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Every McDonald's Dipping Sauce—Ranked!

McDonald's offers a range of dipping sauces, but which is the best? I tried them all to find out.

Dipping sauces hold a small but mighty role in the world of fast food. Sure, you don't technically need them to enjoy a burger, chicken nuggets, or fries from your favorite chain. But pairing your food with one of those flavorful condiments—whether they're creamy, sweet, savory, tangy, or zesty—can make the eating experience so much more enjoyable and exciting.

McDonald's, like many other fast-food chains, has curated a nice little array of dipping sauces over the years. But which one is the absolute best? I recently set out to answer that question by sampling every option available at the Golden Arches right now: Tangy BBQ, Sweet 'N Sour, Creamy Ranch, Honey Mustard, Hot Mustard, and Spicy Buffalo.

I snagged a cup of each from my local Mickey D's and an order of French fries to use as my dipping vehicle, then judged each option on its flavor, consistency, and appearance. Read on for my definitive ranking of McDonald's sauces, starting with my least favorite and ending with my top pick!

Honey Mustard Sauce

McDonald's Honey Mustard Sauce
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!
Per serving: 60 cal, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein

McDonald's Honey Mustard Sauce is made from a blend of zesty dijon mustard, notes of honey, and a "hint of spices," according to the chain's website.

The look: Like a pretty standard honey mustard sauce. It had a light yellow color with little flecks of what I assume to be mustard seeds, spices, or perhaps a combination of both. The consistency was decently creamy, though it wasn't the thickest or richest dipping option I tried during this taste test.

The taste: Let's get this straight right off the bat—I absolutely adore honey mustard dipping sauces. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I found McDonald's take on honey mustard to be hugely lacking.

My favorite kinds of honey mustard sauces have a great balance of salt, zingy mustard, and a just touch of sweetness. However, McDonald's version was so overwhelmingly sweet that I could barely taste anything else, including the mustard. The creamy texture was enjoyable enough, but the unpleasant flavor made McDonald's Honey Mustard Sauce a shoo-in for last place in this ranking.

RELATED: We Tried Every Dipping Sauce at McDonald's, Burger King, & Wendy's—and This Was the Winner!

Spicy Buffalo Sauce

McDonald's Spicy Buffalo Sauce
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!
Per serving: 30 cal, 3 g fat, 520 mg sodium, 1 g carbs, 0 g protein

McDonald's Spicy Buffalo Sauce is a peppery sauce combined with vinegar and butter flavor, yielding a dipping option with a "building heat," according to the chain's website.

The look: Shockingly, vibrantly orange. While I can't deny that the color of this sauce is eye-catching, I'd also be lying if I said I found it all that appealing in a food item. This option had a noticeably thicker and slightly creamier consistency than the Honey Mustard Sauce.

The taste: Out of all the the dipping sauces available at McDonald's right now, this is probably the most potent. The flavor was super peppery, vinegary, and salty, with a pleasant kick of heat that lingered after each bite. As someone with a pretty run-of-the-mill spice tolerance, I'd rate the heat levels at about a four on a scale of one to 10.

While I didn't necessarily dislike the Spicy Buffalo Sauce, it landed on the lower end of this ranking because the intense peppery, vinegary, and salty notes make the overall flavor pretty harsh. I just didn't find myself going back again and again to this sauce in the way that I did with some of the higher ranking options.

RELATED: 25 Most Iconic Fast-Food Dipping Sauces of All Time

Hot Mustard Sauce

McDonald's Hot Mustard Sauce
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!
Per serving: 45 cal, 1.5 g fat, 200 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein

Not to be confused with the Honey Mustard Sauce, McDonald's Hot Mustard Sauce is a "tangy and spicy" dipping option, according to the chain's website.

The look: While both options are based upon the same zesty condiment, the look of the Hot Mustard Sauce is very different from the Honey Mustard Sauce. The Hot Mustard Sauce has a rich caramel-y color with a super smooth and thick consistency. Unlike the Honey Mustard Sauce, there were no flecks or mustard seeds or spices in sight.

The taste: While it's certainly not perfect, the Hot Mustard Sauce is like a much more palatable version of the Honey Mustard Sauce. Don't get me wrong—this one was also surprisingly sweet and I didn't detect any spice whatsoever. However, the taste is far more balanced because the mustard flavor is much stronger and tangier. McDonald's could do away with its Honey Mustard Sauce entirely and I wouldn't care at all, as long as the Hot Mustard Sauce was still on the menu.

RELATED: Ex-McDonald's Chef Claims You Can Buy 2 Popular Dipping Sauces at the Grocery Store

Sweet 'N Sour Sauce

McDonald's Sweet 'N Sour Sauce
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!
Per serving: 50 cal, 0 g fat, 160 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (10 g sugar), 0 g protein

McDonald's Sweet 'N Sour Sauce features apricot and peach flavors, as well as savory spices meant to provide a small touch of heat.

The look: This was a super syrupy, glossy, thick, and viscous sauce. In fact, I could have mistaken it for a typical grocery store honey if the color was a little less murky.

The taste: In the past, I've never really gotten the hype around McDonald's Sweet 'N Sour Sauce. It always tasted way too sweet and not nearly sour enough. But when I put it up against all of McDonald's other sauces for this taste test, I truly gained a new appreciation for it.

I still found the sauce very sweet, but I noticed for the first time that it has some nice fruity nuances from the apricot and peach flavors. It still would have been much better if it was tangier and had a kick of spice. However, it was overall pretty tasty and paired wonderfully with McDonald's salty fries. I just wouldn't opt for this over the two higher ranking sauces.

RELATED: The 7 Best Fast-Food Dipping Sauces, According to Chefs

Creamy Ranch Sauce

McDonald's Creamy Ranch Sauce
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!
Per serving: 110 cal, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (1 g sugar), 0 g protein

McDonald's Creamy Ranch Sauce is a zesty, milky condiment infused with the flavors of onion and garlic.

The look: This looked like a classic ranch dipping sauce with its pale eggshell color and little flecks of spices. It was one of the thinner options from McDonald's sauce lineup, with a similar consistency to the Honey Mustard Sauce.

The taste: I've rarely met a ranch dipping sauce that I didn't like, and McDonald's makes a pretty solid version. It's tangy, creamy, rich, garlicky, and not too salty. I truly believe that it would be a good pairing for pretty much anything on the savory side from the McDonald's menu.

Is it the best or most flavorful ranch I've ever had? Certainly not. Still, it stands out as one of the better dipping sauce options you can score at McDonald's right now. It's just not the best.

RELATED: The 10 Best McDonald's Dupes at the Grocery Store

Tangy BBQ Sauce

McDonald's Tangy Barbeque Sauce
Zoe Strozewski / Eat This, Not That!
Per serving: 45 cal, 0 g fat, 260 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (9 g sugar), 0 g protein

McDonald's Tangy BBQ Sauce is made with a tomato paste base, vinegar, savory spices, and a "hint of sweet hickory smoke flavor," according to the chain's website.

The look: Like a darker, richer, and bolder version of a classic ketchup. It had an eye-catching glossy sheen and was one of the thicker sauces I tried during this taste test.

The taste: The Tangy BBQ Sauce was always my go-to when my family stopped at McDonald's when I was growing up. And now that I've had the chance to put it head-to-head with every other McDonald's sauce, I have no doubt that it deserves first place in this ranking.

This one was balanced and flavorful in a way that made all of the other sauces pale in comparison, including the Creamy Ranch Sauce. It was tangy, smoky, slightly sweet, and savory. The best part, however, was that none of those flavors outshined the others. They all work in harmony to create what I think is not only the best dipping sauce at McDonald's, but one of the best fast-food dipping sauces period.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe