This homemade Secret Sauce recipe is perfect for burgers and is ready in just 5 minutes! Mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, and garlic are mixed into creamy deliciousness. It tastes just like McDonald’s Big Mac special sauce and is not only great on hamburgers, but drizzled over fish tacos, or used as a dip for fries!
We needed some sauce. And not just any sauce. A sauce that was so special it could complement the hubby’s juicy homemade burgers perfectly.
Having been one of those kids who mixed my favorite drinks at the soda fountain, why not try it out with condiments?
A good bit of mayo, some ketchup, and a touch of mustard and sweet pickle relish.
With a few whisks the secret sauce was quickly whipped up in less than 5 minutes.
I dipped my spoon in to take a taste, and wowzers!!
My concoction was kept secret from our guests until after I saw their reaction. When it was met with rave reviews, I let the cat out of the bag.
Now this often-requested dip is affectionately known as “secret sauce” in our house and we serve it with fries, burgers, and even fish tacos.
It also just so happens to taste A LOT like the special sauce on McDonald’s Big Macs and In-n-Out burgers!
The simple ingredients you need to make this burger sauce recipe include:
- Mayonnaise. Duke’s and Hellman’s are the best. You can also use miracle whip or even a vegan mayo.
- Ketchup. Use whatever ketchup you have available.
- Mustard. Dijon mustard is preferred for the best flavor, but yellow can also be used.
- Relish. Sweet pickle relish tastes best since it’s tangy and a bit sweet. You can also use dill relish if you don’t want the added sugar.
- Worcestershire. This gives it an umami flavor and has a hint of molasses and vinegar.
- Lemon Juice. Freshly squeezed is best, but you can use bottled or leave it out if you don’t have any available.
- Paprika. Regular paprika is used, but you can also use smoked for more of a kick.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic cloves are preferred, but ½-teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted.
How to Make
The basic steps for making this secret sauce recipe are simple to follow:
- Add everything to a medium-sized bowl.
Use a bowl with a lid if you’re going to store it, less dishes!
- Combine ingredients.
Whisk until smooth and everything is incorporated.
- Serve immediately or chill.
If you have the time, let the sauce sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the flavors come together.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep-Ahead: This sauce is best when prepped ahead since the ingredients have a chance to meld together. Make it at least two hours in advance for the best taste.
- To Store: Keep secret sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If fresh garlic is used the sauce will last for up to 2 weeks. If you use garlic powder it can last for up to a month, if you can resist eating it all up before then!
- To Freeze: This is not recommended as the mayo will separate.
The recipe you’ll find below is already low-carb, gluten-free, and vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:
- Keto – Look for ketchup without any added sugar.
- Whole30 and Paleo – Find a ketchup without any added sugar and substitute the Worcestershire sauce for apple cider vinegar.
- Vegan – Use a plant-based mayo.
There are many variations of secret, or special, sauce. Generally they consist of a base of mayonnaise, ketchup and relish. Other ingredients like mustard, vinegar, or Worcestershire are often added.
Special sauce goes amazingly well with burgers. BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, or aioli are also great options.
Fry sauce originated in Utah. It includes 1 part ketchup, 2 parts mayo. It’s very similar to this secret sauce recipe, although more simple.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Use sweet relish. This balances out the tanginess of the other ingredients.
- Prep it ahead. This extra time gives the flavors a chance to meld together.
- Add a little heat. Include some sriracha or a pinch of cayenne pepper to spice things up.
- Limit the dishes. Mix up the sauce in the bowl you plan on storing it in.
- Make some extra. This stuff will go FAST, so you may want to consider doubling the batch!
What to Serve With
In addition to being the perfect spread on your favorite burgers, this secret sauce recipe pairs beautifully with the following recipes:
Secret Sauce Recipe (Special Burger Sauce)
This homemade Secret Sauce recipe is perfect for burgers and is ready in just 5 minutes! It tastes just like McDonald's Big Mac special sauce and is not only great on burgers, but drizzled over fish tacos, or used as a dip for fries!
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard or yellow
- 2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- Salt to taste
Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl.
Whisk ingredients until smooth and well combined.
Either serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors meld together. Enjoy!
One serving is 1 tablespoon of sauce.
To Store: Keep the secret sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If fresh garlic is used the sauce will last for up to 2 weeks. If you use garlic powder it can last for a month, if you can resist eating it all up before then!