McDonald’s Holiday Pie!


The McDonald’s Holiday Pie is BACK.

After hearing the news from my buddy Bill, I immediately ventured out to find them. The first McDonald’s was a bust. The second one was a Level 5 bust, because not only did they have zero Holiday Pies, but the guy manning the register acted like I was out of my freakin’ mind to ask.


It was my own Golden Girls / black prophylactics moment.

It sucked.

But the third McDonald’s came through.


I had no reason to order five pies. “Five” just came out when I was at the drive-through.

I’m not always an anxious person, but I have my triggers. Sadly, they’re all impossibly weird triggers. Ordering food from a drive-through is one of them. Whenever I do, a big pile of mute jelly is suddenly driving my car.

I reasoned that ordering five Holiday Pies was somehow more normal than ordering one. It was the difference between them thinking, “Oh… he’s bringing a bunch of pies to a group of friends,” and, “Oh… he’s a fucking lunatic who waited twenty minutes for one stupid pie.”

I don’t get it. I’ve sold terrible concepts to rooms full of suit-wearing look-downy people, but I can’t order pie from McDonald’s without it turning into a Kathryn Bigelow film.


So what was all the fuss about?


Look at them! The sprinkles act as edible Christmas lights!

McDonald’s Holiday Pies are pretty legendary. Think of them as McRibs on a smaller scale.

I’d never tried one before, but I’ve been hearing about them for years. Apparently, Holiday Pies were discontinued at one point, or at least released in fewer states. Google searches will reveal a LOT of hysteria surrounding these pies.

Some of you may be thinking, “I see those every year. This is not a big deal.” Check your privilege! Not everyone has had such easy and annual access to the McDonald’s Holiday Pie. For all I know, I’m one of the lucky few.

But there is one small problem.

I don’t eat pie. :(


You could put forty thousand pretzels in front of me and they’d be gone in an hour, but pie has never been my speed.

I’m only making an exception for Holiday Pies because I so desperately want to be a part of their fan club. I want to talk to other Holiday Pie enthusiasts and have them think that I’m really cool.

I haven’t been this much of a poser since I got that Starter jacket in the 7th grade. “So what sport does this eagle mean?”

Anyway, here’s my review: They taste okay!

The crust was my favorite part, because I could rip chunks of it off and pretend that I was eating cookies instead of pie. The custard filling doesn’t taste bad, but I have to admit that from color to consistency, it was a bit like eating someone’s hot sneeze.

(Not a normal sneeze. I mean the ones where the stuff that comes out is almost invitingly akin to Play-Doh.)

I recommend them. I can’t remember if each pie was a little under a dollar or a little over a dollar, but either way, they’re cheap. And they’re so damn Christmassy. Circussy and Christmassy.

And now, an edit to The List of Things I Must Accomplish Before Death:

- Visit Christmas Island during the big time crab season.
- Procure a MISB Inhumanoids “Tendril” figure.
- Eat a McDonald’s Holiday Pie.
- Script and film direct-to-DVD F13 sequel, set in 1984 and respectful of the surrounding canon.
- Find out why my eyes always get so red after I shower.

Goodnight, from Dinosaur Dracula dot com.

Want to help me out? If you plan to do some holiday shopping on Amazon this week, please use my affiliate link. If you think I should earn my keep with a great gift idea, fine. Here’s a giant shark pillow. You’re welcome.

68 Responses to McDonald’s Holiday Pie!

  1. I had no idea these were custard pies. Now I’ll be buying one for sure

  2. CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE! This isn’t Tumblr, Matt! I kid, I kid. That part made me laugh though.

  3. @Jerrod: I BELIEVE they’re custard, anyway, based on what we see in this older Dino Drac article. (Which also proves that Holiday Pies, in some form, were around in the ’90s.)

    @Aja: Couldn’t resist applying CYP logic to McDonald’s pies.

  4. This is the first time I’m hearing about these things.

  5. They look AMAZING on the outside… inside is not so good. I’m torn, because I think these would possibly make me sick – at least I can imagine me getting sick eating a big pocket full of goo.

    Hmm, are these warm or cold? Also, I lol’ed hard at the condom reference. :D

  6. Here we can get them two for a dollar at our local McDonalds and they taste like the smell of Play Doh to me. I have a really sensitive nose and an awesome sense of smell, so tasting smells is nothing new to me. Tasting like the smell of Play Doh isn’t as weird as one might think. These suckers are delicious.

  7. @Ryane: To their credit, all were warm. But I think they’d be better if you warmed ‘em up even more at home. Because that’s what people do. Buy one dollar fast food pies, bring them home, and wait 20 minutes for the oven to heat up.

  8. “Condoms! Rose…..CONDOMS!!!” Matt that was a hilarious episode. My local McDs has these pies. I stopped on my way home from work (never use the drive thru, your order will never be right and they know you won’t bother checking it or coming back) The cashier mentioned the new pies that were in, I declined at first but she gave me puppy eyes and said “please, we really want to sell these” well I fell for the bait and said I’ll take two. They aren’t the best but I’ll have the other one for breakfast with my coffee milk tomorrow.

  9. These are available every year in Ohio. I never knew how lucky I was.

  10. Maybe your eyes get red after you shower because you’re mildly allergic to one of your shower products- like a certain kind of soap or shampoo.

  11. One of my most favourite things is melted sprinkles. Not to taste them, just to look at them, it’s just so pretty.

    These look beautiful and the insides look yummy too, I’m a custard person, and a pie person…when it’s made by my mom or McDonald’s. I doubt we have these around here though. Oh well, I can look at all them pretty colours!

  12. These haven’t been available in Oklahoma City for some time, or so I understand, but apparently they’re back in town this Christmas.

    Funny you want a Tendril figure. One of the toys I miss the most from my childhood is one of the things I think about constantly (every week or two) and I’m 31 years old. It’s also an Inhumanoids figure, but it’s Redsun, which was the smaller of the Redwoods. It’s been 20 years or more since I’ve last seen it and I can still remember how it felt, sounded when you extended his body, but the thing I miss the most about it was the smell. I can still smell it today like he was hiding in my nostril. I see them on eBay, but I want MY Redsun.

    I also just read the Dino Drac feature from this summer that gave credit to D’Compose. I’m glad that Inhumanoids gets attention among this crowd.

  13. I really love the photo of the whole pies. Makes me think of the still shot that most McDonalds commercials ended with in the 80s and 90s.

    They sound truly horrible though….

  14. The one I tried was rather disappointing. Part of it was how smashed mine was when I pulled it out of the bag. It’s like it was thrown for a touchdown pass from the fryer to the cashier, then slammed down in celebration. If it looked half as good as your pies do, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

    I think I might have to give them another shot though. I bet they’ll go great with one of their “eggnog” shakes.

  15. I used to work at McDonalds, but we never had these. I’ll have to try them this year.

  16. Every time Matt posts a price, it makes me love home a little bit more. :-P

  17. “I haven’t been this much of a poser since I got that Starter jacket in the 7th grade. “So what sport does this eagle mean?””

    I can’t stop laughing at this. In the 6th grade I had to have a Starter Jacket. I didn’t follow Football, so I had no idea who the trans were, I just liked the logos. I bought a Georgetown jacket because it had a sweet bulldog on it and I could fit a 2 liter of pop in the inside pocket.

    I did the same thing with a Charlotte Hornets jacket. Bought it because of the cool logo and giant zip pocket on the front.

  18. A little of topic but you all will appreciate this. We were watching “Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” tonight on CBS and what should come on? A McDonald’s commercial starting Ronald McDonald! I haven’t seen one on in prime time starting him for years! It was awesome!

  19. I read this aloud to my wife, after we’d each consumed something called a Snowy Mitten (hot cocoa, Bailey’s, and peppermint schnapps) and a glass and a half of Merlot — needless to say, we found it QUITE amusing.

    And confusing. What, precisely, IS custard? Do we not understand because we are from New England? What makes it holiday-y?

    Also, we both laughed heartily at “Check your privilege.” Never heard this expression before. Could this possibly be because we are from New England?

    Now, we must sleep.

  20. I was born and raised in California and to date I’ve never heard of these things! I hate McDonald’s but I’m crazy for custard. Conflict.

  21. Oh..Em..Gee…My eyes are always red after I shower too. I just tell people that is where I do all my crying.

  22. The best usage of “check your privilege” in the history of the internet. You’re the best blogger there is, Matt, truly.

  23. While the pies themselves look as gloriously Christmas-y as can be, the McDonald’s trayliner article you did last year was the first I’d seen of these. Of course, I don’t like McDonald’s, I don’t do most fast-food pies, and I’m not a fan of custard filling, either. I’ll be admiring them from afar.

  24. I also had a Starter jacket in the 7th grade. I ended up with a Knicks jacket. I don’t follow basketball anymore, but deep down I still kinda root for the Knicks just because of that stupid jacket.

    It’s amazing how far the brand has fallen. It used to be such a hot brand, and now it’s just a run of the mill cheapie brand you see at Walmart.

    Call me a Scrooge if you want, but I’m not a fan of the holiday pies. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t good enough for me to choose them over apple (on the rare occasion when I go to McDonalds to eat pie).

  25. Yippie! Glad to be a help to Dino Drac.
    Unfortunately I can’t eat custard thanks to Peter Jackson and this movie.

  26. Ok Matt. Spill. You live in the Tri-State Region. WHICH McDONALD’S HAS THIS?!?! I neeeeeeeed iiiiiiiit.

  27. Just be careful if you decide to microwave them at home.We have a rather powerful one here,and I made that mistake.The filling turned into napalm.

  28. that’s ok Matt, I don’t eat pie either and people think there’s something wrong with me.

  29. For people that are wondering, custard is a egg based dessert. It’s like Flan but creamier. I tried making it once. I read about it online for a good hour or two, and then made it. Every warning online said if you do not do it right then it will turn into scrambled eggs with sugar in it. And that is what mine did. Hopefully one day I will try again.

    I have never had this. I am not a McDonalds regular. I would rather go to Jack in the Box. I do look through the McDonalds coupons though and use the BOGO coffee coupons.

    I read online once someone wrote they love the crust of a pie but hate the filling especially if it’s fruit. They said they have been known to eat around the filling and leave the filling on the plate in tact. For some reason I remember their exact words.

    I love pie. I do not eat it as often as cake. Walmart sells these little pies for a little under a dollar. They come in boxes with a window in them and a cute little pie pan. Funny the pumpkin one that they sell year round has crust on top and runny filling.

    Anyway, my favorite one they sell is the chocolate eclair one. The crust has chocolate frosting drizzled on top of it with Bavarian cream filling. They didn’t sell it for years and then now they started selling it it made me so happy. I try to carefully eat the top off and then eat the rest. So yeah I would definitely like this McDonalds pie.

    I used to make rice pudding from scratch. I should do that again soon. When my two sisters Harry and I lived together once I made a huge amount of it. Like a Spaghetti pot full. Because I cooked way too much rice so I figured I would use it all. And I was thinking of taking some to my Grandparents because we had so much of it. And in a day and a half it was almost gone because my disgusting sister ate most of it. Once I also made a batch of cookies and only ate two of them because she ate them all. And my family judged me for not paying rent. Ugh.

  30. Procuring excellence through the holiday pie, Bob “Opie from Mayberry” Backlund would be proud of ya!

  31. @Matt I can’t tell you how to get to Christmas Island to go crabbing, but the combination of too hot water, whatever soap you use and/or whatever shampoo/conditioner you use is causing your eyes to turn red. (sorry, to zap the fun, being a doctor is something I do when I’m not collecting kool aid)

    Try putting an eye drop in your eyes before you shower, I know it sounds hilariously wrong but it should help.

  32. @Vee Langs: It’s probably the hot water, then. This has been going on forever so it can’t be about any one product or even a branch of products. Plus, I’m pretty careful about not getting soap/shampoo/anything in my eyes, knowing how sensitive they are.

    But, hot water could be it. I like to pretend I’m a cooking lobster in there.

    It’s kind of hilarious, though. They get SO RED. Like crazy red. Like, red to the point where I look like I’m ending a ten hour drug bender whenever I shower.

  33. @Matt (last boring post I promise) You most likely have a condition known as thin tear film…essentially the “film” that makes up the vitreous humor of your eyeballs isn’t as tough as most (someone didn’t eat carrots at his tiki party growing up).

    Artificial tears seriously should clear that all up.

  34. McDonald’s is becoming a pioneer in the “pies that vaguely taste like their namesakes” arena this year. During the Fall they had a sweet potato pie. I miss it. Ordering it made me feel like a better person, “Oh, look at me ordering a sweet potato pie at McDonald’s, I am soooo healthy! K, you’re a good person. Good for you!”

  35. Pie > cake. Anyone who says otherwise can go to hell. Unless it’s pecan pie, which I hate in spite of my love of everything nutty.

    I want hot homemade apple pie with ice cream. Tastes like holidays, in my opinion. Maybe throw some cranberries in that shit as well.

  36. By the way, Matt, I get drive-thru anxiety as well, especially if I’m driving and there are other people in the car that I have to order for.

  37. @Annette: Having other people in the car eliminates my fear, strangely. Then I can order with gusto!

  38. @Matt normally I don’t eat fast food anything but you sold the pies (hot sneeze) so well I had to try. I hit up the Midland Beach McDonald’s. I figured I might as well show support for a Hurricane Sandy affected neighborhood at the same time I’m buying pie. I walked in and ordered as I’m sure you know what Joe Pesci has to say at the drive through. They had a sign up for the holiday pie so I didn’t have any WTF are you talking about moments. I did however have to wait 10 minutes for them to bake (reheat) the pies. The cashier said it would only take 5, but it was definitely 10. I bought enough for the whole family who were pleasantly surprised. I would say that the custard tasted more like warm paste then a hot sneeze though.

    BTW: I hope you can work through your drive-through issues before the new SONIC opens up on the south shore.

  39. Whoa, that Madd Matt Roseart vinyl figure you posted on Mummy Shark is awesome!! “K” did an amazing job on it.

  40. I was at McD’s a couple of weeks ago and saw they had these, but had a the eggnog shake instead. It was delicious.

  41. @ Modok: Thank you :)

  42. Matt, your drive-through dilemma is one I face every freaking time… All I want is like 1 cheeseburger for a snack, but somehow I get a double combo with a Dr. Pepper and a crispy fish sandwich. I don’t know what the deal is.

  43. I will likely never have these as I don’t go to McDonald’s ever. I rarely do any fast food but particularly stay away from Wendy’s and McDonald’s.

  44. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my McDonalds has them! My wife and I ordered some for lunch and people were going crazy for them! I heard the manager frantically yelling for 10 more pies right before we got ours.

  45. K, I also have to let you know how much I love that Madd Matt RoseArt. Amazing,I am highly, highly impressed!

  46. Off topic Matt. I think I found out why Rusty and Audrey keep changing their appearances in every Vacation movie they’re in. Rusty and Audrey are Time Lords!

  47. Bill,

    After seeing the word “custard” thrown around so many times I had that exact same scene in my mind before I read your comment.

    Glad to see I’m not the only one!

  48. @Matt: You should go back to that 2nd McDonalds, slam one of the pie holders down on the counter and say, “THIS PIE!”.

    Then act like The Rock and go, “A pie for this jabroni beating, PIE eating, (and do the “ellaellaella” tongue lash right after), trail blazing, eyebrow raising, take your foot & step on the gas, then stick it straight up your candy ass, People’s Champ!” And as you leave, say, “If ya smellllllll…what the Rock…is cookin’!”

  49. So happy you wrote about these :). My wife introduced me to the holiday pies several years ago. She’s crazy about them and I never get tired of seeing how excited she gets when they’re back in stores. Just one of the little things that makes christmas great. Aso, i think you’d do friday the 13th justice. Real excited for the new one coming out.

  50. They’re custard?! I’m not a pie guy either (‘cept for pumpkin, I’ll eat that shit ALL day), but I’d consider eating one of these just because it would remind me of that one part in King’s Quest V. Of course, I doubt anyone knows what the hell I’m referring to, but whatever.

    Also, Starter Jackets, I totally jumped on that bandwagon too. Never mind the fact that I have never known jack shit about sports besides “I like our local guys.” I don’t even remember what jacket I lucked into owning. I think it had a pelican or similar bird on it. I could look it up but fuck it.

  51. The problem with McDonalds is that the food can be different depending on where you go. I had a holiday pie last year and I thought it would be so yummy, but the custard inside was pretty much dried out into crumbles. I was like “I want my fifty cents back!”

  52. I didn’t know these were rare in some areas. I eat them all the time at my McDs around Christmas time. Guess I’m lucky.

  53. Your eyes get red in the shower because you are allergic to your soap and or shampoo. Switch to fragrance free stuff like Aveeno.

  54. They showed an episode of Dr. Who last night on PBS about killer snowmen. :)

  55. This post comes up as the 11th link in google when searching mcdonalds holiday pie.

    Right under “Things Not To Put In Your Body: McDonald’s Holiday Pie”

  56. I had one last year…they had no flavor, other than being sweet. The holiday mcflurries are MUCH better!…I think it’s chocolate mint pieces or something, in them.

    Eggnog shake is too sweet for me. It’s got that cloying, tooth achingly sweet taste…

  57. I’d like to hear more about this Friday the 13th script. Does it feature snow?

  58. I just gifted someone a giant shark pillow

  59. I’ve found I’m extra polite at drive-thru windows. Like all “thank you” and “ma’am”.

    I seriously kid not there’s a McDonald’s less than two minutes away from my house both to the left and to the right. It’s ridiculous.

  60. Deck my jaws with human bodies
    Fa-la-la-la-la, Dinosaur Dracula
    Mista Snowman, Mares, WAITERBOT follies
    Fa-la-la-la-la, Dinosaur Dracula

    That’s all I got. Also, I’ve been told these are icky fried pies. Pfft, my family knows nothing. I need my fix.

  61. MISB Inhumanoids “Tendril” figure.

    On eBay for buy it now $125!

  62. @IHAQ: Thank You :)

  63. After reading this I headed to mcdonalds for a holiday pie. It was the first time I was ever denied one. Not only did they not have them, but they girl gave me a strangle look and said she never heard of it. So my experience went much like yours did. Moving to Georgia has really put a damper on my christmas spirit. Philly was much better.

  64. I have never heard of, or seen, these McDonald’s Holiday Pies until reading this article. I think their food is perfectly fine, but I haven’t eaten anything from The House That Ronald Built in months. I collect a lot of their Happy Meals toys, albeit not directly, but that’s about the extent of my dealings with them these days.

    I love almost any kind of pie (or cake), so, given the chance, I’d probably scarf down Mickey D’s holiday offerings. I baked a couple of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving dinner, from scratch, but haven’t had any kind of pie since then. I used canned pumpkin this time, but one year, I really went old school and did it the hard way: skinning and cutting up the jack o’ lantern, boiling it, and then mashing up the chunks to make the filling. Marc Marrone says that cats and dogs love canned pumpkin, but I could only get one of our three cats interested enough to eat it out of a bowl (the dog gobbled it up, of course, but he’ll eat anything that doesn’t eat him first, so his gastronomical inclinations are not to be trusted). Egg custard pie is the bomb–I made one of those for my Mother’s birthday, back at the tail end of October, because it’s one of her favorite dishes (and, as Goob wrote, it does sort of taste like scrambled eggs with sugar, but in a good way). The only part about making pies that I don’t like is rolling out the dough, because the flour is a mess to clean up (I know I could get pre-made crusts, but it’s not the same, and then I wouldn’t be able to brag about making it from scratch either, lol).

  65. I love these pies. Every time I eat a McDonald’s apple pie, it makes me wish they still fried their pies, but I think baking is better for the holiday pies.

    K, that Madd Matt vinyl figure you made is awesome! Well done!

  66. @Teddy Ray: Thank you very much :) There’s a Mummy Shark figure coming up next.

    @Matt: Our town has NO holiday pie! The lord giveth, an the Lord taketh away- and sometimes he only participates at select retailers. Lesson learned.

    Me sad now.

    Mew <—sad kitten purr

  67. I love this site, but this is the first article that made me cry with laughter in a while.

    Maybe it was timing – I went to McDonalds for lunch today and asked for a holiday pie. The woman said, “we don’t have those anymore, they’re seasonal.”

    Aside from the fact that there was a big sign for holiday pies right behind her and I could SEE the actual holiday pies right beside the apple pies, WHAT SEASON DID THIS WOMAN THINK HOLIDAY PIES WERE FOR?

  68. Ever since I saw this article I ran all over town looking for the dang things to no avail. But a few days ago me and some buddies went out of town, stopped at a McDonald’s when I saw the sign for holiday pies and almost pissed myself. They actually tasted as good as they look, like cake batter wrapped in a sugar cookie. Superior to any hostess pudding pie, but maybe that’s just because they’re warmed.

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