How To Fill The Void Left By McDonald's Hot Mustard Sauce

When McDonald's first introduced its chicken McNuggets back in 1983, these came with a choice of four different dipping sauces: barbecue, honey, sweet and sour, and hot mustard. A few dozen sauces have come and gone since then, and while the menu today still lists three of the originals, hot mustard no longer holds a spot as one of the chain's signature sauces.

While there was never any official announcement that hot mustard would be getting the boot, anecdotal evidence seems to show that it started disappearing from restaurants in the mid-teens. If you are still missing this discontinued dipping sauce, you may be equal parts pleased and annoyed to know that it's still available for purchase on eBay — at a ridiculous markup, needless to say. If you're unwilling to pay a premium for a few sauce tubs of unknown provenance, though, you do have a few options. These may involve a little work on your part, anything from travel to comparison shopping to kitchen experimentation, but with any luck, you'll hit on a solution to fill that hot mustard-shaped hole in your heart.

Hope for authentic Hot Mustard fans?

The funny thing about McDonald's hot mustard is that it didn't completely disappear. While customers in some parts of the country may not have seen the stuff in over a decade, others insist it never left their locations. A 2022 Reddit thread in the r/mustard forum illustrates the confusion as some users say they haven't seen the stuff in years while others say they're still ordering it with their McNuggets on a regular basis. What gives?

McDonald's still offers hot mustard at some of its locations, even though the sauce is no longer listed on the website. The company informed Mashed that whether the sauce is available is up to the discretion of franchise operators. It's worth noting that franchisees operate 90% of McDonald's restaurants. Mickey D's could not say which locations have the condiment. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that California, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Wisconsin are some of the states where the stuff might still be found, so if only the real deal will do, you might need to hit the road in order to hit the jackpot.

Hit up another fast food chain

If it's the mustard alone that you're craving, you might be able to score a decent substitute at another fast food chain. Some Redditors swear by Popeye's, while others recommend Jimmy John's Jimmy Mustard. Some even suggest Panda Express, although McDonald's hot mustard isn't all that similar to the Chinese-style mustard that tastes so good on egg rolls.

Should you prefer to make things more complicated, you could also try hacking Arby's menu. One YouTuber touts a copycat McDonald's hot mustard recipe that involves combining two parts of yellow mustard with three of Horsey sauce. Since they appear to be making the sauce at home, they also stir in a few drops of habanero Tabasco sauce and suggest that corn syrup could be added to make the sauce sweeter. If you're doing this at an Arby's, however, you could substitute a sugar packet for the corn syrup and either Arby's spicy Buffalo or three-pepper sauce for the Tabasco.

Check out some store-bought hot mustards

In recent years, fast food chains, including Arby's and Chick-fil-A, have been sending their sauces to grocery stores. While McDonald's does make K-cup versions of its McCafe coffee available to supermarket shoppers, it has yet to launch a retail line of dipping sauces. Luckily, there are certain supermarket mustards that may be pretty close to the chain's hot mustard. One of these, Heinz Honey Mustard, is something that unfortunately seems to be available only as a bulk buy intended for restaurant use. Another, Burman's Sweet & Hot Mustard, is an Aldi-branded product, but Aldi, unlike many other grocery stores, tends to rotate items in and out of the lineup, so you might need to keep a sharp eye out to see if you can spot it. (At the time of writing, it's not listed on the Aldi website.)

Inglehoffer's Sweet Hot Mustard, however, is something you should still be able to find on store shelves. According to one Redditor, it's somewhat sweeter than McDonald's hot mustard, but they add that it's "just close enough for me!" Perhaps the closest match that's readily available, however, is Great Value Southwest Hot Mustard. As a Tiktok content creator assures viewers, this Walmart fast food dupe "tastes so much like McDonald's honey mustard." Plus, it's cheap enough that it won't hurt your wallet if you decide to try it.

Make a homemade McDonald's hot mustard copycat

As with many fast food favorites, whether or not they've been discontinued, you can find different recipes purporting to duplicate the taste of McDonald's hot mustard. One of the easiest involves mixing mayonnaise and mustard with Tabasco sauce. Still, members of Reddit's r/TopSecretRecipes forum didn't seem to agree about whether the resulting blend actually resembles the McDonald's mustard to any significant degree.

If you're willing to put in a little extra effort, Mashed does have its own copycat McDonald's hot mustard sauce recipe. Ours is made with a double dose of mustard, both the brown prepared kind and the powdered variety. It's also flavored with soy sauce, cayenne pepper, sugar, and syrup (brown rice or corn). Yes, that's a whole lot of sweeteners, but you can feel free to dial the sugar down a notch if you prefer. If you've always felt that the McDonald's mustard could use a little tweaking, you can also make the condiment sharper by adding more mustard powder or hotter with some extra cayenne.