100 Words On: Why Miracle Whip Doesn't Belong on a Tuna Sandwich

While most folks consider mayonnaise to be a condiment, any half-way decent chef will tell you that, technically, it’s a sauce. Beautiful in its simplicity, mayo is nothing more than egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. That’s it. On the other hand, Miracle Whip — mayo’s cheaper cousin — adds vinegar and sweeteners to the recipe, which gives it a provocatively different flavor that doesn’t come close to real mayonnaise.

The bottom line: Whether you like the stuff or not, Miracle Whip is not mayonnaise — and that’s why a proper tuna sandwich is never made with it. Ever.

Photo Credit: Photo Monkey

55 comments to 100 Words On: Why Miracle Whip Doesn’t Belong on a Tuna Sandwich

  • Tom

    Great post. I can’t stand Miracle Whip. Check that. I hate it. What I’d like to know is how could there even be a market for MW? Do that many people actually like it?

  • BC

    Now you’re treading on thin ice. Having been a MW man my whole life, I’m finally finding a topic to disagree with you on…

  • A proper sandwich doesn’t have mayonnaise or miracle whip. Or tuna for that matter. It has meat and cheese. Maybe lettuce. Anything else is unacceptable.

  • nansuelee

    I prefer Miracle Whip! Hands Down.

  • Oh my gosh Len, I feel the complete opposite of you. I feel tuna or potato salad that is not laced with Miracle Whip is not worth the calories it is made of. I need that zing!! Bring on the sweeteners and vinegar!

    • Len Penzo

      Knowing that you’re from the Midwest, I’m not surprised, Kris. My folks were from Ohio and so when I was a kid they used Miracle Whip too — at least for a little while. Somewhere down the road they switched over to real mayo.

      Is it just me, or is Miracle Whip very popular in the Midwest?

  • I do not use either, I am trying to develop an alternative. My wife adds pickle relish and celery to the tuna or nothing at all in a salad.

  • monica

    This post cracked me up! The age old battle..MW vs. Mayo. I grew up in western PA, we were a miracle whip family. I live in OH now and still prefer the tangy taste of MW. Mayo is tasteless to me. Even the way it is in the jar, all blubbery and fatty looking. YUCK!!
    A few years back I found a recipe for a macaroni salad that uses half MW and half mayo and a bit of dill pickle juice for the dressing. It’s awesome…try it some day.

    • Len Penzo

      Um, I think I’ll pass on your macaroni salad, monica — but thank you. You know, I never thought of mayo as being “blubbery” but, now that you mention it, I think you may be right. LOL!

      So put me down as a proponent of blubbery tuna fish sandwiches! :-)

      Now can you tell me why you folks from the Midwest love Miracle Whip so much?

  • grins…a proper tuna fish sandwich doesn’t have mw huh!!!! well, a proper sandwich doesn’t have tuna fish either.

  • DC

    My wife and I prefer the Real Thing(tm) — mayo. Can’t take any of that so-call “miracle” whip.

    What’s with the name “Miracle Whip” anyway? Sounds like an S&M toy. :D

    Our son, however, is more diplomatic — he doesn’t like either. His preference is for a good brown mustard with a bit of horseradish.

  • Libby

    REAL mayo all the way! My father would have cursed if there was MW on his table. And at the risk of making some people really hate me, the only REAL mayo is REGULA Hellmann’s/Best Foods. All the others are just cheap imitations….and that includes fat free and reduced fat mayos from Hellmann’s/Best Foods!

  • Seth

    I don’t really like either one. I didn’t know there was a difference between the two. I guess that is how much I like them…

  • jerry

    Iv”e been using miricle whip for over 40 years and I was born and raised in southern cal.I use it in my mashed potato salad, yes I said mashed with onion,olives and a shot of mustard. love it on cheeseburgers with red onion,lettuce,mustard. Put a can of tuna in a bowel, mix in MW and sweet or dill relish on wheat bread, YUMM!Get out of the boring rut you mayo users are in, add some spice to your life,GO MIRICLE WHIP!!P.S.Why do some people say TUNA FISH instead of just TUNA?? Is there some other kind of tuna??

  • Kathleen

    Um, I don’t want to put a can of tuna in a bowel!

    I’d rather put the tuna in a bowl, mix it, eat it, and let it work its way into a bowel.


  • Hollis

    Maybe it is a class difference??
    Maybe it is a cost difference??
    Maybe it is what you grew up with? I grew up in a family of 5 children, in the ’50′s/60′s where we worked on the peanut farm in central Texas.

    Mayo is an acquired taste – I use it if nothing else is there

  • SassyMamaw

    You should have had this on one of your polls! I suspect it has more to do with what we grew up with. I grew up with MW, so mayo has an ‘off’ taste to me. (I would tolerate it on a sandwich, though.)

  • To each their own, I say. I prefer Miracle Whip but that’s what I was raised with.

  • Michael in SoCal

    I’m not a huge fan of Hellman’s mayo. I like Best Foods waaaaaayyyy better… Haha…

  • Sorry, but Miracle Whip doesn’t belong in any health-conscious person’s diet!

  • Jenny

    As much as I dislike miracle whip and tuna, I’d take that over the nasty concoction I was fed awhile ago. An egg salad sandwich made with gobs of miracle whip.

    I don’t mind the vinegary tang of miracle whip, but what’s with the sugar? Would you dump a big ole spoon of sugar in your tuna or egg salad. I wouldn’t, so I don’t want sweet miracle whip either.

  • Polly

    Grew up with MW (and yes, from the Midwest), once I tasted real Mayo ,I have never gone back. In fact, whenever I taste a macaroni salad et. with MW I quietly put my fork down!! MW tastes too sweet(yuk)!!!

  • Arrrgggghhhh….I was raised on that awful stuff!!! Just the sight of it on the store shelf makes me squirm! It basically ruined real mayo for me, too.

    Why do people have to put that in a fruit salad? Really, people?!?!?

  • Frugal Pediatrician

    Mustard and pickles please for sandwiches. Mayo only on fish sticks.

  • Renee s

    agreed! give me hellman’s or give me death, haha I think I am going to have tuna salad tonight :) MM!

  • Am I the only person who sees mayonnaise less as a flavoring and more a tool to keep oily meat and wet produce from making my bread soggy? Oil and egg yolks which make up the bulk of mayo’s volume are both pretty transparent.

    Yes, I’d take real mayo when given the choice, but if the non-mayo substitute is transparent and accomplishes the job then I don’t mind.

  • Daryl

    my granddaughter insists on mw, which i can not stand. i must admit when i was on the fair circuit i watched them make mayo, turned me of to all of it for a while, mayo is oil(kind of like soy-lent green is people) lol but bestfoods/hellmans or give me death. i can add vinegar

  • Joeo

    Mayo and its cousin Ketchup are the scourges of mankind. Miracle Whip is worse than those ilk.

  • Char

    Hellmann’s is perfectly good mayo, but Duke’s is the mayo of choice in the South. And you still get the Duke’s vs. Hellmann’s battle, which is nearly as bad as the Mayo vs. Miracle Whip. Mayo all the way for me, and Duke’s if available. Summertime sandwich heaven – home grown tomato, fresh white bread, Duke’s, salt, pepper. MMMMMMMM!

  • Jen from Virginia

    Noooo, Len, noooooo! Say it ain’t so! MW is a requirement for my tuna sandwiches along with a little bit of onion and gherkin pickles.

  • RD Blakeslee

    What a tempest in a teapot! Kind of surprising though, on a website which advocates individual authority and responsibility.

    It’s a matter of taste (stupid). Not even vainglorious Penzo should define the propriety of this or that foodstuff makeup.

    • Len Penzo

      +1 for the use of “vainglorious”, RD.

      Actually, since the use of Miracle Whip on a perfectly good tuna sandwich is irresponsible, this post is apropos. ;-)

  • Eric

    Next week let’s tackle the age old question “How do you hang the toilet paper?”

  • WB

    Of all the columns you post with the potential to help or those that can be controversial, who know that a 100 word column about mayo would generate so many responses.

  • CZ

    I was raised in a MW house in Michigan and I cannot STAND that awful stuff. It isn’t even allowed in my house now–Hellman’s real mayo ONLY. I use it in tuna sandwiches, on BLTs, and to dip my french fries in on occasion. I do put sweet relish in my tuna too, maybe that’s a Midwest thing?

  • [...] had this observation regarding all of the comments I received on my recent article explaining why Miracle Whip doesn’t belong on a tuna sandwich: “What a tempest in a teapot! Kind of surprising on a website which advocates individual [...]

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