What Sauces Does McDonald’s Have, Taste Test & Pairings

What Sauces Does McDonald’s Have, Taste Test & Pairings
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Treating customers to the tastiest fries and those adorable hamburgers, McDonald’s has become a legend in the fast-food industry with restaurants worldwide. Perfectly adapted to the local palates and what people want, they have made many of us smile even in the darkest of days. They have held a special place in my heart ever since I was little, and their burgers are each an exciting adventure. But no burger is complete without sauce, and McDonald’s sauces are definitely deserving of the spotlight. So what sauces does McDonald’s have? 

McDonald’s sauce options are many, including Creamy Ranch Sauce, Mayonnaise, Ketchup, tangy BBQ Sauce, Tartar Sauce, Mustard, Honey Mustard, Honey, Spicy Buffalo Sauce, and Sweet and Sour Sauce. 

McDonald’s offers an excellent range of sauces you can add to your meals and make them even better than you could possibly imagine. Still, having too many options includes making the wrong choice and not enjoying your food. In this article, I will tell you all about their sauces and how to pair them and hopefully help you have an unforgettable McDonald’s experience the next time you go there!

McDonald’s Sauces Ranked & What They Taste Like

The sauces at McDonald’s are the chain’s underdog because the main focus is on the food. But just like the main character in a movie is as good as their supporting characters, the sauces at McDonald’s play a very significant role in the taste the meal delivers. I always say the burger is the star, but the sauce is the stardust. 

So, below are all the sauces, ranked and paired in the best ways possible! And there’s a table summary, too!

Creamy Ranch Sauce 

Mc Donald's Ranch Sauce

The Creamy Ranch from McDonald’s is a smooth and tangy dressing with a noticeable note of herbs and spices. I love this one because it also hints of onion and garlic, which transpires into the meal, making it more flavorful and, overall, more delicious. 

Still, if you are not a fan of the garlicky note, it may be a little overwhelming for your palate, but I think after the second or third bite, you’ll see its magic. It adds a cool and creamy flavor to whatever you pair it with and masterfully balances the sweet and sour notes. I ranked it first, as the best one, because of its versatility and excellent flavor-balancing properties. 

You can pair it with any McDonald’s meal, but it goes particularly well with chicken, such as the chicken McNuggets or McChicken sandwiches. 

Mix mayonnaise, buttermilk (optional), garlic powder, onion powder, dried herbs, and lemon juice to make it at home. 


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Mc Donalds Mayonnaise Sauce

The McDonald’s Mayonnaise is a classic mayonnaise sauce with the typical tangy mayo flavor and rich and creamy consistency. I’ve ranked them second because it deserves a high ranking, but I have to say a few words that don’t align with its position here. 

Namely, I’ve had a very delicious McDonald’s Mayonnaise, but I’ve also had a not-so-good one. It probably depends on the specific McDonald’s, but be cautious when ordering this sauce because it can resemble fish sauce flavor-wise and be unnecessarily sour. Still, it could be just my luck, but that’s my experience with their mayo. 

In terms of pairing, it isn’t at all restrictive, and you can pair it with everything McDonald’s offers. From wraps to burgers to fries, nuggets, and other delicacies, This mayo fits in perfectly in many combos.  

Making this sauce at home means making your own mayonnaise with some spices. So, if you have made mayonnaise at home, just add garlic powder, and you are good to go. If you are a newbie, you’ll need egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. 

Whisk the egg yolks, mustard, and vinegar together, and slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil while whisking continuously. Keep going until you get a thick mixture. Add a pinch of garlic powder, and you’re done. 


Mc Donalds Ketchup Sauce

What can I say about McDonald’s Ketchup so it doesn’t sound like I’m overselling it? So, it was a bit thinner than I expected, which turned out to be a great thing because it is very flavorful, and I think that a thicker version would be too much. 

It is a sweet and tangy tomato-based sauce that delivers that homey and familiar flavor to many McDonald’s meals, especially the classics like hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries. It is slightly sweet, slightly acidic, and just salty enough to bring out the surrounding flavors. 

Mix tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder in a saucepan to make this ketchup from scratch. Let the mixture simmer and occasionally mix so it doesn’t stick. It’s pretty much the marinara sauce-making process, so if you are familiar with it, you already know what to do. 

Tangy BBQ Sauce 

Mc Donalds BBQ Sauce

The McDonald’s BBQ sauce is a classic barbecue sauce with a little bit of McDonald’s magic. It is a smoky and discretely sweet sauce with a tangy twist. Unlike most BBQ sauces I’ve tried that are meaty and deep, this one is lighter and not as complex, which makes it more versatile. 

It pairs with like chicken, burgers, and nuggets, as well as fries, chicken wraps, burgers, and crispy chicken tenders.

Mix ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper to make it home. Simmer the mixture for about 15-20 minutes on low heat until it thickens.

Tartar Sauce 

McDonald’s Tartar Sauce is very creamy, expressively tangy, fresh, zesty, and delicious overall. It has intense notes of onions, parsley, and pickles, a very rich consistency, and is definitely an excellent pair for fish fillets or fish sandwiches.

I also like it with McDonald’s chicken delights and fries, but I don’t recommend it with burgers because of its pronounced herby note. 

To make some delicious tartar sauce at home, mix mayonnaise, minced onion, pickles, lemon juice, and spices. You can even add a teaspoon of mustard for an additional kick. And here’s how:

Honey Mustard Sauce

Mc Donald's Honey Mustard Sauce

The McDonald’s Honey Mustard Sauce is the best of both worlds. Made with Dijon mustard and honey with crushed mustard seeds, you can feel it while eating; it is a rich, tangy, sweet, and very versatile sauce. 

You can pair it with everything chicken and fish, as well as fries. It is a very flavorful sauce, and I love how adaptable it is to the surrounding flavors. It is definitely very noticeable no matter how you pair it, but it isn’t overwhelming at all. 

To make it at home, mix honey and Dijon mustard, garlic powder, a pinch of salt and pepper, and you have a delicious honey mustard sauce. 


Mc Donalds Mustard Sauce

The McDonald’s Mustard is a classic American yellow mustard and is a very popular condiment. Still, it is slightly thicker compared to the yellow mustard you can buy at the stores, which makes it very rich and more dip-like. 

It is tangy and slightly spicy with an expressive mustardy flavor and is very versatile. It goes well with various items on McDonald’s menu, such as burgers, chicken sandwiches, and pork burgers. 

To make this mustard at home, mix mustard seeds, mustard powder, vinegar, water, salt, and turmeric in a bowl. Stir and let the mixture sit for a few hours before serving it.


Mc Donald's Honey Sauce

I’ve placed the McDonald’s Honey sauce on the lower end of this list because I don’t see anything special about it, which doesn’t make it a bad one, but not very worth the trouble either. 

It is just honey and nothing else. What makes it a sauce is its consistency. Namely, it is less sticky and thinner than regular honey, and, frankly, it does go with many of the McDonald’s menu items, especially the chicken nuggets, chicken wraps, and chicken sandwiches, as well as the desserts. 

Making it at home couldn’t be easier. Just mix honey and warm water to thin it, and you’re done.

Spicy Buffalo Sauce 

Mc Donald's Spicy Buffalo Sauce

Second to last, we have the Spicy Buffalo Sauce. I’ve ranked it here solely because it is a bit restrictive. It is zesty and spicy, rich, and slightly smoky, and it pairs great with McDonald’s chicken products like McNuggets or McChicken sandwiches. 

I don’t recommend it with beef burgers and fries because it just doesn’t fit well with those items. McDonald’s Nuggets pair the best with it, but Chicken Tenders go amazingly well, too.

Make it at home by combining hot sauce, melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper for a homemade spicy buffalo sauce. 

Sweet and Sour Sauce 

Mc Donalds Sweet and Sour Sauce

And lastly, the McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce. The ranking doesn’t mean that it’s not good, but it does have a funny flavor which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It has a pronounced tangy note with just as pronounced fruitiness. The taste is overall mild and reminds me of a mix of soy sauce and fruit jam. 

It pairs well with the crispy chicken tenders, but I will definitely try it another way the next time. 

To make it at home, mix pineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and cornstarch for thickness. Heat the mixture over low heat until it thickens, and cool it before serving.

SauceTasteBest PairDIY
Creamy Ranch SauceTangy, creamy, herbyChicken McNuggets, McChickenMayonnaise, garlic powder, dried herbs
MayonnaiseRich, creamyBurgers, sandwiches, friesEgg yolks, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper
KetchupSweet, tangyBurgers, chicken, friesTomato paste, vinegar, sugar, salt, spices
Tangy BBQ SauceSmoky, sweet, tangyChicken, burgers, nuggetsKetchup, brown sugar, vinegar, spices
Tartar SauceCreamy, tangyFish fillets, fish sandwichesMayonnaise, pickles, lemon juice, mustard
MustardTangy, slightly spicyBurgers, chicken, hot dogsMustard seeds, powder, vinegar, spices
Honey mustard Rich, tangy, sweetChicken and fish, as well as friesHoney and mustard, garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and pepper 
HoneySweetChicken-based mealsHoney and warm water
Spicy Buffalo SauceZesty, spicyChicken McNuggets, McChickenHot sauce, butter, Worcestershire sauce, spices
Sweet and Sour SauceTangy, fruityChicken McNuggetsPineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce

Which McDonald’s Sauces Are Vegan?

Mcdonald’s offers two vegan sauces — the Sweet and Sour sauce and the Tangy Barbecue Sauce. And both can be paired with all of the vegan options on the menu, so you’re set!

What McDonald’s Sauces Are Gluten-Free? 

McDonald’s offers a wide range of gluten-free sauces, which may vary from location to location. Still, if you are on a gluten-free diet, McDonald’s has got you covered. You can choose from honey sauce, hot mustard, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, or tartar sauce at most locations.

What Is the Best McDonald’s Sauce for Nuggets? 

Since all McDonald’s sauces go with chicken nuggets, it is only a matter of taste which one you will choose. I prefer my nuggets with Ketchup or Honey Mustard, but that doesn’t mean that those are the only options.

What Is the Best McDonald’s Sauce for Chicken Tenders? 

Although my general position is that it is a highly subjective and individual choice, I still think that the Honey Mustard sauce is best for chicken tenders. 

How Long Do Mcdonald’s Sauces Last?

Mcdonald’s sauces are long-lasting, but mayo-based sauces are more perishable than those that aren’t mayo-based. While most McDonald’s sauces can last for up three-four months or even longer, depending on the sauce, the mayo-based ones go bad much quicker, in a matter of days or hours in case of improper storage.

Give me a McDonald’s order recommendation in the comments below! Tell me all about your favorite sauce and menu item pair because I would love to try it out, too!

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