McDonald’s Sold “Onion Nuggets” Before The Famous Chicken Nuggets

They were supposed to be an option for vegetarians, but they ended up evolving into the beloved chicken nugget.

While we all know the popular McDonald’s menu items, like the Big Mac or the McNugget, there are a wide range of items that do not always get the chance to rise to this sort of iconic status. In other words, we tend to remember all of the successes that the burger chain has had and we forget the failures. That’s why we are here to tell the story of the onion nugget.

For example, you probably had no idea that they have tried to add a number of different items to the menu, to no avail. Spaghetti was once added to the menu and so was pizza. McDonald’s definitely wasn’t trying to stay in their lane at all in these instances. The Onion Nuggets were attempted back in the late 70s.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It’s one of those things that we never would have believed if we had not seen the stories for ourselves.

Readers would be forgiven for assuming that they were the prototype for the chicken nuggets that we all love and enjoy so much today, but nope! McDonald’s first executive chef Rene Arend is the one who is responsible for the initial recipe, as he looked for something to supplement the burgers and fries that the chain is known for today. The idea was a unique one.

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For those who are unaware, Arend previously cooked for Queen Elizabeth II and he is also responsible for coming up with the classic McRib.

He might have thought that the Onion Nugget would become one of his finest achievements but it was simply not meant to be. Eventually, McDonald’s chairman Fred Turner told Arend to spend more time on items that are chicken-based.

Photo: flickr/Stock Catalog

The breaded onion concept was used for the chicken nuggets and they were off and running from there. After being told to let the onion nugget idea go during the late 70s, Arend bounced back by the early 80s. This is when the nuggets we now consume regularly were added.

Since then, they have become a staple of the menu. As for those who liked the sound of the onion nuggets? You’ll just have to settle for secondhand nostalgia!