Wendy's Sauces Ranked Worst To Best

There are two kinds of people in the world of fast food and, really, the culinary world in general: Those who smother their food in sauce, and those who don't. Okay, so there are arguably plenty of people who feast inside those parameters, but some people just like sauces more than others.

The sauce on a Wendy's menu are frequently and loudly cherished among fast food aficionados. Like all sauces, however, some Wendy's dips are more beloved than others, which is why we took on the challenge of ranking all seven of Wendy's sauces in its current lineup in order from worst to best.

It's a mission that many have tried and a challenge that we were happy to accept. Wendy's, at the time of this writing, has a total of seven sauces featured on their website. These include old-fashioned standbys like BBQ, Buttermilk Ranch, and Honey Mustard, and Sweet & Sour. These are accompanied by some more forward-thinking dipping sauces, namely the Creamy Sriracha, Ghost Pepper Ranch, and the rather mysteriously named Side of S'Awesome Sauce. Each sauce brings its own unique flavor to the table, all while adding a necessary twist to nearly everything on the menu, from sandwiches to fries to the chain's savory chicken nuggets. Oftentimes, they naturally take a meal from good to great. But alas, some sauces are more cherished than others and you may want to avoid one or two altogether. Check out this ranking before you head out to Wendy's next.

7. Buttermilk Ranch

Ranch dressing has come a long way since its origins as little more than a dressing for salad. From nuggets to pizza to fries to vegetables, ranch dressing really brings unique flavors to the sauce department. At least, that's the case if you've got your hands on some really good ranch dressing. But does Wendy's have what it takes?

Naturally, there are a plethora of people who prefer ranch dressing on their chicken nuggets, yet Wendy's Buttermilk Ranch sauce isn't really their best condiment, whether it's meant for nuggets or anything else. In fact, it tastes a bit like a water-downed version of real ranch dressing. This isn't the worst food crime in the world, at least not if you want to taste more Wendy's nuggets than ranch sauce. But it does lack that creamy, hearty sort of flavor and consistency that ranch lovers have come to know and love. In comparison, this sauce is a pale imitation of greater ranch dressings that could be sitting in your fridge right now.

We're not saying you should steer clear from this sauce altogether, especially if you're really dedicated to putting ranch on everything. And it does have a somewhat pleasing buttermilk tang, at least if you're looking out for it. However, we can pretty confidently say that there are better sauce options at Wendy's. So, it's probably for the best if you give your chicken nuggets the love and respect they deserve with one of the other six choices.

6. Honey Mustard

When honey mustard is good, it's really good. But when the ingredients are off, things can get out of balance pretty quickly. Some honey mustards are too sweet for all their reliance on honey, while others overdo the mustard or vinegar and become too tangy. Striking the right balance between the two flavor profiles is, therefore, a real feat. And although it's not fair to blame an inanimate packet of honey mustard sauce for people's personal sauce preferences, the truth is that some people prefer sweet and others tangy. Ultimately, this means that it's a tough sauce to get correct for the sometimes wildly disparate masses.

Wendy's Honey Mustard sauce, for better or worse, leans toward the tangy side. If you fancy the pungent flavor of mustard, then this should be an ideal pairing with your Wendy's chicken nuggets. Although that acidic, vinegar-forward flavor is definitely present in the mix, Wendy's Honey Mustard still packs in some noticeable sweetness into that little packet. In a way, this sauce takes your taste buds on a flavor roller coaster, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Still, everyone's palate is a little different, and your tastebuds may prefer something that pulls back a bit more on the mustard part of the honey mustard equation.

5. Ghost Pepper Ranch

The Ghost Pepper Ranch sauce is Wendy's latest addition to its still relatively small sauce lineup. Although it's similar to Buttermilk Ranch in that it can taste like it's a bit watered down, the ghost pepper addition gives it a much-needed flavor boost, along with some serious heat. Remember that ghost peppers are an estimated 107 times hotter than those entry-level hot peppers we love and know as jalapeños. Indeed, this ghost pepper sauce is so hot that it'll make your chicken nuggets cry.

Although the sauce rumors are swirling, don't let the pending disappearance of the Creamy Sriracha sauce (via Insider) put a bad taste in your mouth when it comes to its replacement. After all, it's not as if it's the Ghost Pepper Ranch's fault that it's been chosen to edge out its Sriracha-based competition. 

If you can't help but dip your food in ranch dressing, then we recommend this hot ranch over its relatively sad sack Buttermilk Ranch companion. While it's true that the Buttermilk Ranch ranks last here, Wendy's still knows how to put a good sauce together. So grab your nuggets, peel back the curtains on the Ghost Pepper Ranch container, and get ready for smoke to blow out of your ears. Okay, smoke won't actually blow out of your ears, but you've been warned that this is the restaurant's spiciest nugget sauce.

4. Sweet & Sour

The Wendy's Sweet And Sour sauce will surely make your nuggets dance, given that it provides very nearly the perfect combination of sweet and sour. This sauce also happens to have some Chinese takeout vibes, so if you think you might dig that flavor on your chicken nuggets, then this sauce very well could earn an even higher spot in your own personal ranking.

That said, this Sweet And Sour sauce can almost feel like jelly in its consistency. Of course, that might throw people off guard, as jelly isn't typically something you dip your nuggets in (though that might be an interesting experiment for culinarily adventurous folks). But the thicker consistency of the Wendy's Sweet and Sour sauce does arguably make this close to an authentic sweet and sour condiment. 

In other words, this is definitely a sweet and sour lover's sweet and sour sauce. It provides a pretty great balance of tangy and sweet, which can spruce up the already delicious and savory Wendy's nuggets. Yet it's not for everyone given the flavor tango between the two namesake tastes, especially with this sauce in particular. That said, for those who already like sweet and sour and don't mind a thicker consistence, we'd understand if this version made your top two.

3. Creamy Sriracha

Wendy's Creamy Sriracha sauce is a tough subject to discuss right now. Earlier this summer, Wendy's released its Ghost Pepper Ranch sauce, and people soon noticed that the Creamy Sriracha was no longer available shortly thereafter. Insider reported that the Creamy Sriracha sauce is actually in the process of being phased out by the Ghost Pepper Ranch. However, at the time of this writing, the sauce is still featured on the Wendy's website, meaning all traces of it haven't vanished quite yet. By some miracle, we hope it sticks around forever. At any rate, if you're lucky, you may still find the Creamy Sriracha at your local Wendy's location. If that's the case, then you should really jump on the chance to try one of the better sauces put out by the fast food chain.

The spicy Sriracha trend hasn't necessarily died down, to be certain, but Wendy's ongoing eradication of its Creamy Sriracha sauce is telling. In the sauce's heyday, Creamy Sriracha was the spiciest sauce on the menu. Though the Ghost Pepper Ranch has since rained on its parade, Creamy Sriracha is, without a doubt, one of Wendy's tastiest sauces, with a pleasing savory edge and creamy texture that helps to round out some of its spiciest edges. Some would claim it's the best, but its heat level definitely ensures it's not for everyone, so tread carefully if you've got sensitive taste buds.

2. Side of S'Awesome Sauce

There are countless Wendy's lovers who could rightfully claim that the distinctly-named Side of S'Awesome Sauce is a true Wendy's cornerstone sauce. However, it's worth noting that the sauce hasn't been around as long as some other sauces currently being produced by the fast food chain. Moreover, it isn't for everyone, though quite a few devotees love its unique combination of a creamy texture with its balance of tangy, sweet, and smoky flavors. Even still, the S'Awesome Sauce pretty much pairs with everything savory on the menu.

The S'Awesome Sauce has drawn comparisons to the Chick-Fil-A Sauce, which, in many circles, is considered the best fast food signature sauce of them all. The S'Awesome Sauce was released to complement a new take on chicken tenders in 2017, according to Food & Wine. But while the fingers have come and gone off the menu, the S'Awesome Sauce has managed to hang on for quite a while now, furthering its legacy as one of Wendy's best dipping sauces. 

We hope it somehow manages to stick around forever, but if the Creamy Sriracha's fate is any indication, we may want to enjoy it while it's still here for sure. You never know what's going to happen in the world of fast food, after all. Nevertheless, the S'Awesome Sauce is perfect for chicken nuggets, fries, sandwiches, and practically anything else on the Wendy's menu that could be boosted by this tangy, smoke-infused sauce. Need we say more?

1. BBQ

If you were stuck on a deserted isle somewhere and could only eat chicken nuggets for the duration of your long stay, what sauce would you pair them with every day? And remember that you can only pick one sauce to dip the nuggets in — maybe you were in a plane that was carrying a single, humongous shipment of one fast food brand's sauce when it went down.

While the Side of S'Awesome Sauce is, without question, idolized by many. It's hard to go wrong with Wendy's BBQ, making it a pretty ideal desert island pick. Ranch, of course, would be another popular response to the question posed above, yet Wendy's BBQ sauce is undeniably better than its watered-down ranch competition, at least considered within the Wendy's line of sauces. The chain's BBQ sauce is smoky, sweet, and perfectly splendid. But Wendy's BBQ sauce isn't only the best dipping sauce at Wendy's. Indeed, it is simply one of the best BBQ sauces in the fast food arena, period.

Now, we know that food trends come and go — witness the rise and decline of Sriracha, for instance. But, while we'll likely see new additions to Wendy's dipping sauces in the years to come, one sauce that's almost definitely guaranteed to stay is some version of Wendy's BBQ sauce. That alone tells sauce supporters everything they need to know about this classic, well-balanced sauce out of Wendy's.