Rick and Morty's McDonald's Mulan Szechuan Sauce Knockoff

szechuan lads

Okay, okay.  I will admit it: I sometimes grab onto internet memes to draw people in to the web page, and hopefully the channel.  So what?  So you came here, and I'm going to deliver the goods you crave. 

The Sauce

OK, I made my try at this sauce. It's a decent sauce, and in honor of the quality of McDonald's food, I've used generic ingredients.

1 3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup hot sauce (plain label/store brand)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce (plain label/store brand)
1/4 cup red wine (any generic jug red wine)
1 tsp ginger powder
1 TBS flour


1 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

This is a 2 step process. First, mix everything together except for the flour. Simmer it on the stove for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

Whisk in 1 TBS flour, and heat until thickened. Allow to cool, and use for dipping.

And that's it.  Gotta make this easy for the search engines to find!


different recipes!

While everyone is celebrating the alleged return of McDonald's Szechuan sauce, we compared the labels on the two.  See if you can spot the differences. 

The old Rick Sanchez Approved McDonald's Szechuan Dipping Sauce:

happier days

high fructose corn syrup, water, tomato paste, grape vinegar, distilled vinegar, salt, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), food starch-modified, spices, dextrose, soybean oil, natural smoke flavor (plant source), xanthan gum, caramel color, garlic powder, cellulose gum, dried chili peppers, malic acid, natural flavors (plant and vegetable source), onion powder, sodium benzoate (preservative), succinic acid contains wheat and soy

net wt 1 oz (28.3g)

The New, Altered Version:

rick is pissed

water, sugar, distilled vinegar, corn starch, wheat, soybeans, salt, corn vinegar, contains 2% or less: apple cider vinegar, ginger, soybean oil, sesame seed oil, xanthan gum, spice, yeast extract, garlic, wheat starch, natural flavor, citric acid, safflower oil, dextrose, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (preservatives).  contains: soy, wheat

net wt. .90 oz. (25.5g)

The ingredients are different, and we're also getting less sauce!  Would Rick Sanchez stand for this?  I think not!  This is a bigger scandal than old Coke vs. new Coke, and even more important!  Come on people: let's demand that McDonald's bring back the original Szechuan sauce! 

Accept no substitutes!  Well, except the sauce recipe we offer, of course.  It's OK to accept that substitute.  But just this once.

And yes, we are fully aware that we are playing into the hands of a corporation that's making too much money already.  No matter what happens in the long run. McDonald's is going to make wheelbarrows full of money off of this.  And what are we going to get in return?  Dipping sauce.  And not even very much of that.  As they would say in Dogpatch, "Tain't fittin' and proper!"

Come on people.  Find more productive ways to waste your time, OK?  Start by making our sauce.  It's really good.

A comparison between the old sauce and the new sauce (special thanks to Wikipedia, from which I borrowed heavily):

the old Szechuan sauce:

old sauce

The old stuff, worth fighting for!

high fructose corn syrup: This is a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose.  Used because it's easier to handle than regular table sugar.  Some alarmists have pointed to high fructose corn syrup as causing health problems.  Eating too much of any sugar is bad for you, corn syrup included.  Not used in the new sauce.

water: OK, nothing to complain about here.  Used in both sauces.

tomato paste: often used in imitation sweet and sour sauces in recipes.  This is one among many ordinary grocery store items in this sauce.  Not used in the new sauce.

grape vinegar: This is actually wine vinegar, available at any grocery store.  Not used in the new sauce.

distilled vinegar: Another term for white vinegar.  Used for its sourness.  Used in both sauces,.

salt: Another off the counter item.  McDonald's, long berated for its extensive use of salt, is in the forefront of finding a salt substitute.  Used in both sauces.

soy sauce: exactly what you's expect to find in Szechuan sauce.  Nothing alarming here.  This isn't Kikkoman's, but from the ingredient list it isn't the really cheap LaChoy stuff either.  Used in both sauces.

food starch-modified: Modified starch, also called starch derivatives, are prepared by physically, enzymatically, or chemically treating native starch to change its properties.  Modified starches are used in practically all starch applications, such as in food products as a thickening agent, stabilizer or emulsifier.  To date, there have been no studies that have shown any bad effects from modified food starch.  Not used in the new sauce.

spices: just like you have on your spice rack.  Used in both sauces.  I wish they would have provided more detailed listings on this.

dextrose: also called corn sugar.  A naturally occurring sugar.  Nothing alarming here.  Used in both sauces.

soybean oil: The same stuff you buy in the supermarket because it's cheaper than the other cooking oils.  A staple in Chinese cooking.  Used in both sauces.

natural smoke flavor (plant source):  Specified as a plant source, to keep the vegans happy.  This might or might not be in the new sauce.  The new sauce just lists "natural flavor."

xanthan gum: Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide with many industrial uses, including as a common food additive. It is an effective thickening agent and stabilizer to prevent ingredients from separating. It can be produced from different simple sugars using a fermentation process, and derives its name from the strain of bacteria used, Xanthomonas campestris.  This stuff is commonly sold in health food stores.  Used in both sauces.

caramel color: Plain old burnt sugar, which you can make at home.  Instructions are available on the web.  Not used in the new sauce.

garlic powder: Nothing scary here: just a plain old grocery store style spice.  Used in the new sauce.

cellulose gum: A cellulose derivative, it is  synthesized by the alkali-catalyzed reaction of cellulose with chloroacetic acid.  The polar (organic acid) carboxyl groups render the cellulose soluble and chemically reactive.  used to keep the fat from separating from the rest of the sauce; an emulsifier.  No studies have shown any harm by consumption of cellulose gum.  Not used in the new sauce.

dried chili peppers: Again, an ordinary off the shelf spice.  Probably used in the new sauce and listed under spices.

malic acid:  It is a dicarboxylic acid that is made by all living organisms, contributes to the pleasantly sour taste of fruits, and is used as a food additive.  Not used in the new sauce.

natural flavors (plant and vegetable source): a catchall phrase.  Used to assure people that there are no animal derived flavorings.  Used in the new sauce.

onion powder: Another off the shelf spice.  Not used in the new sauce.

sodium benzoate: It is a widely used food preservative.  It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid and exists in this form when dissolved in water. It can be produced by reacting sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid.  In the presence of ascorbic acid (vitamin c) it can form benzene, which is carcinogenic.  Heat and time are the main factors for this happening.  There is not enough sodium benzoate in McDonald's Szechuan sauce to be hazardous.  Used in the new sauce.

succinic acid: Succinic acid is used primarily as an acidity regulator in the food and beverage industry. It is also available as a flavoring agent, contributing a somewhat sour and astringent component to umami taste. It is on the FDA's Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list.  Not used in the new sauce.

The new Szechuan sauce:

new sauce 1          new sauxe 2

Two packet designs for the new sauce.

water: Same as in the old sauce, but in a different amount.

sugar: An ingredient not in the old sauce.  A fop to the folks who think high fructose corn syrup is dangerous, because it's making people fat and causing other health problems.  Sugar is sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose.  High fructose corn syrup contains glucose and fructose.  For comparison, honey contains fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose.  Any sugar, when consumed too much, will make you fat and cause other health problems.

distilled vinegar: Apparently this is malt vinegar, because they list corn vinegar separately.  Used in both sauces, apparently.

corn starch: Another ingredient not found in the original sauce.  The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the kernel. Corn starch is a common food ingredient, used in thickening sauces or soups, and in making corn syrup and other sugars.

wheat, soybeans, salt: Components of soy sauce, which is in the original sauce.  Apparently McDonald's decided to list these separately.

corn vinegar: Another term for white vinegar.  Not used in the original sauce. 

Apple cider vinegar: Not in the original sauce.  This is another off the shelf item.

ginger: This was probably in the original sauce, only not listed.  This was probably ginger powder.

soybean oil: Used in the original sauce.

sesame oil: Not in the original sauce.  Derived from sesame seeds.

xanthan gum: In the original sauce.

spices: As in the original sauce.

yeast extract: Not in the original sauce.  Yeast extract is the common name for various forms of processed yeast products made by extracting the cell contents (removing the cell walls); they are used as food additives or flavorings, or as nutrients for bacterial culture media. They are often used to create savory flavors and umami taste sensations, and can be found in a large variety of packaged food including frozen meals, crackers, snack foods, gravy, stock and more.

garlic: In the original sauce, and probably garlic powder.

wheat starch: Not in the original sauce.  A starch derived from wheat, probably used a a thickener.

natural flavor: This appears in the old sauce, but they also said it was plant based.

citric acid:  not in the original sauce.  This occurs naturally in citrus fruits.

safflower oil: Not in the original sauce.  Safflower seed oil is flavorless and colorless, and nutritionally similar to sunflower oil. It is used mainly in cosmetics and as a cooking oil, in salad dressing, and for the production of margarine.

dextrose: In the original sauce.

potassium sorbate: Not in the original sauce.  Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid. It is primarily used as a food preservative.  Potassium sorbate is effective in a variety of applications including food, wine, and personal-care products.

sodium benzoate: In the original sauce.


Why did McDonald's make so many changes in their Szechuan sauce?  Part of it I suspect is that they wanted to respond to the health crazes of the moment: they removed high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch, caramel color and so on for alleged health reasons. yet at the same time they not only kept one preservative: they added another one.  Sometimes I do not understand corporate reasoning.

The list of ingredients in the new Szechuan sauce is shorter than the old.  Less ingredients equals  a less expensive sauce, as does the smaller amount in each packet.

You can rest assured that McDonald's had a panel of people taste test the new sauce, making sure that it tasted like the old one.

But really, that's not the point.  The point is that people wanted the original Szechuan sauce back, and not some taste-alike imitation.  But the taste alike imitation recipe here is cool.