Whether you’re traveling between states or need a quick last-minute dinner, nothing hits the spot quite like a bag of french fries paired with your favorite fast-food sauces. Foodies everywhere rejoice when fast-food restaurants offer an array of tantalizing dipping sauces to accompany their favorite meals.
As fast-food restaurants continue to step up their game in the hopes of beating out the competition, we wanted the 411 on the best fast-food sauces each establishment has to offer. Whether you’re a fan of something spicy, cheesy, or mustardy, keep reading to discover America’s sauce preferences and the restaurants serving them up!
The States Most Obsessed With Chick-fil-A
With 70% of Americans planning to travel this year, they will likely require some roadside refreshments to get them to their destination. Chick-fil-A dominated the map as the best fast-food joint for dipping sauces in every state except Hawaii … and the cravings don’t stop there.
Participants reported Chick-fil-A Sauce — a combination of honey mustard, ranch, and BBQ sauce — as the most popular dipping sauce in every state except for Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including its love of Chick-fil-A, as 50.98% of respondents said the establishment offered the best fast-food sauces, including its signature Chick-fil-A Sauce. Texas is home to 16% of all Chick-fil-A locations, which would account for the Lone Star State’s affinity for cookies and cream milkshakes and an array of other sauces like Polynesian Sauce or Zesty Buffalo Sauce!
Delaware places first, with more than half of participants (66.25%) surveyed revealing their love for the restaurant’s dipping sauces and signature Chick-fil-A Sauce.
The fast-food joint’s simple chicken sandwich and iconic waffle fries stole the hearts of Georgians everywhere, as 46.08% of those surveyed declared Chick-fil-A as the restaurant with the best fast-food sauces. Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy, opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia, and that support is still echoed in the state today!
Every State’s Favorite Signature Dipping Sauce
Despite Chick-fil-A taking the cake for the best fast-food sauces, we still wanted to shine a light on the runner-ups. Arby’s Sauce was a fan favorite among 19 states, including Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Indiana is one of the top 10 states with the most Arby’s locations (181), cementing its love of the sweet and tangy dipping sauce that pairs well with an order of loaded curly fries.
Taco Bell’s Nacho Cheese Sauce captured the hearts of 5 states, including California, Connecticut, and New Jersey. In 1962, the first Taco Bell business opened in Downey, California, which has grown to 860 restaurants today — California remains the state with the highest amount of locations and some of the best fast-food dipping sauces!
Participants from Rhode Island selected Wendy’s Creamy Sriracha Sauce as one of the best fast-food sauces. Wendy’s also offers diners various other fast-food dipping sauces that pair well with its crispy chicken nuggets, such as hot honey sauce or ghost pepper ranch, which will come in handy as the fast-food establishment plans to discontinue its Creamy Sriracha sauce soon.
Americans Rank the Best Dipping Sauces
Sweet and tangy, spicy and fiery, or garlicky and creamy — the endless combination of fast-food sauces can take any meal to the next level. According to Americans surveyed, Arby’s placed second as the restaurant with the best dipping sauces, capturing 11.55% of the vote. Arby’s offers everything from a classic Tzatziki Sauce to its Horsey Sauce that packs a punch.
McDonald’s — a fast-food restaurant that has been beloved by Americans since first opening its doors in 1955 — was favored by 10.54% of respondents as the go-to place with the best dipping sauces. From Spicy Buffalo Sauce, Tartar Sauce, and Pure Honey — it has it all!
When it came to the top 5 fast-food sauces, Cane’s Sauce placed fourth with 8.51% of the vote. The sauce, which is full of flavor and a dash of spice, is made up of premium seasonings whose ingredients remain undisclosed to the general public!
To find the most popular dipping sauces across the country, we surveyed 3,000 Americans over a 2-week period in May 2022 and asked them which restaurants had the best dipping sauces and which specific sauces they prefer when getting take out. We limited the restaurants in our survey to popular fast-food establishments that can be found in several different states. Respondents were asked which restaurant has the best dipping sauces overall, which specific dipping sauce they like the best, and which types of sauce they prefer in general.
While Chick-fil-A controlled the leaderboard for the most popular dipping sauce and the go-to destination for best dipping sauces overall, the margins got a little bit tighter as participants decided between fast-food places like Taco Bell and Wendy’s.
It’s no secret that fast-food dipping sauces are all about preference, so there’s no shame in enjoying a sauce that didn’t make the cut. Now that the Chick-fil-A Sauce debate has come to a resolution, perhaps it’s time to discover the fast-food joint with the best fried chicken sandwich — or simply use this as an excuse to get takeout and decide for yourself!
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