REVIEW: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Package 1

If there were a Netflix mini-series about Fast Food Fried Chicken, spicy nuggets deserve their own episode.

Obviously, spicy chicken is nothing new, but when it comes to fast food’s big players, Wendy’s was the first one out of the gate with spicy nuggets. But its on-again, off-again availability eventually opened up space for Burger King to come onto the scene in 2017. They also came with a healthy side of creative social media stunts, including giving away free nuggets to anyone named “Wendy.” Amazing!

McDonald’s has offered spicy chicken items along the way, from various sandwiches to its Spicy Chicken McBites in 2012. But these new McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets are, apparently, the first new nugget flavor (officially) since 1983. And that’s not all, folks. These are accompanied by the Mighty Hot Sauce, the first new dipping sauce since 2017 (2018’s Szechuan sauce was a return, remember?)

My first impression? The packaging is lame. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so who cares?

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Orange 2

My second impression? These nuggets are gorgeous! They had more of an orangey hue (am I imagining that?) than the standard Chicken McNuggets, and the tempura coating looked extra flakey. The Mighty Hot Sauce had the crimson tincture of torturous flames and visible chili flakes. Ohboyohboyohboy!

I tried the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce first. The texture was familiar and on point, super flakey and with that sort of airy fluffiness McNuggets are known for. I’m sure that texture isn’t everyone’s preference, but these deliver if you like McNuggets.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Bite 3

The spice level started out mild and grew naturally, like heat from a real spice source. Mine seemed to have a “dry heat,” which you’d expect on chicken. There doesn’t appear to be any seasoning within the nugget; it’s all on the coating.

My only small complaint is that the spice level seems to vary drastically from nugget to nugget. I was concerned when the first McNugget didn’t deliver much heat, but it grew with the second. But it doesn’t get hot enough for me when eating the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Sauced 4

But then, from a humble little black plastic cup, comes the Mighty Hot Sauce, karate-kicking the doors RIGHT off this mother with HEAT.

This sauce is fire. It coats the Spicy McNugget perfectly. In the laziest of descriptions, it’s like the sweet and sour sauce with heat. But it’s better than that. It has pepper flavor, a vinegar kick that hits you right away, a sweet *thwak* from, what is that on the label, Apricot? And then a long slow burn that leaves your tongue and lips tingling for a while after you’re done eating.

Pretty soon, I couldn’t tell whether the heat of each new bite was building from the McNuggets, or if the Mighty Hot Sauce was just blazing away. I found myself wishing I’d asked for honey or maybe ranch to balance it out. When I get these again (yep, “when”), I’ll definitely order fries and try dipping them in this spicy sauce.

Overall, I think this entry into the spicy nugget competitive landscape was well done by Mc’y D’s. It stayed true to its style of McNuggets while offering something new with a spice level you can build upon to your liking. If you want to take it to a 10, load on that Hot Mighty Sauce.

I’m glad McDonald’s didn’t try to overhaul its signature McNuggets too much, and that it launched a hot sauce that is genuinely hot. I will definitely be a repeat customer.

P.S. For what it’s worth, 50% of my McNuggets were boot shapes! Is there some kind of McNugget horoscope reading for when that happens?

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 6 Spicy McNuggets + 1 Mighty Hot Sauce
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 McNuggets) 250 Calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 540 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein.

12 thoughts to “REVIEW: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce”

  1. Nice review. As for the shapes, my daughter and I got a 20 pack of nuggets and separated them into the shapes. I forget how many there were, but it was a lower number than we expected.

  2. i know it’s just a quarter pounder with bacon, but i’m surprised that you guys haven’t mentioned the travis scott meal

  3. Just picked up a pair of 6-piece from the local shop using the handy BOGO coupon on the McDonald’s app. Very well done. Mine were fresh out of the fryer and delivered plenty of flavor even without the sauce. The Mighty Hot Sauce does bring the heat, but it’s not too overpowering and there are enough flavor notes to make it a worthwhile addition. Overall, really good. 8/10.

    1. The fact that I have to pay 3.19 just to get this is a deal breaker. Wendy’s keeps winning.(but app deals

  4. The nuggets alone weren’t that spicy. When the sauce was added it was a firey delight with a hint of sweetness at first taste. It’s one of my new favorites at McDonald’s. 9/10 score.

  5. (Long time reader – First time poster)

    I was all ready to order these for lunch yesterday, but, when I pulled into the drive-thru, I discovered that my local McDonald’s had closed. It was not able to survive the pandemic. I was not sure if I wanted to drive to the McDonald’s in the next town over (or the McDonald’s in the next town over the other side) to buy these, but, after reading your review, I will definitely make the effort.

  6. I only crave nuggets every few years, and was due for some, and these didn’t disappoint. Hot and crispy, nugget wise, they were very good. Spice wise, they tasted ok,
    The sauce is very vinegar forward, more so then the heat. It has a somewhat thick consistency that coats the nugget nicely. I think the habanero sauce they used to put on the wraps was hotter then this stuff though.

  7. lazy… get el yucateo hot and dip the damn nuggets in that.. jeesh dont get y theses companies take shortcuts.. they r not even spicy… and spicy is for wimps.. serioisly go get a good hot sauce and ur set….

    1. Mannn, this one was a huge let down. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in 12 years, yes, 12. I love spicy nuggets so I broke my streak based on this review. I was so underwhelmed. A 9… I can’t get with it. The food was hot, (fries and nuggets), but no. I threw it away after 3 nuggets. 🙁

  8. These do sound pretty good, but I am so hung up on their regular McNuggets that I doubt I’ll ever try these.

  9. The Mighty Hot Sauce is going to catch a few people out who go in thinking “it’s McDonald’s, how hot can it be?” It’s not the spiciest hot sauce, it’s not the most premium hot sauce, but if you don’t put your guard up it’s going to hit you with a quick jab. It’s a Chinese-restaurant-item-with-the-chili-icon-next-to-it kind of spice.

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