Mother of Baconator

The next tale in the Wendy’s Cinematic Universe (WCU) is the origin story of Baconator’s Mother.

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Read Time: 8 minutes

The popular fast-food restaurant chain known as Wendy’s started selling a new menu item called the Baconator in June of 2007. Kerrii Anderson, Wendy’s president and chief executive at the time, introduced a “back to basics” plan that outlined a focus on attracting “the coveted 18-to 34-year-old demographic” back to the restaurants. The introduction of the Baconator was part of this plan.

Within just a couple of months after the Baconator’s release, it was proven to be a big hit. The company claims that it sold 25 million Baconators in the first 2 months of its availability. Almost 17 years later, Wendy’s has seen a lot of new burgers and sandwiches come and go but the Baconator is still there.

Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, who many old people, like myself, will remember as Wendy’s commercial spokesperson from 1989 all the way through the 1990s. Thomas died in 2002 at age 69.

Thomas opened his first Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio in 1969, and named his restaurant after his eight-year-old daughter Melinda Lou whose nickname at that time was “Wendy.”

Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas. I found this photo online in marketing for Wendy’s. RIP to an OG.

What is a Baconator?

A Baconator is a cheeseburger that consists of two “never frozen” quarter-pound beef patties, two slices of American cheese, 3 slices (or 6 pieces) of applewood smoked bacon, ketchup, and mayonnaise inside of Wendy’s “premium bun.” I used quotes in the description to describe two different Wendy’s phrases used in their marketing. They have always proudly claimed they never freeze any meat (including the bacon) and Wendy’s has names for their different buns. The bun used on the normal Baconator and many of their other burgers and sandwiches is called a premium bun and the bun used on smaller Wendy’s burgers like the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger is called a “sandwich bun.”

Son of Baconator

The Baconator eventually produced offspring. In 2011, Wendy’s released the Son of Baconator which is a smaller version of the regular Baconator.

Baconator numbers:
Calories: 960
Total Fat: 66g
Sodium: 1,600mg
Protein: 57g

Son of Baconator numbers:
Calories: 630
Total Fat: 40 g
Sodium: 1,260mg
Protein: 32g

The original “regular” Baconator has 2 quarter-pound (4-ounce/113 grams) beef patties and the Son of Baconator reduces those almost in half with two 2.25-ounce beef patties. The regular Baconator has six “pieces” of bacon on it and the Son of Baconator has four “pieces.” I write “pieces” because Wendy’s considers half of a typical bacon strip to be a piece.

Baconator (left) and Son of Baconator (right). You can see a pretty good size difference and, in my experience, the Son is plenty big enough for me.
Each Baconator patty has 3 half-strips of bacon on top. A Son of Baconator patty is topped with 2 half-strips.

How a Wendy’s Baconator is made

A person named Paul Bunnell seems to have worked at Wendy’s at some point and has made several videos about how to make certain fast-food items. This short, 1-and-a-half-minute video shows how a typical Wendy’s Baconator is assembled.

The Baconator build process.

In the video, you can see the Baconator has 3 full slices of bacon that Bunnell tears into 6 bacon pieces and puts 3 half slices or pieces on top of each cheeseburger patty. I just don’t want anyone to get the idea that the full Baconator has six full slices of bacon on it because that would be double what they use.

Maybe you can top a Baconator?

I also thought about making the pretzel version of the Wendy’s Baconator at one point recently, so I went out to try one. I think pretzel buns are sort of gimmicky but that hasn’t kept me from baking a few different versions and coming up with my own pretzel sandwich bun recipe that you can try if you’d like.

I don’t think the Baconator needs a different bun but Wendy’s pretzel version isn’t bad at all (edit: this whole sentence is funny given that I make a different bun for the Mother of Baconator down below). The denser bun gives you a bit more chew in each bite to get through the double layers of meat and bread.

I don’t have a whole lot more to add here, but I just wanted to include the photo of their marketing materials stating that I can’t top a Baconator. Because I’m going to try.

I can totally top the Baconator.
Fast food or commercially available pretzel buns rarely have salt on top because the salt will eventually melt into a bun that has moisture.
The Pretzel Baconator is a pretty hefty dinner. Probably shouldn’t schedule a big exercise session too soon afterward.
I needed to do a little measuring. The square patties were right around 3.5 inches (88.9 mm). Typical American cheese slices are also right around the same square size.
You can see 3 of the bacon pieces in this shot. Half pieces of 3 full slices total in the Baconator.

I created and wrote about a Wendy’s pretzel bun sandwich:
The Oktoberfast-food sandwich.

The Mother of Baconator time

Since we have the Baconator and the Son of Baconator and since I wanted to make a version that was even more Baconator-y, I have named my version the Mother of Baconator. Follow along to see how I Out Baconated the Wendy’s. First, we need buns.

Premium bacon burger buns

This is my simple burger bun recipe but I replaced the butter with bacon fat and added cooked and chopped bacon into the dough. The resulting buns ended up having a faint aroma of bacon and you will notice some texture from the chopped bacon when biting into the bun.

Other than the addition of a different fat and the chopped bacon, these are shaped, proofed, and baked just like a normal burger bun.

Here are six shaped bacon buns ready for final proofing.
An hour later they’ve puffed up and pretty much doubled in size and the buns are ready for baking.

Note: bread is typically not refrigerated, and this bread has meat in it. So, you might want to keep the buns in the fridge, wrapped very tightly, or even freeze them if you aren’t consuming all of these buns soon after baking.

A session in the oven turns the buns brown.
I painted each finished bun with melted butter to soften the crust.

Give this recipe a shot if you like bacon and buns.

2 hours and 45 minutes
Bacon-infused burger buns

Six bacon-infused, soft buns for your next sandwich or burger night.

Get Recipe

Bacon mayonnaise

I also made bacon-infused mayonnaise because I have gone bacon crazy.

Homemade mayonnaise is typically made from a mixture of oil and egg plus seasonings and salt. The fact that one of the main ingredients is oil meant that I could remove a little bit of the oil and add bacon grease into the recipe instead to give it strong bacon flavors.

I made mayonnaise with bacon fat and pieces of cooked bacon spread throughout.

Then I also added chopped, cooked bacon when the mayonnaise was fully emulsified. After I finished making all of these burgers for this blog post I used some of this mayo on a ham and cheese sandwich and it worked out better than expected.

If you like bacon and mayonnaise, you’ll certainly like bacon-infused mayonnaise.

10 minutes
Bacon-infused homemade mayonnaise

This is a basic homemade mayonnaise recipe with a punch of bacon flavor and texture. Make some during tomato season for an extra special BLT.

Get Recipe

Bacon cheese slices

And I’m guessing you also might have predicted that I would make bacon-infused cheese slices.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I’ve written recipes for a few cheese slices over the past year. I bought some Sodium Citrate in 2023 and I’m trying to get my money’s worth out of it. These slices were made from a half pound of shredded Colby Jack cheese and 4 slices of cooked bacon that I chopped and sprinkled into the flattened cheese.

Block of Colby Jack, 3 slices of bacon, water, and sodium citrate can help you make sliced cheese.
First, the water, sodium citrate, and shredded cheese are melted all together.
Pour the melted cheese onto a hot Silpat-lined baking sheet and allow it to spread out.
Sprinkle cut-up cooked bacon pieces into the cheese and top it with a piece of parchment.

Once the bacon-infused cheese is flattened on a sheet pan and covered with parchment or wax paper it should be refrigerated for an hour or so to harden. Then you can peel off the parchment and the Silpat and place the cheese on a surface that you can use a sharp knife or pizza cutter on.

Slice the cheese into 3.5-inch squares and store the slices in the fridge separated by small pieces of parchment or wax paper to keep them from sticking together. Believe me, these little cheese slices will really stick together.

In the recipe I share below and in the full Mother of Baconator recipe make a half batch of cheese slices. You will get more than 6 to 8 slices of cheese plus extra cheese scraps.
Homemade cheese slices, regardless of the type of cheese used will be VERY melty. Just be clear that they will melt fast. Move quickly when grilling or griddling.
1 hour and 25 minutes
Bacon-infused cheese slices

If you like cheese and you like bacon, you'll LOVE bacon-infused cheese slices. Perfect for your next grilled cheese.

Get Recipe

Mother of Baconator patty process

Wendy’s makes square patties, so I felt that I had to make square patties. Halfway through last year, I bought some square biscuit/cookie cutters for making square hash browns and they just so happened to have a 4-inch square cutter in the set. Wendy’s patties are right around 3.5-inches square so with shrinkage in the cooking process 4-inches works perfectly.

I used the four-inch square biscuit cutters to shape my Mother of Baconator patties. Just weigh out the meat and pack it into the mold. Then I sprinkled on bacon and pressed it into the beef.
If you’re not making smash burgers, the best way to make burger patties is directly on parchment. Then you can cut them out and use the paper to transfer the patty easily to the grill, griddle, or skillet.

A lot of “bacon burger” recipes call for mixing uncooked bacon with beef, but I don’t think that works very well. The bacon will not cook and render in the amount of time that it takes for a burger to be cooked and any bacon that isn’t on the surface of the patty will end up cooking but not getting any sort of crisp at all. The technique that I used was to put cooked and chopped bacon on only one side of the beef patty. This meant that the bacon got another sear while the beef was cooking and searing, leading to a lot of extra texture in the patty.

The bacon in each patty is invisible in this photo.
Flip the patty over and there are plenty of seared bacon pieces visible now.
More bacon? Sure, why not?

The full cooking process for bacon-infused beef patties is in the recipe below.

How much bacon is in a Mother of Baconator?

I did some math and calculated how much actual bacon is in each Mother of Baconator that I created and it turns out it’s not a dramatic amount more than what is in a Wendy’s Baconator. It’s not even double the amount, but in the taste and texture, it sure feels like a lot more bacon.

Wendy’sBounded by Buns
slices of bacon3 slices of bacon3 slices of bacon
bun0 slices bacon0.666 slices of bacon
cheese slice0 slices bacon0.375 slices of bacon
patties0 slices bacon1 slices of bacon (0.5 in each patty)
mayonnaise0 slices bacon0.25 slices of bacon
ketchup0 slices bacon0 slices of bacon (don’t mess with Heinz)
total3 slices of bacon5.291 slices of bacon

A Google search tells me that a slice of bacon is 43 calories. With that math, 5.291 slices of bacon are 227.51 total calories, or only 98.51 more calories than the original Wendy’s Baconator. That puts the Mother of Baconator at 960 + 98.51 calories or 1058.51 total calories. This is the first time I’ve done any sort of calorie calculations on this sandwich blog and I’m going to guess that it will be a long time before I have the ability to do it again.

With all this said, please do not eat a Mother of Baconator every day. Keep your Mother of Baconator consumption in moderation.

Mother of Baconator photos and recipe

I made a few of these while testing out all my recipes and took photos of all of them. The recipe below has everything except for the bacon buns which might make the recipe a little complicated for some folks. But that recipe is up above and linked from the ingredients of the full Mother of Baconator recipe. Please keep scrolling for the photos and recipe while I head to the store to buy the ingredients for a salad.

After Mother of Baconator week, I need a big nap.
Went a bit heavy on the bacon-infused mayonnaise on this one, but it was a great burger.
If you like a cheeseburger, you will probably like a Baconator. As long as you’re ok with mayo and ketchup.
The mayonnaise and ketchup blend are a HUGE part of the flavor in the Baconator.
A handful of the Mother of Baconator.
I out Baconatored the Wendy’s.
Mother of Baconator view printable page for this recipe

It's a Baconator but more bacon-y. With the addition of a bacon mayonnaise, bacon cooked into the cheese and the burger there's bacon in every bite!


Oven-baked bacon, bacon-infused mayonnaise, and cheese slices
  • 9 to 12 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 34 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces
  • a pinch of salt (taste first to see if needed)
  • 8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded (cheddar will work - 1/2 pound)
  • 7 grams sodium citrate (2 teaspoons - see note)
  • 14 cup water
  • 3 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
Bacon burger patties and cooking
  • 12 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 slice bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 2 bacon-infused cheese slices
  • 3 full slices of bacon, cooked
Sandwich assembly
  • 1 burger bun, split and toasted
  • 2 cheese covered bacon burger patties (from above)
  • 3 slices of bacon split into 6 half pieces (from above)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons bacon-infused mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

Suggested Equipment


Oven-baked bacon: line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. I typically overlap two or three pieces. 

Remove at least 9 slices of bacon from the package and lay it on the foil-lined baking sheet. You can place your bacon very close together but try not to overlap. 

Do not preheat your oven. When you have as much bacon as you can fit on your sheet pan, place it in a cold oven and set it to 400 degrees F (205 C). 

Set a timer for 25 minutes and start checking the bacon. Depending on the type of bacon and thickness, it could take another 5 or more minutes. 

I start checking at 25 minutes and if it's not fully done, I will flip the bacon and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so, checking the doneness every so often. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove all bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and pour the bacon grease into a jar or sealed container to be used later. 

Bacon-infused mayonnaise: if you have an immersion blender: Add all ingredients to your immersion blender cup or a cup/jar that is a little bit larger than your blender stick. Put the head of the blender on the bottom of the cup and start blending on low. Once you start to see things thickening, you can start to make a slight up-and-down movement. I like to stop every so often and kind of stir things around with the stick while the blender isn't running. But you should be able to get something that resembles mayonnaise texture in just two or three minutes of blending. Once done you can skip to the last two steps before Bacon-infused cheese slices.

If you do not have a blender, get ready to whisk: Grab a medium mixing bowl and a whisk.

Whisk the yolks, mustard, and bacon fat until it all is a bit frothy. Slowly trickle oil into the bowl while whisking. Add more oil very slowly whisking the whole time. You will start to see things getting a bit thicker and at that point, you can add more oil.

Once things start to look more like a yogurt texture you can increase the flow of oil. But you still want to continue vigorously whisking. If you ever start to get a texture where your mayo looks like it's curdling, you need to stop adding oil until your texture binds back together.

You can stop whisking when you've used all your oil, and the texture of your mayo is smooth. 

Add the chopped bacon pieces and stir to combine them into the creamy mayonnaise. 

Put the bacon-infused mayonnaise into a jar or sealed container and store it in the fridge for no more than two weeks.

Bacon-infused cheese slices: add a greased or Silpat lined sheet pan to your oven on its lowest setting. Mine is 150 F (65 C).

Add water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer. Add sodium citrate and stir to combine.

Slowly add all the shredded cheese, stopping to stir the cheese into the sauce after every handful. Once all the cheese is added stir very well while the cheese is still simmering to make sure it is very smooth.

Once the cheese is very smooth, carefully pour the sauce over the warm sheet pan and shake the sheet pan to allow the sauce to spread out. You may need a knife or offset spatula for this. Once the sauce is in a consistently thin layer, sprinkle evenly with the chopped pieces of bacon.

Cover the cheese with parchment or wax paper and move it to a refrigerator to cool for around an hour.

Once the bacon-infused cheese is fully cool, you can carefully remove it from the sheet pan and slice the cheese into 3.5-inch squares or whatever shapes you desire. To store the cheese, place a piece of parchment or wax paper between each slice and store it in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Bacon burger patties: heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat for at least 5 minutes. Shape your ground beef into 2 thin patties that are a quarter pound each. I find it's easiest to form patties on a small piece of parchment paper so that you can easily transfer the patties to the hot pan or griddle.

Chop up one slice of bacon and press small pieces of bacon into each patty. 

Add your shaped patties to the hot skillet top/bacon side down in the pan and season the exposed side of the patties with salt and pepper. Cook the patties for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip. After one minute add the slices of bacon-infused cheese to the top of each patty and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. These patties should be fairly thin, so they will cook quickly.

Once the burgers are fully cooked remove them to a plate to rest while you get ready to build the rest of the burger. 

Sandwich Assembly: toast the bun. You can do this in a toaster oven or place them on the still-hot griddle or pan to get a light toast on the outside.

Add one cheese-topped patty to the bottom bun and top the cheese with three half slices of bacon. Repeat with the second patty and 3 more half slices of bacon.

Spread bacon-infused mayonnaise and ketchup to the top bun and crown the Mother of Baconator. 


Sodium citrate is not going to be something you can find at the grocery store. Here is the brand of Sodium Citrate that I use from Amazon

Check back next week

Hopefully, I’ll be eating a salad or just a handful of lettuce.

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