McDonald’s Hot Mustard is my default sauce. I’ve dipped my Chicken McNuggets in them for the past, um, I can’t remember how long. It’s extremely rare for me to deviate from that, although there was that brief dark moment when McDonald’s discontinued it and brought it back. My sauce swaying also happens when the Golden Arches offers new dips. The latest are Sweet & Spicy Jam and Mambo.
According to McDonald’s, the Sweet & Spicy Jam is a jammy red pepper sauce with a Szechuan peppercorn kick and extra heat from cayenne pepper, and finished with apple cider vinegar. It’s McDonald’s first-ever breakfast-inspired dipping sauce in the US. While the chain recommends trying it with various breakfast menu items, it’s available all day. Mambo is a tomato-based, sweet, spicy, and vinegary. It’s inspired by the popular condiment found at many Washington DC restaurants.
The first thought that came to mind after trying the Sweet & Spicy Jam was Panda Express, probably because of the Szechuan peppercorns. And at the same time, I thought it tasted like a spicier version of something else McDonald’s has offered. It’s sweet, peppery, spicy, and a little something else. It warmed the back of my mouth but didn’t become anything more than mild. After scraping whatever I could from the container with a rigid French fry, proving that I enjoyed it, I thought about it and realized it’s like a spicy sweet & sour sauce.
As for the Mambo Sauce, I should start with a full disclosure: This is my first experience with it (it’s also known as mumbo sauce) since I live on the opposite side of the country from where it’s famous. But Mambo is instantly the most fun Chicken McNuggets sauce name to say. It’s much spicier than the Sweet & Spicy Jam and has a slight fruitiness that I think might be pineapple. But it tastes like a sweet and peppery barbecue sauce that happens to make my head sweat a little.
I wanted to end this review by typing that the Sweet & Spicy Jam is my new jam, but I’d be lying because Hot Mustard is still my jam, er, mustard. Both new sauces are tasty takes on the pairing of sweet and spicy, and I enjoyed them equally. They’re definitely worth a try if you enjoy that flavor combo.
Purchased Price: Comes with 10-piece Chicken McNuggets
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Sweet & Spicy Jam – 80 calories. Mambo Sauce – 60 calories. No other information is available on McDonald’s website.