13 of the best sauces and condiments to dip chicken nuggets into

These sauces pair well with chicken nuggets.

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These sauces pair well with chicken nuggets.
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Hollis Johnson

  • There are many different dips for nuggets, from classic to creative.
  • Fast-food spots with popular nuggets offer an assortment of sauces to choose from.
  • Variations exist within broad sauce categories, and many can be customized and made at home.

Let’s be honest – half the joy of eating nuggets is pairing them with your sauce or condiment of choice. And the possibilities are endless, whether you’re enjoying them at a fast food spot like McDonald’s or Wendy’s with their signature sauces or eating frozen or from-scratch nuggets at home with sauces of your own. What follows is a list of the best sauces and condiments to dip your favorite nuggets into.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive and you can dip your nuggets into any sauces you please – or enjoy them plain.


Ketchup is a classic condiment for pretty much everything

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Chicken nuggets with ketchup.
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nitrub/ iStock

And nuggets are no exception. You’re already dipping your fries into them anyways – why mess with a good thing?


Mustard can be sweet or spicy.

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Chicken nuggets with honey mustard.
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SUNGSU HAN/ iStock

Honey mustard and chicken nuggets are a well-known combination, but regular mustard and hot mustard are also fine options. Popeyes has a Mardi Gras mustard that’s sweetened and flavored with Creole spices, and McDonald’s has a honey mustard sauce as well as straight up Grade A honey for dipping their trademark Chicken McNuggets.


Barbecue sauce also has several variations.

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Chicken nuggets with barbecue sauce.
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flyingv43/ iStock

It’s a tangy barbecue at McDonald’s (with sweet hickory smoke flavoring and savory spices), honey BBQ at KFC, and Red Robin’s Campfire Sauce combines barbecue sauce, mayo, and spices. You can also make your own barbecue dipping sauce using this recipe by Food Network or this healthified from-scratch BBQ sauce by Eating Bird Food.


Creamy ranch isn’t just for salads.

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Chicken nuggets with ranch.
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Gizelka/ iStock

You can find buttermilk ranch dip at Wendy’s and KFC, and McDonald’s has a creamy ranch sauce and a spicy habanero ranch. At home, you can play around with different recipes incorporating ranch dressing, like this three-ingredient spicy avocado ranch dip from Spoon University or this Parmesan ranch dipping sauce from Delightful E Made.


Vibrant Buffalo sauce heats things up.

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Chicken wings with buffalo sauce.
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Zoe Miller/INSIDER

Distinguished by its bright orange hue, Buffalo sauce is classic for wings – and nuggets are a natural extension. McDonald’s has a spicy Buffalo dipping sauce, Chick-Fil-A’s is Zesty, and KFC has a creamy Buffalo sauce.


Sweet and sour sauces are a signature at top fast-food spots.

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McDonald’s sweet n sour sauce.
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McDonalds

The apricot and peach-flavored Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce at McDonald’s is drastically different from Wendy’s red-orange version flavored with peppers and pineapples. These sauces are definitely a signature and completely different from place to place, which just may influence which nuggets you choose to eat.


You can make McDonald’s limited-time Szechuan teriyaki sauce at home.

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Teriyaki sauce.
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Paul_Brighton/ iStock

While you may not be able to get your hands on McDonald’s Szechuan teriyaki dipping sauce, The Food Hacker has come to the rescue with their recipe for recreating the sauce at home. The key ingredient? Ground Szechuan peppercorns.


Thick, gooey nacho cheese makes for a decadent dip.

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Nacho cheese.
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geckophotos/ iStock

At White Castle, you can enjoy their unusually shaped Chicken Rings with honey mustard, BBQ, ranch, or zesty-zing sauce, but the pro move is to order them with warm nacho cheese sauce, which is well worth the additional cost.


Mayo can be enjoyed as a dip on its own or as a base for other sauces.

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Chicken nuggets with mayo.
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SergeBlack/ iStock

A key ingredient for the Campfire Sauce mentioned previously, mayo is also the base for other sauces like tangy tartar sauce and Comeback sauce – a Southern staple that pairs wonderfully with fried foods.


Hot sauce is always a good idea.

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Hot sauce.
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Scott Olson/Getty

Especially if it’s Sriracha. Wendy’s is on point with its creamy sriracha dipping sauce, but you can make your own at home using this recipe from Genius Kitchen.


Tzatziki sauce perfectly complements spicy chicken nuggets.

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Tzatziki.
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Julia_Sudnitskaya/ iStock

Cooling cucumber and tangy Greek yogurt is a tasty combination and perfect for offsetting the heat on spicy nuggets. To make it at home, check out this recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen.


When in doubt, go for the “special sauce.”

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McDonald’s signature sauce.
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McDonalds

The Signature Sauce at McDonald’s, Side of S’Awesome at Wendy’s, and other house sauces at fast food burger joints have a similar ketchup-mayo mashup taste, which you can replicate at home using this Epicurious recipe.


Honey adds a sweetness to fried chicken nuggets.

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Honey.
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Shutterstock

A staple in the south and midwest of the United States, you can’t go wrong when dipping your nuggets into sweet and sticky honey.