How To Order In-N-Out's Animal Style Fries At McDonald's

One of the most popular orders at In-N-Out Burger might be fast food's worst-kept secret. The California-based burger chain's animal style fries, a "secret menu" mainstay, share the decadent, salty, cheesy anatomy of poutine, with a slice of melted cheese in place of cheese curds and the chain's famous secret sauce and grilled onions in place of gravy. Those who don't live near an In-N-Out — whose 387 locations are concentrated in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Oregon — might be feeling left out. But what if we told you there's a way to hack your way into a version of the dish at your nearest McDonald's? The next time you visit the golden arches, FinanceBuzz suggests ordering fries with a side of Big Mac Sauce and pouring it on top.

To get even closer to the real thing, you could ask for a slice of cheese and let it melt over the hot fries. (The McDonald's employee taking your order may or may not oblige on the latter request, but it's worth a shot; it's also worth noting that grilled onions are even more likely to be a no-go.) It might not be exactly the same, but it can certainly keep you sated until your next trip westward.

The same, but different

Part of the appeal of In-N-Out Burger is its endlessly customizable menu, which lets customers get hyper-specific with their orders. For instance, San Francisco chef Charles Bililies told Eater that his go-to In-N-Out order is a Double-Double burger, animal style with chopped chilies and "well-done fries," and an iced tea with exactly two lemons. Meanwhile, Juhu Beach Club's Preeti Mistry orders their fries "extra crispy."

At McDonald's, things are a little more cut and dry. While menu hacks abound, getting exactly what you want (insofar as it diverts from the original menu) takes some know-how. That's one of the best parts of hacking your way to animal style fries — all it takes is a slice of cheese and a side of Big Mac Sauce, which McDonald's touts as "creamy, zesty and savory." In-N-Out's secret sauce has ketchup, making it a little sweeter and tangier than the spread on your Big Mac.

Hack it at home

Every fast-food employee has a different tolerance for internet-bred menu hacks. But former McDonald's worker Atom Eyez told The Takeout that "the chain is super flexible when it comes to order customizations." That said, you can always try making animal style fries at home if you're shy about asking for extra items at the drive-thru. 

Start with your favorite french fries, whether they're fresh from McDonald's or a homemade version. Then, get as close as you can to In-N-Out's special sauce by whisking together ketchup, mayonnaise, and sweet pickle relish, plus a little hot sauce and/or chopped chilis if you like things spicy. Chop some onions, grill 'em up, and sprinkle them on your fries. After that, shred or grate your favorite melty cheese over the fries while they're still hot (cheddar and American would both be ideal), and top with a generous helping of sauce. 

There you have it: an easy, breezy, cheesy version of homemade animal style fries. Don't forget the napkins.