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McDonald's

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    McDonald's Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles

    It was the creator of Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza who came up with the idea to cook bits of maple syrup into small pancakes for a new sweet-and-savory breakfast sandwich offering from the world’s #1 fast food chain. Tom Ryan’s idea became a reality in 2003 when the McGriddles—with maple-flavored griddle cake buns—debuted on McDonald’s breakfast menu, and the sandwich is still selling like hotcakes today.

    To make four homemade McGriddles, you’ll first need to produce eight perfectly round griddle cakes that are infused with sweet maple bits. Recipes that instruct you to make hard candy from maple syrup for this hack will fail to tell you that the shattered shards of hard candy don't completely melt when the griddle cakes are cooked resulting in a distinct crunch not found in the real McDonald’s product. Also, breaking the hard maple candy into small uniform chunks is both difficult and messy. My solution was to make a flavorful maple gummy puck that could be neatly petite diced and sprinkled into the batter as it cooks.  

    Just be sure to use maple flavoring rather than maple extract for the maple gummy. Maple flavoring has a more intense flavor than the extract, and the dark brown caramel coloring will make your maple bits look like pancake syrup. You’ll also need one or two 3½-inch rings to make griddle cakes that are the perfect size for your clones.

    This recipe duplicates the bacon version of the sandwich, but you can replace the bacon with a patty made from breakfast sausage for the sausage version, or just go with egg and cheese.

    Get more of my McDonald's copycat recipes here.

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  • Not rated yet
    McDonald's Mighty Hot Sauce

    This super-spicy, slightly-sweet dipping sauce was introduced in the Fall of 2020 with the debut of the Spicy McNuggets, and it was the first new McDonald’s dipping sauce since the 2017 re-release of the infamous Szechuan Sauce (sauce mob details and hack here). The Mighty Hot Sauce was only offered for a limited time, and it vanished along with the Spicy McNuggets later that year. But not for long. Due to a social media outcry, Spicy McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce came back to the Golden Arches on February 1, 2021, for another limited-time-only run.

    Now you can get that same heavenly heat any time you want at home with my simple Mighty Hot Sauce recipe and use it as a dip for chicken fingers, wings, or whatever. This hack will give you about ½ cup of the sauce, but feel free to double it for a mightier portion. Just add another 20 seconds to the cooking time.

    If you want the best McDonald’s match use Texas Pete’s cayenne sauce for your hack. If you can’t find that brand, go with Frank’s.

    Click here for more great McDonald's copycat recipes. 

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  • Score: 4.80 (votes: 85)
    McDonald's Special Sauce (Big Mac Sauce)

    A big part of the Big Mac's appeal is the tasty "secret" spread slathered onto both decks of the world's most popular double-decker hamburger. So what's so special about this sauce? It's basically just thousand island dressing, right? Pretty much. But this sauce has a bit more sweet pickle relish in it than a typical thousand island salad slather. Also, I found that this clone comes close to the original with the inclusion of French dressing. It's an important ingredient—ketchup just won't do it. That, along with a sweet-and-sour flavor combo from vinegar and sugar, makes this sauce go well on any of your home burger creations, whether they're Big Mac clones or not. 

    If you like this recipe, but don't feel like making it at home, buy it by the bottle with Todd Wilbur's McDonald's Special Burger Sauce.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.70 (votes: 20)
    McDonald's French Fries

    They're the world's most famous French fries, responsible for one-third of all U.S. French fry sales, and many say they're the best. These fried spud strips are so popular that Burger King even changed its own recipe to better compete with the secret formula from Mickey D's. One-quarter of all meals served today in American restaurants come with fries; a fact that thrills restaurateurs since fries are the most profitable menu item in the food industry. Proper preparation steps were developed by McDonald's to minimize in-store preparation time, while producing a fry that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. This clone requires a two-step frying process to replicate the same qualities: the fries are par-fried, frozen, then fried once more to crispy just before serving. Be sure to use a slicer to cut the fries for a consistent thickness (1/4-inch is perfect) and for a cooking result that will make them just like the real thing. As for the rumor that you must soak the fries in sugar water to help them turn golden brown, I also found that not to be necessary. If the potatoes have properly developed they contain enough sugar on their own to make a good clone with great color.

    Now, how about a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder to go with those fries? Click here for a list of all my McDonald's copycat recipes. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.82 (votes: 44)
    McDonald's Big Mac

    Brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened the first McDonald's drive-in restaurant in 1948, in San Bernardino, California. When the brothers began to order an increasing amount of restaurant equipment for their growing business, they aroused the curiosity of milk-machine salesman Ray Kroc. Kroc befriended the brothers and became a franchising agent for the company that same year, opening his first McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc later founded the hugely successful McDonald's Corporation and perfected the fast food system that came to be studied and duplicated by other chains over the years. The first day Kroc's cash register rang up $366.12. Today the company racks up about $50 million a day in sales in more than 12,000 outlets worldwide, and for the past ten years a new store has opened somewhere around the world an average of every fifteen hours.

    The double-decker Big Mac was introduced in 1968, the brain-child of a local franchisee. It is now the world's most popular hamburger, and it is super easy to duplicate at home. You can use Kraft Thousand Island dressing for the special sauce, or follow this link to a recipe for cloning the special sauce from scratch.

    When you're done, pair your Big Mac with the refreshing McDonald's sweet tea recipe for the full take-out experience.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    For a live demo of this classic hack, check out this video.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 15)
    McDonald's McRib Sandwich

    If you're like me, that "limited-time" the McRib Sandwich is on sale is much too limited. But that's okay. If you've got a food processor you'll never have to go without the taste of the saucy sparerib sandwich that's dressed with pickles and onions and served on a soft, warm sandwich roll. The food processor is essential for grinding up meat that's been cut away from the bones of a large rack of uncooked pork spareribs. Once you shape the meat into patties and freeze it, you'll be able to make cloned McRibs any time you want in your own kitchen in less than 10 minutes. Follow these steps exactly and you will be shocked at how similar your home version tastes to the real McRib McCoy.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur.

    Check out Todd's video demo: How to clone a McRib.

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  • Score: 4.70 (votes: 10)
    McDonald's Egg McMuffin

    In March 1988 the first McDonald's in Belgrade,Yugoslavia, set an all-time opening-day record by running 6,000 people under the arches. In early 1990, when a Moscow McDonald's opened, it became the busiest in the world by serving more than 20,000 people in just the first month of operation. The McDonald's Rome franchise racks up annual sales of more than $11 million. And in August of 1992, the world's largest McDonald's opened in China. The Beijing McDonald's seats 700 people in 28,000 square feet. It has over 1,000 employees, and parking for 200 employee bicycles. McDonald's outlets dot the globe in fifty-two countries today, including Turkey, Thailand, Panama, El Salvador, Indonesia, and Poland. About 40 percent of the McDonald's that open today stand on foreign soil—that's more than 3,000 outlets.

    Back in the United States, McDonald's serves one of every four breakfasts eaten out of the home. The Egg McMuffin sandwich was introduced in 1977 and has become a convenient breakfast-in-a-sandwich for millions. The name for the sandwich was not the brainstorm of a corporate think tank as you would expect, but rather a suggestion from ex-McDonald's chairman and CEO Fred Turner. He says his wife Patty came up with it.

    You will need an empty clean can with the same diameter as an English muffin. A 6 1/2 ounce tuna can works well.

    I've copied a ton of items from McDonald's. Find your favorites here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.00 (votes: 9)
    McDonald's Filet-O-Fish

    The year 1963 was a big one in McDonald's history. The 500th McDonald's restaurant opened in Toledo, Ohio, and Hamburger University graduated its 500th student. It was in that same year that McDonald's served its one billionth hamburger in grand fashion on The Art Linkletter Show. Ronald McDonald also made his debut that year in Washington, D.C., and the Fillet-O-Fish sandwich was introduced as the first new menu addition since the restaurant chain opened in 1948.

    Have you ever wanted to make McDonald's French Fries? Find more McDonald's recipes here.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 8/4/19: Current versions of this sandwich come with the bun untoasted. For a classic version, make yours as described below, or skip step 2. Be sure to microwave your finished sandwich for 10-15 seconds to warm up your bun, and steam the sandwich before serving.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    McDonald's Hamburger

    Ronald McDonald is an international hero and celebrity. In Japan, since the "R" sound is not part of the Japanese language, everyone knows the burger-peddling clown as "Donald McDonald." And in Hong Kong, where people place a high value on family relationships, he is called Uncle McDonald, or in their language, "McDonald Suk Suk."

    These burgers were the original hallmark of the world's largest fast-food chain. In 1948, when brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened their first drive-in restaurant in San Bernardino, California, it was this simple sandwich that had hundreds of people driving in from miles around to pick up a sackful for just 15 cents a burger.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.00 (votes: 4)
    McDonald's Quarter Pounder with cheese

    What is the McDonald's sign referring to when it says "Over 100 billion served?" That's not the number of customers served, but the number of beef patties sold since McDonald's first opened its doors in the forties. A hamburger counts as one patty. A Big Mac counts as two.

    McDonald's sold its 11 billionth hamburger in 1972, the same year that this sandwich, the Quarter Pounder, was added to the growing menu. That was also the year large fries were added and founder Ray Kroc was honored with the Horatio Alger Award (the two events are not related). In 1972, the 2,000th McDonald's opened its doors, and by the end of that year McDonald's had finally become a billion-dollar corporation.

    Find more of my McDonald's copycat recipes here. 

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.67 (votes: 27)
    McDonald's Shakes

    Check out how simple it is to recreate any of the three flavors of McDonald's thick shakes from scratch. Just three ingredients for each clone. Really. And the secret ingredient for the chocolate and strawberry flavors is Nesquik mix. Throw everything in a blender and press a button. And if you want your shake thicker, just put it in the freezer for a while. Ah, creamy, frosty goodness.

    Now, how about a Big Mac and homemade McDonald's french fries?

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    McDonald's Breakfast Bagel Sandwiches

    Hold an entire breakfast in two hands and bring it right up to your face for a bite. Here's a clone for the Spanish Omelet Bagel from the Golden Arches. Check out my other clones for the Ham & Egg, and Steak & Egg Bagels in Even More Top Secret Recipes.

    All three sandwiches use the easy-to-make secret dill mayo-mustard sauce, cloned here with just two ingredients. The only requirement is that you have a small 6-inch skillet to make the omelette for each sandwich. This McDonald's Spanish omelette bagel sandwich recipe makes four sandwiches, so you'll be able to feed the whole crew.

    This is fun, right? Check out more of my copycat recipes for McDonald's favorites here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 3.95 (votes: 19)
    McDonald's Hot Mustard Sauce

    I finally got on the case to figure out a kitchen clone for this famous sauce—as it turns out, it's an easy hack. Dried mustard mixes it up with sweet and sour flavors in a saucepan over medium heat. Cornstarch thickens and stabilizes, and a little habanero pops in for the perfect spicy punch. Use it for dipping, use it for spreading...use it again and again, since you'll be making about a cup of the stuff. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.26 (votes: 38)
    McDonald's Shamrock Shake

    It's easy to recreate the flavors of McDonald's annual St. Patrick's Day shake using only four ingredients. The two that make this holiday shake special are the mint extract and green food coloring. Make sure your extract says "mint" and not "peppermint". And if you don't care to have shakes that are green like the real ones, you can forego the food coloring.

    Try my recipe for McDonald's newer Oreo Shamrock McFlurry here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 3/14/17: For a thicker, mintier shake add only 1 cup of milk. If your blender can't mix it up, add 1/4 cup of milk at a time until it blends. Also, the new Shamrock Shakes have whipped cream and a cherry on top.

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  • Score: 4.06 (votes: 16)
    McDonald's Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

    This recipe clones one of the sauces you get with your order of McNuggets at the world's largest hamburger outlet. Now, instead of shoving a fistful of the little green packs into your backpack, you can make up a batch of your own McDonald's sweet chili sauce to use as a dip for store bought nuggets, chicken fingers, fried shrimp, and tempura. It's a simple recipe that requires a food processor or a blender, and the sauce will keep well for some time in the fridge.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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Products: 115 of 37
Show: 15

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  • Not rated yet
    McDonald's Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles

    It was the creator of Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza who came up with the idea to cook bits of maple syrup into small pancakes for a new sweet-and-savory breakfast sandwich offering from the world’s #1 fast food chain. Tom Ryan’s idea became a reality in 2003 when the McGriddles—with maple-flavored griddle cake buns—debuted on McDonald’s breakfast menu, and the sandwich is still selling like hotcakes today.

    To make four homemade McGriddles, you’ll first need to produce eight perfectly round griddle cakes that are infused with sweet maple bits. Recipes that instruct you to make hard candy from maple syrup for this hack will fail to tell you that the shattered shards of hard candy don't completely melt when the griddle cakes are cooked resulting in a distinct crunch not found in the real McDonald’s product. Also, breaking the hard maple candy into small uniform chunks is both difficult and messy. My solution was to make a flavorful maple gummy puck that could be neatly petite diced and sprinkled into the batter as it cooks.  

    Just be sure to use maple flavoring rather than maple extract for the maple gummy. Maple flavoring has a more intense flavor than the extract, and the dark brown caramel coloring will make your maple bits look like pancake syrup. You’ll also need one or two 3½-inch rings to make griddle cakes that are the perfect size for your clones.

    This recipe duplicates the bacon version of the sandwich, but you can replace the bacon with a patty made from breakfast sausage for the sausage version, or just go with egg and cheese.

    Get more of my McDonald's copycat recipes here.

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    McDonald's Mighty Hot Sauce

    This super-spicy, slightly-sweet dipping sauce was introduced in the Fall of 2020 with the debut of the Spicy McNuggets, and it was the first new McDonald’s dipping sauce since the 2017 re-release of the infamous Szechuan Sauce (sauce mob details and hack here). The Mighty Hot Sauce was only offered for a limited time, and it vanished along with the Spicy McNuggets later that year. But not for long. Due to a social media outcry, Spicy McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce came back to the Golden Arches on February 1, 2021, for another limited-time-only run.

    Now you can get that same heavenly heat any time you want at home with my simple Mighty Hot Sauce recipe and use it as a dip for chicken fingers, wings, or whatever. This hack will give you about ½ cup of the sauce, but feel free to double it for a mightier portion. Just add another 20 seconds to the cooking time.

    If you want the best McDonald’s match use Texas Pete’s cayenne sauce for your hack. If you can’t find that brand, go with Frank’s.

    Click here for more great McDonald's copycat recipes. 

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    McDonald's Oreo Shamrock McFlurry

    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous green mint-flavored Shamrock Shake first served in 1970, McDonald’s created this new minty McFlurry, with crumbled Oreo cookies mixed in. If you’re a Shamrock Shake fan, you’ll go nuts over this new twist. You may never again crave a regular Shamrock Shake.

    This dessert-in-a-cup is thicker than the traditional Shamrock shake since it’s made with soft-serve vanilla ice cream rather than milkshake mix. To simulate the thicker drink at home you mix the ice cream with milk, Shamrock syrup (made with the recipe below), and Oreo crumbs in a frozen glass or ceramic bowl. The cold bowl keeps the ingredients thick until you spoon everything into a glass.

    The secret syrup recipe here makes around 8 tablespoons of green mint syrup, which will be enough to make 4 minty McDonald's Oreo Shamrock McFlurry milkshake clones.

    Follow this link for more of my McDonald's clone recipes. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    McDonald's Strawberry Banana Smoothie

    McDonald's refreshing smoothie is easy to knock off at home in a blender with fresh bananas and boxed frozen strawberries that come in syrup. Thaw out those strawberries before adding them and include some of the syrup when measuring. This McDonald's strawberry banana smoothie recipe makes 2 medium drinks so you can share, or one really big drink for a very hot and thirsty you.

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  • Score: 4.00 (votes: 3)
    McDonald's McLobster Sandwich

    On a trip through Maine I saw an sign advertising a lobster sandwich at the world's most famous hamburger chain. Lobster at McDonalds? I just had to get a closer look. When I got inside a woman behind the counter told me that the sandwich is served only at select McDonald's locations, mostly in Maine, for a limited-time only during the summer months. So I ordered one and sat down in the dining room to examine it. When I opened up the wrapper I found chilled fresh lobster chunks tossed in mayonnaise and piled on a hoagie roll with a leaf of lettuce—it's McDonald's version of a lobster roll. I took a bite and it tasted pretty darn good. I ate the whole thing, ordered another one, and got back on the road. Driving off I thought about how strange it was to eat lobster at McDonald's.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.55 (votes: 53)
    McDonald's Sweet Tea

    I know, it's just tea. Tea and sugar, plain and simple—probably the easiest recipe on earth. But I had been getting so many requests to clone the sweet tea at McDonald's that I figured it's time for a hack. All you'll need to clone tea like Mickey D's are a few standard-size Lipton tea bags and a way to boil 2 quarts of water. There's a whole cup of sugar in there, so this tea is pretty sweet if you drink it straight. McDonald's serves the real stuff from a room-temperature jug into a cup filled to the top with ice. This will dilute the tea in just a few minutes so that it's not so crazy-sweet.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    McDonald's McD.L.T.

    In 1963 the busiest clown in America, Ronald McDonald, made his debut in Washington, D.C. But beneath that red wig and 14 1/2-inch shoes was someone who would later become the portly weatherman on NBC's "Today" show. It was Willard Scott.

    Future Ronald McDonald wanna-be's get their training at McDonald's "college," just as many of the chain's managers and franchise owners do. It is a surprisingly busy institution. By 2001 the 40,000th student was granted a Hamburgerology Degree from McDonald's Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Illinois. Hamburger University was set up to provide instruction for McDonald's personnel in the various aspects of their business—equipment, controls, human relations skills, and management skills.

    Nearly 3,000 students pass through the halls of the school each year as they continue to grow in their McDonald's careers. And the American council on Education has approved eighteen of the university's courses for college credits.

    One more chapter in the studies of H.U. graduates came in 1985, when the "hot side" and "cool side" of the McD.L.T. found their way onto McDonald's menu. It lives on only here, for five years after it was introduced, the McD.L.T. was dropped and replaced with the McLean Deluxe.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    McDonald's Big Mac Reduced-Fat

    When the first Big Mac was served by a McDonald's franchisee in 1968, it was a time when all food in America was prepared with little attention to the amount of fat. Some low-calorie products had been developed, but they were not hugely popular, and most Americans ate and prepared food using whatever ingredients made it taste the best. Around 27 years later, McDonald's responded to the public's rapidly changing, health-conscious eating habits with the McLean Deluxe, a burger with a significantly reduced amount of fat. But the McLean Deluxe was not a commercial success; it never even came close to selling as fast as the other McDonald's burgers. Soon, the McLean Deluxe was history. And today, as reduced-fat products in supermarkets are selling faster than ever, McDonald's has not replaced the McLean Deluxe on its menu. The Big Mac is still king, with its 31 grams of fat. Here's a clone to make a version of the Big Mac at home with less than half the fat of the original.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 burger
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–500 (Original–560)
    Fat per serving–13g (Original–31g)

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur. 

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  • Not rated yet
    McDonald's McFlurry

    These 16-ounce desserts-in-a-cup are made with McDonald’s soft-serve ice cream and one of several crumbled sweet additives. Duplicating soft-serve ice cream at home comes easy using regular vanilla ice cream (not French vanilla), a little whole milk, and a frozen bowl to do the mixing. You might also want to freeze the glass that you plan to serve this in to ensure the ice cream is served up creamy yet firm, rather than melted and soupy.

    Do fries come with that shake? Try my McDonald's french fries recipe here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 10)
    McDonald's Sweet Chili Sauce

    To celebrate the Olympic Winter Games in February 2010 McDonald's introduced this new Asian-inspired dipping sauce for the chain's McNuggets. The sauce quickly became a top-requested favorite and the cloning requests for it have been coming in. McDonald's says the sauce will only be available for a limited time, so I had to get on the case right away if I was going to reverse-engineer this one. It took me about eight attempts to discover the right proportion of corn syrup to granulated sugar for the perfect consistency and sweetness for this homemade chili sauce. Cayenne pepper provides the necessary kick along with chili sauce, which you can find at the grocery store where the Asian foods are parked. It also goes by the name Sambal Olek, or just Sam to its close friends. Use this as a dipping sauce for your home-cooked chicken fingers and nuggets. 

    You might also like my recipes for McDonald's hot mustard, sweet and sour, honey mustard, and Szechuan dipping sauces.

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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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