Whether it’s to dip your nuggets in, your fries, or simply to complement your juicy burger, the sauce is a must-have with every fast-food order. Whether you like the spicy, the sweet, or a full-on thick gravy, there is bound to be a sauce out there destined to suit your preferences. To help you choose wisely, here are the Top 15 Best Fast-Food Sauces.
15. Popeyes Buttermilk Ranch
Practically everyone loves ranch. At least, everyone in America. You can eat this creamy sauce with just about anything, from salads to pizza even. But arguably, the best ranch sidekick? A nice, crispy order of fried chicken from Popeyes. Popeyes is one of the fast-food restaurants that serves chicken good enough to be eaten on its own. With so much flavor already, not much can make it better. However, if you feel in the mood to mix things up a bit, your best bet would have to be the Buttermilk Ranch sauce. It has the perfect balance of peppery creaminess that complements the cajun spices from the chicken perfectly. You can add it right onto your crispy chicken sandwich or dip your tenders – the choice is yours. Sure, it’s a lot of added calories, but ranch is ranch, and we can never seem to say no to it, so might as well indulge in the best.
14. Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce
Taco Bell has a rather impressive collection of sauces. From Mild to Hot to Salsa Verde, the possibilities for your taco are plentiful. But, if we move past the obvious choices of sauce packets, there is another offering lurking in the shadows, often overlooked, the Nacho Cheese sauce. The hot and cheesy sauce is perfect for dunking your fries in or even plain old tortilla chips. While this particular sauce might not have the most “natural” cheese ingredients, it’s still something everyone should try at least once in their lives. This always-liquid cheese sauce is actually made from normal cheese ingredients, like non-fat milk and whey, but it also contains its fair share of cellulose gum and vegetable oil. Nevertheless, no one can take away the comforting and addictive taste of Taco Bell’s Nacho cheese sauce.
13. Whataburger Spicy Ketchup
Fans of the southern chain Whataburger are really serious about their burgers. They’re also very serious about their love for the “new and improved” ketchup, Whataburger’s Spicy Ketchup. It might seem a little underwhelming at first, you know, just some regular ketchup with some added spice, but in reality, it’s so much more than that. At first glance, it does look like your run-of-the-mill ketchup and even tastes like it, but that’s only temporary – just wait until the red jalapeno pepper hits you. It’s the ketchup’s secret weapon. Whataburger took its ketchup a step beyond, and it’s a wonder why more chains haven’t tried to copy this one yet. It sounds like a million-dollar idea. Now, you can even buy Whataburger’s spicy ketchup online, and in regional grocery stores, so you always have some ready for your next Whataburger run.
12. McDonald’s Sweet And Sour Sauce
Once again, here is a fast-food chain that has an extensive selection of sauces. Choosing just one to reign over the others would be pretty hard to do, but luckily, there is one that seems to reach satisfying unanimity – McD’s Sweet and Sour sauce. A lot of fast-food restaurants offer their own version of this classic sauce, but the creme of the creme can be found at the Big M. It just hits all the notes. It has the perfect sweet and sour flavor to enhance your chicken nuggets and even the occasional fry. The sweet and sour sauce includes fruity elements, like peach and apricot flavors, along with vinegar, soy sauce and a few spices. Many people have described this sauce as ” the taste of their childhoods,” and whenever they open up a little pack, they feel like they’ve gone back to simpler times. In other words, McD’s, we’re lovin’ the sweet and sour!
11. Long John Silver’s Cocktail Sauce
Now, it’s time to move to a more “under-the-sea” type of sauce, Long John Silver’s Cocktail Sauce. Typically with seafood, tartar sauce is the sauce of choice. But, at Long John Silver, it’s the cocktail sauce that steals the show. It pairs perfectly with anything from the ocean, and funnily enough, in some cases, chicken as well. Long John Silver does specialize in seafood and fish, but it can also make some mean chicken tenders. With a strong pickle relish flavor, LJS’s Cocktail Sauce is sure to be worth your time – and your money. Sure, it might not be the best cocktail sauce in the entire world, but it’s still a pretty nice way to switch things up a bit once in a while. For a fast-food experience unlike any other, go with Long John Silver’s cocktail sauce and watch your tastebuds be amazed.
10. In-N-Out Thousand Islands
When talking about In-N-Out, not mentioning the chain’s signature sauce is pretty hard. It’s practically the star of the show and the main event in so many delicious menu items. Fans of the Cali-based chain know just how tasty and exceptional In-N-Out’s Thousand Island sauce is, and if you’ve ever seen the “not so secret” secret menu, you know just how delectable these “animal-style” meals look. An order of fries smothered with the stuff or stuffed inside a juicy burger; any way is the right way to enjoy their Thousand Island sauce. You can even order a little extra sauce on the side and save it for later and bring the fun at home. Or better yet, choose between the large selection of copycat recipes online and make it yourself!
9. Popeyes Mardi Gras Mustard
Another entry, another sauce from Popeyes that deserves a spot on this list of best fast-food sauces. Popeyes’ Mardi Gras Mustard perfectly highlights the chain’s Cajun roots. With pleasant notes of mustard mixed with what feels like a horseradish-filled take on the classic honey mustard, you can never go wrong. A little bit hotter than the regular mustard, not only does it go hand-in-hand with the chicken, but it’s also the sauce of choice to enjoy with the heavily seasoned Cajun fries. Basically, it’s like an entire Mardis Gras party… but in your mouth! To get a new take on the traditional honey mustard dip, go with Popeyes’ version; you will not be disappointed.
8. Arby’s Horsey Sauce
You probably all know Arby’s for its iconic, gigantic roast beef sandwiches. And while, yes, they are pretty darn amazing, it’s not the only thing Arby’s knows how to do well. Arby’s also deserves some recognition for its sauces – specifically the Horsey sauce. In terms of signature sauces, the Horsey is unmatched. Even though there are many fast-food sauces out there spiked with horseradish, nothing will probably ever come close to the tastiness of Arby’s version. Horsey sauce has been described as sharp and mild at the same time, with a rich creaminess resembling a fast-food horseradish aioli. This sauce was so successful; the chain even began selling the stuff by the bottle. Talk about a tasty sauce! Ok, this might not be the best fit for your curly fries, but for everything else? It’s like a match made in heaven.
7. KFC Finger-Lickin’ Good Sauce
To get your hands on some finger-lickin’ good chicken, KFC should be your number one stop – no questions asked. And as it turns out, if you also want some finger-lickin’ good sauce to go with that chicken, you can pick it up at the same convenient location, the home of the red-and-white-striped bucket. Introduced in 2015, KFC’s Finger-Lickin’ Good sauce was kinda like if Thousand Island and honey mustard had a sauce offspring. Even though it was discontinued in 2020, it was still a sauce worth noting. This unique take on mayonnaise was made with the brand’s 11 famous herbs and spices, oil, egg, vinegar, and tomato, creating a creamy result. It went extremely well with KFC’s potato wedges, as well as the chicken tenders. It was a real shame to see the Finger-Lickin’ Good sauce leave the menu, and we can’t help but hope it eventually makes a comeback – we will be waiting to welcome it back with open arms.
6. Sonic Drive-In BBQ Sauce
You might already know that Sonic Drive-in’s menu is like having multiple menus all rolled in to one. You can pretty much find anything to satisfy your wildest cravings, from tater tots to burgers to fried pickles – there doesn’t seem to be any limits. And what goes better with your wackiest food orders? Some good old barbecue sauce, but not just any barbecue sauce, Sonic’s very own recipe. It’s nothing over-the-top – unlike the rest of the menu – but it’s still delicious in its simplicity. Made from a very straightforward mix of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, water, and distilled white vinegar, if you love classic barbecue sauce, then you will be more than pleased with this one. As far as Sonic’s sauce goes, the barbecue is the clear winner.
5. Jollibee Gravy
For those of you still unfamiliar with Jollibee, you are missing out on a great deal of tasty. Jollibee is a Filipino fast-food restaurant specializing in fried chicken – delicious chicken that is good enough to put a lot of American chains to shame. At Jollibee, there is no honey mustard or ranch sauce nonsense – it’s all about the gravy. The thick, warm gravy that covers your chicken in the best way possible. If you’ve had Jollibee before, you know exactly how that feels. To make the most out of your Chickenjoy, fries, or rice, saturating everything in gravy is the trick. Jollibee’s gravy is arguably one of the best fast-food gravies on the market, always served piping hot, in a container so big, you can fit any big piece of chicken, fries, or mashed potato your fork can hold. For a memorable gravy experience, Jollibee is the one to try.
4. Burger King’s Zesty Sauce
The competition between fast-food restaurants trying to out-do each other and offer up the best dipping sauce, spreads, and gravy is fiercer than ever. Many chains offer their own versions of “Zesty” sauce, from White Castle to Chick-fil-A, but no one has yet been able to measure up to Burger King’s version. Just like a Whopper, when it comes to real zest, you can’t pass up on Burger King. BK’s Zesty sauce is the chain’s signature sauce and is often served alongside the onion rings. But to be completely honest, this one goes super great with anything – fries, chicken nuggets, tenders – anything. With its flavor profile, it might compare more to a sauce you would find at a chicken joint rather than a burger place, but trust us, it rightfully deserves its top billing. If you take into account how angry BK fans were when the dreadful “Zesty sauce shortage” happened in 2019, it’s pretty easy to see that this sauce truly is beloved and respected.
3. Wendy’s Creamy Sriracha
Remember back in the mid-2010s when the popularity of sriracha was at an all-time high? Everybody was talking about the stuff, adding it to practically everything. More and more restaurants started jumping on the bandwagon and began putting sriracha on their menus. Wendy’s was one of them, and this sriracha-frenzy gave birth to one of the best sauces the chain has ever released – their Creamy Sriracha sauce. Delivering a perfect blend of creaminess and heat, the Creamy Sriracha is made with sriracha sauce and a blend of egg and vinegar – just like the kind you would find in an aioli. Some people refer to it as a “spicy mayo,” and while it is similar, it just has a taste profile that can’t be compared to mere mayonnaise. This tasty sauce even made items like Wendy’s sriracha chicken sandwich and sriracha bacon fries possible, as the chain saw the overwhelming response people had for the spicy sauce. Even though the sriracha trend has faded a little, Wendy’s Creamy Sriracha sauce is not going anywhere!
2. Carl’s Jr. Sweet & Bold BBQ
Because barbecue sauce is just such a delicious classic, we needed to have another one on this list. Only this time, it’s the Sweet & Bold Barbecue sauce from Carl’s Jr. Contrary to a lot of the other fast-food chains on here, Carl’s Jr. doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to dipping sauces. It likes to keep things simple and only offers a very limited selection, and yet, they’re all amazing. The Sweet & Bold BBQ sauce, in particular, wins a lot of points in the taste department. It has a strong tomato and Worcestershire flavor along with a sweet, sugary finish that helps it stand out from the rest of the barbecue sauces out there. Obviously, it pairs remarkably well with whatever you order at Carl’s Jr. – whether it’s the chicken tenders or the signature fries. If you’re in the mood for some out-of-the-ordinary and yummy sauce to go with your order, the Sweet & Bold BBQ is the one and only choice for you.
1. Chick-fil-A’s Sauce
Chick-fil-A’s sauce is so popular at the chain, it probably deserves a medal. You know, there’s a reason why Chick-fil-A is one of the most beloved chicken restaurants in the country – everything it offers is top-notch quality, and the sauces are no exception. The chain has this kind of cult-following, and so does its signature sauce. Described as a “smoky mustard dipping sauce,” this legendary sauce actually came about by accident when an employee in the 1980s combined BBQ sauce and honey mustard. All we can say is, thank goodness they did. With a more substantial taste of honey mustard and an aioli-like thickness, Chick-fil-A’s sauce clings to nuggets, strips, and even the iconic waffle fries in the best way possible. It’s practically Honey Mustard 2.0, and just like regular honey mustard, it makes everything it touches taste better. In 2020, many customers’ dreams came true when Chick-fil-A announced that they would begin selling the tangy sauce by the bottle in Florida grocery stores. Needless to say, Chick-fil-A fans are the winners with this announcement.