« Food & Drinks

The Great Debate: Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip

by Jeff Flynt

It's the condiment conflict that can divide friends, family, co-workers and possibly random food consumers on the street.

Mayo v. Miracle Whip.

First let's define the two for clarification purposes.

Mayonnaise is an emulsion generally made of oil, egg yolks, an acid (either lemon juice or vinegar) and seasonings. Typically it's yellow in color (unless you buy the jar stuff, then its white) and used in a number of different ways.

Miracle Whip is a mixture that is apparently made of mayonnaise ingredients, plus sugar, cornstarch and various other seasonings and products. 

Originally, it was introduced as a cheaper alternative to mayo at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. It was made using an "emulsifying machine", which to me means I'm using a whisk. I've never called myself an emulsifying machine...it also wouldn't make for a hit song either.

Here's the other thing about Miracle Whip. It dubs itself a "salad dressing". Now I've eaten many salads in my life and I've also seen many salads made to order, but not once has anyone said, "Let me have that with the Miracle Whip." Who's used it as a salad dressing? I suppose one could use it for a potato, tuna or macaroni salad. 

But isn't that what we have mayo for?

As for it being that cheaper alternative, it generally isn't. Prices are usually in the neighborhood of what one would pay for mayo.

Now, what I will say for Miracle Whip is that it's WAY easier to make than mayonnaise. Like I said, I'm no "emulsifying machine", so it takes a little extra to get the mayo to emulsify correctly. Breaking it is easy to do. And if you do get it right, home-made mayonnaise is good for just 3 to 4 days. That jar of Miracle Whip can last for several months.

Plus, I kind of like that zingy taste. Mayo is fine, home-made is better. But there's just something about the flavor of Miracle Whip on a sandwich that just puts it over the top.

The debate will continue to rage, as it has been for years.

So in the end, I like both for different foods. To me, some foods call for mayo, others Miracle Whip.

I honestly prefer mustard on my sandwiches, though. So chew on that.

NOTE: Previously I did the first part of a great debate series tied to Japanese food.