The Secret Behind Raising Cane's Iconic Cane's Sauce

Raising Cane's is a pretty popular entrant in the fast food chicken wars, to be sure. It's garnered plenty of fans who love the establishment for its crispy chicken, garlicky-buttered Texas toast, and one taste-filled condiment that's perfect for dipping — its famous Cane's Sauce. 

Described by the fast food franchise as "tangy with a little bit of spice and full of flavor," the special sauce's recipe is top secret and has remained that way since the first Raising Cane's opening in 1996. It must have been part of the restaurant's early popularity, as it was sometimes so busy in those early days that it remained open until 3:30 in the morning (via Raising Cane's). 

But what, exactly is in that sauce? What makes it so beloved? Why is it so good on Raising Cane's crispy chicken fingers? Known only by the General Managers of each store, the recipe for Cane's Sauce is one that has been sought after by fans of the franchise for years. Many have tried their best to produce copycat versions of the recipe, but so far no one's been able to create a perfect replica (at least according to many Cane's Sauce purists). 

Raising Cane's General Managers are sworn to secrecy

According to a tweet from Raising Cane's itself, the chain's General Managers at each location are the only ones with the recipe for the beloved Cane's Sauce. And, frankly, you are not going to hear a peep out of them as to what exactly goes into the mix. All General Managers are apparently sworn to secrecy and their lips are sealed tight. Of course, this means they're the ones making the sauce fresh every morning, to the point where they presumably have to avoid the other employees in each store. As for those non-GM employees, they are just as clueless as us as to what the true recipe is as the rest of us. 

With 529 locations in 32 states and territories (via ScrapeHero), the dedication to keeping this secret safe is pretty impressive. Still, we'll keep holding out hope we can get our hands on the real recipe someday. 

Don't hold out too much hope, though. For 15 years, these hard-working General Managers have managed to keep the recipe entirely under wraps from everybody without any known slip-ups to the media. As General Manager Jesse Yanarella, head of a Baton Rouge Raising Cane's location, told WBRZ2 ABC, "I have not told anyone ever, nope. If I had to tell you, I'd have to kill you afterwards." He further claimed the recipe for the sauce is handed down from manager to manager by strict oral tradition and is never written down.

The sauce has caused scandals and hoaxes

Even though the General Managers of Raising Cane's have kept the secret recipe for Cane's Sauce under wraps, that doesn't mean there hasn't been some scandal surrounding the sauce. People, it seems, are practically desperate to crack the code and make the much-vaunted sauce at home themselves. It seems to have started back in 2015, when one "former employee" claimed to have been fired by Raising Cane's and, in retribution, shared the secret recipe on Twitter (via FOX 7). The alleged employee even went so far as to include the exact measurements of each ingredient an hour after her initial tweet. 

The tweet quickly spread across the internet with thousands of retweets, leading to the franchise to release a tweet of their own two days later. Raising Cane's stated rather plainly that, unless the employee was higher up than she had claimed, their recipe was no good. "Did you know that only our Restaurant General Managers are told the secrets of our Cane's Sauce?" Raising Cane's tweet read. "Now you know!"

As it turns out, the Twitter user in question was actually never an employee of Raising Cane's. Upon heightened attention from other users, she admitted that she had never worked at the restaurant, meaning she had no idea what the actual recipe was and the "secret recipe" was a total fabrication (via CHRON.).  

Copycats have come close to recreating Cane's Sauce

Many intrepid recipe developers have tried to crack the code for the elusive Cane's Sauce recipe. A few have come pretty close, though it's up to you to decide if they really hit the mark compared to the Raising Cane's version. From Southern Bytes to Dinners, Dishes and Desserts to Copykat, many have narrowed down the ingredients for creating the delicious sauce to five key items: mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and ground black pepper.

Some recipes also call for salt or even a hit of spicy Creole seasoning to help amp up the flavors. The above ingredients produce something that certainly looks and can even taste an awful lot like the original, though Cane's Sauce devotees will surely spend hours debating the finer points of these extra ingredients. 

Others even suggest keeping the sauce refrigerated for up to six hours to allow the flavors to all come together in a single, cohesive taste experience before you try to eat it. Storing your homemade Cane's Sauce in an airtight container is also suggest and allows the sauce to stay fresh for a longer period of time. The sauce should last up to two weeks, unless you've made a vegan or paleo version of the recipe that uses homemade mayonnaise, which can be pretty different from the storebought stuff. In that case, the sauce will be good for five to seven days (via Southern Bytes).

Cane's Sauce is not sold by the bottle, but there are some workarounds

Unfortunately, unlike some other ultra-popular fast food sauces, Raising Cane's fans are unable to buy the famed Cane's Sauce by the bottle at this time, according to Raising Cane's answer to a fans' Facebook query. They did, however, note that some locations would sell the sauce in "larger quantities", though the particulars of how customers were supposed to procure those mass quantities of Cane's Sauce were left pretty vague.

One Reddit user posting on r/Caniacs suggests indulging in a bottle of Freddy's Fry Sauce from Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers for a similar taste and look. It's certainly a workable option if you're not interested in blending up a copycat recipe, if nothing else. Still, as many fans will inevitably point out, it's simply not the same thing as Cane's Sauce.

Another fan suggestion is to buy the sauce in a fountain cup from your local Raising Cane's restaurant. According to one Twitter user in a post that has since been retweeted by the franchise itself, they were able to buy Cane's Sauce in a rather large cup. This revelation led other unknowing users to realize they could do the same, with one stating that "you can do that :o my eyes have been opened." Just remember to ask for a lid and don't worry too much about the curious looks you might receive from other customers.

Cane's Sauce is pretty well reviewed by diners

Many of those who have been lucky enough to visit a Raising Cane's restaurant have no less than raved about the Cane's Sauce included in any of the five combos available at the fast food franchise. 

For instance, multiple reviews on Tripadvisor speak positively about the sauce, with one Las Vegas, Nevada user even titling their post "Canes Sauce Is Worth the Visit," going on to write that the "[Cane's Sauce] Goes perfect with the super fresh chicken tenders (never frozen) and crinkle cut fries." Another user review, this time from North Canton, Ohio, gives a little more detail, writing that "The sauce is kind of smoky, a little spicy and really adds to the experience."

Reddit users on r/fastfood were even blunter when asked to compare Chick-fil-A's sauce with the Raising Cane's competition. "Cane's without a doubt," said one, while another wrote that it was simply "Cane's sauce all day for me." One Redditor even claimed to make the sauce in their restaurant and posted what they believed was the much-vaunted secret recipe, though history has taught us to be skeptical about Cane's Sauce secret recipe revelations.

All in all, Cane's Sauce is a staple for the Louisiana-started restaurant and is well-loved by Raising Cane's fans across the country. Although the recipe remains unknown, all customers can easily enjoy a cup of the famed sauce at their local Raising Cane's restaurant. We know we'll be ordering extra.