McDonald’s and Burger King dipping sauces compared: which are best?

I tried every single dipping sauce at McDonald’s and Burger King.
Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The sauce makes or breaks the chicken nugget.But between McDonald’s and Burger King, which chain makes the better sauces?I tried all the sauces from both chains to see which had a better selection overall, and I found that both chains excelled in different areas.While McDonald’s had better sauces to go with chicken nuggets, Burger King had a more interesting selection that paired well with other sides on its menu, like onion rings.Sign up for Business Insider’s retail newsletter, The Drive-Thru, to get more stories like this in your inbox.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.Sauce is to chicken nuggets what salt is to bread. Without sauce, a chicken nugget has little charm. It’s simply a deep-fried pebble of machine-pulverized poultry.With sauce, a chicken nugget becomes so much more: a vehicle for sugar, spice, and everything nice; an avenue to the flavor-filled fantasies of every afterschool ambler and every station-wagon wee one.So which sauce is boss?To find out which chain can best get you your sauce fix, I tried every single dipping sauce at McDonald’s and Burger King. Here’s how they stacked up:

At McDonald’s, I bought a 10-piece order of chicken nuggets and every sauce available:

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Sweet & sour, honey mustard, honey, spicy Buffalo, ranch, hot mustard, and tangy BBQ.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

First on the docket: tangy BBQ sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Tangy it was, and also very, very sweet. It was very sweet and very sour, but minimally smoky.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

For a BBQ sauce, it was pretty light on the barbecue spices.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Second up: classic ranch.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

McDonald’s ranch is surprisingly yogurty — so much so that it almost tastes like Dannon yogurt.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s creamy and sweet, but there isn’t much of the herb seasoning that makes ranch taste like ranch.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Third: the classic chicken wing sauce, Buffalo.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I was impressed by how much like actual buffalo sauce this one tasted.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Sour and spicy, McDonald’s buffalo sauce brings some serious heat.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Fourth on McDonald’s dossier: honey mustard. Disclaimer: honey mustard was my favorite sauce as a child. I put honey mustard on pizza in middle school.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The honey mustard is slightly more watery than the other sauces.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s very sweet but also has an enticingly complex mustard flavor. Well, relatively speaking.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s the perfect dipping sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Sweet n’ sour seems like a meaningless name when most of McDonald’s sauces already are sweet and sour.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

And that’s compounded by the fact that this sauce isn’t even sour. It’s just sweet.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There’s also an unpleasant flavor of uncooked soy sauce and maybe ginger from a jar?

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s supposed to mimic some kind of Asian-ish taste, but it just tastes bad. This is by far my least favorite sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s like honey mustard, but stronger.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It isn’t spicier, but it’s sourer and has an overall more intense taste that hits all the right notes.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Lastly, I tried McDonald’s honey packet. I remember the days when McDonald’s used to give you a whole dipping cup full of honey.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Now, honey comes in a half-sized cup. It’s hard to even get your nugget wet.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s very sweet, very potent, and tastes kind of like chicken and waffles. Without the waffles.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

At Burger King, I ordered a 10-piece chicken nugget, large onion rings, and, of course, all the sauces.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

On the table were BBQ, Buffalo, ranch, honey mustard, sweet & sour, and zesty sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

First up: BBQ sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Sweet, tangy, and peppery, Burger King’s BBQ sauce tastes surprisingly like real BBQ sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It still isn’t the smokiest sauce I’ve ever had, but I could definitely taste this on a rack of ribs, or at least on a pulled pork sandwich.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

By any measure, it’s far superior to its McDonald’s counterpart.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Next on the table: ranch.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Now Burger King’s ranch is what ranch should taste like.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s creamy, but it’s not just creamy.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s also sour, herby, and flavorful. Yum.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Third on Burger King’s roster: Buffalo sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Burger King’s Buffalo sauce is creamy for some reason. The spices are slow to kick in.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It tastes more or less like Buffalo sauce, but it’s just not very spicy.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Compared to McDonald’s powerhouse Buffalo, Burger King’s is just kind of wimpy.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s hard to go wrong with honey mustard.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But Burger King manages to do just that.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Its honey mustard sauce is sweet, watery, and tastes only very faintly of mustard.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But lest I forget, Burger King’s dipping sauces aren’t just for its nuggets.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Sometimes what’s bad on a nugget is good on a deep-fried ring of onion.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

In this case, Burger King’s crispy and delicious onion rings save its honey mustard sauce from flavor oblivion.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

After tasting McDonald’s sweet n’ sour sauce, I had low expectations for Burger King’s equivalent.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But the monarch of meat proved me wrong again, this time by producing a sweet and sour sauce that lives up to its name.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Make no mistake, this is no slapped-together sauce. There’s no strange and offensive taste, and it’s actually both sweet and sour.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It tastes just like orange chicken sauce, actually.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

With so many fans online lamenting the zesty sauce shortage, I had high expectations.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was much less spicy than I expected, seeing as it contains horseradish, and it has a much nuttier flavor profile than any other sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Horseradish and onion, while perfectly fine condiments, don’t quite jive with a chicken nugget.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

My course of action was clear: onion ring, meet zesty sauce.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Suddenly, this sauce was perfect. Nothing brings out the flavor of onion like more onion.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I could eat onion rings with zesty sauce all day.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

When it comes to which has the better sauces, the two chains are both better in different ways. McDonald’s has better honey mustard and Buffalo sauce, and its hot mustard is out of this world.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Burger King is better at pretty much everything else. But how good a sauce tastes depends on what it goes with, and that’s much harder to figure out at Burger King.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

For just nuggets, McDonald’s sauce selection is probably slightly better. But Burger King has nuggets, onion rings, and cheesy tots — and a sauce that’s best for each.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

More:

Features
McDonald’s
Burger King
Chicken Nuggets

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *