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Making McDonald’s Happy Meal At Home | But Better

Sorry kids, we have McDonald’s at home.

Sorry kids, we have McDonald’s at home.

rep and Rise Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6 (hamburger buns makes 12)


Hamburger Buns


  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) water

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons (18g) all-purpose flour


  • 3 1/2 cups (525g) bread flour

  • 2 tablespoons (28g) granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon (2g) amylase

  • 1 ½ teaspoons (9g) fine sea salt

  • 1/2 cup (118ml) whole milk

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (148ml) water

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (14g) instant yeast

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (50g) unsalted butter, softened

  • Cooking spray

  • Egg wash, for brushing (1 large egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water)

  • Melted unsalted butter, for brushing


  • ½ cup (120g) mayonnaise

  • ¾ cup (176g) ketchup

  • ½ cup (120g) yellow mustard

  • Pinch mushroom soup base powder, (optional)


  • 1 pound (450g) ground beef

  • Cooking spray

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 6 slices American cheese


  • Homemade buns, cut in half

  • Unsalted butter, as needed

  • Homemade sauce

  • Cheeseburger patties

  • Sliced dill pickles


For The Hamburger Buns

  1. To make the tangzhong, add the water, milk and flour to a small saucepan and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Set over medium heat while continuously whisking, until the mixture thickens and forms a paste consistency. Cut the heat and cool completely at room temperature.

  2. To make the dough, have a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add in the flour, sugar, amylase, and salt and whisk to combine.

  3. To a microwave safe container add the milk and water and heat to 95℉ / 35℃. Whisk in the yeast until dissolved and then whisk in the whole egg and egg yolk until homogeneous.

  4. Turn the mixer to medium low speed and pour in the yeast mixture followed by the cooled tangzhong and mix for 2-3 minutes or until the dough is smooth.

  5. With the stand mixer still running, add the butter and mix until evenly incorporated. The dough will be very smooth and supple.

  6. Roll the dough into a light ball and place into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  7. Punch your dough down and divide into pieces that weigh 60 grams each. Roll each piece into a light ball and place on a parchment lined sheet pan, evenly spaced apart, about 12 pieces per sheet pan. Cover with a greased sheet of plastic wrap and proof, at room temperature, for 30 minutes.

  8. Preheat oven to 375℉ / 190℃.

  9. Lightly brush your buns with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

  10. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with melted butter over the tops. Set aside to cool completely.

For The Sauce

  1. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

For The Cheeseburger

  1. Divide the ground beef into approximately 1-inch thick balls.

  2. Spray a large sauté pan with cooking spray to coat and place over medium high heat.

  3. Once hot, add a ball to the middle of the pan and flatten with the back of a spatula until the patty is about an ⅛-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sear for 1-2 minutes or until deeply browned and crispy on the first side.

  4. Flip the patty, season the second side with salt and pepper and top with a slice of American cheese. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the second side of the patty is golden brown and crispy. Remove to a sheet pan and keep warm while you cook the rest of the cheeseburgers.

To Assemble

  1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat. Melt enough butter to coat the pan. Toast the buns, cut side down, until golden brown. Remove and repeat with more burger buns as needed.

  2. Add sauce to the bottom and top bun.

  3. Place the cheeseburger patty on top of the bottom bun, followed by sliced pickles and crown with the top bun. Enjoy!

Happy Meal Chicken Nuggets

Prep and Freeze Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Makes approximately 32 chicken nuggets


Chicken Nuggets

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips

  • 1/3 pound (136g) pork fatback

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (6g) fine sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon (3g) MSG

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7g) granulated sugar

Thin Batter

  • 1/4 cup (33g) cornstarch

  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Flour Mixture

  • 3 cups (450g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon (22g) Kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon (2g) MSG, (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon (3g) ground white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon (2g) celery powder

Tempura Batter

  • 1/2 cup (75g) cornstarch

  • 3/4 cup (103g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon (4g) baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon (1g) baking soda

  • 1 cup (240ml) chilled water

  • 2 large eggs


  • 14 cups (3.3L) vegetable oil, for frying

  • Frozen chicken nuggets

  • Thin batter

  • Flour mixture

  • Tempura batter

  • Salt, to taste


For The Chicken Nuggets

  1. Using a meat grinder or food processor, grind the chicken breasts and pork fatback together into a fine grind.

  2. To the ground meat, add in the salt, MSG, and sugar and mix until well combined.

  3. Shape your nuggets into approximately 1 ¼”-inch long ovals that are about ½-inch thick. Place on a greased parchment paper lined sheet pan. Freeze the nuggets for 15-20 minutes or until stiff.

For The Thin Batter

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water until evenly combined, the mixture should have the consistency of milk.

For The Flour Mixture

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together all the ingredients until evenly combined.

For The Tempura Batter

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the water and eggs until a smooth batter forms.

To Assemble and Fry

  1. Fill a 7-quart, heavy bottomed pot just over halfway with vegetable oil. Heat to 350℉ / 177℃. Line a sheet pan with paper towel and have it near the fry oil.

  2. Dip the frozen nuggets into the thin batter followed by the flour mixture. Shake the nuggets to remove any excess flour.

  3. Next, dip the nuggets into the tempura batter and then immediately place in the fryer. Fry the nuggets in batches, so as not to overcrowd the oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown all over and cooked through. An internal thermometer should reach 165℉ / 74℃.

  4. Remove the nuggets to the paper towel lined sheet pan and season with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining chicken nuggets.

Happy Meal Fries

Prep and Freeze Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves 6


  • 2 pounds (907g) russet potatoes, cut into matchsticks

  • Salt, to taste

  • Cold water, as needed

  • 14 cups (3.3L) vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and season generously with salt. Toss to evenly combine.

  2. Add enough cold water to just cover the potatoes. Stir to combine and soak for 15 minutes.

  3. Drain the water, and place the potatoes on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Pat dry the potatoes as much as possible.

  4. Fill a 7-quart, heavy bottomed pot about halfway with vegetable oil. Heat to 300℉ / 149℃. Have a sheet pan lined with paper towels near the fry oil.

  5. In batches, carefully drop your potatoes in the oil and fry for 2-4 minutes or until just cooked through but no color. Remove to the paper towel lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining fries. Let cool slightly.

  6. Place the par cooked fries in the freezer for 30 minutes or until solid.

  7. Increase the oil temperature to 375℉ / 190℃. Have a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and paper towels near the fry oil.

  8. Fry your potatoes, directly from frozen, for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown, crispy and stiff. Remove to the prepared sheet pan and season to taste with salt while hot. Serve immediately.

Happy Meal Apples and Caramel

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water

  • 5 ½ tablespoons (77g) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat stir together the sugar and water. Boil until the sugar turns an amber color.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in butter until melted. Cut off the heat and whisk in heavy cream and vanilla extract until combined. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

  3. Place apples on a plate and drizzle them with caramel.

1 Comment

Hannah Tryon
Hannah Tryon
Jan 06, 2023

What would be a good substitute for fat back? We don’t eat pork so I didn’t know if there was a way to still get the same result without the pork. Maybe using chicken thighs?


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