“You got McDonald’s money?” is a phrase many Happy Meal-craving kids may’ve heard from their parents growing up whenever they were clamoring for a treat from the popular fast food chain.
With food inflation soaring to new heights in the United States since 2021, which the USDA says will only continue to get worse heading into 2024, it’s no wonder many folks are looking for ways to feed their families for less money while still getting a semblance of the flavor profiles from some of their favorite fast-food offerings.
This is where dupes come in, and one popular dupe for McDonald’s chicken nuggets that have previously gone viral on TikTok is Country Pride’s offering, which can be found in Walmart’s prepared frozen food section. According to a TikToker named Desiree (@wildassbih), Ralph’s shoppers can also buy them too.
Desiree decided to try the McDonald’s dupe nuggets for herself in a viral TikTok that begins with her standing in a Ralphs freezer section.
“Girl, hold on. They have them at f*cking Ralph’s,” she says, opening the freezer and nabbing a bag for herself in the process. “No f*cking way. My kids are obsessed with these chicken nuggets. I’m gonna f*cking try this sh*t.”
She dumps them into her shopping cart before transitioning to herself standing in her kitchen at home, holding up the dupe nuggets she just purchased.
Desiree then tries her hand at air-frying the nuggets, one of the three cooking options listed on the package. The other two are oven-baking or deep-frying. At first, she thinks deep frying them will be too much work, so she tries to see if the air-fried nuggets live up to the moniker of being labeled a veritable “dupe” for Mickey D’s McNuggets.
The TikToker then shows the nuggets off on camera before they’re cooked, indicating that based just on presentation alone, they are a dead ringer for the famous nuggets. “OK, this is what the nuggets look like, this sh*t look it’s got that shape, that chicken nugget McDonald’s chicken shape, it’s already giving McDonald’s,” Desiree says.
Her video then cuts to the nuggets right as they’ve come out of the air fryer.
“These have been in the air fryer for about 12 minutes now,” she shares. “The color’s looking a little light. It’s a little light, so maybe I might have to deep fry them to get that color. But let’s try this b*tch. Here are the nuggets, doesn’t smell like the McDonald’s one.”
Desiree then notes that her son is particularly picky when it comes to his nuggets and would know just by the scent that they weren’t fresh from the McDonald’s fryer. “I know my son if he were to smell it and inspect it he would not buy it, but, maybe I need to fry them. Let’s try,” she says, grabbing one of the four nuggets she air-fried and taking a bite.
Upon chomping the nugget, she shows off what the interior of the nugget looks like to the camera, stating, “The inside, looks very similar.” She then takes another bite. “It’s not quite McDonald’s nugget, it’s good, if there’s any close, a close nugget, it’s gonna be this one, but, it’s a really good chicken nugget. It’s a really f*cking good chicken nugget I really do like the tempura coating whatever. But, my kids would know. They would know.”
“They’d be like, what is this?” she continues. “They’ll eat it, don’t get me wrong, this is probably gonna be the next best thing but, it’s good.”
So how did the nuggets look upon being deep-fried? Desiree decided to explore that option, cutting to the end result of putting them in a vat of hot oil in her home, and the nuggets appear to have taken on a crispier, browner texture as a result. “OK, we deep fried them now and, b*tch. K, look at that,” she says, holding the golden-brown chicken nugget up to the camera before taking a bite, which emits an audible crunch into her phone’s microphone.
“That tastes way better,” but the real seal of approval seems to come from her son who, upon seeing her eating the nuggets asks if they’re McDonald’s McNuggets, to which Desiree says that they are.
“The key is to deep fry them, not air fry them, look at that,” she says again, showing another browned nugget up to the camera before the video cuts out.
@wildassbih I freakin adore Nina and she keeps putting me on the best food finds with these mcdonalds frozen nuggets! #mcdonaldsnuggets #fypage #foodreview ♬ original sound – 🦇🐤Desiree Wildassbih 🦇
One commenter seemed to agree with Desiree’s assessment of the nuggets, intoning that deep-frying them certainly seems to be the play. “I tried them and deep frying them def makes a difference,” they wrote.
However, another said that air fryer users simply need to crank up the temperature and keep them in their cooking apparatus for longer in order to make them taste identical to McDonald’s offering. “Airfry for 10 minutes on 400. exactly like mcdees,” they claimed.
This sentiment was echoed by another user on the app who said, “If you airfry it longer it’ll get more brown and more crispy.”
For folks who aren’t afraid to bust out the hot cooking oil, one TikToker said that a secret ingredient could make all the difference when it comes to flavoring the nugs. “If you have some beef tallow to add to your frying oil, you should try that,” the user suggested.
The Daily Dot has reached out to McDonald’s, Ralph’s, and Desiree via email for further comment.
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