Select Page

All You Need to Know About McDonald’s Big Mac and the Big Mac Sauce

Along with the restaurant that is famed and known across the globe – McDonald’s is its most popular and iconic menu item, The Big Mac.

Big Mac was invented in the 1960s and named after a secretary in advertising. It is made up of beef patties, buns, Big Mac sauce, lettuce, onion, pickles, and cheese. Big Mac burger costs around $4 and has 550 calories. Although the Big Mac sauce is not a copycat of Thousand Island sauce, its ingredients are simple.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the iconic Big Mac and the Big Mac sauce starting from where it originated and how it landed the name it has today. We will also break down the ingredients along with all the nutrition facts.

Lastly, we will discuss how you can get your own secret stash of the secret Big Mac sauce!

When Was the Big Mac Invented?

The Big Mac was invented in 1967 by a McDonald’s franchise owner named Michael James “Jim” Delligatti in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The Big Mac was launched throughout McDonald’s restaurants nationwide by 1968. 

Delligatti served many male workers from nearby steel mills after their shift but found they were never satisfied or full enough after the smaller burgers that were on the menu at the time.

So, Delligatti came up with the idea of creating a “double-decker” burger, and the Big Mac was born. At the time of its launch, the Big Mac sold for just 45 cents a burger.

Delligatti has also invented the infamous “special sauce” or the Big Mac sauce served on the burger.

If you look at the original Big Mac versus today, you may notice a size difference. Shockingly, the original Big Mac was a bit larger than the burger is today.

Earlier Big Macs were made with two hamburger patties that were a quarter-pound each before grilling. Today, they are about 1.6 ounces before grilling.

Who Was the Big Mac Named After?

The “Big Mac” name is credited to a 21-year-old McDonald’s advertising secretary, Esther Glickstein Rose. McDonald’s executives laughed at Esther mentioning and suggesting the name “Big Mac,” but it ended up sticking.

The Big Mac held two other names before landing on the iconic label it still has today. When the burger was first released nationwide, McDonald’s called it “The Aristocrat.”

However, customers found the name hard to pronounce, and it didn’t fit with the McDonald’s brand.

Next, they tried out the “Blue Ribbon Burger,” but that also failed to have much success. That is when Esther suggested the name “Big Mac,” and the rest is history.

How Much Does the Big Mac Cost?

The Big Mac costs around $4 for the burger by itself. Customers can purchase the Big Mac meal for around $6, including a side of fries and a soft drink. Prices may change and vary by location.

McDonald’s restaurants in Canada also serve two additional burgers that are spin-offs of the original Big Mac burger.

The Double Big Mac is made up of 4 hamburger patties instead of just two and costs around $5.50.

The Grand Big Mac is a supersized Big Mac with bigger hamburger patties, more cheese, and Big Mac Sauce.

The Grand Big Mac is priced at around $6.50 for the burger by itself and about $10 for the combo meal.

Don’t worry; there is hope for the people in the U.S. to catch a glimpse of these two Big Mac spin-offs periodically at their local McDonald’s.

The U.S. has been known to roll out the Double Big Mac and Grand Big Mac at participating locations for a limited time.

Big Mac Index

The Big Mac is so popular around the globe that The Economist magazine created a survey called the Big Mac Index to measure purchase power parity between countries worldwide. The Big Mac Index has become the global standard for price comparison.

The Big Mac Index uses the McDonald’s Big Mac price in two countries to calculate an exchange rate compared to the official exchange rate between the two countries.

To calculate the Big Mac Index exchange rate, simply divide the price of a Big Mac in one country by the price of the Big Mac in another country.

What Are the Ingredients in a Big Mac?

The Big Mac is made up of two 1.6-ounce 100% pure beef patties sandwiched in between sesame seed buns. In between the patties and buns, the burger is stuffed with Big Mac sauce, pickles, shredded lettuce, finely chopped onion, and American cheese.

The Double Big Mac is built very similarly to the original Big Mac but doubles up on the patties. Double Big Mac is made up of four 100% Canadian beef patties sandwiched between sesame seed buns.

The burger is also stuffed with Big Mac sauce, pickles, shredded lettuce, finely chopped onion, and a slice of processed cheddar cheese.

On the other hand, the Grand Big Mac is what some might consider a Big Mac on steroids.

Grand Big Mac is still made up of just two 100% Canadian beef patties sandwiched between sesame seed buns, but the hamburger patties are larger in weight than the original Big Mac sandwich.

Like the original Big Mac, the Grand Big Mac is also stuffed with pickles, shredded lettuce, and finely chopped onions.

However, unlike the original Big Mac, it is topped with 3x the amount of Big Mac sauce and two slices of processed cheddar cheese.

Big Mac Calories and Nutrition Facts

The Big Mac burger contains 550 calories. The burger is made up of 30g fat, 45g of carbohydrates, and 25g of protein. Common allergens found in the Big Mac include wheat, egg, soy, and milk.

Because the Double Big Mac and Grand Big Mac are larger than the original Big Mac, their nutrition facts are slightly different.

The Double Big Mac is made up of 730 calories, 44g of fat, 48g of carbohydrates, and 38g of protein.

The Grand Big Mac contains 850 calories. The beefed-up burger has 50g of fat, 63g of carbohydrates, and 37g of protein.

The three burgers are all made up of the same 7 ingredients – burger patty, sesame seed bun, Big Mac sauce, pickles, onion, lettuce, and cheese. Therefore, they all have the same common allergens – wheat, soy, egg, and milk.

Here is a table summarizing and comparing the three Big Mac burgers’ nutrition facts:

 Big MacDouble Big MacGrand Big Mac
AllergensWheat, egg, soy, and milkWheat, egg, soy, and milkWheat, egg, soy, and milk
Big Mac Nutrition Facts

What Is the Big Mac Sauce Made Of?

The Big Mac sauce is not so secret as it is sometimes referred to. McDonald’s chefs have long since shared how the sauce is made. Big Mac sauce is made of mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, classic yellow mustard, white wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.

The McDonald’s Big Mac sauce was created by Jim Delligatti, the creator of the Big Mac. The Big Mac sauce is so crucial to the Big Mac’s success that it remained unchanged until 1991. But then the original recipe was reinstated back in 2004.

The only changes made to the sauce since 2004 were back in 2018 McDonald’s removed artificial preservatives from the Big Mac sauce.

It is unlikely that Delligatti used these preservatives back in the 60s, so some argue the sauce is back to its closest version of the original.

Big Mac Sauce Calories and Nutrition Facts

One tablespoon of Big Mac sauce contains 74 calories, 8g of fat, 3g of carbohydrates, and 0g of protein. Common allergens found in Big Mac sauce include soy, egg, and wheat.

With the Keto Diet being among popular diets, people often wonder about the carbohydrates in Big Mac sauce and if the Big Mac is keto-friendly.

The answer is no. There is a small number of carbs in the Big Mac sauce (3g) and a good amount in the Big Mac (45g).

To order a Keto-friendly Big Mac, just ask for no bun and no Big Mac sauce.

Here is a table to summarize the Big Mac sauce nutrition facts:

 Big Mac Sauce
AllergensSoy, egg, & wheat
Big Mac Sauce Nutrition Facts

Is the Big Mac Sauce Thousand Island?

The Big Mac sauce is not a copycat of Thousand Island. Thousand Island is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and onions. There is no ketchup (or tomatoes at all) in McDonald’s Big Mac sauce. The pink tint of McDonald’s Big Mac sauce comes from paprika.

People often get confused by thinking Big Mac sauce is Thousand Island because many of the copycat recipes that you can find online use ketchup or French dressing as an ingredient.

It is likely because adding ketchup is easier and faster than all the individual spices and vinegar.

Can You Buy the Big Mac Sauce?

There is good news for those interested in buying a Big Mac sauce bottle. Canadians can find Big Mac sauce for sale at grocery stores. In the U.S, you can often buy Big Mac sauce online through Amazon or eBay.

At some participating McDonald’s restaurants, customers can purchase small 50ml sides of Big Mac sauce. However, McDonald’s restaurants do not sell the 12-ounce bottles of Big Mac sauce found in grocery stores across Canada.

When deciding where to buy Big Mac sauce online, you must take into account the price. Sellers on Amazon and eBay set their prices, and because of the high demand here in the U.S., the price can often seem a bit too high.

Amazon tends to be your best bet. You can find a 12-ounce Big Mac sauce bottle for around $10-$15. eBay seems to be a bit more dramatic, with some sellers charging up to hundreds of dollars for a single Big Mac sauce bottle.

In better news for the U.S., Walmart sells a “Secret Sauce” similar to McDonald’s Big Mac sauce. The Great Value “Secret Sauce” is sold in a 12-ounce bottle and costs just about $2 – a much better deal than purchasing online.


By now, you should be an expert on all things Big Mac and Big Mac sauce. You know a product is great when it has remained unchanged since its debut in the 1960s, especially with how much the McDonald’s brand and products have changed over the decades.

Canada has it made when it comes to the variety of Big Mac products available to them – Double Big Mac, Grand Big Mac, and the Big Mac sauce bottle. The U.S should keep an eye out at their local McDonald’s restaurants because McDonald’s is known to offer limited-time products that are beloved and in demand.

If you’re interested in finding out more tips about McDonald’s, check out the related articles below.

Related Articles:

McDonald’s Burgers: Exploring All Fan-Favorite Burgers at McDonald’s

A Complete Guide to McDonald’s Lunch Hours and the Lunch Menu

McCafe: All You Need to Know About McDonald’s Coffee and Iced Coffee

Deconstructing McDonald’s Happy Meal and the Happy Meal Toys

McDonald’s Delivery: How to Order McDonald’s Online Using McDelivery

About the Author

Kayece Flood is a nutritionist and content creator with over two years of experience writing articles and recipes in the nutrition and food industries.

Being a military wife, she has lived in different areas around the U.S. and enjoys traveling. When not working, she likes going to the beach, hiking, or camping with her family.

November 10, 2022