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The Big Mac is a McDonald's icon. And the tangy, creamy sauce is a signature component of the unique, stacked meaty burger too.

Known mysteriously as "Special Sauce", while the ingredients the burger chain uses are available on its website, a recipe claiming to be the real deal has been doing the rounds on the internet. So this week the Trial and Error team decided to test and compare it to the real thing.

According to the McDonald's website, the sauce Maccas uses contains more ingredients than the other components of the burger:


Soybean Oil (Antioxidant [330]), Water, Relish [Pickles, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Thickener (415), Preservative (202), Spice Extract, Emulsifier (433)], Mustard [Water, Vinegar,Mustard Seed, Salt, Sugar, Colours (100, 150d), Spice], Salted Egg Yolks, (Egg Yolks, Salt), Distilled Vinegar, Onion, Thickener (1442, 415, 405), Spices, Sugar, Salt, Hydrolysed Proteins (Corn, Gluten, Wheat and Soy), Colours (160c, 150d,100), Preservative (211), Emulsifier (433), Garlic, Antioxidant (385).

If you didn't read through all of that, we understand. It's a lot. Basically, it contains a lot of preservatives, flavours, colours and sugars.

While some of these things may also feature in the mayonnaise and relish that are key ingredients in the recipe circulating online, here's what we mixed up to share with our friends and see if they could tell the difference.

Homemade Big Mac sauce

It was so easy to make. We literally gathered our ingredients and mixed everything in a bowl.

We used:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp gherkin relish
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp crushed mustard seeds
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

The taste test

Before inviting our pals over for a taste test, Mitch and I sampled our concoction against the real deal.

Not to be bias or anything, we decided our version was much better than the McDonald's sauce.

Our homemade concoction on the left and the real deal from McDonald's on the right. Photo / Trial and Error
Our homemade concoction on the left and the real deal from McDonald's on the right. Photo / Trial and Error

Then we brought in Storme and Rebecca for a blind taste test. Not knowing which sauce was which, Storme was initially impressed by what was actually the genuine article.

After tasting our homemade offering, however, he explained that you can "barely tell the difference" between the two - just the feedback we were hoping for.

He also went on to say that though our sauce looked different it was the same consistency, tasted "really good" and ultimately picked the homemade version as the better sauce.

Rebecca also said she liked our sauce more than the original, which she noted had a "fake" smell to it.

So is it Trial and Error approved?

Yes! After the positive reaction we got from our homemade sauce, and the fact that it is so easy to make, we can definitely recommend you try making it for yourself.