Kraft has been pulling out all the stops with Internet, television and print ads for Miracle Whip in recent months, noting that it is tangy and sweet, positioning it as an alternative to mayonnaise.
You can get a free sample of Miracle Whip from Facebook, or of course, you can just buy a small jar in the supermarket. We got the two small packets shown in the slide show, about a tablespoon each from the Facebook page.
Miracle Whip was developed in 1933 by Kraft using an “emulsifying machine” invented by Charles Chapman, and was first distributed at that year’s World’s Fair. It was positioned as a less expensive alternative to mayonnaise, and originally suggested as a salad dressing for fruit salads and the like.
Today, Miracle Whip is about the same price as mayonnaise, and is still manufactured from about 20 different spices as well as sugars and vinegar. By contrast, you can easily make your own mayonnaise from eggs, cooking oil and a little water. Melissa Clark discussed this recently in the New York Times.
The standard quality bottled mayonnaise in the U.S. is, of course, Hellmans, and its ingredients are nearly that simple: soybean oil, water, whole eggs, egg yolks,vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA and natural flavors.
The ingredients in Miracle Whip are water, soybean oil, vinegar, HFCS, modified cornstarch, sugar, eggs, salt, natural flavor, mustard flavor, potassium sorbate, paprika, spice and dried garlic.
Clearly there is less egg and more sugars in Miracle Whip than in mayonnaise.
So, we decided to put them to a taste test. We made a small Boars Head ham sandwich, cut it in half and put a dollop of Hellman’s Mayonnaise on one half and a dollop of our sample Miracle Whip on the other. The Boars Head Virginia baked ham came from Village Market, as did the Hellman’s.
The taste test in unequivocal: Hellman’s is rich and eggy, and Miracle Whip is very sweet and tastes primarily of vinegar, not eggs. We didn’t like it at all.
Now many people prefer Miracle Whip, and there seems to be a regional preference in the South and Midwest for the sweeter Miracle Whip, but we found the sweetness intrusive, covering up the ham flavor. Miracle Whip was really originally marketed as a salad dressing, for fruit salads and it may work better for some people there.
One important difference is that a tablespoon of Hellman’s is 90 calories, but a tablespoon of Miracle whip is only 30 calories. This is a huge difference, but if you want a reduced calorie mayonnaise, Hellman’s make two of them: Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise (blue top) is only 35 calories per tablespoon and Hellman’s Low Fat Mayonnaise Dressing (green top) is only 15 calories per tablespoon. The Light Mayonnaise is actually pretty good. We didn’t like the low fat version as well.
So, we preferred Hellman’s over Miracle Whip but if you make your own mayo, it will beat out any of these bottled products.
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