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We tried McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets and they lived up to the hype

Consider us obsessed.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

You're going to want to hit up the McDonald's drive-through this week. The fast-food giant is officially rolling out Spicy Chicken McNuggets on Wednesday, September 16, though many locations have quietly added the new item to their menu a few days early. What's the big deal? McDonald's hasn't fussed with its nugget recipe since the iconic dish was first introduced to Americans back in 1983. As it turns out, the 37-year wait is worth it.

So, how do they stack up to the original recipe? Over the weekend, I found myself in a socially distanced line at my local McDonald's on a mission to find out. For what it's worth, I consider myself somewhat of a nugget connoisseur with an estimated 25 years of experience under my belt. I tossed in some fries, a Diet Coke and every single dipping sauce available and headed back home to feast.

The first thing I noticed is that these nuggets wear a reddish-hued shell that's slightly sturdier and crunchier than their plain counterpart (a bonus in my book). That tempura coating is seasoned with cayenne and chili peppers, which ignites your taste buds with a subtle but satisfying burn. It's the right heat level for a chain like McDonald's: Spice fiends won't be blown away, but tender palettes will be able to hang.

They're flawless solo, but you'd have to be a sociopath to not want to dip them. Of course, in true McDonald's fashion, they're served with their own customized accoutrement, the brand-new Mighty Hot Sauce, which is loaded with crushed red pepper and more spicy chili flavor. While this sauce probably does wonders for plain nuggies, I found that it was a flavor overload on the spicy morsels—and not in a good way. After carrying out a highly scientific taste test of all the sauce options, I'd recommend reaching for ranch or honey instead. Ranch tames the heat and cools your tongue, while honey adds a dose of earthy sweetness you didn't know you needed. (Don't even bother with buffalo or barbecue.)

McDonald's Spicy Chicken McNuggets get two honey-coated thumbs up from me. The nugget purist in me doesn't want to admit this, but they're worlds better and more addictive than the original recipe. A word to the wise: They're available for a limited time, according to a press release from the Mothership.

Is it possible to miss something that's not even gone? Asking for a friend.

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