McDonald's Is Making Major Changes to Its Burgers

The chain promises toasted buns, meltier cheese, and caramelized onions on Big Macs and cheeseburgers.

It could be said that if McDonald's is about one thing, it's consistency. The chain has some 38,000 locations around the world, and at nearly all of them, there's a menu of staple items that taste pretty much the way they do everywhere else. So when the chain announces changes to its most iconic hamburger, it's kind of a big deal.

A McDonald's Big Mac burger

Food & Wine / Courtesy of McDonald's

Today, McDonald's is rolling out what it calls its "best burgers ever" in select cities. The update will affect a few core McDonald's items, including the Big Mac, McDouble, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, and Hamburger, essentially its entire classic burger lineup. (Cue the barrage of online complaints from fans.)

According to the press release, McDonald's says the upgrades will include:

  • Softer, pillowy buns that are freshly toasted to a golden brown 
  • Perfectly melted cheese that will make you want to savor every last bit off the wrapper 
  • Juicier, caramelized flavor from adding white onions to the patties while they're still on the grill 
  • Even more of everyone's favorite Big Mac sauce, bringing more tangy sweetness in every Big Mac bite

If some of those changes sound familiar, they seem to be piecemeal-ing some desirable attributes from beloved regional competitors, including White Castle and In-N-Out, the latter of which has made moves to expand its territory further east. The updates were first rolled out in a few international markets before being introduced stateside.

"I'll always remember my first burger from McDonald's. And now my culinary team and I have the best job in the world: thinking about ways to bring even more of that iconic McDonald's taste to fans," Chef Chad Schafer, Senior Director of Culinary Innovation at McDonald's USA, said. "We found that small changes, like tweaking our process to get hotter, meltier cheese and adjusting our grill settings for a better sear, added up to a big difference in making our burgers more flavorful than ever."

Previous upgrades to McDonald's mainstays have included using only fresh beef in its Quarter Pounder patties, and cooking them to order.

Of course, making major changes also requires winning over their diehard fans. For that, McDonald's has reenlisted some help proving how desirable these new burgers are. That's right. The Hamburglar is back.

McDonald's says the refreshed Big Macs and other burgers are being served in "Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boise, Tucson, and surrounding cities," and will be available nationwide as of 2024.

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