Discontinued McDonald's Dipping Sauces That Fans Miss

McDonald's is the world's biggest fast food chain. It has over 40,000 stores worldwide and there are few people who wouldn't recognize those golden arches. But, let's face facts: It wouldn't be the same without your favorite sauces to dip your fries or McNuggets into. All McDonald's fans have their top dipping sauces and some even have very strong opinions about them. In the past, we've ranked every McDonald's dipping sauce from worst to best, but we can't discount personal preference.

Its current roster of dipping sauces includes favorites such as Creamy Ranch, Spicy Buffalo, and Tangy BBQ. However, over the years, McDonald's has released a number of dipping sauces that are no longer available. Some of those have faded into obscurity, while others fans miss and want back. All of these discontinued McDonald's dipping sauces have fans that miss them and want to see them return. McDonald's has been known to bring retired sauces back for limited periods, so there's still hope for these beloved dips.


Probably the most iconic of all discontinued McDonald's sauces, Szechuan dipping sauce was largely forgotten for two decades before it was dragged into the spotlight. McDonald's Szechuan Sauce was originally released in 1998 to promote Disney's "Mulan." It likely would have been a footnote in the restaurant's history if it wasn't for "Rick and Morty."

The show made a reference to this now-legendary sauce in what could have been a throwaway joke. However, fans of the show petitioned for a revival of Szechuan Sauce. McDonald's agreed to bring Szechuan sauce back for one day only — on October 27, 2017 — but it didn't go to plan. Stocks were extremely limited and fans got angry when they couldn't get their hands on the sauce. In some cases, minor riots broke out and the police had to be called. Since then, McDonald's has made good by giving this sauce larger — but still limited — releases in 2018 and 2022. So, for the time being, fans are still disappointedly missing Szechuan Sauce, but it could come back for another limited release.

So, what was the sauce itself like? Well, if you were expecting something even minorly akin to true Szechuan Sauce, you would have been disappointed. It contains no Szechuan peppers; instead, it was sweet with some tartness from apple cider vinegar and some nutty notes from roasted sesame oil.

Habanero Ranch

If you're a firm believer that creamy ranch could be improved with a spicy kick, maybe you were a fan of the now-defunct Habanero Ranch dip. McDonald's released this sauce in a dipping cup in 2014 but was likely the same sauce used for its Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder and Southwest Chicken McWrap. As you might expect, this dip combined the creaminess of ranch with a hit of spice from habanero peppers. Like many "hot" fast food dips, it wasn't exceptionally spicy but still had a kick to it.

Unfortunately for those who loved it, Habanero Ranch only existed for a few years until it was discontinued in 2017. However, some fans loved it so much that they vowed never to return to McDonald's. Habanero ranch lovers also created a petition to have McDonald's bring back this beloved dipping sauce. It's not a perfect solution, but if you miss this dip, try mixing McDonald's Spicy Buffalo Sauce with its Creamy Ranch Sauce.

Hot Mustard

While you can currently get honey mustard and plain mustard dipping sauces from McDonald's, Hot Mustard is no longer on the official lineup. It was largely discontinued back in 2014, but it still has plenty of fans.

Some folks complained over the years that it wasn't hot enough, but people still liked the flavor and texture. It was both sweet and spicy, with a thick and creamy texture, due to the addition of egg yolk and oil basically making it a mayo-like emulsification.

While it's likely a lack of demand that saw it withdrawn from nationwide availability, it has a cult following to this day. To add to the legend, it hasn't been completely discontinued. It's still available in select markets. McDonald's managers and franchise owners seem to be able to decide whether or not to stock it based on popularity in their region. It won't be on the menu, but it might be hiding under the counter. So, next time you're in a McDonald's, ask for hot mustard — you could get lucky.


It might not seem like there's much connection between McDonald's and the K-pop band BTS, but the restaurant released a meal in collaboration with the band. The BTS Meal consisted of 10 chicken McNuggets, a medium Coke, medium fries, and two dipping sauces: Cajun and Sweet Chili. The Cajun sauce was completely new to McDonald's and caused a stir. You could only get the meal between May 26 and June 20, 2021, after which, the Cajun sauce was no more.

While it might not be authentically Cajun, this sauce was popular among fans of BTS and fans of great dipping sauces. Its base was Dijon Mustard, but it was mixed with honey for sweetness and a hit of spice from chilis. Some likened its spicy notes to those of the popular Korean condiment, gochujang. It was popular enough for fans to start a petition to bring it back. While there's no sign of Cajun sauce returning to the U.S., it's been re-released for a limited time in Australia, so there's still hope.

Sweet Chili

McDonald's Sweet Chili Sauce was first available in the U.S. between 2010 and 2014. It was originally released in North America to tie in with the Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver. Yes, the link between the Winter Olympics and Sweet Chili Sauce is about as mysterious and tenuous to us as it is to everyone else, but McDonald's tried its best.

The sauce itself was much what you'd expect from a basic sweet chili sauce — mostly sweet but mildly spicy, flecked with red pepper flakes. It was obviously popular enough to stick around for four years, at which point McDonald's discontinued it and fans bemoaned its demise.

However, sweet chili fans were in luck, because it came back with the BTS Meal, but only for a limited time. From May 26 to June 20, 2021, those who loved the dip could pick it up as part of this limited-edition collaboration with K-pop band, BTS.

Chipotle BBQ

If you like some mild heat and smokiness to your BBQ sauce, the McDonald's Chipotle BBQ dipping sauce would have been right up your street. Unfortunately, it's no longer an option as it was discontinued around 2014. However, it still has fans who would like to see it return to a McDonald's near them as soon as possible.

McDonald's always has at least one BBQ sauce on the menu and right now it's Tangy BBQ. Unfortunately, tangy BBQ isn't a strong contender. Despite its name, it's more sweet than anything else. It has a mild amount of smokiness to it, but it could use a hit of acidity to earn its "tangy" moniker. As such, the discontinued Chipotle BBQ Sauce would be a welcome return. 

According to some, KC Masterpiece Smoky Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is near-identical to McDonald's Chipotle BBQ Sauce, so it's worth a try if you miss it. However, nobody wants to have to carry around a bottle of BBQ Sauce with them at all times, just in case they head to McDonald's.

Signature Sauce

Released in 2017, McDonald's Signature Sauce was a take on its classic Big Mac special sauce. The recipe wasn't exactly the same, but it had a similar blend of sweet and tangy notes in a creamy dip. This made it perfect for dipping nuggets, fries, tenders, and anything remotely dippable, as well as slathering on burgers that don't come with Big Mac sauce but should.

Unfortunately for those who loved it, it disappeared from McDonald's restaurants everywhere in 2022. This prompted fans to start a petition for its return. While Signature Sauce doesn't look set to make a comeback, the Big Mac sauce became available in dipping cups in U.S. McDonald's locations on April 27, 2023.

This new dipping sauce uses the true Big Mac special sauce recipe, rather than just being inspired by it like the Signature Sauce was. However, this is a limited-time release and McDonald's hasn't yet said how long it will be available for. So, if it's still available when you read this, run, don't walk to your nearest McDonald's.

Mighty Hot Sauce

The year 2020 certainly won't be remembered fondly by most of the world. However, it wasn't all bad for fast food fans. It was the year in which McDonald's released its Mighty Hot Sauce as a limited edition dipping sauce. Will that be how 2020 is remembered in the history books? Absolutely not. But, it's still worth a mention. 

Mighty Hot Sauce was released as a dipping sauce for McDonald's Spicy Chicken McNuggets. These spicy nuggets had a tempura coating that was laced with cayenne and chili peppers. The accompanying Mighty Hot Sauce contained crushed red pepper and cayenne peppers for a spicy kick but was balanced with sweetness and savory garlic notes. While it was the hottest sauce on the McDonald's menu at the time, it was flavorful rather than simply spicy.

Its initial release was so popular that it came back for another limited run in February 2021. Unfortunately for those who love the sauce, it hasn't been back since. Some fans keen to recreate the sweet, spicy sauce suggest mixing Frank's hot sauce with apricot jam.

Sriracha Mac Sauce

For spicy food fans, the classic Big Mac sauce can seem to lack a little something. Enter Sriracha Mac Sauce. This combined the classic sweet, tangy, and pickle-heavy Big Mac sauce with a fiery boost from Sriracha Hot Sauce. It was available in the Signature Sriracha Big Mac and the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich, but you could also simply order it as a dipping sauce for your fries and nugs. While it was spicy enough to satisfy those looking for a kick to their dipping sauces, it wasn't too hot for the average customer.

Sriracha Mac Sauce came onto the scene in the summer of 2017 and it was gone before the year was through, leaving some fans disappointed. Now that it's possible to get Big Mac sauce in dipping cups, you could add a little sriracha to the mix for the same effect. However, that's not going to help much when you want food on the go.

Apple and Cinnamon

Cast your mind back to 1998 — Bill Clinton was in the White House, "A Bug's Life" was in theaters, and McDonald's had Apple and Cinnamon dipping sauce on the menu. If that last one seems baffling, you're not alone. However, in 1998, McDonald's ran a promotion to celebrate the release of "A Bug's Life." Not only could excited kids get Happy Meals with "A Bug's Life" toys inside, but there was also an Apple and Cinnamon dipping sauce available to go with McNuggets.

Although millennials and gen-z customers would have been kids when they tried this sauce, it still has its fans and those who want it back. Although it might seem like a strange sauce to dip your nuggets into, let's not forget that many McDonald's dipping sauces are quite sweet, including Tangy BBQ and Sweet 'N' Sour.

Funnily enough, this wasn't even the first time that McDonald's had released a cinnamon-spiced apple dipping sauce. It also released one with its 1987 Holiday McNuggets, although whether it was the very same sauce is unclear.


If you were asked to dream up a new McDonald's dipping sauce, a cranberry-orange flavor probably wouldn't be at the top of your list. But, even if this was your idea for a new sauce, you would have already been beaten to the punch because McDonald's included it as part of its Holiday McNugget Meal in 1987.

This meal also contained an apple and cinnamon flavored sauce that we've mentioned above and may have been the same one that came with the "A Bug's Life" Happy Meal. However, it's the Cranberry-Orange that fans appear to want back from the Holiday McNuggets offerings. Perhaps it's the zing of orange that tips it over the edge from being a basic cranberry sauce to one that you want to dip nuggets in.

Either way, cranberry sauce is commonly eaten as a side with turkey, so it makes sense that it might be delicious with McNuggets. Since this sauce hasn't been available in the U.S. since the '80s, it probably won't be back, but we'd give it a try if it showed up.