I Ranked 8 McDonald’s Dipping Sauces — Including 2 Brand New Ones

mcdonald's dipping sauces

Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

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mcdonald's dipping sauces
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Fresh Dips

Chicken McNuggets are famous in the fast-food world, but what you never really hear too much about are the dipping sauces McDonald’s has lined up for them. 

McDonald’s rarely makes a fuss about its sauces. It’s not very often the chain announces anything new in that department, but that recently changed. Say hello to Mambo Sauce and Sweet & Spicy Jam, two new sauces that McDonald’s debuted in October.  

As a dipping sauce enthusiast, I needed to try them immediately and see how they compared to the other sauces. So I tasted every one of McDonald’s dipping sauces and ranked them based on how they taste with nuggets, fries, and even on burgers.

Mambo Sauce
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Best: Mambo Sauce

I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that McDonald's is going for its own version of mumbo sauce, a beloved, Washington D.C.-based condiment. Real D.C. mumbo sauce is full of tomato, Worcestershire, and acid, almost like barbecue sauce and sweet and sour sauce combined. 

This is pretty much just that. It tastes like a stickier barbecue sauce with a heavy dose of Tabasco, so it's nice and spicy. I like it a lot, and though I’m not really a big McDonald’s nuggets guy, I can’t imagine ordering them without Mambo Sauce in the future.

mcdonalds tangy bbq sauce
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

2. Tangy BBQ

Prior to the two new sauces, BBQ and ranch were my go-to nugget companions. In ranch’s case, that’s because most of the McDonald’s sauces are forgettable. In Tangy BBQ’s case, that’s because it’s incredibly solid. We’ve got smoky, sweet, and (duh) tangy flavors aplenty here, and as far as nugget-dunking goes, this is a one-stop-shop.

mcdonalds Sweet & Spicy Jam
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

3. Sweet & Spicy Jam

Look, this just tastes like grape jelly with a bunch of cayenne pepper in it. The list of ingredients features a ton of things I can’t pick up on, including Szechuan pepper extract, but that’s no issue. I’m all about this, especially with fries. 

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mcdonalds ranch dressing
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

4. Ranch

It’s no Hidden Valley, let’s just say that right now. This is your standard, run-of-the-mill, forgettable ranch. It’s not the type of ranch that makes me want to find some pizza crust, or grab the little burnt fry ends and go for the final scoop. Still: It’s ranch, and if that’s what you crave, it will scratch the itch. Plus, it’s great on the chicken sandwiches.

Related: The Best — and Worst! — Fast-Food Sauces

Honey Mustard
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

5. Honey Mustard

This is probably the most bland honey mustard sauce you’re likely to find. I had some difficulty picking up on much flavor at all with a nugget, though I could taste it a little more on a fry. I think you’re best off mixing this with some mayo and making a brand new dip. 

Related: How to Make 24 Fast-Food Sauces with Copycat Recipes

mcdonalds honey
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

6. Honey

Honey should probably be number one because it’s honey, and honey is delicious. Have you ever had it? Damn, that’s good stuff. The problem here is that in order for honey to properly complement fried chicken, you need a much stronger product than the one you’ll get from this restaurant. Unless the employees are hucking your nuggets across the restaurant at you from straight out of the fryer, your chicken probably won’t be that crispy when you take your first bite. And now you’re just stuck with a sticky mess on your fingers.

McDonald's Sweet&Sour Sauce
Wilder Shaw/Cheapism

7. Sweet & Sour

I said the honey mustard was bland, but this sweet and sour sauce legitimately tastes like nothing. It's almost as though all the sweet apricot and tangy vinegar of a standard sweet and sour have canceled each other out entirely, leaving only … texture. It’s like adding flavorless texture to your food. McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce just isn’t for me.

McDonald's Buffalo Sauce
Wilder Shaw/Cheapism

8. Spicy Buffalo

I wouldn’t say this is bad, but it’s not good. It’s got that nauseating consistency that many creamy sauces do, but the flavor is alright, and it's decently spicy. If you want heat, you’re far better off with Mambo Sauce.