Recipe: Easy chicken finger (and MORE) dipping sauce

So if you've ever had chicken fingers at:
  • Zaxby's
  • Raising Cane's
  • Guthrie's
  • Slim Chicken
Then you've probably had that tangy sweet peppery pink-colored dipping sauce these places are famous for. I found a few recipes that claimed to be the REAL (Zaxby|Guthrie|Cane)'s sauce but all were a bit off to me (one of them had close to quadruple the garlic powder that I decided on, another had equal amounts ketchup and mayo, some call for paprika, etc). While I don't have it all perfectly nailed down, I got it good enough to share.

1/2 cup Mayonaise*
1/4 cup Ketchup**
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (NOT tablespoon like some recipes)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (again, NOT tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Stir / whisk until the sauce is completely mixed, you shouldn't see any color difference (look for white swirls). Put in a covered container and let it set up in the refrigerator at least overnight***. Preferably for 24-48 hours but 12 will do in a pinch.

This basic recipe will make around 7 ounces, which is PLENTY for a family of 4 sitting down to a LARGE amount of chicken fingers. Quadruple this recipe and you fill up a 26oz spaghetti sauce jar so that you have plenty on-hand (I don't know how long it takes to spoil, it doesn't get that far here). Cutting it down to smaller portions is possible but a bit hard simply because you'll need to work in smaller-than-half-teaspoon ingredients. .

The nice part of making it yourself isn't just that you can adjust the flavors to fit your tongue, but you can make sure the ingredients are the quality you want to serve. Yeah, you won't get around it having a TON of mayonaise, but you can use a healthier mayo (and ketchup without corn syrup, etc).

Once you have the first batch done, play with increasing the black pepper or garlic. Be careful, a little garlic powder goes a long way ... the first batch I made with the recipe that called for 4x the amount I used and it got dumped out without being eaten. If you're craving it to be a bit saltier, you might want to add more Worcestershire sauce instead. I usually cheat and up the Worcestershire just a bit.

Not just for chicken by the way. This works great as a sandwich spread on pulled pork, as a dipping sauce for tacitos, etc.

PS. If you end up getting something that tastes closer to the real thing for your particular brand of chicken finger restaurants (I don't live near any of them anymore, which is why this project became important to me :), please feel free to post tweaks and notes. For instance I know Slim Chicken's changes the proportions and adds more black pepper (I think they use closer to an equal mayo-to-ketchup ratio).

*I use Hellman's Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise. This is a fairly new product but the Hellman's flavor seems to work best to me. I tried Kraft Olive Oil Mayonnaise, which is what I use for sandwiches, but the flavor wasn't right.

**I use Hunt's 100% Natural No High Fructose Corn Syrup Ketchup. (say that 5 times in a row). I tried a couple of organic ketchups (Nash Brothers, Muir Glen, both of which I like for other things) but they were actually TOO tangy and weren't as finely processed so they left tiny red specs in the sauce. We're trying to be fairly close to the restaurant sauces here. However if you like the idea of a tangier sauce, give it a shot.

***IMPORTANT: Yes, you really do need to let it sit 24 hours. It will mellow the sauce out. 48 hours or more is even better. Most of these restaurants mix this in-house at the store and let it sit a day before serving it. It just won't taste the same otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. So, after some more time tasting Cane's sauce, Darien and I think that they may use something like Lowry's Seasoned Salt for the garlic taste, which would explain it being a bit saltier without tasting like it has more Worcestershire. Also might be a touch of lemon juice.