Revised Classic | Homemade Big Macs with Special Sauce


A few years ago during an outing to Little Goat Diner, our daughter Hannah ordered the All-American Burger – complete with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun.  Everyone at the table tried it and loved it, so I decided to surprise them with a version we could enjoy at home. I started by Googling “Big Mac Special Sauce,” and there it was – the original recipe. But gack! It was pre-bottled, sugary, preservative-laden stuff. Consequently, I set about making a healthier version (and by healthier I do not mean low-fat, simply not so processed) that would still taste like the real deal. It was an instant hit both at home and on my lifestyle site, the aesthete and the dilettante, where I originally published the recipe. Fire up your grills and prepare for smiles! Extra points if you whip up strawberry milkshakes.

Homemade Big Macs with Special Sauce

serves 4

for burgers:

1 pound ground chuck, gently formed into four patties
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into shreds
1/2 small white or yellow onion, finely minced
4 sesame seed buns
4 slices American cheese
jarred pickle slices

for sauce:

1/2 cup Vegenaise or Miracle Whip (I used Vegenaise and it is worth seeking out – in the refrigerated section)
2 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (I used Wickles)
2 teaspoons finely minced shallot or use 2 teaspoons of the onion you minced for burger topping
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper

Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together.

Season the formed beef patties with salt and pepper and grill or pan fry to desired doneness.

Melt cheese on burgers in last minute of cooking. Assemble and enjoy!

click here for a printer friendly PDF version of this recipe






12 Comments Add yours

  1. Pam Curcio says:

    I think it is another winner, Wendy.

  2. Erin Foey says:

    ummm,….yummmm!! My kids thank you!

    1. Wendy says:

      I hope they love them! (:

  3. Jenna says:

    My husband Eric is going to flip when I show him this! I’m always trying to find less processed variations of his favorite foods to make. 🙂

    1. Wendy says:

      That makes me so happy! Food makeovers are one of my favorite things to do.

  4. Kathlyn says:

    Can’t wait to try!

    1. Wendy says:

      Remember all of those times Mom took us to McDonald’s as a special treat? A Big Mac and a sundae were always involved.

  5. Jim F says:

    Thanks Wendy –

    A recipe for which we have all the ingredients on hand!
    Jim F

    1. Wendy says:

      Let me know how they turn out!

  6. Steph says:

    My boys will be so happy when I make this for them!

    1. Wendy says:

      Love making them happy1

Leave a Reply