This copycat Big Mac Sauce recipe is so close to the McDonald's special sauce, you won't be able to taste the difference! Use it to recreate your own homemade Big Macs, or as a topping and sauce for your favorite foods.
What is it?
Big Mac Sauce has wonderfully creamy, tangy, and sweet. This flavor combination stands cuts through the richness of a fatty cheeseburger, making it a perfect burger topping. It is said to taste very similar to Thousand Island dressing, despite not being tomato-based.
Created by Jim Delligatti 1967, the original Big Mac wasn't actually called a Big Mac. It first went by different names - "The Aristocrat" and the "Blue Ribbon Burger", neither of which caught on with customers. The third name, "Big Mac" was created by Esther Glickstein Rose, a young corporate McDonald's employee. This sandwich went on to worldwide fame, popularizing the iconic special sauce.
The earliest McDonald's advertisements didn't refer to Big Mac Sauce as we now know it, but rather, called it "secret sauce". However, in 1974 a new advertising campaign came up with the famous jingle "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – on a sesame seed bun." It has been known as "special sauce" ever since!
What are the Ingredients?
How do I know there are no tomatoes in McDonald's Special Sauce? Because, I looked up the ingredient list. This is what is in McDonald's Big Mac Sauce:
Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (Diced Pickles, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Distilled Vinegar, Water, Egg Yolks, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Mustard Bran, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Vegetable Protein (Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy and Wheat), Caramel Colour, Extractives of Paprika, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Colour), Calcium Disodium EDTA (Protect Flavour)
How to make it
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you don't have a pantry full of preservatives and chemical binders, and neither does your grocery store. So let me break this down into simple ingredients you'll understand. Based on McDonald's ingredient list, you will need sweet relish (not dill pickle relish), mayo, vinegar, American yellow mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika to make homemade Big Mac sauce. That sounds a lot more reasonable, doesn't it?
Make this famous sauce simply by mixing the ingredients together in a small bowl, then store it in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container to allow the flavors to meld. You can enjoy it immediately if you are impatient, but letting it meld makes a big difference.
Store your homemade sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. As a mayo-based sauce, Big Mac sauce will spoil at room temperature if left outside of the fridge. It will also develop off-flavors if it is not sealed properly in a covered container. I do not recommend freezing it. For best flavor, any leftover sauce will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Big Mac Sauce is not Thousand Island dressing. Thousand Island dressing requires tomatoes, which aren't an ingredient in authentic Big Mac Sauce.
For this same reason, I firmly believe the best Big Mac Sauce recipe you'll find will always exclude French dressing. Unfortunately, it seems 95% of the Big Mac Sauce recipes on the web call for French dressing but don't be fooled. Although I will admit the flavor is in the right ballpark as the real thing, *spoiler alert*, it still tastes like French dressing.
How to Use This Sauce
Serving McDonald's Special Sauce on savory homemade burgers isn't the only way it can be enjoyed. Try these new ideas as well:
- Homemade Big Macs - To make McDonald's Big Mac, lightly toast a sesame seed bun, and grab an extra bottom bun to use as the middle piece. Spread the special sauce on the bottom bun, sprinkle with diced onion, shredded lettuce, and top with a slice of American cheese. Place one thin burger patty on the cheese, then add the middle bun, top with more sauce, lettuce, and add pickles. Finally add the second burger patty, top with the crown of the bun and enjoy!
- Chicken sandwich - In India, Mcdonald's sells a Chicken Maharaja Mac, which is essentially a chicken Big Mac. Use this creamy condiment on your own chicken burger, or even chicken patties.
- Burger bowls - Skip the sesame seed bun, this condiment is a great way to whip up some delicious low-carb creations.
- Salads - This makes a delicious salad dressing to enjoy your own Big Mac Salad.
- Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes - These sloppy Joes are great without sauce, but can certainly be enjoyed with it as well!
- Fries - Use this as a dipping sauce for French fries, onion rings, and steak fries
- Potato Salad - This is the perfect sauce to add an exciting twist to any potato salad!
Big Mac Sauce
- Place all ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Can be enjoyed immediately, but the flavor is best when allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Store in an air-tight container.