What is the difference between Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip?  And which one is better? Usually when the topic comes up in polite conversation, I do my best to sneak out of the room before it becomes impolite conversation filled with expletives, hair pulling and flying sandwiches.  If escaping isn’t an option I bring up a less volatile topic – like religion, the death penalty or Chinese labour laws.

I’m in the hate it camp.  For Miracle Whip that is.  I don’t like it, I’ve never liked it and other than the basic look of it, it isn’t at all like mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a creamy, rich, delicate concoction that enhances food.  Miracle Whip is stronger tasting, sweet, filled with spices and not so subtle.  So when people ask what the difference between Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip is, I can only assume they’ve only tried one of them.  Because if you’ve tried them both you KNOW there’s a difference.

Beyond taste there are a few more things that set them apart.


What is the difference between Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip?

What is the difference between Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip?


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Geographically speaking, certain groups prefer Miracle Whip while others like the blander Mayonnaise.

The deep south and Midwest is Miracle Whip territory all the way.  While the rest of the U.S. is spreading Mayonnaise on everything.

Many times what you were raised on dictates what you lean towards.  My mother used Miracle Whip but only if the store was out of a little something called “Sandwich Spread”, a mixture of mayonnaise-like goo and relish.   In the 80’s she branched out into the hoity toity world of Mayonnaise but now generally just buys whichever she can get the biggest bucket of at Costco.

I’m not sure how I escaped the lure of Miracle Whip, having been raised on it, but I did. One of the reasons I prefer Mayonnaise (other than the taste) is you can make mayonnaise at home with 4 ingredients and a few minutes and it tastes as good or even better than the stuff you buy in the store.  That isn’t always the case with homemade goods.  Like people say they prefer homemade ketchup.  As if.  There’s no way anyone could duplicate the perfect combination of sweet and tart that comes oozing out of a Heinz bottle.  Anyone who says they prefer homemade ketchup is a hippie hipster liar who wears shoes made out of braided cat hair.

You knew this was coming.  I’d like to do an informal poll.  Let’s keep it polite people.

What do you prefer? Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?

Have a good weekend!



  1. Lillemor Sköld says:

    All in with the real mayo crowd but as Hellmans is concerned you might be interested to know that over here in Europe with more severe laws about declaration of i gredients one of those natural aromas is WHEAT wich sent me to the doctors as I an both gluten intolerant and allergic to Wheat , just because I couln’t in my wildest dreams think about the need to read the ingridiens list of mayo from the gluten intolerant perspective – I mean whyyyy would there be WHEAT in Mayo ???? But there is in Hellmans so all you gluten or wheat alleric people out there bevare 😘

    • Alena says:

      Hi Lillemor,
      Guessing by your name that you must live in beautiful Sweden.
      You would be actually surprised where wheat and gluten hide – in the most unexpected places, like ice cream. Who would expect gluten to be in ice cream? Or in candy, chewing gum, shampoo, instant coffee, etc. I am not gluten-intolerant (at least on the most basic level, in the sense that it does not cause any digestive issues) but it’s best to avoided altogether.


    • Lillemor Sköld says:

      Hi Alena
      Yupp North of Sweden born and staying 😊 Yes you are right ,Wheat and gluten hides in the most unlikely places – Black currant marmelade is my most surprising discovery. And yes I did those mistakes when newly diagnosed – now I also have learned to read on everythiiiiiiing before I eat it 👍🏻 Nice talking to ya and all the best 😊

  2. Jenny W says:

    Hellman’s Mayo, for the Win :)

  3. Ali says:

    Homemade mayo…..Miracle Whip was in the fridge when I grew up….for months…yucky

  4. Susan Barley says:

    Not just mayo, Hellman’s mayo!

  5. What’s Miracle Whip? That must be some strange sugary American concoction. Never seen it here in Australia.

  6. Jo Foster says:

    Definitely Mayo! French’s Ketchup Only! … using Leamington Ontario tomatoes in all its ketchup

  7. Ev Wilcox says:

    Born in Northeast Ohio and still there. Mayo mayo mayo! We are a divided family, though. My husband would not touch either of them, I and my oldest son are mayo, my youngest son is for “the other stuff”, my daughter does not care! I keep a small jar of “the other stuff” for when my youngest visits, and I do add a dollop to my homemade coleslaw, with a bigger dollop of mayo, and other stuff. My mom was the coleslaw maker for all gatherings and I am proud to say that now I do it. She would be proud, also! Though I tried red cabbage once-pink slaw, anyone? Anyway, the other stuff is not spoken here, mostly! And, though I am not as big on brand names as some people, Heinz Ketchup is the way to fly here-and we do all agree on that anyway! You are a woman of good taste Karen!

  8. twyla harkey says:

    …and Im from Oklahoma!! Love Hellmans…

  9. Jen says:

    Ha! Must comment. Grew up in a Miracle Whip household. Married a fella who’s fully in the mayo camp. After 10 years of making sandwiches together, we’ve come to a bit of an agreement (because I make said sandwiches): Egg salad and tuna salad are mostly MW. Chicken salad can be either, depending on add-ins. Burgers, ham and Swiss sammies, hotdogs, etc are mostly mayo. Non-negotiable items on either side – potato salad and deviled eggs must be MW (it’s how my grandma made them, so clearly my love of the fake stuff began early!) and French fries are always mayo!

  10. Bonnie G. says:

    Mayo camp. Love Duke’s and homemade! Miracle Whip is like comparing Coolwhip to real whipped cream.

  11. Kristin S. says:

    As a lifelong Michigander in my 30’s, and we’ve always used mayonnaise in my family, and bitched about “miracle wimp” as my uncle calls it. I think the divide is more porous than you think! I tolerate it in tuna salad or on a BLT, but personally, looking into a jar of mayonnaise is the most disgusting thing as it looks like I’m staring into a jar of liposuction results. I find it viscerally upsetting to see, but it’s fine on a sandwich. I’m weird.

  12. Centi says:

    I bought Miracle Whip back when I was 19. Never again!

  13. Sam King says:

    Really don’t think we have miracle whip (UK here) and I wouldn’t be able to eat it anyway as I’m intolerant to corn! (Amongst other things) I thought miracle whip was dessert anyway? Lol xx

    • Hazel says:

      Me too! I always assumed it was like our Dream Topping. Which we used to eat on top of a packet trifle in the 70’s and 80’s because my mum made everything from a packet as did pretty much everybody else in Britain at that time.

      So mayonnaise for me on the grounds I’ve never tried Miracle Whip and I make my own mayo anyway :-)

      • Leslie MacPherson says:

        Sam, no offense, but I’d eat the UK’s frightening Vegemite before I’d touch Miracle Whip. It’s hideous, trust me.

    • Leslie MacPherson says:

      Sam, no offense, but I’d eat the UK’s frightening Vegemite before I’d touch Miracle Whip. It’s hideous, test me.

  14. Gayle M says:

    I keep both on hand, and don’t use them interchangeably. Depends on whether the recipe needs a little twang of spicy or the milder taste of mayo. I’ll have to look for your recipe/method send make my own sometime. (Raised in Detroit MI area, solely MW. Never saw real mayo til my hubby from Grand Rapids MI wanted it on hand–raised on a farm as a young’un, he was.)

  15. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Never tried MW. I mix my mayo 1/2 and 1/2 with plain yogurt for tuna or egg salad. Never use it on s’witches, just mustard. Dip fries in Dijon or catsup, since you’re asking.

  16. Rick Bradley says:

    PC mayo because we use very little and home made has too short a shelf life..

  17. Lee says:

    My dad was a wonderful cook and I grew up in a house that did not allow Miracle Whip (near Detroit). To this day, I just can’t buy it or use it.

  18. gloria says:

    I’m from the so-called Miracle Whip-eating south. But I grew up slathering my mater sammiches with Mayo.

  19. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    I’m in the mayo camp and I formerly would use only Hellmann’s until I experienced Jake’s.
    You are so correct that homemade is the bomb but I am usually too lazy! IMO, Miracle Whip is like comparing Coolwhip to real whipped cream.

  20. Valerie says:

    Raised on Miracle Whip. When I grew up and started buying my own groceries I always purchased Mayonnaise and prefer it. Miracle Whip always tasted sour to me.
    I think those born during the 20s preferred Miracle Whip as a ‘new fangled’ spread, second only to that stuff you referred to as Sandwich Spread – groaner, another yucky thing my Mother loved.

  21. SuZieQ1 says:

    Miracle Whip!! except for a chicken or tomato sandwich…

  22. Julie Cavallaro says:

    I hate Miracle Whip!

  23. brenda says:

    HAHA – let the flying sandwiches and expletives begin

  24. Tina says:

    Definitely Mayo! I grew up in a household (Oregon) where we had both but I tasted MW once and never again. So I don’t know who used or ate the MW but someone did!

    • Tina says:

      And I’ll add my own reply. My dad grew up in the dust country of Central Washington State. While he was still wet behind the ears, he joined the army. He got to Basic Training and went to the mess and got his lunch. They had 2 bowls of white stuff, Dad figured they were vanilla pudding so he took a big scoop out of each bowl. They were Mayo and MW. And he was made to clean his plate…eat every smear of both!

  25. Etta says:

    Years ago a neighbor called asking to borrow some mayonnaise. “Sure, come on over.” When she walked in, ( never locked the doors ) I was pouring oil into the blender. ” Whatcha’ making ?” “Mayonnaise.” I replied. She stood stock still, her eyes got big and she said ” You can MAKE mayonnaise ?!!!” Still cracks me up.

  26. Marjorie Kramer says:

    At the risk of being mocked, here goes: I like ’em both. No preference, I’ll eat either on most anything. I’ll stir either into most anything, and probably have. I was shocked the first and only time I made mayonnaise at home to discover how awful it is, until you dump in a boatload of salt. However, that shock paled in comparison to the horror I experienced upon tasting it several days, maybe weeks, later. Preservatives, people, preservatives.

  27. sara easton says:

    Mayo! More specifically Duke’s mayo. I grew up with miracle whip, switched to Hellmann’s, and recently discovered the magic of Duke’s. Karen, I know you’re a doing stuff kind of person, and I’m sure your mayo recipe is lovely, but I’m going to need your mailing address so it’s an send you a jar of this stupid good mayo.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Yes it seems to be the favourite of many people reading this post. ~ karen!

    • Peggy says:

      Where do you buy Dukes? Never-mind … I just search and apparently Walmart has it.
      I’ll have to do a comparison with Hellmann’s. Of course, I think homemade is best, but it doesn’t keep that long, so Hellmann’s is my staple.
      I think it’s kind of a situation like with a “Mother” sauce. Plain mayonnaise is so elemental and basic that it is very versatile. But I get why people like MW for potato salad because then you don’t need to fuss putting in herbs and stuff. Easy-peasey!

      Of course, here in Rochester, MN, home of the world famous Mayo Clinic, we have a statue of the Dr. Mayo brothers who founded the place. One has his arm around his brother’s shoulders and my husband refers to it as “the hold the Mayo” statue. ;~)

  28. Ella says:

    Yanno, the world is not black and white. Each has its place. For dipping frites, only homemade mayonnaise will do. For mixing with mustard to coat the bread of a grilled cheese sandwich, try MW. For devilled eggs, it’s got to be Hellman’s. I love them all …. when used appropriately :)

  29. BessOutWest says:

    Mayonnaise, homemade, all the way.

  30. Ecoteri says:

    So, will the next post be about which way to hang a toilet paper roll? LOL. I actually remember the explosions that happened when Ann Landers proclaimed that it should hang OUT from the wall. My goodness, months of letters full of outrage or defense of this opinion/decision. Glorious to read in the paper every week.

  31. BLUE PLATE mayonnaise!! And I live in Mississippi, ya’ll!! (which is about as Deep South as you can get)

    • Karen says:

      You’re in Wickles world!! Lucky you. ~ karen!

    • kddomingue says:

      Grew up in Alabama and live in coastal Louisiana and nobody that I knew/know ever used/uses anything but Deep South or Blue Plate mayonnaise! I’m curious as to where in the deep South this Miracle Whip obsession is common. Miracle Whip is an abomination (in my opinion, of course)! Had my husband admitted to a fondness for the stuff before we were married…..well, we wouldn’t be married today as our values would clearly have been out of alignment, lol!

  32. brenda says:

    I like cole slaw dressing (it might be a little like miracle whip) I don’t know because I only tried MW once and swore I’d never again…

  33. Karen Noltee says:

    Miracle Whip makes potato salad awesome. Mayo makes potato salad extremely bland and boring.

    • brenda says:

      that’s why you add sour cream I think though

      • Sandra D says:

        It’s still today for me, lol. 10:40 on Nov 9. I never liked mayo growing up – like I tasted it, lol (mustard for me), but mom used Miracle Whip, which is what I used when I grew up, and tasted potato salad, and devilled eggs. I agree it makes the BEST potato salad. I use it AND add sour cream to macaroni salad. I’ve just tasted Hellman’s because of the hype about it (and it was the same price). Didn’t notice a difference; don’t shoot me. I don’t use mayo on sandwiches, unless it’s devilled so maybe that’s why.

        • brenda says:

          smearing you in mayo – gonna eat you now

        • Martina says:


        • Sandra D says:

          Okay, shoot me instead then – please! :)

        • (Dr.) Jan in Waterdown says:

          Can’t taste the diff?!? Ok, it’s official, you have NO taste buds. I know cuz I’m a doctor. Or something. :-/

        • Sandra D says:

          Okay, Doc. I’ll ‘splain. Because I don’t use them by themselves, I didn’t think I noticed a difference. I was wrong. Today, I was at the legion for Remembrance Day and I ate a deviled egg that I DID NOT make and it was bland and crappy. One bite, and that was it; I didn’t finish it. Obviously, it wasn’t used with yummy, tangy MW. That’s the reason I won’t buy a deviled egg sandwich at a store. It just doesn’t taste right.

          When I make coleslaw, I always add sugar and vinegar – even with MW. I have a couple of jars of Hellman’s in my pantry, but I’ll try some homemade coleslaw and test it out (with the sugar and vinegar, of course). Will report back!

          I’ll also try the homemade MW recipe given to me on this thread. Oh – using the Hellman’s, cos I don’t know a homemade mayo recipe.

  34. Christina Contri says:

    Solid Midwesterner here and it’s mayo all the way! I hate going to a picnic, bbq, what-have-you and biting into a deviled egg, only to find out that it’s been made with MW. It’s an abomination!!

  35. Do we have to pick one or the other? They’re both gross.

    • Nicole says:

      Hear! Hear! I was reading through wondering if everyone liked one or the other and it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one wondering why people would put white gunk on their sandwiches.

      • Agnes says:

        I’m with you! Homemade mayo is delish compared with any commercial brand, but never on sandwiches. Thick brown Mrs Ball’s chutney or maybe apple butter with strong cheese, a touch of mustard with beef, even a lick of brown sauce in a bacon butty, but nothing that would make the bread soggy, please.

  36. Luanne says:

    All mayo all the time. I also grew up in a Miracle Whip household. I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t try mayo until my 30’s. And I finally realize why people want it on their sandwiches.

  37. Annette says:

    Duke’s Mayonnaise or homemade (grew up on Hellmann’s in Virginia). Miracle Whip is perfectly described by ATTYGREEN13.

  38. Kipper says:

    Best Foods/Hellman’s mayo is the best. Miracle Whip is too watery and the flavor is not one my family ever liked(except Mom, but then she likes peanut butter, brown sugar and mustard sandwiches too).

  39. brenda says:

    I agree 100% with you … poo on Miracle Whip (and good description of that other snot spread and Heinz is the only ketchup FULL STOP!

    • brenda says:

      the Quebec tomato chutney for tourtiere is very amazing but I don’t call it ketchup so it’s totally allowed IMHO

    • Michelle says:


    • Alena says:

      I like Heinz ketchup as well but did you that it proved to be the worst in terms of how moldy/mildewy tomatoes it contained?
      I still buy it though.

      • brenda says:

        oooHHhhh NOOOooOOOoo (I’ll still buy it too though) UGH. I also ate a shrimp once after reading that they are practically brought up in toilets … I wonder if it makes a difference buying the organic Heinz? We can pretend – right.

      • kddomingue says:

        I buy the organic version….and lie to myself about the non-moldy-ness of said organic tomatoes! But I rarely use ketchup so I’m not too worried about it. As for mayonnaise, well, there’s mayonnaise and then there’s that other nasty stuff! See my reply to Tracy Miller below!

        • Kristin Ferguson says:

          I don’t think it matters how moldy the tomatoes are. They cook the heck out of them anyway, so there wouldn’t be any mold spores alive after that. If you eat Brie or camembert cheese, or any kind of blue cheese, you are eating mold. Some wines, such as Sauternes, are made with grapes that have begun to grow moldy with botrytis (known among vintners as “noble rot”, which adds a really beautiful, haunting sort of flavor to the wine.) Heinz ketchup is the only ketchup!

        • kddomingue says:

          Yep, some moldy stuff is absolutely delish! I’m not terribly germ, mold, etc phobic….when it comes to food, I figure if , for example, Heinz ketchup hasn’t killed me after 57 years then I probably don’t need to get my panties all in a twist over a study saying that they use moldy tomatoes, amiright? Pesticides, on the other hand, do cause me some concern.

        • Karen says:

          Yes, but don’t forget that’s a completely different mold. I wrote about it in this post on cheese. :) ~ karen!

        • Kristin Ferguson says:

          Okay, I just re-read that post. First, I think penicillin was first grown in the 20’s, but I may be wrong. It first made it to market in the 40’s. Yes, they are different kinds of mold, but once you cook it, it’s safe, right? So my original post stands. And Heinz rules. No cat hair sandals. BTW, I grew up in a mayonnaise-free household (except when my mom made tuna salad, into which she put mayo and sweet pickle relish, which I love in this and only this application), and my dad was so vehemently anti-mayo that my sister still hated it to this day. My lunches were sad affairs. Two peaces of bran bread with a sad slice of bologna in between. I think I probably hadn’t developed a taste for mustard yet. And my parents made these sandwiches in bulk with day-old bread (bought from the bargain Van de Kamp day-old store outlet) and then froze them in sandwich bags for more convenient child abuse. On cold days they were still kinda frozen by lunchtime. #firstworldproblems

        • Kristin Ferguson says:


  40. Kate says:

    Mayonnaise all the way. I’ve never liked the other stuff. Too sweet. For statistical purposes I’ll add that I grew up in Northern California (the part that just burned down!), and lived there the first 40 years of my life. Moved to Idaho in 2011.

  41. Raymonde says:

    Mayo all the way.
    I also prefer my homemade ketchup but Québec homemade ketchup is completely different from Heinz. It’s a Québécois culinary tradition that is more like a chutney. We all have our grandmothers’ family recipes but there are perfectly good recipes online.
    It’s really good with tourtière and pâté chinois!
    Now, I’m hungry…

    • Tracey C says:

      We need to start a debate now about Pâté Chinois vs. what most people in Ontario call Shepherd’s Pie! In my opinion adding veggies other than creamed corn is a travesty! Pâté Chinois all the way ;)

      • Llynnda says:

        Creamed corn? No, no, no! Niblets yes! Pate Chinois! From Quebec.

        • Tracey C says:

          Oui, je sais, I’m from Quebec and we always, ALWAYS used creamed corn in our Pâté Chinois. Niblets are not the traditional method to make this dish!!

        • Llynnda says:

          Oh well, I’m English from Quebec, so,that must explain the difference between nutlets or creamed🙂

  42. Erin says:

    I grew up with Miracle Whip ( hated it ) because my dad didn’t like Mayo. UNI ( Ryerson ) was the first time I ever tried Mayonnaise. The residence cafeteria ladies were quick to ask you if you wanted it, but never really listened for a response “Meyo Naze?!”, lol so I tried it not by choice and loved it and wondered what was wrong with my father ( he also doesn’t like Maple syrup :| even though we made it, and didn’t eat cheese until he was in his late 30’s early 40’s. Weirdo! ).

  43. Barbara H. says:

    I grew up in Michigan. Miracle Whip ’til the end. My siblings might disagree. Go figure.

    • Kristin says:

      I’m from Michigan, too, and we always used Miracle Whip. I’ve converted to the mayonnaise camp as an adult, though. Too many bologna, Kraft cheese, Miracle Whip sandwiches on white bread as a kid, I guess!

    • Patty DeMaria says:

      No ink! Also a Michigander and it’s got to be mayonnaise. And not just mayonnaise, Hellman’s Mayonnaise!!

  44. Rachelle says:


  45. Kim says:

    Mayonnaise now but I was also raised on Miracle Whip. Hubby uses Miracle Whip.
    I have made mayo using your method, Karen, and it’s a thing of beauty!

  46. Lori Hope says:

    I’m in the mayo camp. My husband says it depends on the intended use: Miracle Whip is better for fruit salad, for instance…

    • Marianne says:

      Noooo!! To Miracle Whip on fruit salad. Equal parts mayo and whipped cream. As I learned in the salad kitchen one long summer at the Arcadian Court. Heavenly Waldorf.

  47. Karo says:

    Miracle Whip all day long. Mayo tastes like oily nothing.

    • Kim from Milwaukee says:

      I agree totally. When I make homemade mayo I add a little sweetness and spice and it rivals store bought Miracle Whip.

    • SusanR says:

      Ditto. I’m from Chicago and was raised on Miracle Whip. My husband, raised in Arizona, likes Mayo. So if I’m making something like egg salad or ham salad, I’ll use Mayo because my husband dislikes Miracle Whip more than I dislike Mayo. But if I’m making something where we can each have what we like, it’s Miracle Whip for me all the way.

  48. Ron R. says:

    Mayo rules

  49. attygreen13 says:

    Miracle Whip is the debil’s concoction (said in my best Bobby Boucher voice). Blech

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