Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip: The Differences

Updated on December 17, 2019
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.

Miracle Whip vs Mayonnaise
Miracle Whip vs Mayonnaise | Source

Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip are not the same. They are, indeed, very different. However, if you run out of one, you could get away with using the other as a substitute on a temporary basis. However, those who favor one or the other don't like to change.

Miracle Whip isn’t mayonnaise, and mayonnaise isn't Miracle Whip. Here's why. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that anything labeled "mayonnaise" must contain a minimum of 65 percent of vegetable oil. Miracle Whip has a much lower percentage and doesn't meet the FDA standard to be mayonnaise.

What most people don't know is that Miracle Whip was priced cheaper to make it affordable for poor people during the Depression. These days, the price of Miracle Whip is about the same as mayonnaise. It is among the 20 top-selling brands.

Miracle Whip isn’t mayonnaise, and mayonnaise isn't Miracle Whip.

Mayonnaise | Source

What Is Mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise, often abbreviated as mayo, is a spread that is put on many foods, including sandwiches to enhance the taste. It is uncooked and slightly greasy.

According to Wikipedia:

Mayonnaise is a thick, creamy sauce often used as a condiment. It is made with oil, egg yolks and either vinegar or lemon juice.

Mayo is a thick, cold sauce or dressing. The color of mayonnaise could be white, cream color, or pale yellow. It may range in texture from a light cream to a thick gel.

Mayo sales have doubled since 2005. Last year, Americans bought approximately 177 million gallons of mayonnaise. To put that in perspective, that's enough mayonnaise to fill 268 Olympic size swimming pools or two-thirds of the Empire State Building.

Mayonnaise is a booming business even though people can make their own at home. Americans spend at least $2 billion on it every year. That's more than on any other condiment including ketchup. Mayo is used on foods other than just sandwiches. It is included in pasta salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, devil eggs, potato salad, and sushi.

It is hard to come to an agreement about how mayonnaise should be categorized. In this section, there are four different names for mayonnaise:

  1. spread
  2. sauce
  3. dressing
  4. condiment

Mayonnaise is uncooked. Miracle Whip is cooked.

Miracle Whip
Miracle Whip | Source

What Is Miracle Whip?

Miracle Whip is a salad dressing manufactured by Kraft Foods and sold throughout the United States and Canada. It was debuted at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1933. It soon became a success as a condiment on fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, and salads.

According to Wikipedia:

"Miracle Whip does not meet the minimum requirement of 65% vegetable oil to be labeled as mayonnaise as dictated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."

Water is the first ingredient in Miracle Whip with some oil, sugar, and cornstarch to thicken, a little bit of egg, and some salt and flavorings. Because of all the water, it has half the calories of mayonnaise. Miracle Whip is considered a healthier version of mayo because it doesn't have fats like mayo has that your body needs.

If you can't tell the difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, put them side by side and do the taste test. The one that tastes sweeter is Miracle Whip because of the high-fructose corn syrup and sugar that it contains.

The Differences Between Mayo and Miracle Whip

Miracle Whip
More expensive
Less expensive
Made with 80% vegetable oil; FDA requires at least 65%
Very low content of vegetable oil; way less than FDA requirement of 65%
Flavor is not sweet or spicy
Sweet, tangy and spicy flavor
Labeled as a spread, condiment, dressing or sauce
Labeled as a salad dressing
Few ingredients
Includes more than 20 different spicy ingredients
Made with natural household ingredients; therefore, you can make your own
All ingredients not known; therefore, you cannot make your own
Not a brand
Among top 20 selling brands
More calories
Half the calories of mayo
Looks exactly like Miracle Whip
Looks exactly like mayonnaise
Slightly greasy
Not greasy
A generic name; the first letter is a lower case "m"
A brand name; that's why the first letters are capitalized.
Fats content because of eggs
Considered healthier because of no fats
One tablespoon has 90 calories.
Has more sugar

Which do you use?

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    • profile image

      The Oatmeal Is In My Arm 

      4 months ago

      My problem is that it's marketed as a "healthier" alternative to mayo, which it isn't for many people. On a low sodium diet (which is near-impossible to do, 8oz of any affordable meat but pork is likely to use up your entire daily allowance without adding anything) where every bit of sodium matters, miracle whip is 1% higher. For diabetics, miracle whip has 10x as much sugar. Miracle whip has less fat but most of the fat it does have is saturated.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      Miracle Whip contains high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the worst things you can put in your body, while mayonnaise contains natural fats and calories, which are less harmful to your health. I can't stand eating Miracle Whip. It's like eating a mouthful of creamed sugar. So sweet it's disgusting.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      7 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Lori, there is nothing wrong with using the miracle whip that you have. It is the best substitute for mayonnaise for the time being. Apparently, you do use miracle whip based on the fact that you have it on hand.

    • profile image

      Lori Harrop 

      7 months ago

      I’m making pasta salad and it calls for mayonnaise and I only have miracle whip I just moved so I have no groceries so what can I use instead

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      We can not find miracle whip anywhere anymore. Please help me find it. Or can i order on line

    • profile image

      Joan Laughter 

      10 months ago

      just read that the Pioneer Woman says that Miracle Whip is from the Devil.....she nailed it. That stuff is disgusting.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      11 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks KD Taylor and for commenting on the article about Miracle Whip and Mayo.

    • profile image

      KD Taylor 

      11 months ago

      I have always preferred Miracle Whip, maybe because I like sweet rather than oily foods. Calcium Disodium EDTA is usually listed in the ingredients of Mayo; I prefer to avoid preservatives.

    • profile image

      Barbara B 

      12 months ago

      Don’t you make lite miracle Whip any more?

    • profile image

      Amy Joshua 

      12 months ago

      Went to buy mayo yesterday but came home with miracle whip. My mistake. Mayo tastes better. I'll be more careful next time. Wouldn't like to make the mistake again

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Here in the Philippines, we commonly refer mayo alternatives as "mayo magic", which was a brand name used by one of their competitors.

      These mayo alternatives are very popular among food service because it is cheaper than real mayo. I would swear against the use of this, as it ruins the taste of whatever I am eating. For my fellow countrymen, not so much, as we're a culture that thinks overcooking eggs is the norm as it ain't cooked if there's no grey cover that forms between the yolk and the white.

    • profile image

      Richard Revell 

      12 months ago

      I have worked many times in the Kraft Plant in Champaign, IL as an electrician and was so amazed at how clean everything is and how much Miracle Whip they put out in a day.

      The whole plant is just clean as a pin that is why I buy only Kraft products.

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      I prefer mayonnaise and it’s healthier too! MW contains so much sugar and artificial ingredients.

    • profile image

      Carl in Boston 

      18 months ago

      I was once asked by mom to purchase mayonnaise, but I brought home MW. Mom not pleased! Since we were on a tight budget, the MW got used. My Mother, father, 3 brothers and myself regretted that mistake until it was gone. In the 50 years since, my aversion to MW remains strong. I have,on occasion, tasted it in potato salad and tuna salad and other things that were made by other people. I immediately discard it, and explain how awful I believe it to be.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      21 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Jane Doe, like you, I use both. I buy whatever is on sale. I am not a very good cook. Therefore, I don't know about one of them curdling. Perhaps some of the other readers will respond to that.

    • profile image

      Jane Doe 

      21 months ago

      I buy both. I have to because every recipe is different. I do not make tuna or chicken salads with mayo but egg or potato salads, I use the sweeter version of Miracle Whip.

      I also perfer Mayo for fries if I am out of ketchup, but perfer MW as a dip recipe for homemade ranch.

      MY Biggest question is, I heard one can't be cooked or heated as that would curdle the spread. Is this true and which one is it that you should be adding cold?

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Patty and Rochelle, thanks a lot for reading my article about mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. So far, most people say they prefer mayonnaise.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      2 years ago from California Gold Country

      I loved this and did not know all of the differences. I knew Miracle Whip was sweeter tasting, and I switched to mayo. I think my Mom probably used MW because it was cheaper and they were on a tight budget.

      My husband's German aunt became obsessed with Miracale Whip when she came for an extended visit aka "Mir-AUCK-el Vip". I don't think they had it over there.

      Brilliant idea for an interesting article. Cheers!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      2 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Very interesting overall -- I did not know that Miracle Whip is cooked! I use both products but only once in a while, like I drink Coke and Pepsi. Probably should give up all four. LOL

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Louise, mayonnaise and Miracle Whip are on the shelf side by side in the grocery store. Every time I buy mayonnaise, I have to make sure I am not buying Miracle Whip.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      We don't get Miracle Whip here in the UK, so I buy Mayonaise.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I like mayo. But I looked into the healthier. The only benefit I can see in Miracle Whip is less fat. I worry a lot more about added sugars and added salt. Nice job here. Thank you.


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