McDonald's Szechuan sauce burns 'Rick and Morty' fans, again

One more time, fans on Twitter are fried over problems getting the "Rick and Morty"-endorsed dipping sauce.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

In one of the weirder food-nostalgia trends of recent years, McDonald's brought back a dipping sauce it served 20 years ago, thanks to "Rick and Morty" fans.


"Rick and Morty" fans looking forward to Monday as their day for another chance to score McDonald's once-discontinued Szechuan dipping sauce found themselves fried yet again over problems getting the condiment.

On social media, some fans reported their McD's locations didn't have the promised sauce, had never heard of it or wouldn't provide it to them unless they ordered chicken tenders, not chicken McNuggets.

McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Not all restaurants faced issues. I went to a Seattle McDonald's Monday afternoon and had no problem ordering the sauce with both chicken tenders and chicken McNuggets. The counter staffer knew about it and said it could be ordered with "anything that could be dipped." (Taste-test review: It tastes a lot like a simple teriyaki sauce to me -- fine, but I'd rather have sweet and sour.)

The sauce comes with a complicated backstory. Fans of Adult Swim's cult favorite animated show have been clamoring for McDonald's to bring back Szechuan dipping sauce since the discontinued dip got mentioned on the show in 2017. 

The chain tried to make diners happy back in October, but only offered a limited amount of sauce, and only at certain locations. The sauce vanished quickly, leaving fans frustrated (well, some losing their minds actually) as they were turned away empty-handed, only to see the sauce turn up for sale online for big bucks. To cite a McD's slogan, fans were not lovin' it.

McDonald's apologized, and last week announced 20 million packets of much-longed-for dipping sauce would be available at all US restaurants as of Feb. 26.  The restaurant also produced a three-episode podcast about the bizarre events surrounding the sauce's sudden fame.

It might be time to crank out another podcast episode, because once again, not everything went smoothly for everyone.

But some diners were able to get the sauce and shared photos and reactions. 

Also served up? Plenty of jokes, of course.

Once McDonald's gets the Szechuan sauce tangle straightened out, there's no time for Ronald to rest. Calls have already begun urging the chain to remake another discontinued dipping sauce -- hot mustard.

First published on Feb. 26 at 1:49 p.m. PT.
Update, 3:01 p.m .PT: Adds personal experience ordering and tasting Szechuan sauce.

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