There are few things worse than craving Chick-fil-A on a Sunday only to remember that they are indeed closed. When the craving strikes, luckily, there are countless copycat Chick-fil-A recipes to satisfy even the most obscure need, like the beloved seasonal Chicken Tortilla Soup. This time, though, we’re looking at a copycat recipe for the beloved Chick-fil-A sauce from Chick-fil-A itself. It’s rare that chains share their secret sauce recipe, but once you see this, you’ll wonder how you didn’t think of the real deal first.
While you might think that Chick-fil-A sauce had been with the brand since Truett Cathy launched in Georgia, it’s simply not the case. The Original Chicken Sandwich and the Chicken Nuggets came first as main dishes without a sauce. In fact, Chick-fil-A sauce came from none other than Hugh Fleming, a former owner-operator from Fredericksburg, Virginia. According to The Chicken Wire, the sauce was born when his store was failing during a recession. The fast food chain didn’t have a dipping sauce for their Chick-fil-A nuggets at the time, and one particular order was asking for a sauce with their large order.
As Fleming told The Chicken Wire, “I had a honey mustard dressing recipe I knew, so I went back and made that. Those employees loved it and kept coming back. So we made it for them, and then other customers started asking for it. That was the birth of Chick-fil-A sauce right there.” However, if you had the Chick-fil-A favorite sauce then, it wouldn’t taste like the real thing today.
That’s because one small mistake changed the Chick-fil-A sauce recipe for the better. An employee on break in Fleming’s store accidentally mixed barbecue sauce into the homemade sauce, and history was made. Customers were offering to buy it by the gallon, and the team even used a huge commercial mixer to make 5-gallon batches, according to The Chicken Wire.
Chick-fil-A revealed the ingredients of its beloved sauce in a 2012 tweet, found by Delish in their own investigation of the sauce. Here’s what they said.
Did you know? Chick-fil-A Sauce is a magical blend of Honey Mustard, Barbecue and Ranch Sauces. http://t.co/BaLyqbM5
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) August 16, 2012
Is it really as simple as that? What are the ratios at play? Here’s a good recipe for a homemade version from our recipe archives.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
You can store this recipe in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. We like to make a big batch to last through weeknight dinners. Feel free to make this your own, too. Many like to add pickle juice to it for the tang and health benefits, while others will even add liquid smoke to add that smoky flavor.