Difference between: mayonnaise and Miracle Whip

Okay, Miracle Whip is tangier and has a slightly thinner consistency, but what else?

Let me start off by saying that, although I used to not be a fan of mayonnaise, I am now fully among the mayo camp. Furthermore, it has to be Hellmann’s – this is one grocery store item I do not swap out for the cheaper generic brand. Miracle Whip, on the other hand, is only made by Kraft.

For years I only put Ranch or mustard on my sandwiches, but slowly I got back into mayonnaise and have come to appreciate its classic simplicity. Miracle Whip, I’ve never really liked – and yes, I’ve tried it, which I feel the need to mention because Miracle Whip advocates claim that people say they hate the product without ever having eaten it.

In short, Miracle Whip contains the same ingredients as mayonnaise – eggs, soybean oil, vinegar – except there are more spices and additional ingredients added. Consequently, Miracle Whip is described as being sweeter, spicier, and tangier than mayonnaise.

Now, let us take a look at the history, definitions, recipes, and nutritional value of the two.

Mayonnaise originated in Philadelphia in 1907; Miracle Whip made its debut in 1933 at the Chicago’s World Fair. The Depression was going on at the time, and Miracle Whip was a cheaper alternative to mayonnaise. However, now Miracle Whip has “caught up” and the two are basically the same price.

There has been a debate for many decades now between the two products. Mike Redmond wrote a recent, humorous piece for CurrentInCarmel.com on the great debate, and he says, “When it comes to the white stuff people put on their bologna sandwiches and in their potato salads, people act like there is religion involved.”

Side note: Speaking of potato salad, be careful before substituting Miracle Whip for mayonnaise in a recipe – it can certainly be done, but you have to take into consideration the additional  ingredients in the Miracle Whip that you may not want duplicated or clashing with the ingredients of the recipe.

According to RealSimple.com, the USDA requires anything labeled mayonnaise must contain a minimum of 65% vegetable oil by weight.

Dictionary.com defines mayonnaise as, “A thick dressing of egg yolks, vinegar or lemon juice, used for salads, sandwiches, vegetable dishes, etc.”

Hellmann’s defines their mayonnaise as follows: “America’s #1 mayonnaise is made with real, simple ingredients: eggs, oil, and vinegar. Hellmann’s is also committed to using certified cage-free eggs in our products.” They call their original mayonnaise “real mayonnaise” among their other options – light, with olive oil, etc.

Miracle Whip, as a brand name, is not listed in the dictionary. On Kraft’s website, they simply say about Miracle Whip that it’s “on a mission to open a million mouths.” Their Facebook page says, “We’re a creamy blend of sweet and tangy that some people say they don’t like without having tried it.”

When searching for a classic, traditional, mayonnaise recipe, although there are many, I found that it really is all about the pure simplicity – they all basically have the same ingredients. However, many recipes I found such as this one list vegetable or canola oil for the main base, when Hellmann’s uses soybean oil.

You may have noticed in my own recipes here I do not typically specify what type of oil to use, because different oils can be used interchangeably so often. However, supposedly vegetable or canola oil are of a higher quality than soybean oil. Hmm. Perhaps I have found my next Difference Between post! I digress.

Mayonnaise can be made up of eggs, Dijon mustard, oil of some kind, and either white wine vinegar or lemon juice.

As with mayo, I found a lot of different copycat recipes for Miracle Whip. Most seem to contain sugar, paprika, and garlic powder, in addition to the aforementioned mayonnaise ingredients.

InfoBarrel.com provides us with the nutritional differences between the two, which seem to be few and far between: mayonnaise has more calories and fat; Miracle Whip has more sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates (mayonnaise has zero carbs). 

In conclusion, although Miracle Whip is arguably more flavorful than mayonnaise, in my own opinion, it can’t hold a candle to its traditional counterpart. There is something to be said about using a few super simple high quality ingredients over choosing something with more “stuff” in it.

Therefore, I would be inclined to believe that mayonnaise “goes” better with more sandwiches and additional dishes than Miracle Whip does. Because Miracle Whip has that sharper taste than mayonnaise, I would recommend being careful substituting one for the other, although again, it can be done.

As the aforementioned Mike Redmond said when it comes to which to put on a bologna sandwich, “the disagreement diverts us from serious questions, such as, Should we be eating this stuff in the first place? and Have you ever seen what goes into bologna?

Photo credit: WikiHow.com

24 thoughts on “Difference between: mayonnaise and Miracle Whip

    1. Miracle Whip is pure nasty while Hellmann’s is pure Mayo which I love. Hellmann’s is the best!

    1. In fats and oil business 30+ years. Do research on oils you mentioned to be sure you are reporting facts. Get the facts Mam.

  1. I decided to try this site as I was sick this evening after eating Hellman’s Real mayonnaise. The soy in this mayo doesn’t have any taste like the old Hellman’s without the soy. It is also a very thin consistency unlike the old Real Mayonnaise. Fortunately, I read some good reviews with the Canola oil here and will try to find this or switch to Miracle Whip.
    I obviously cannot tolerate this amount of soy and it does seem to be in everything. Soy is probably the cheaper oil ingredient and I know it does not do justice to products. I also take a drug for high cholesterol, another reason to switch to Canola.
    I will be looking, hopefully, for a small jar of the Hellman’s with Canola. Hopefully they make a small jar to try for taste. I am trying to think positive after reading the comments as there is nothing better during summer months as a tomato sandwich with mayonnaise.
    I hope to find this brand in my grocery store. I just wasted my money on the Hellman’s Real mayonnaise which is nothing like the old Real mayonnaise.
    Thanks for the site and the information I was able to find here.
    Pat

    1. Thanks for your comment, that is interesting information. Yes, I would try the Hellmann’s with Canola Oil, which I’ve had before. That should be better for you than the regular Hellmann’s with the soybean oil.

  2. Some interesting insights – but oils are not all the same lah! Here’s a topic to opine on “does the new Miracle Whip w/ olive oil taste the same as original / blue label MW?” (I’ve tasted & say same same, but my foodist roomie wont touch the green label.) (I think its just Kraft trying to join the healthy set – along w/ adding olive oil they dropped the high fructose corn syrup & went back to sugar.)

    1. I almost did a post on mayonnaise with olive oil in it versus regular mayonnaise! I honestly wasn’t sure if they’d be too similar. I do have a “difference between olive oil and vegetable oil” post. =0)

    2. Kraft has also changed their supplier for spices and because of that have taken their products off of the “gluten free” listings. Makes me sad because although I use mayo in my potato salad, I always used Miracle Whip in my ham, chicken, and apple salads. My family is celiac so we have to stay gluten free. I will have to look up those copycat recipes Erin mentioned

    3. I find that if I consume soybean oil, my digestive system has a very difficult and uncomfortable time dealing with it. Most vegetable oils and canola oil, on the other hand, are safe for me as long as I don’t go crazy with it. So far, the oils I’ve had the best luck with are grapeseed and hazelnut oils. Grapeseed oil makes a killer Miracle Whip, especially if you reduce the sugar.

  3. I used to be a Miracle Whip person, but after switching to Mayonnaise while doing the Atkins diet years ago, I’ve really come to appreciate the creamy richness of real mayo over the tangy zip of Miracle Whip.

    Hellman’s has an olive oil mayo now (actually a mix of canola and olive oil), and it’s really quite good. I just wish they’d ditch the little bit of sugar they still add to it.

    1. THE OLIVE OIL ONE HAS MORE SOY OIL IN IT THAN THE OLIVE OIL I READ HERE LATELY. SORRY I GOT FOOLED BY THE INGREDIENT NATURAL FLAVOR WHICH I READ LATER IT WAs soybean oil

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  5. I grew up on Miricle Whip. Hellman’s to me is bitter. That being said, I have it in my fridge because I do use it for a few things….potato salad (1/3 Miricle Whip and 2/3 Mayo. If it’s to sweet, I add a couple Tbsp more mayo. Of course I’m one of those people who HATE mustard in potato salad, deviled eggs, and pretty much any mayo based recipe). I honestly thought that their calories were semi close until I went on a diet and started counting calories. In 1 cup of Miricle Whip there is 640 calories, were as the same amount of mayo has 1551! – that’s 2.5x the amount of its counter part. (I know 1 cup is a lot, but when making salads, you use a lot).

    Also, even though soy has been pounded into us as a “miricle food” (the US Gov tried to get Afganistan to start growing it because of it’s meraculous properties) remember that it is full of estrogen which like any pregnant or PMSing woman knows, estrogen causes your body to store fat for a potential baby (and to form hips and breasts). In my opinion, the fattest nation in the world shouldn’t be making food choices for healthy civilizations (even if we see their diet as lacking, it’s their traditions, their foods). So for the mayo lovers out there, I’d recommend getting away from the soy based mayo and back to the olive oil based, but oil is oil when it comes to calories.

    To me this debate is the same as the one my family has regarding which brand of ketchup is better. (Heinze all the way!) Eat what YOU like, know the neutrition in each, and enjoy your meal instead of eating something because someone else says A is better than B. Also, be curtious and keep both brands in your fridge for visitors (even if it is a mini jar or you save/snatch some extra packets at a cafeteria for example). Everyone’s taste buds are different in what they prefer, so don’t critisize your friends. It’s a stupid subject to loose friends over.

  6. We have used Miracle Whip for years and years but it has really changed in taste AND texture lately..I don’t know why anybody would mess with a very good product, unless it is being made to save the company money ….so many companies think they are fooling folks by changing or down-sizing products [or both] and we will never notice, but I just change products and find better ones becauce food is so high to begin with, and changing the flavor is NOT the answer…this is only 2 persons opinion, me and my husband and I do not expect all to agree with me, so be nice, ok ?

    1. Charlene, a lot of food companies are under pressure to cut back on the salt/sugar/fat/etc in their products, and it’s really difficult to do so without changing the flavor. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that’s why Miracle Whip’s taste and texture is off.

    2. I just the other day noticed that my Miracle Whip has a different texture….more like the “lite” stuff.

      You are not alone!

    3. I don’t have to try to be nice, because I agree on all points. Companies shouldn’t change a product that is already a good one. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes. Regrettably, many companies (including Kraft and Hellman’s) are breaking it as they search for higher profit margins.

      You’re right about the opinions, too. If we all liked the same things, there wouldn’t even be a Miracle Whip versus mayonnaise debate. Everyone would just use _______. Tsk, tsk. You didn’t think I was actually going to fill in that blank, did you?

  7. Yea they are messing with perfection. Miracle Whip should not be messed with at all.
    My potato salad is excellent when I use Miracle Whip.

    1. I always use Miracle Whip in potato salad, but if you are out of it, can you use mayo, and add some sugar and other stuff to duplicate the Miracle Whip flavor?

  8. With my mom’s recipes, she always used both in any recipe that had to do with mayo so there was no debate. I, personally, just love the taste of miracle whip and find mayo to be pretty tasteless overall. I don’t use either on sandwiches, though. I’d rather use a salad dressing or if I do opt for a mayo, it has to be a flavored mayo. I really don’t get how people can put mayo on their sandwiches and notice any sort of difference at all.

  9. My GF bought mayo once when we were in University. I had never tried it before. I think it was Hellmanns. I made a deli sandwich with it and every time I took a bite, I opened up the sandwich to add more mayo. Eventually it was oozing out from the bread making a mess. I said to my GF “What the heck is wrong with this stuff?! I can’t taste anything. It is just white and wet.” .

  10. Amazing, after reading all the comments, no one mentioned that Hellmans is only available East of the Mississippi. It is known as Best Foods West of the Mississippi.
    Mayonnaise is the only way to go and homemade is the absolute best.
    You can make it in your blender.
    I always mix it with a little mustard to make my own Dijonaise. Why anyone would use any form of salad dressing (Miricle Whip) I can’t imagine.
    One of the best known commercial potato salad is so god awful sweet that I pass it up.
    Remember that they use HFCS in salad dressing and Heinz/Kraft products. That means that your body will not provide any insulin to break it down and it is stored as fat.
    If you make it thinner then it becomes an aoli (sp) sauce. Just add a little garlic or onion powder or spice of your choice. Remember the vinegar cooks the eggs.

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