Skip to Content

What is Burger King’s special sauce made of?

Burger King’s signature sandwich, the Whopper, is known for its flame-grilled beef patty, juicy tomatoes, fresh lettuce, crunchy pickles, and sliced white onions sandwiched between a sesame seed bun. But what really brings all those ingredients together into a mouthwatering burger is Burger King’s special sauce.

The History of Burger King’s Special Sauce

The origins of Burger King’s special sauce can be traced back to 1954 when Burger King (then known as Insta-Burger King) was founded in Jacksonville, Florida. According to company lore, the first batch of the special sauce was whipped up by Burger King founders James McLamore and David Edgerton. While the exact recipe remains a closely guarded secret after all these years, it reportedly contained a combination of common pantry ingredients like mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, onions, and lemon juice.

The special sauce quickly became a signature menu item and was served on Insta-Burger King’s original burger, called the Whopper. When the chain expanded nationwide in 1957 after being purchased by McLamore and Edgerton, the special sauce went with it. Over the years, it has become as synonymous with Burger King as the Whopper itself.

While the recipe has likely been tweaked and adjusted over the past 60+ years, the tangy, creamy special sauce still adds a flavor punch to Burger King burgers. In many locations, it is served in packets alongside burgers like the Whopper and Rodeo Burgers for dipping.

Potential Ingredients in Burger King’s Special Sauce

Since Burger King has never officially disclosed the exact ingredients in their special sauce, we can only speculate based on some clues.

Here are some of the most likely ingredients found in Burger King’s special sauce:

  • Mayonnaise – Many homemade clone recipes call for a mayo base. Mayonnaise would provide a creamy texture and tangy flavor.
  • Ketchup – As one of the most popular burger condiments, ketchup likely makes up a good portion of the special sauce. It would add sweetness and tomato flavor.
  • Relish – Finely chopped pickles or relish would provide crunchy texture and tang.
  • Onions – Onions are a classic burger topping. Finely minced onions or onion powder could replicate the flavor.
  • Mustard – Adding a dash of yellow or Dijon mustard would contribute some zing.
  • White vinegar – A touch of vinegar would enhance the pungency of the sauce.
  • Garlic and onion powders – These are popular seasonings in many sauces and dressings.
  • Paprika – For subtle smokiness without adding color.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Provides depth of flavor.
  • Salt and pepper – Essential for seasoning.

The full recipe is likely more complex with additional ingredients like spices, lemon juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, and other seasonings to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

How Much Special Sauce is on a Whopper?

Unlike other condiments that you can add yourself, the special sauce on a Whopper is pre-applied before serving. But exactly how much special sauce is already on the burger?

According to Burger King, each Whopper contains around 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of special sauce. This is evenly distributed between the top and bottom buns.

Here is a breakdown of the estimated amount of special sauce on a standard Whopper:

Part of Whopper Amount of Special Sauce
Top bun 1 tablespoon
Bottom bun 1 tablespoon
Total ~2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce)

However, sauces are applied by hand, so there may be slight variations from one restaurant location to another. Some Whoppers may have a bit more or less than the 1 ounce average.

How to Make Homemade Burger King Special Sauce

Burger fans have been trying to crack the code of Burger King’s secret special sauce for decades. While the original recipe is still tightly under wraps, some clever cooks have developed their own copycat versions that approximate the taste.

Here is one popular recipe for recreating Burger King’s famous special sauce at home:


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Whisk ingredients together until fully blended.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. For a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion blender.
  4. Refrigerate unused sauce in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
  5. Serve on burgers, sandwiches, fries, and more!

This simple sauce can be tweaked to match your preferences. Try adding a dash of hot sauce for some heat or a spoonful of dill pickle juice for more tang.

Packaged Burger King Special Sauce

While Burger King has never sold their special sauce by the bottle, some packaged varieties have popped up in stores over the years.

In 2019, Heinz launched a Burger King Zesty Sauce in select retail locations to commemorate the chain’s 5,000th U.S. store opening. The ingredients reportedly included a blend of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, pickle relish, and lemon juice concentrate.

Today, bottles of Burger King special sauce are periodically available online through third-party sellers. However, authenticity cannot be guaranteed on these products.

Your best bet for enjoying real Burger King special sauce is still ordering it fresh on your Whopper or dipping packet at a restaurant location.

Special Sauce Copycat Recipes

Part of the appeal of Burger King’s special sauce is its sweet, tangy, and creamy flavor profile that complements a piping hot Whopper. If you can’t get to a Burger King, try one of these copycat recipes to recreate the taste at home:

Easy Special Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Gourmet Special Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons gourmet ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Spicy Special Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients like relish, onions, herbs, hot sauce, horseradish, etc. Adjust to your taste preferences for the perfect special sauce.

Nutrition Information

Since the full list of ingredients and quantities is unknown, there is no definitive nutrition information available for Burger King’s special sauce.

However, we can make some educated guesses based on potential ingredients:

Nutrition Facts (per 2 tablespoons)
Calories: ~90-110
Total Fat: ~10g
Carbohydrates: ~2-5g
Protein: 0-1g
Sodium: ~150-300mg

Given that it is mayonnaise-based, Burger King special sauce is high in fat and low in protein. It also contains a moderate amount of sodium. But as a condiment, it is consumed in small amounts so a couple tablespoons would make up a small portion of your daily intake.


Burger King’s legendary special sauce has been tantalizing people’s taste buds for over 60 years. Its savory, sweet tanginess perfectly complements the Whopper sandwich. While the original recipe remains a secret, a combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, mustard, vinegar, and spices seems to capture its flavor profile. Special sauce fans can try their hand at recreating it using copycat recipes. Or simply grab a Whopper with extra packets of the special sauce for dipping fries too!