a free toy character. 

Talking about Dairy Queen’s kid’s menu has been around for many years and has evolved to meet the changing needs of children. The menu includes chicken strips, French fries, applesauce, hot dogs, hamburgers, bananas, and low-fat milk. 

Moreover, the fast food chain has also taken a responsibility to remove sweetened beverages from their kid’s menu. Now, they only offer milk and water with the kid’s meal. The customers applauded this move, and the brand promised to enhance their kid’s offerings while keeping their health in mind. 

Although Dairy Queen doesn’t have a history like McDonald’s, guessing the winner was already quite accessible.    

Winner – McDonald’s is the winner.   

Which Has A Better Secret Menu?

better secret menu

Many fast-food fans want to enjoy secret menu items that are unofficial. These items became famous online, and people are now trying new hacks to order their favorite items. 

You can also order some of the most iconic secret menu items from McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. So, let’s join the battle and see whose personal menu wins. 

Firstly, let’s look at the fast-food chains’ secret menu options. 

Dairy Queen’s Secret Menu

  1. Banana split blizzard
  2. Customer banana splits
  3. Cookie jar blizzard
  4. Red, white, and blue misty float
  5. Butterbeer blizzard
  6. Crunch-coated cones
  7. S’mores galore parfaits
  8. Peanut butter bash
  9. Banana cream pie blizzard
  10. Mud pie blizzard
  11. Caramel pie delight blizzard
  12. Chocolate chip blizzard
  13. Coffee blizzard
  14. Marshmallow creme
  15. Midnight truffle blizzard
  16. Birthday cake blizzard
  17. Banana cream pie blizzard
  18. Mocha latte blizzard
  19. Puppy chow blizzard
  20. Sugar cookie blizzard
  21. Sneaky ninja blizzard
  22. Lemon meringue pie
  23. Fruity pebbles blizzard
  24. Trail mix blizzard
  25. Butter pecan blizzard
  26. Samoa blizzard
  27. Whopper blizzard
  28. Jack & Jill blizzard
  29. Dirty rotten sundae
  30. Chocolate pineapple sundae
  31. Triple chocolate utopia
  32. Chocolate rock
  33. DQ cupcake
  34. Birthday cake shake
  35. Chunky monkey shake

McDonald’s Secret Menu

  1. Big McChicken
  2. Birthday Cake
  3. The 2 Cheeseburger Meal
  4. The Chicken McGriddle
  5. Big Mac Sauce With Fries
  6. The Land, Sea, And Air Burger
  7. The MC 10:35
  8. The McCrepe
  9. The Mc Gang Bang
  10. The McKinley Mac
  11. The Monster Mac
  12. The McLeprechaun Shake
  13. Neapolitan Shake
  14. The Pie McFlurry
  15. Caramel Apple Sundae
  16. Orange Creamsicle Shake
  17. McBrunch Burger
  18. Poor Man’s Big Mac
  19. Big Mac N Cheese
  20. Grilled Cheese
  21. Chicken Cordon Bleu McMuffin
  22. Cinnamon Melt A La Mode
  23. Hash Brown McMuffin
  24. Biscuits & Gravy
  25. Root Beer Float

Viewing the complete list of secret menu items, you can see that both fast food chains offer a variety of personal items. Dairy Queen’s secret menu has more than 30 desserts. At the same time, McDonald’s secret menu has about 25 hidden objects. 

But here is a twist. McDonald’s secret menu has a variety of offerings. For example, it offers burgers, cakes, desserts, shakes, and meals. So, McDonald’s has wide selections. Whereas Dairy Queen’s secret menu is all about sweet treats, which they are good at. Their menu is quite creative and delicious.  

So, who will be the winner here? Any guesses?

Winner – McDonald’s wins this segment due to various secret menu offerings. 

Which Has Better Deals?

better deals

For many, getting the best deals and offers at your favorite fast-food chain brings joy. Dining with friends or family is always best when you have big deals to grab and save money. 

McDonald’s and Dairy Queen both offer some special deals. But whose value will make you smile more? Let’s start this round. 

Firstly, let’s talk about McDonald’s deals. The chain offers attractive discounts like 2 for $4, 2 for $5, and 2 for $6. Moreover, it also provides free fries on Fridays and many more. 

Moreover, McDonald’s offers the best deals on their breakfast menu. They offer 2 for $4 mix-and-match sales of $0.99 for any size of premium roast or iced coffee. 

On top of that, McDonald’s also offers the most popular dollar menu. It includes three price tiers: $1, $2, and $3. There are various items lined up in these particular dollar prices. 

Moving on to Dairy Queen’s deals, the chain offers a variety of exciting deals. They provide meal deals like a three-piece chicken strip meal deal and an original cheeseburger. So, in these deals, customers get fries, soft drinks, soft serve, dipping sauce, and chicken strips or burgers. 

Apart from this, customers also get a chance to earn rewards. Every time you order food or sweet treats, you get points you can use for your next purchase. The fast food chain also offers memorable birthday surprises that you receive on their DQ app. Some app-only rewards include mobile Monday deals and discounts on specific menu items.   

You can join the Dairy Queen Blizzard fan club by signing up for email offers. Monthly flavor announcements and suggestions will be sent directly to you via email. 

Dairy Queen’s deal concept is fantastic regarding creative offers and clear-cut incentives. For this, they have even received an award for ‘America’s best loyalty program’ by Newsweek and Statista

Based on this, finally, I have decided to announce the winner. 

Winner – Dairy Queen Wins this battle.

Which Has A Modern Look?

modern look

The fast-food chains are not only a place for the tastiest food but also the dining experience. Ever since McDonald’s and Dairy Queen got into the fast-food business, both have evolved with time and stayed relevant to it. 

Both branding, store design, colors, and modernization have kept it fresh and unique. But which one has the better modern look? Let’s decide after a healthy discussion. 

McDonald’s has been undergoing significant rebranding efforts in recent years. The company has updated its restaurants’ modern look, complete glass walls, and bright yellow and red colors. Moreover, you get different seating options at the restaurant, like bar-type seating, leather chairs and tables, and wooden tables. 

In terms of promotions, McDonald’s always satisfies you. They have unforgettable brand promotions like their famous ‘We Deliver’ advertising. To promote their delivery service in 2021, McDonald’s released posters showing the golden arches bouncing their way into your house. With a minimalist design, the brand tells you that they do deliver.

For their drive-thru service, they highlighted a car in the middle of the night, curiously reflecting the golden arches of the brand. Apart from this, McDonald’s has always up their game from billboards to unique digital media campaigns. 

Talking Dairy Queen, its restaurant is highlighted by modern open-grill sections and separate grill and chill sections. They have wooden tables, comfortable seating, and warm lighting and music. Overall, the chain offers a decent sitting area. 

Dairy Queen’s brand promotions are also trying to stay in the news. Recently, the brand attempted location-based advertising to increase summer foot traffic. So, they made creative mobile banner ads for app users to tap and find an Orange Julius drink inside the DQ’s locations.

Additionally, the brand is associated with the Kraft brand for brand promotion. The brand celebrated Oreo’s 100th birthday and urged customers to check in at least 100 times to a Dairy Queens location to win $100,000. 

When it comes to fast-food wars, both McDonald’s and Dairy Queen started a sign war. It began when McDonald’s put up a sign that said, “Hey, DQ! Wanna have a sign war?” 

Dairy Queen responded with a sign saying, “We would, but we’re too busy making ice cream.” The two restaurants have been trading barbs since trying to one-up the other.

The sign war has been going on for several weeks, attracting much attention from the local community and worldwide. 

The two restaurants have even started selling merchandise related to the sign war, and they have each created a Facebook group where people can follow the latest developments.

Concluding this whole section, McDonald’s has always stayed forward in terms of brand promotions, restaurant design, and burger wars. So, I have a winner with me.

Winner – McDonald’s wins this segment. 

Which Is More Successful?

More successful

Let’s evaluate the success of McDonald’s and Dairy Queen by considering a few essential factors. These factors include the number of stores these chains own and the revenue they make. So, we will see how well McDonald’s and Dairy Queen are doing based on these points.

As of 2023, McDonald’s has over 39,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. Dairy Queen has over 6400 restaurants in more than 25 countries. Regarding the revenue, McDonald’s generated around 23.18 billion dollars, whereas Dairy Queen generated around 3.6 billion dollars. 

Looking at the numbers, we can see that McDonald’s is a more prosperous global brand compared to Dairy Queen.  

Winner – The winner here is none other than McDonald’s. 

Who Wins This Battle – McDonald’s or Dairy Queen?

McDonald's is winner in McDonald's vs Dairy Queen Battle

The epic showdown ends here. We have the winner here. But first, let’s embark on the entire article. 

So, we compared both fast-food chains over various factors such as menu items, price, secret menu items, healthy menu offerings, best deals, kids menu, desserts, breakfast menu options, and drink options. 

Based on all the comparisons, the winner here is McDonald’s. There are many reasons why McDonald’s is better because it offers a broader range of menus compared to Dairy Queen. Moreover, it’s a big global brand that caters to everyone. Furthermore, it’s affordable and has low-calorie menu options as well. 

Whereas Dairy Queen is the real queen for dessert offerings. But their menu is mainly focused on ice creams and desserts. They offer burgers and sandwiches, but the number of items is less than McDonald’s. Hence, McDonald’s becomes the winner in this battle. 

Now that you know the winner, check out similar blogs like McDonald’s vs. Taco Bell showdown, McDonald’s vs. Hungry Jacks battle, McDonald’s vs. Jollibee battle, and the famous battle KFC vs. McDonald’s

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which fast food chains have a wider variety of menu items?

McDonald’s has a wider variety of menu items. It has burgers, sandwiches, coffee, soft drinks, desserts, side menu items, and more. Dairy Queen is specifically known for its desserts and unique drinks menu. 

Which restaurant has a better atmosphere – Dairy Queen or McDonald’s?

McDonald’s restaurant’s atmosphere is more relaxing and family-friendly. Also, it’s modernized too. At the same time, Dairy Queen’s sitting atmosphere is more traditional and simple looking. Hence, McDonald’s atmosphere is better.

What are the signature items that make each restaurant stand out?

Dairy Queen is known for its iconic Blizzard treats, combining soft-serve ice cream with various mix-ins and flavors. On the other hand, McDonald’s is famous for its Big Mac burger, Chicken McNuggets, and world-famous fries.

Does Dairy Queen or McDonald’s offer a better drive-thru experience?

Both restaurants have efficient drive-thru services, but McDonald’s drive-thru is known for its quick service. Therefore, McDonald’s drive-thrus are a more popular choice among people on the go.

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