Some would argue that sauces make or break a meal. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about pasta, stir-fries, or McDonald’s meals.
Any culture garnishes, smothers, or spreads a sauce over proteins, vegetables, bread, and grains to upgrade its flavor and texture.
That goes for the classic American burger meal, too. A hamburger and fries without sauce are merely meat, bread, and potatoes.
So when you place your order for a burger, fries, and tenders at McDonald’s, your server will always ask what sauces you’d like them to throw in the bag.
I’m here to ensure you know the delicious options at your fingertips. McDonald’s sauces go well with their popular burgers, chicken, and more.
Read on to explore my list of the best McDonald’s sauces.
Tangy barbecue sauce is one of McDonald’s top sellers and is as delicious for dipping as it is for spreading on a sandwich.
I’d compare it to a Texas-style barbecue sauce because it’s heavy on tomato sauce and brown sugar.
Tangy barbecue adds a smokiness and tangy finish that pairs well with any meat, whether it’s chicken tenders, burgers, or fish sandwiches.
If it’s too sweet for your liking, you could always mix in some spicy buffalo sauce or spicy mustard to cut the sweet with spice or tang.
I love the tangy barbecue sauce on a bacon cheeseburger with jalapenos.
Sweet ‘N Sour
While you may associate sweet and sour as a flavor profile in Asian cuisine, McDonald’s has proved its application upgrades American food all the same.
For example, sweet n’ Sour sauce combines vinegar with a sweetening agent. In the case of McDonald’s sweet n sour sauce, they use peach and apricot puree.
The tangy sour flavor comes from both vinegar and onion powder. There’s also a spicy finish due to some chili pepper powder.
I think the best recipient of sweet n sour sauce is the fried chicken tenders. Once you pour this sauce over the tenders, letting it soak into the breading, you’ll be hooked.
Big Mac Sauce
The Big Mac is McDonald’s most iconic burger, so it’s only fair to have a proprietary special sauce.
The Big Mac sauce was McDonald’s best-kept secret for decades and the reason the Big Mac is so popular. Luckily, McDonald’s decided to share their secret recipe with the public back in 2012.
Comprised of a mixture of mayo, mustard, sweet relish, vinegar, and spices, Big Mac sauce is a wonderful trifecta of creamy, tangy, and sweet.
The sweet relish makes the sauce in my option, adding briny sweetness and chunks of crunchy pickles.
It’s the best sauce for the Big Mac, but I love it on any sandwich, from fried chicken to fried fish.
Perhaps the best McDonald’s sauce, honey mustard is the fan favorite.
I credit McDonald’s with discovering that chicken and honey mustard is a match made in heaven.
The mixture of tangy and sweet in this perfectly creamy sauce tastes good on any form of chicken, whether it’s breaded tenders or grilled fillets.
It may be sweeter than tangy, but their mustard gives it a spicy, aromatic kick. I always request extra for my fries, too.
As a popular salad dressing, honey mustard is my go-to sauce for McDonald’s salads.
Most dipping sauces are either sweet, creamy, or both. If you’re not a fan of sweet sauces, hot mustard is for you.
Mustard, like horseradish or wasabi, has a distinct spiciness that hits your tongue and nasal cavities.
It’s both an acquired taste and a refined flavor prized by fine dining establishments.
While you may associate hot mustard with Bavarian pretzels or steak sauces, you can enjoy it on a burger or chicken sandwich just as easily.
I recommend it on a burger, considering hot mustard’s historical pairing with pretzels and steaks. It will upgrade any sandwich into the gourmet realm.
Ranch is as American as a burger and a staple sauce and dressing on any menu.
McDonald’s ranch sauce is as traditional as they come, with a mayo and buttermilk base spiced with onion and garlic powder.
It’s equal parts creamy and tangy, pairing well with any menu item, from salads to fries.
I personally find ranch a little boring, so I like to use it as a palate cleanser for other spicier sauces or menu items.
It pairs especially well with spicy buffalo sauce, complementing its heat with cooling creaminess.
If you don’t like tartar sauce, ranch is a great substitute for their filet o fish sandwich.
McDonald’s spiciest sauce, the Spicy buffalo, has a neon, translucent orange color that visually announces its heat before you taste it.
If you’re not intimidated by its color, hopefully, you can take the heat!
Spicy buffalo sauce gets its color and spice from cayenne pepper, a key spice agent in Cajun cooking.
I find it is both spicy and hot. I can taste the distinct flavor of the pepper mixed with garlic, but I still get that burning sensation on my tongue.
I think the spicy buffalo sauce goes best with fried chicken, whether it’s tenders or the fried McChicken sandwich.
- Tangy Barbecue
- Sweet ‘N Sour
- Big Mac Sauce
- Honey Mustard
- Hot Mustard
- Creamy Ranch
- Spicy Buffalo
McDonald’s sauces run the flavor gamut from spicy to sweet to tangy. Many of them combine all three flavors. My list of the best McDonald’s sauces gives you the low-down on their taste and what to pair them with.
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.