The real difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip

Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip can easily be mistaken for one other. They are both creamy, white sandwich spreads that are packaged in similar jars, and sit right next to each other on the store shelf. Are mayo and Miracle Whip the same thing, then, or is Miracle Whip a type of mayonnaise? 

Well, no. Not exactly. In fact, technically Miracle Whip cannot be considered a mayonnaise at all. According to Real Simple, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that mayonnaise consist of at least 65 percent vegetable oil by weight, Miracle Whip contains an undisclosed, but lower, amount. 

That is why, instead of being labeled as mayonnaise, it goes by the rather confusing "salad dressing" — which leads one to wonder, has anyone ever tried to use it as such (via Grog to Grits)? And, if so, how did they manage to spread it over each lettuce leaf?

Mayonnaise and miracle whip just taste different

What truly sets Miracle Whip apart from mayonnaise, however, is its taste. While Miracle Whip, like mayonnaise, contains the same base ingredients of eggs, oil, and acid, it also contains a blend of spices including mustard, paprika, and garlic. The real difference in flavor, though, lies in the fact that Miracle Whip is made with corn syrup (via Healthline). 

The distinctive sweetness this ingredient lends has made Miracle Whip a hit since its introduction during the Great Depression, but not everyone is a fan, and Miracle Whip definitely cannot stand in for mayonnaise in every recipe unless you want all that extra sugar.

There are nutritional differences between mayonnaise and miracle whip

Despite its added sweetener, Miracle Whip only has half the calories of mayonnaise, and the fact that it's made with less oil also means it is lower in fat. That being said, mayonnaise might still be a better choice for dieters, because the high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten Miracle Whip has been linked to creating false hunger pangs and reducing the ability to stop eating once full (via The List). Miracle Whip also contains more additives and is more highly processed than mayonnaise, as well as being made with potentially inflammation-inducing soybean oil .

While neither mayonnaise nor Miracle Whip is exactly considered to be nutritious, Healthline suggests that mayonnaise is probably the better choice, particularly if you choose a healthier brand or take the time to make your own.