Big Mac Sauce

McDonald’s Big Mac sauce isn’t a secret anymore. The Big Mac special sauce is easy to make and can be made in a couple of minutes. Although the McDonald’s Special Sauce goes well on a Big Mac, it also goes well on a sandwich and so much more.

homemade Big Mac special sauce in a small bowl and two homemade Big Mac burgers

McDonald’s Big Mac Special Flavor

There is no more iconic burger in the world than McDonald’s Big Mac. Immortalized with its own jingle and seared into the memories of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the Big Mac is a symbol of Americana that is equally recognizable whether you are in Philadelphia or The Philippines.

There is no doubt that what elevates the Big Mac from just a double burger with cheese to the ultimate quick-serve burger is the Big Mac secret sauce. The Big Mac sauce is creamy with just a bit of tang and spice that works well with the richness of the meat and cheese.

Believe it or not, you can purchase Big Mac sauce on its own, but it will cost you. McDonald’s is making limited quantities available to consumers, but when they are gone, they are gone.

Bottles of the sauce are fetching ridiculous prices of up to 10,000 dollars on sites such as eBay.

The good news is that you don’t have to take out a loan to enjoy Big Mac sauce at home. This quick and easy recipe will show you how to make homemade Big Mac sauce just as good as the original.

The Birth of the Big Mac

The Big Mac was first cooked back in 1967 by a franchisee in Pittsburgh named Jim Delligatti. At first, he only served the creation at his restaurants, but the burger’s popularity quickly grew.

Within a year, the Big Mac began popping up on McDonald’s menu boards across the region and then the country.

In the early days, the Big Mac sauce recipe varied amongst different parts of the US, and it wasn’t until 1972 that McDonald’s standardized the recipe.

Two years later, the famous jingle was first released, and the rest is the stuff of fast-food legend.

What is Big Mac Sauce?

A common misconception is that the Big Mac special sauce is just Thousand Island dressing in disguise. It isn’t. Although Thousand Island dressing is a significant component of the recipe, the Big Mac secret sauce is distinctively different enough to consider as a unique sauce.

The big secret to the special sauce is the addition of Indian relish. The recipe for Indian relish calls for red bell peppers and onions mixed with vinegar and red pepper flakes. This mixture gives the Big Mac sauce a bit of a kick and helps to thicken it up.

Indian relish is available in most larger supermarkets or online, but if you can’t find it ready-made, you can always use sweet pickle relish. If you are feeling adventurous you may want to try making a highly rated version of Indian relish from All Recipes.

What makes this copycat recipe different?

I have one main ingredient difference from other copycat recipes. My use of India relish instead of sweet pickle relish or dill pickle relish<. India relish has a complex flavor of white onions, mustard seeds, garlic, and white vinegar, this complex pickle relish is what distinguishes this recipe from others. By using this ingredient you are bringing in a host of consistent flavors to add to your sauce. Other recipes may have you add things like onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, and distilled vinegar to bring in these flavors individually.

I recommend you go to the grocery store and grab a jar of India relish.  

Big Mac Sauce Ingredients

This is all you need to make McDonald’s Big Mac sauce:

  • Mayonnaise – I recommend Hellman’s or Duke’s
  • India Relish – Heinz makes a variety found in most grocery stores
  • Sugar – we need a little sugar to balance the flavors
  • Thousand Island Dressing – this is giving you color without too much tomato flavor
Big Mac special sauce ingredients

How to make Big Mac Sauce

This recipe is very simple to make. Simply stir all of the ingredients together in a small bowl

Let sauce stand for 20 minutes before using it so all the flavors can come together.

homemade big mac special sauce in a small yellow bowl

Tips For Making and Storing Homemade Big Mac Sauce

  • Try to make-ahead for the best taste. Like many sauces, it can take time for all the flavors in a homemade secret sauce to blend. Make the sauce at least a few hours before you plan to use it and keep it covered in the fridge.
  • Don’t use cold sauce. Remove a small portion of the sauce from the refrigerator and let it warm up while you cook. Just remember to throw away any remaining warm sauce to avoid getting sick.

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Use this sauce for the best homemade Big Mac burgers or a tasty sandwich.

I hope you give this recipe a try and be sure to check out my many other copycat recipes, and you can be the judge on how close they taste to what is in the restaurant.

a bowl of homemade Big Mac Special Sauce

More Tasty Sauces

Be sure to check out all my easy sauce recipes and the best copycat McDonald’s recipes.

homemade Big Mac special sauce in a small bowl and two homemade Big Mac burgers

McDonald’s Secret Sauce aka Big Mac Sauce

You can recreate McDonald's Big Mac Special Sauce at home. 
4.92 from 35 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Copycat recipe, McDonald’s Recipes, Secret Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 104kcal


  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons India relish, drained Heinz makes India relish
  • 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing


  • Mix all ingredients well. Let stand for at least 20 minutes, allowing to sit overnight is desired.



Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 2mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Bill J.

    This recipe is okay, but it does not include certain ingredients that appear within the ingredients list on the nutritional info on McDonald’s packaged secret sauce, specially mustard and paprika. And there is no tomato product listed in McDonald’s ingredients disclosure.
    The pink color comes from paprika extract.

  2. Crystal

    I saw a video that former corporate McDonald’s chef Mike Haracz posted where he gave the actual recipe. He said this recipe is as close as you’re gonna get to the real Mac sauce only because there are some ingredients that are not available to the general public but I made this & let me tell you this recipe tastes just like the real thing

    1 cup hellman’s mayo
    1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
    2 tbsp of Düsseldorf mustard
    1 tsp of white wine vinegar
    1 1/4 tsp paprika
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp granulated garlic
    1/8th tsp of white pepper
    Let sit for 30 min

    • Bill J

      Chrystal I agree with you, but I used granulated onion or dehydrated onion flakes and mixed them with the pickle relish and garlic granules until the dehydrated flakes soaked up the pickle relish brine.
      Also, there is a specific Kraft Red French salad dressing that does NOT contain tomato products and gets its deep red color from paprika and paprika extract. You can use a small amount of this non-tomato French dressing to achieve a pink finished color rather than the yellow color achieved without paprika extract.

  3. rod n

    i found a different MAC SAUCE IN 1969 MC D’S
    1/4 cup KRAFT Miracle Whip
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    2 heaping tablespoons WISHBONE deluxe French
    salad dressing (the orange stuff)
    1/2 tablespoon HEINZ sweet relish
    2 heaping teaspoons VLASIC dill pickle relish (Heinz
    dill relish also works)
    1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
    1 teaspoon white vinegar
    1 teaspoon ketchup
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    Mix everything very well in a small container. There better be no streaks! Microwave 25 seconds, and stir well again. Cover, and refrigerate at LEAST 1 hour before using (to allow all of the flavors to “meld”).
    Makes nearly 1 cup…enough for about 8 Big Macs. (note- the term `microwave’ is in reference to using what was called a `radar range’ – aka amana radar range- which was created after ww ii back in 1946).

    • KSC

      This is the best version I have tried so far, thank you. And I only ever have dukes, so I haven’t tried splitting the mayos yet. Fantastic, thank you!

    • George Moy

      Thanks Stephanie for the recipe on Mac Donald’s secret sauce I like it I don’t care about what everyone says about it so I hope you have a thick skin on what the idea of how the sauce should be,because like everything else,everyone WILL always,(and always) try to change things, and reinvent all sorts of things to think,this is the way it works! Sometimes it does work good, other times, not good at all So thanks again for bringing to light on the taste of those secret flavor home.

  4. Peggy

    2 stars
    My husband worked at McDonald’s when he was a teenager. They used to have to make Big Mac sauce when they ran out of it. It was not this recipe. They used mayo, tarter sauce and ketchup. Ketchup hid the taste of the tarter sauce. So, idk about this recipe.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t know when your husband was a teenager … but I imagine many franchisee’s did different things to make this happen in a pinch. I am sorry you found my recipe lacking.

    • Cat G

      This does not taste like Big Mac sauce at all. It definitely has some thousand islands dressing and this you say tarter sauce? I don’t think this is an original recipe!!

    • Gary

      5 stars
      This was very good. I used pickle relish and it tasted great on a sandwich and a burger. Thanks you, I will be using this spread quite often and will try the India relish next time.

  5. Steve k

    ….look imagine its 1967 and you re in your roadside Golden Arches Kitchen imagining a hook to get customers in the door. You look around the kitchen and you see; ketchup, relish, mayo, and yellow mustard on the counter….then it hits you, 4 great tastes, would taste great together!! I wonder what all these would these would taste like if I mixed them together???….and Viola!…..Special Sauce, withe ‘secret’ ingredients.
    I think logic tells you Special Sauce is simply: Mayo, Ketchup, Relish and Yellow Mustard.
    Try it, it tastes Exactly like special sauce, besides who ever heard of 1000 Island Dressing in 1967?

    • Cat G

      Ok did more research after reading this information. You are correct thousand islands dressing was invented in 1972 very interesting!! Maybe McDonald’s adopted the use of the dressing but the dressing has tomatoes and the secret sauce does not so curious as to who is right. There are a couple other recipes stating they are the copy cat secret sauce…

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