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Raw Onion - McDonald's

I assume the reason is no one had yet tried to sue them (McD's seems to only change policies when faced with legal action) - but I really wonder why after 50-60 years they haven't tried to fix the nasty taste of raw onion by just using the soak method.

Whenever I 'have to' eat a McD product I ask for 'no onion.'

The very acrid taste of most varieties of cut onions left for even a number of minutes creates an unpleasant off-taste that is well known. (When an onion is cut there is a combination of chemicals which continues creating this 'taste.')

McD however is no exception - I constantly find restaurants and sandwich places that still 'don't get it.'

Has anyone found further/better solutions to a 30 minute soak in cold water - with a bit of lime juice or vinegar?

And anyone worked at a McD to tell just how many hours they leave the cut onions 'to develop?' :-)

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  1. Long time ago I read that the CHOPPED onions on their hamburgers are dehydrated, which they soak. I happen to like that particular type of onion flavor, so I tried re-hydrating some dried onions to use on my homemade burgers. Yep, it's the same flavor. Now as for any of their other sandwiches, I haven't tried them, so I don't know if they have fresh sliced onions on those.

    1 Reply
    1. re: i_am_Lois

      The chopped onions are dehydrated, but not soaked, Simply sprinkled on the burgers and rehydrated by the burger fat and juice. (This info is from when I worked the grill 40 years ago, may have changed.) But the OP seems to be talking about sliced onions on Quarter Pounders and such. Not sure if they are soaked in a preserving liquid or what. But it is true that untreated cut onions go 'off' quickly, and it is impractical to slice them 'to order' in a fast food environment.

    2. why ruin the flavor of onion by soaking it? just because you dont like does not mean all you say is accurate. if you dont like it dont eat it and leave us in peace.

      everyone i know has never mentioned this "off-taste". i think you need to see a Dr you might be having a stroke

      1 Reply
      1. re: Locutus

        I believe a brief browsing of 'onion' on the Chow site will reveal that a great number of people have the same reaction to onions that have been chopped and-or sliced some time ago - and wish to avoid the lousy taste and after-taste.

        Not everyione has been able to get their taste buds and stomach galvanized. :-)

      2. what's with sueing McD'S, are you an ambulance chaser? Just say 'no onions please' and move on.

        10 Replies
        1. re: treb

          I said reason was that probably no one has sued them - I was not referring to anything I was going to do.

          (I like onions and want onions - but good stuff thanks - not chopped up hours before)

          1. re: jounipesonen

            If you want "good stuff", McDonalds is not the place to go.

            1. re: budlit

              Absolutely agree! But seems other restaurants also use 'aged' onions and was just using McD as an example - main idea was to get other hints than soak and vinegar or lime - but this thing certainly got a life in a different direction.

              1. re: jounipesonen

                When you clearly identify MacDonald's in the CH topic, you are clearly targeting MacDonald's, way more than 'just' an example.

                1. re: treb

                  ok - sorry - didn't have your Rule Book at hand :-)

                  1. re: jounipesonen

                    Say two Hail Mary's, eat four raw onions and you shall be forgiven. Go in Peace........

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        Look at that! My man the dawg has the solution for all that ails you! Go dawg!!!

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          You might want to read a couple of chapters your self! :-)

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            Look at you dawg! You are on a roll tonight! Buy me the book I only read the cliff notes, apparently I missed some details!

          2. McD's onions taste foul precisely for the reason that they are NOT fresh onions but rather are dehydrated onions. By the way, I know we all have different tastes, but a slice of fresh, raw onion is one of the most common burger toppings in existence, right up there with lettuce and tomato. So I assume most people do not find onions objectionable. But I can't imagine any restaurant, including McD's, not honoring a request to hold the onions if you find them objectionable.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LorenzoGA

              Fast food outlets use 'storage' onions. The name says it all. They store well and so they are cheaper than onions which are more perishable.
              'Sweet onions' have a limited storage life and are seasonal. Feb.-August'. Sweet onions are far tastier and less sulphur tasting hence far more expensive.
              Fast food outlets, when they do use 'fresh' onions pretty much go for the cheapest route.
              'Boutique' burger joints will always serve you a fresh seasonal sweet onion.

              1. re: LorenzoGA

                I indeed enjoy onions - that's why I would like them to be without the acrid taste from hanging around. It's never been a question of not being able to request 'without onions.'

              2. Those "fake" tasting onions are one of the few things I actually like about McD's burgers. I don't like pickles, though, so I ask for no pickles. It's not rocket science to ask for no onions.

                I am very happy for you that this seems to be your biggest problem. I wish I were so lucky.

                6 Replies
                1. re: rockycat

                  I like the onions too. I like when they fall out and I get a fry with an onion stuck to it.

                  I'm not sure what the big deal is. Don't like it, tell them to hold on it.

                  I like extra pickles, so order more. But hate lettuce on a burger so always skip it.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    Not a question of getting without - just would like establishments offering onions might aim at making them 'good.'

                    1. re: jounipesonen

                      You think MacDonald's is about good?

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Absolutely NOT - the coffee is often damn good though - and the WCs make the grade - :-).

                        The Fries are inedible to me except when direly hungry.

                        Actually I should say the Sausage McMuffin is surprisingly decent.

                        1. re: jounipesonen

                          +1 coffee.....and I find most of their biscuit breakfast sandwiches to be very good. I will go out of my way for a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit.

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            They don't do biscuits in Finland but the muffin stuff is fine even if expensive - over $4.

                            They did an Italian sandwich on Ciabatta here once but they probably had to kill it as it was competing with the horrid burgers.

                  2. Sueing McD's over raw onions?
                    Good Gawd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I suggest you redirect your energy.

                    Sure, some folks don't like raw onions. and remember, CH does not always represent all the time the overall opinions of the general public.

                    As for Mc D's, either order "no onions", something WITHOUT onions in the first place or... don't eat there at all.

                    I'm not a big fan of sauerkraut, but I don;t go around looking for a "class action law suit" against restaurants that do.


                    Mc D's chain formula is consistancy. Products and expereinces are exactly the same from store to store for each particular country or region.
                    You don;t change ingredients unless years of testing and taste panels deem it to thier advange.
                    The Heinz ketchup swap out news alone set the McD's PR force into full affect.

                    With the current grilled onion and cheese $1 menu burger they obviously know how to grill onions. It's pretty tasty.

                    I still suggest you remove McD's from your dining rotation and choose another food purveyor.
                    A lot easier than suing over raw onions.
                    Or I'm gonna guess it is. :-)

                    Happy chowing.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jjjrfoodie

                      Who in heck said they were going to SUE McD about onions - it was said SARCASTICALLY that no one had probably done it - as the only way McD changes anything is when they are threatened with a law suit!

                      In any case there are enough posts on Chow that recognize the difference between FRESH cut onions and OLD cut onions - and of course those with good taste and those with galvanized taste buds :-)

                    2. After reading this I thought I remembered having "fresh" cut onion on one of the premium burgers I had there. A quick look at the corporate menu shows they do offer sliced onions vs. dehydrated, on some of their burgers;



                      Now......if you are saying even these onions are too potent for you, I highly doubt they are "fresh cut" on premises. I've never seen anything actually prepared or fresh cut there, so I'm sure they are "aged" a bit by the time they reach your sandwich.

                      (why is this on home cooking rather than Chains?)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        On Hone Cooking as was actually looking for any further methods of getting the acrid taste out - wasn't expecting it to be a forum item on McD's but leading with that sure made it one ;-)

                        There is no problem with strong or potent tastes - rather what happens with onions when left for awhile

                        1. jounipesonen, I do understand what you are saying about sliced onions sitting around and their flavor changing. Their smell changes too, as well as their texture. I don't know McDonalds policy regarding freshness of their products. I know some food establishments don't seem to care that their vegetables 'spoil' when cut. I worked in a deli that made hoagies & Philly steak sandwiches. All vegetables expected to be needed for the entire day were sliced very early in the morning. They were placed in tubs and not treated in any way to preserve freshness. I was fired from that job because after lunch one day I noticed the onions had become 'slimy', and I tossed them in the trash and sliced new ones. I was told by the owner, who was furious with me, that he never throws away food. Well I certainly wouldn't want to eat them and I didn't have the attitude that I'd serve customers garbage. I agree with you that the character of an onion changes quickly when cut. I suppose when enough customers complain and stop going to a place, they will have to fix the problem or lose profits.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: i_am_Lois

                            The special thing about onions that puts it in its own class is that the layers and surfaces of the layers have chemicals that are quite innocent until the layers are cut or crushed. A chemical reaction starts and CONTNUES - the immediate product is the 'tear jerker' - but as the reaction continues the resulting product is less and less like a fresh onion - and I really would bet that no person really likes THAT taste and odor. From my reading of reactions here I am seeing that people are thinking I am anti-onion - hardly! I'm not liking the taste that actually destroys the real taste and aroma of the onion.

                            This onion phenomenon goes to the other members of the Alyssium family - the same thing happens with garlic - that's why there are umpteen garlic gurus telling the best way to cut a garlic - the slicing, cutting, smashing, bashing methods all have different consequences for the taste of the garlic. The effect on taste of disintegrating a garlic clove and leaving it hanging around for an hour or two is quite dramatic - more so than the regular onion.

                            I brought up McD because it is a well-known company and they have been doing their thing in the billions for 50-60 years - so it was a common reference - not a testimonial to their quality, etc.

                            I still would ask if anyone - aware of this layer-cutting matter - has any other hints besides the soak/vinegar/lime method.

                          2. I like the onions on their smaller burgers. (Anything in the cheeseburger..McDouble..Double cheeseburger category). They are minced and add a nice crunch. Big Mac also.

                            They become distracting in the 1/4 pounder w cheese. In this sandwich you get big shards of raw onion..which I am not as a big fan of. But still like the sandwich. Yes and I still get the onions.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: rochfood

                              I had occasion to eat a 1/4 pounder with cheese yesterday and with this conversation in mind, I paid special attention to the onions. Raw, fresh, crunchy and bigger than minced. I wouldn't call them "big shards." They were about a half to three quarters of an inch long and less than 1/4" wide.

                              Anyway, I was happy with the onions.

                              1. re: tcamp

                                Considering their size/shape to the minced onions.."big shards" is what came to mind when I described them. I certainly didn't get out a measuring tape.
                                Glad you enjoyed the burger..I do as well.

                            2. i have a bizarre love for the onions at mcd's.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: eLizard

                                Are the words "the onions at" in your sentence even necessary? (g)

                              2. clearly you don't understand mc donalds, the point of the chains board or the mechanics of english. you start out by saying that you are surprised no one has sued mcdonalds for bad onions and go on to talk about them not changing them in 50 or 60 years.

                                later on you claim - or did someone claim it for you - that you were talking about the sliced onions on some of the deluxe burgers. burgers that they didn't happen to make 50 or 60 years ago.

                                Look, McDonalds must be doing something right. As you pointed out they have been doing this for 60+ years, and have sold more burgers doing so than probably the rest of the world combined. If you don't like them, then continue to order burgers without onions. But lots of people, me included, think they do just fine for a low cost chain burger. If you want high end burgers I'm sure chow hounds can provide a list of upscale burger joints in your neighborhood.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                  I DID NOT say I was surprised no one has sued McD - please don't accuse anyone of poor skills in English until you actually read what they write.

                                  I said SARCASTICALLY that they haven't improved their onions because maybe no one has sued them because that's the only way they change policy.

                                  Anyhow I think this thread has now been thoroughly 'cooked.'

                                  1. re: jounipesonen

                                    I did read it, and along with about 2/3 of the others apparently incorrectly inferred you thought they should be sued. I learned to read in kindergarden. The mechanics of that haven't changed any more than McDonald's onions have.

                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                      Well based on the clarity of my NOT saying I was planning to sue MCD, the only logical conclusion is that readers of Chow Forum have become a relevant sample of the global surveys that US education has gone to the dogs.

                                      May I repeat what I wrote:

                                      "I assume the reason is no one had yet tried to sue them (McD's seems to only change policies when faced with legal action)"

                                      And I never referred to them being sued otherwise.

                                      It was pure sarcasm in any case.

                                      1. re: jounipesonen

                                        It may be helpful to edit your topic line to include 'Sarcasm'.

                                          1. re: jounipesonen

                                            I think you should sue Mc' Donald's now and prove all these people wrong! That'll show them!

                                        1. re: jounipesonen

                                          please read my reply. i did not suggest YOU would sue them, just that you thought they should be sued. and I admit, that may be a wrong conclusion (sarcasm or not.) But you can't deny that it engendered a consistent response which was not what you intended.

                                          Anyhow, most of us disagree and think the onions are fine.

                                  2. I have not eaten anything at McDonald's in quite a few years but I do not recall raw onion on anything. I remember minced reconstituted dehydrated onions on the double cheeseburgers that had a very pleasant rather sweet flavor. What am I missing? I have eaten hamburgers....cheeseburgers.....double cheeseburgers.....Big Mac's and Quarter Pounders there when I was young thin and working 12 hour nursing shifts. Which one has raw onion?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                      The QP w cheese has raw onions. They are considered "slivered onions" on their website.

                                    2. Beating a dead horse, with onions!

                                      1. I like the onions on the Quarter Pounder, and don't notice an off taste.