McDonald’s Introduces Major Changes to Its Signature Big Mac Sandwich

McDonald’s has made some major changes to its signature sandwich, the Big Mac. The Wall Street Journal reported the modifications, which number more than 50 and come in response to consumers criticizing the chain’s sandwiches as “dry.” With its most significant menu modification in decades, McDonald’s is attempting to compete with increasingly popular, some might say “higher-end,” fast-casual chains such as Five Guys and Shake Shack.

McDonald’s will now cook Big Mac patties in smaller batches to ensure maximum flavor and a “uniform sear.” The sandwich’s cheese, pickles, and even lettuce have been devised to be “meltier.” In the case of the cheese, this means using a room-temperature slice instead of the previously used frozen stock. Its bun, slathered with an extra portion of special sauce, is now a “buttery brioche,” which is a moister, thicker bread that better retains heat. A smaller number of sesame seeds will remain on the top, but they’ll be more randomly dispersed to give the appearance of a “homemade” Big Mac.

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A crack team of chefs has been working tirelessly since 2016 to break down each component of the sandwich to improve it from the ground up. WSJ noted that McDonald’s executives, feeling the pressure from their more flavorful competition, revived cooking techniques the chain did away with many years ago in favor of producing a higher volume of more uniform products.

In addition to reviving old practices and reintroducing an iconic '90s toy in their new adult Happy Meals, McDonald's is tapping into the past by bringing the Hamburglar back for a new ad campaign. The beloved company mascot quietly disappeared around 2003.

“We can do it quick, fast, and safe, but it doesn’t necessarily taste great. So, we want to incorporate quality into where we’re at,” Chris Young, the chain’s senior director of global menu strategy, told the outlet.

McDonald’s tested the new Big Mac in Australia, and earlier this year began rolling the sandwich out in the United States. It’s now available at 13,460 domestic locations, after premiering on the West Coast last spring and the Midwest over the summer. The chain hopes to have the improved Big Mac available at all U.S. chains by early next year. If all goes well, they’ll begin implementing the enhanced production method on the rest of their sandwiches.

The restaurant doesn’t foresee the changes affecting their menu prices, but noted that franchisees ultimately make those decisions. You can find a detailed list of the changes below.

  • Burgers will be cooked six at a time, as opposed to the previously agreed upon eight, as this method was determined to deliver fresher, juicier patties.

  • Brioche buns with a thicker bottom provide a moister bread which retains more heat.

  • Onions are rehydrated at the restaurant and cooked atop the burger for a more flavorful result.

  • Pickles and lettuce will be stored in smaller facilities, requiring them to be “refreshed” more often.

  • Special sauce has been increased from one-third of an ounce to a half-ounce.