Is a chicken tender only as good as the sauce in which it's dipped? I mean, kind of. A solid sauce can take a chicken tender from the brink of dry repulsion and transform it into mild satisfaction. A good chicken tender is fine on its own, but even better submerged in a delectable dip. Sauce has weight. Sauce has power.
Which is why I thought it only fitting, as an extremely professional food journalist, to find out which of McDonald's seven dipping sauces is the best. Would my nostalgic favorite, Sweet 'N Sour, cloud my tastebuds and win out over all? Would I discover a newfound love for my mortal enemy, BBQ sauce? And does anyone actually ever order hot mustard? And should they?
After several trips to different McDonald's around New York City, collecting rectangles of sauce carriers with colorful seals, I finally have the answers. And some of those answers reveal that most of these sauces are concocted of disproportionate amounts of soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup, but I digress. Here are the seven McDonald's dips (habanero ranch has been discontinued, which is a shame because that sounds good), ranked, after dunking tenders, nugs, and fries into each of them: