I tried McDonald’s youtiao-lookalike Donut Sticks – and I’m sad they’re only available for breakfast

As soon as I took the first bite, I was surprised by how similar in texture the stick was to actual youtiao.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Is it a churro? Is it a youtiao? It’s McDonald’s new Donut Sticks!

Read also: McDonald’s famous Donut Sticks are finally coming to Singapore – here’s where to get them

But what exactly, you ask, is a Donut Stick?

When I first wrote about the US fast food chain’s hit breakfast item in March last year, I was equally intrigued.

It didn’t matter that Donut Sticks were launched only in America at the time. Within one day, Chinese social media was already exploding with comparisons between the cinnamon sugar-coated snack and traditional Chinese dough sticks.

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And the photos being posted online just got more and more people talking. Are these just miniature youtiao? What happens if I dip them in soya bean milk?

So when McDonald’s Singapore said this week that it would start selling Donut Sticks for S$2.20  a pack (S$3 with coffee), I was excited to finally get some answers.

On Thursday (Feb 2) morning, I woke up bright and early to place my delivery order. Here’s what the new McYoutiao (unofficial name given by yours truly) really tastes like:


McDonald’s newest item is available during breakfast hours only. If you’re not familiar, that means 4am to 11am on weekdays and 4am to 12 noon on weekends.


In the US, Donut Sticks were described as “light, flaky golden-brown dough” coated with cinnamon sugar. They were also served with chocolate dipping sauce at McCafe outlets there as a limited-time item.

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McDonald’s

My order via Grab came packed from a McDonald’s outlet around 1km away from home, so they were still warm and crisp when they arrived.

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Business Insider/Jessica Lin

The Donut Sticks were packed in an oversized paper bag. I felt a little let down when I looked inside to find five tiny sticks at the very bottom. That works out to be around 40 cents per stick.

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Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Here’s what each stick looks like.

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And yes, they look exactly like tiny youtiao.
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Business Insider/Jessica Lin

As soon as I took the first bite, I was surprised by how similar in texture the stick was to actual youtiao.

It was crisp on the outside but soft and airy on the inside, very much like the Chinese breakfast food. The main difference was that it was not greasy at all, which meant it wasn’t going to be cloying or difficult to finish.

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Business Insider/Jessica Lin

There was also a generous amount of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the sticks, which made them taste very similar to Spanish churros. As a churro lover, this made me very pleased.

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In other words, it has the texture of a youtiao and the flavour of a churro.
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Business Insider/Jessica Lin

But aside from the small portion size, there are two other things that left me feeling a little dismayed.

1) Why are these considered a breakfast item? I could eat these all day! Their small size and cinnamony sweetness make them the perfect afternoon snack, especially when paired with hot coffee.

2) Not only should these be an all-day snack item, the churro-like treats should also come with an optional chocolate dipping sauce on the side. I would gladly pay more to have that added option, even though I’d probably end up going to McDonald’s more than I should.

As you can tell, the Donut Sticks were a definite winner for me, and I give it a score of 4 out of 5. In fact, I’m already planning to order another pack (or two) this weekend.