This Big Mac Sauce copycat recipe is so close to the McDonald's special sauce, you won't be able to taste the difference!
I watched a video of one of McDonald's executive chefs making the Big Mac Sauce and did my best to replicate the ingredient ratios. It took a bit of trial and error, but the taste is spot on!
What is the origin of the Big Mac?
Created by Jim Delligatti 1967, the original Big Mac wasn't actually called a Big Mac. It first went by the 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 advertisements didn't refer to the 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!
Is Big Mac Sauce the same as Thousand Island Dressing?
I spent most of my life believing McDonald's Special Sauce was simply Thousand Island dressing. Big Mac Sauce is not Thousand Island dressing. Thousand Island dressing requires tomatoes, which isn't actually an ingredient in authentic Big Mac Sauce.
For this same reason, I also make my Big Mac Sauce without French dressing. You will find 95% of the Big Mac Sauce recipes on the web call for French dressing. Don't be fooled. Though, I will admit the flavor is in the right ballpark, but, *spoiler alert*, it still tastes like French dressing.
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, so let me break this down into simple ingredients you'll understand. Based on the above ingredient list, you will need sweet pickle relish (not dill pickle relish), mayo, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. That sounds a lot more reasonable, doesn't it?
Make the sauce simply by mixing the ingredients together, then store it in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to meld. You can enjoy it immediately if you are impatient, but letting it meld makes a big difference.
Yes! This sauce isn't just great on a McDonalds burger, use it on any homemade burger you are craving. It is even great on thick, gourmet-style, patties.
Store this sauce in an airtight container in your refrigerator. As a mayo-based sauce, it will spoil at room temperature if left outside of the fridge. It will also develop off-flavors if it is not sealed properly. I do not recommend freezing this sauce.
Big Mac sauce is wonderfully creamy, tangy, and sweet. This flavor combination stands cuts through the richness of a fatty burger, making it a perfect burger topping. It is said to taste very similar to Thousand Island dressing, despite not being tomato-based.
How to make a homemade Big Mac
Once you craft your own Special Sauce, you are well on your way to earning your children's undying love and affection by making them homemade Big Macs! You will want to brush up on my fast food burger recipe to really hit these out of the park. Though I have been known to slather this sauce on larger homemade burger patties too!
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 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!
More Ways to Enjoy 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:
- Chicken sandwich - In India Mcdonald's sells a Chicken Maharaja Mac, which is essentially a chicken Big Mac. Use this sauce on your own chicken burger, or even chicken patties.
- Burger bowls - Skip the sesame seed bun and whip of these delicious low-carb creations.
- Salads - This makes a great 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 dip for French fries, onion rings, and steak fries
- Potato Salad - This would add an exciting twist to any potato salad!
More Burger Condiments
Looking for more great toppings to craft the perfect burger? Try these ideas:
Big Mac Sauce
- Place all ingredients together in a 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.