For Perfectly Creamy Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce, You'll Need Coleslaw

Chick-fil-A may not make a huge deal about using secret recipes to make its signature sauce and other menu items, nor does it publish step-by-step directions for recreating them. The chain, of course, would rather you buy the items directly from its stores than DIY them at home. This doesn't mean that home cooks haven't been trying to crack the code for years, though, and one of the most pervasive rumors in the fast food copycat hobby is that the signature sauce has a "mysterious" ingredient, that being the drippings from its leftover coleslaw.

Chick-fil-A itself has neither officially confirmed nor denied this, although a decade or so ago it did tweet a claim that the sauce was a blend of barbecue, honey mustard, and ranch. Moreover, as you may recall, the chain no longer offers coleslaw so is unlikely to have leftovers. Reading the label of a sauce packet isn't much help unless you have a degree in food chemistry since it's the usual confusing litany of soybean oil sugar, corn syrup, xanthan gum, "natural flavors, and similar yummies. Still, Mashed recipe developer Jake Vigliotti likes the coleslaw theory, so that's where he's going with his copycat Chick-fil-A sauce recipe that he calls "amazing [and] addictive." He does add the caveat, "providing you're willing to go the distance to make a true perfect version of Chick-fil-A sauce," though, as there's a fair amount of work involved for such a seemingly simple condiment.

Of course, you'll need a few more things as well

Jake Vigliotti starts off the sauce recipe with another recipe, namely one for copycat Chick-fil-A-style coleslaw. To make it, he mixes vinegar (the plain white kind) with sugar, mustard powder, salt, and a whole lot of mayonnaise, then mixes this with a cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw blend. He refrigerates the whole shebang for two hours, then mixes a little of the liquid with honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and buffalo sauce. The sauce blend is then refrigerated for another 30 minutes, at which point it's ready for nugget-dunking.

Sound like way too much work for you? Luckily Vigliotti has a shortcut version that he says can be performed onsite at any other fast food restaurant that also offers coleslaw as a side and also has packets of honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and buffalo sauce. Vigliotti's formula for recreating something sufficiently Chick-fil-A sauce-like involves mixing honey mustard with barbecue sauce and just a dab of buffalo sauce and coleslaw liquid. If the latter is not available, he suggests that ranch could be used in its place. This, as you may recall from a few paragraphs back, is what Chick-fil-A claims to use in the first place, so it checks out.