What’s the Difference Between Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip?

We love them both equally, but there is definitely a difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.

Mayo might just be the most versatile condiment on the planet. It’s not only responsible for some delicious salad dressings, but it’s also an essential component of a good BLT. In fact, there are all kinds of surprising uses for mayonnaise, including making a crispier grilled cheese, baking a moist chocolate cake, and even a bunch of home and beauty tricks.

Miracle Whip isn’t just a specific brand name of mayonnaise; it’s actually a completely different product. So what’s the difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, and can you use one as a substitute for the other?

What is mayonnaise?

It’s a delicious combination of fat and water held in suspension by an egg. The egg works like a magnet, bonding the fat from the oil and the liquid from the vinegar (or lemon juice). Unlike salad dressings that separate, the egg makes mayonnaise emulsified, giving it a thick, solid, and spreadable consistency.

There are some rules, though: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), anything labeled as “mayonnaise” must contain 65 percent vegetable oil by weight. (Psst: It’s easy to make homemade mayonnaise, plus our sister site Taste of Home‘s recipe is richer and more flavorful than the store-bought stuff!)

What is Miracle Whip?

Miracle Whip was developed in 1933 as a cheaper alternative to mayonnaise. It has the same basic ingredients—eggs, oil, and vinegar—but it also contains extra sugar and spices. And remember that 65 percent vegetable oil rule? Since Miracle Whip contains less oil, it’s not technically mayonnaise at all. The FDA classifies it as a “dressing” instead.

Miracle Whip vs. mayonnaise

When it comes to nutrition, Miracle Whip contains about half the fat and calories as compared to mayonnaise, so it’s often the go-to choice for those counting calories. That said, it’s sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, and it contains more sugar than most brands of mayonnaise.

As far as flavor goes, Miracle Whip is usually described as sweeter and spicier than mayo, which some people prefer.

When it comes down to it, they work the same in recipes. Feel free to substitute equal parts Miracle Whip for any recipe that calls for mayonnaise (and vice versa) depending on your taste preferences. Just make sure to check your ingredients label when swapping in reduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise; not all of these products contain real eggs. That means your baked goods might not rise or the mayo could separate and become greasy when exposed to heat. Next, find out another egg-related distinction: What’s the difference between white and brown eggs?

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef and a food writer. After graduating from Cascade Culinary school, Lindsay became the Executive Chef at Jackson's Corner in Bend, OR, from 2013 to 2016. Her genuine passion for food and sustainable food practices led her to find the farmer in herself. She lives in Durango, CO, where she enjoys the trials and errors of small plot farming. Lindsay is currently working on a cookbook that teaches home cooks how to craft beautiful meals without a recipe, tentatively titled "The Art of Bricolage: Cultivating Confidence and Creativity in the Kitchen."