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Vegan Big Mac

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Let’s give the Iconic BIG MAC a huge VEGAN MAKEOVER! This version is better than the REAL DEAL!

As a kid, I ate my fair share of Big Macs. I LOVED them! But something happened as I got older. Either my taste buds changed, or McDonald’s went down in quality (probably both) but I never really indulged in them. I would get one about once a year when I was feeling nostalgic (and probably drunk) and it just never hit the notes as I remembered.

Well, since I’ve been vegan, I’ve made a few dozen of these (maybe even a few 100!) And each time I tweaked things until I made something that matched the kind of burger experience I had as a kid. And to my taste buds, this version does that and more. In fact, I shared one with my neighbor and he said “It reminds me of a Big Mac from the 90s when McDonald’s still cared about quality!”

Here’s my revamped version of the Big Mac!
And yes, I made a bunch of them for this post. Y’know for “research”

It’s also a beast of a burger, I don’t remember ever being so full after eating a regular Big Mac. Funny, I thought being vegan meant you were always going hungry! Somehow that’s not true with this burger! But all jokes aside, it seems as if the Big Mac has gotten smaller over the years. So I recommend using bigger buns and more meat!

I recently revisited this recipe, and made a Big Mac the way McDonald’s does (but vegan obviously). The differences were quite stark! In fact, it really reminded me of the last non-vegan Big Macs I ate, which were kind of disappointing. Below is the recreation of the original architecture of a Big Mac.

And this is a Big Mac made like McDonald’s (only vegan of course!)

The main problem I have with this burger is it’s size, the unmelted cheese on the lettuce, and there’s just not enough sauce or pickles on it. So let’s go over exactly how we are going to upgrade this Burger!

Big Mac Sauce

This Big Mac Sauce recipe is one that I’ve toyed with for years. In fact it’s in MY COOKBOOK! And I really dig it. Recently, I’ve come across a Tik Tok account by a guy named Chef Mike. He’s a former McDonald’s corporate chef and he famously yells at people for putting ketchup in their Big Mac Sauce. This is for 2 good reasons. First, there actually isn’t any ketchup in Big Mac Sauce, and second, people love to watch other people yell on the internet.

Once I found this out I had to make his version of the Big Mac sauce which he claims is as close as you’re gonna get to McDonald’s. I made both my sauce and his sauce recipes, and tried them side by side. Both sauces are fantastic, but I think I do prefer mine a little more as the ketchup really brings out the flavor of the onion and garlic powder. But that’s just my preference of course!

I like Big Buns (and you should too)

So based on my research and memory, the Big Mac buns are actually smaller than you’d expect. They are about 3 1/2 inches wide. There is some speculation that the burgers have gotten smaller over the years. But regardless of that, as a kid, the burger felt much bigger obviously. So as an adult, it only makes sense to use bigger buns. I suggest using buns that are 4 1/2 inches wide.

In the US most commercially available buns are accidentally plant based. Obviously check the ingredients, but for me I have no problem finding larger sesame seeded buns. For the middle “club” bun, we just need to get another bottom bun. Then use a serrated knife to shave off the very bottom to expose the interior of the bun. It’s as simple as that!

Big Mac Patties

Obviously if we are using bigger buns, we’ll need to use bigger patties too. According to the internet, the Big Mac is comprised of two patties that weigh 1.6 oz each. This is a ridiculously small amount of meat. Even for the smaller buns, I wasn’t able to make a patty with that amount of meat. I ended up adding a little bit more so each patty was 2 oz.

So if you are making a smaller Big Mac, I suggest using two patties weighing 2 oz. each. For a bigger Big Mac, I suggest using 2 patties weighing 3 oz each. I actually don’t think you should go over that as the burger is pretty big as is. Making thicker patties will require you to unhinge your jaw. Plus I like thin patties on these fast food style burgers!

To form patties, I suggest weighing out 2 or 3 oz. portions of vegan meat and then rolling them into a ball.

Then shape them inside of a cookie cutter that’s the same size as your buns.

Or simply smashing them with a burger press on some burger paper.

Don’t wanna use store-bought plant-based meat? Check out my TVP BURGER RECIPE!

Cheese – To Melt or not To Melt!

Like I said, probably my biggest issue with the Big Mac is the cheese placement. Vegan cheese isn’t gonna melt from residual heat from a burger patty. And even if it did, I don’t want melted cheese on top of lettuce! Gnarly!

So we’ll simply season and grill our burger patties for 2-3 minutes, give ’em a flip, and then add a slice of vegan cheese. Squirt some water and then cover to steam and melt the cheese!

Lettuce, Onions, Pickles, OH MY!

It might be easy to overlook the lettuce, onions and pickles, but they are just as crucial as the sauce in my opinion! For the lettuce, shred up some iceberg. Leave your baby spinach and arugula in the fridge and let them rot like you usually do.

Pickles!

I love all pickles and I used to make these with something nice like Grillo’s. But recently, I’ve found a soft spot in my heart for the crappy pickles that seem to mimic what you get at fast food places. I know they are lower quality. I don’t care, they taste better in this context!

Onions!

I used to say I wasn’t a fan of the rehydrated onions that McDonald’s uses, but I’ve changed my tune recently. That said, use whatever you like, dried or fresh onions both work great on this burger!

Handy dandy video here!

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Vegan Big Mac

Thee Burger Dude
4.54 from 32 votes
Servings 1 Sandwich + Extra Sauce

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Plant-Based Meat Patties⁣⁣⁣ 3 oz each
  • 2 Slices Vegan American Cheese ⁣⁣⁣
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Iceberg Lettuce⁣⁣⁣
  • 5-6 Dill Pickle Slices⁣⁣⁣
  • 2 Tbsp Diced Onion⁣⁣⁣
  • 1 Sesame Bun + Bottom Half of another Bun⁣⁣⁣

Big Mac Sauce

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp sweet relish
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Combine ingredients for the Big Mac Sauce. Stir until well combined. ⁣⁣Season to taste and then set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • To prepare your middle bun (aka the Club), use a serrated knife and shave off just the bottom of the extra bottom bun. ⁣⁣⁣
  • Press or form your burger patties so they match the circumference of your buns.
  • Grill buns in a bit of oil or vegan butter (or do a dry toast) until lightly golden brown. Set aside (ideally on a wire rack so they don't get soggy). ⁣⁣⁣
  • To the same pan or griddle, over medium – medium high heat, add a little oil and then add the burger patties to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and grill for about 3 minutes. Once patties are browned, give 'em a flip!
  • After you flip the patties, add a slice of vegan cheese to each one and cover with a melting dome. ⁣⁣⁣You can add a little water before covering to steam the cheese too!
  • Once Cheese is melted, assemble as follows; Bottom Bun, Sauce, Lettuce, Burger Patty, Onions, Middle Bun, Sauce, Pickles, Lettuce, Burger Patty, Sauce, Top Bun. ⁣⁣⁣
  • ENJOY!⁣⁣
Keyword vegan big mac, vegan burger, vegan mcdonalds
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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10 Comments

  1. Super easy to make. This was hands down my favorite fast food burger before becoming vegan. Tastes like the Big Mac, sauce is on point! Easy and fast to make… absolutely loved it!

      1. hey I’m just curious what brands do you normally use I’ve had a lot of trouble finding good vegan cheeses and meats

  2. THANK YOU!!
    Big Mac’s were my holy grail 80’s kid burger and aside from a great one I had at Plant Power in L.A. I never get that nostalgic amazingness (as well as hearing from friends that they just don’t taste the same today anyway – mirroring what you said!).

    My husband and I made your recipe last night – big bun, your sauce, cheapest pickles I could find, etc.. with only one tweak that your readers/you might (?) appreciate – we grilled the impossible burgers, let them cool briefly and then very carefully sliced the single burger into two thinner burgers – allowing for one burger to be both patties. Cuts down a little bit on the high fat ratio of the impossible but really just let the flavors you so masterfully nailed down to be the overwhelming taste. We then throw them quickly onto the flattop and melt the vegan american cheese. Otherwise followed your instructions to the T.

    Truly happiness on a plate! Will make these many many more times! Your Vegan White Castle sliders are next! THANK YOU!!!! 🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔🍔

  3. Made these tonight for my vegan kids who have never gotten to experience a Big Mac. They (and my husband) loved them. The sauce is perfect. Thanks so much!

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