Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Southwest BLT Burger

Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Southwest BLT Burger

Takeaway Truth is a regular Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: McDonald’s Southwest BLT Burger. (Plus: Taste Test!)

McDonald’s recently introduced three new chicken burgers to its menu that are apparently here to stay. These are the Spicy Jalapeno Burger, Chicken Bacon Deluxe Burger and Southwest BLT Burger. While the first two are fairly standard Macca’s fare, the Southwest BLT is a little more intriguing thanks to the addition of tortilla chips inside the burger.

Like the rest of the new chicken range, you can choose between a seared (grilled) or crispy (battered) chicken patty. Here’s the official blurb from McDonald’s website:

With crunchy tortilla chips, Southwest ranch sauce, sizzling bacon, cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato and made with 100% Aussie chicken breast in a chili and chive topped bun… it’s flavour that packs a crunch.

And here’s the blatant Master Chef-aping advert:

The McDonald’s Southwest BLT Burger packs in 2780kJ of energy, 33.7g of protein, 38.8g of fat, 56.6g of carbohydrates, 6.2g of sugars and 1230mg of sodium. For reference, this makes it slightly better for you than a Quarter Pounder but slightly worse for you than a Mighty Angus burger.

To see if the real Southwest BLT Burger measured up to the mouth-watering marketing material, we ordered one from our local Circular Quay outlet. Amusingly, nobody in the store could tell us what “Southwest ranch sauce” tastes like or what it’s made from. When we posed these questions to the cashier, she acted as if we’d just asked her to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity while simultaneously rubbing her stomach and patting her head. The duty manager was equally perplexed. Apparently, sampling new products isn’t a staff requirement.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of what the Southwest BLT Burger looks like on McDonald’s website and in real life:

As you can see, the ingredients are pretty faithful to McDonald’s advert: we’re particularly impressed by the fresh-green lettuce which is a rarity on McDonald’s burgers. Sadly, the slipshod assembly has once again let the visuals down.

Some people aren’t particularly bothered by this, but we still think it’s worth pointing out. While it would be unreasonable to expect perfectly symmetrical layers, we don’t think it’s too big an ask to have the chicken patty fully inside the bun. This would literally take an extra two seconds of effort. Tch.

Otherwise, we think the poster is a reasonable approximation of what you get served. If you took the time to rearrange and tidy up the fillings, you’d probably end up with a decent likeness. Overall, not a bad effort.

Takeaway Truth: McDonald’s Southwest BLT Burger

So how did it taste? As far as Macca’s burgers go, it was kinda delicious! [Disclaimer: I ordered it for “lunch” at 3pm, so my extreme hunger may have worked in its favour.]

I was initially concerned that the sauce/steam would render the tortilla chips gross and soggy, but they remained perfectly crisp from start to finish. The chili and chive bun wasn’t anything special but if you like McDonald’s bread you won’t be disappointed. The Southwest ranch sauce was ever-so-slightly spicy but the kick is extremely mild. Chili lovers would be better off ordering the Spicy Jalapeno Burger with tortilla chips added.

Truth Verdict: 7/10

Taste Score: 8/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.


  • Southwest ranch sauce it awesome stuff. Get it with chicken at Subway and pick up a bottle at home for those times when you want some of those battered chicken strips.

  • Not seeing any bacon there, Chris. Did it actually come with bacon?

    I only ask because I ordered one drive-thru the other day and they forgot the bacon, something I didn’t discover til I got home. The two other times I’ve ordered this however it did come with bacon and was delicious. I was actually quite impressed.

  • …we don’t think it’s too big an ask to have the chicken patty fully inside the bun. This would literally take an extra two seconds of effort.

    Which would be recovered by making it easier to stack the rest of the ingredients without them teetering on the edge of the chicken.

    • Burgers are actually made upside down, so the chicken is the last ingredient added to the top of the salad pile.

    • I don’t feel they would recover or lose any time – Unless they are throwing it at the box it is not so hard to put it down correctly the first time.

      • It isn’t always the person making the burgers fault, as often the burger is a decent amount smaller than the box it is in, this means that the person bagging your order could be lifting it sideways or the burger is slid down the assembly line too fast resulting in a ‘tipped burger’

  • OK I just had one of these and yeah it’s pretty damn good. The crunchy chips really top it off.

  • So far Ive had two of these. Shocked the hell out of me how good it tasted. They both looked about same as what is in this review but holy hell, they are delicious for something from maccas. Tastes quite mexican-ish with the hint of spicy and those tortilla chips. I dont eat a huge amount of fast food but damn, this was good.

  • I’ll be trying one of those at the earliest convenience.

    Speaking of burger assembly however, why is it so difficult? One Maccas burger that always seems to be “mis-assembled” is the filet o’ fish. In my own experience, 100% of the time, the cheese is only partly inside the burger, with the rest stuck to the box (so instead of 1/2 a slice of cheese you end up with about 1/4). And the wizards at McDonalds never get the amount of tartar sauce right. Either a disgustingly massive amount that oozes out of the burger, all over the box, or a tiny wee amount that barely covers a 1/3 of the burger.

  • I’ve ordered this burger twice and in both cases they forgot the bacon. Get it right people!

  • As someone who doesn’t usually like or eat maccas (other half an son do) I decided to try this burger while getting lunch for the other 2 a couple months ago as I love south west sauce and the tortillas got me intrigued. And I was extremely surprised at how awesome it is!! I like the grilled version personally and I swap the cheese to maccas regular cheese and its the bomb!! I have however discovered they do forget the bacon like every 2nd time I get one, but I’ve finally found something from McDonalds that I will eat and enjoy. I’ve even got the hubby hooked on them now – I give them a 9/10, would be 10/10 the preparation as stated above the not putting the burgers together very well and “forgetting bacon” I often joke about them being awesome for employing blind people for the assembly line. (no offence to the blind intended as a blind person would most likely do a better job) but how hard is it to stack ingredients on top of each other without 80% of the ingredients sideways hanging out in several directions basically missing the bun??

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