We Tried, and Ranked, Every One of McDonald's Chicken McNugget Dipping Sauces

Are McDonald's Chicken McNuggets even considered McNuggets if you eat them without dipping sauce?

I don't think so. That's why I headed down to my local McDonald's and ordered a box of nuggets and one of every sauce they had in stock. Here's my definitive ranking of every McDonald's dipping sauce when paired with McNuggets.

8. Spicy Buffalo

Full disclosure: I've never been a fan of buffalo-style anything, and a buffalo sauce will almost always rank at the very bottom of my lists. This sauce hits you with heat and a vinegary tang upfront, but it's also a creamy sauce and those flavors dull over time. I personally don't think the flavor mixes well with a crispy, salty McNugget, but buffalo fans may beg to differ.

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7. Creamy Ranch

McDonald's Creamy Ranch sauce is interesting. It's ultra creamy, with strong herb and garlic flavors coming through, but for some reason, it reminds me of a vegan ranch sauce, despite the inclusion of egg and milk. That's not a bad thing by any means, but I don't think it pairs well at all with a humble McNugget.

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6. Habanero Ranch

Habanero Ranch is by far the spiciest of McDonald's dipping sauces, which could be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your tastes. The spices are quite strong, resembling cajun seasoning, but the ranch flavor doesn't come through at all under all that spice. Still, we think it does enhance the flavor of McNuggets with the right amount of heat.

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5. Honey Mustard

McDonald's honey mustard sauce is pretty straightforward. It's a creamy mustard sauce with a strong, sweet flavor, and it goes great on a McNugget. It's not the most unique of sauce, but it absolutely gets the job done.

 

4. Hot Mustard

This hot mustard sauce is essentially the honey mustard sauce with the addition of a barely-there heat and a little more mustard flavor. It's not bad, and I didn't think it left much of an impression after tasting it—but I did keep going back for seconds once my taste test was done.

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3. Sweet 'n Sour

This was my go-to McNugget sauce growing up, and it's nice to see that some things never change. The sauce has a sweet and slightly fruity flavor—which I was surprised to find out comes from the ingredient of apricot and/or peach puree. It's very sweet, but the flavor isn't as prominent compared to the other dipping sauces, making it a nice complement to the flavor and texture of a McNugget.

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2. Signature Sauce

This sauce was developed to accompany McDonald's new crispy buttermilk chicken tenders, but I figured they'd probably go well with McNuggets, too. I was right. It's a thousand island-style sauce, reminiscent of the sauce that goes in a Big Mac, but a little more concentrated. That, along with the texture of the McNugget, makes for an oddly sophisticated flavor combination.

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1. Tangy BBQ

Tangy BBQ is the ultimate McNugget-enhancing sauce. It's tomatoey with a hint of tangy vinegar and just the right amount of smoke to being something special out of the crispy battered chicken. It's a relatively simple sauce, but the two were clearly made for one another.

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Love to dip? Click HERE for a definitive ranking of fast food barbecue sauces.