In addition to the US testing, McDonald's will implement paper straws in all 1,361 of its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the rollout scheduled to begin in September and conclude by 2019.
McDonald's is preparing to test plastic straw alternatives in the United States later this year, the fast-food giant announced on Friday.
British officials will launch later this year a public consultation for a potential bill banning the sale of the single-use plastics.
It follows a successful trial at a handful of venues from April.
Every day, McDonald's is estimated to dispense millions of plastic straws, many of which are discarded and do not easily biodegrade. It has more than 14,000 US restaurants, compared to about 1,360 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Paper straws, unlike plastic ones, disintegrate in the environment.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove called it a "significant contribution" to helping the environment, and said it was "a fine example to other large businesses".
The company is the latest to ditch plastic straws, with businesses including Burger King, Costa Coffee, Wagamama and pub chain JD Wetherspoon all making the move away from them. Pizza Express said it would replace all plastic straws with biodegradable ones by summer 2018.
Most straws are made from plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene, which unless recycled take hundreds of years to decompose.
The flurry of commitments comes as efforts to eliminate single-use plastic intensify.
Speaking in March, Paul Pomroy, McDonald's UK CEO, said "the reduction and use of plastics is a hugely important issue - for our business, for the sector and for society".
McDonald's said it has begun testing alternatives to plastic straws in Belgium, and will try other options in France, Sweden, Norway and Australia.
Some manufacturers have previously argued against the removal of plastic straws because they are needed by some people with disabilities, children and the elderly.
McDonald's will use two companies to meet their needs, according to RTÉ - Huhtamaki, which has a production plant in Belfast, and Welsh start-up Transcend Packaging.