Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Trader Joe's Magnifisauce

In addition to chatter about GME, NOK, and AMC "stonks," the death of Dustin Diamond (RIP Screech) and Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, the interwebs are ablaze with news and opinions about this ostentatiously-packaged new condiment from Trader Joe's. Some are saying it's just Thousand Island dressing. Some are saying it's the next big thing. Some are angry that "canola oil" is the number one ingredient. Some are saying they'd drink it straight from the bottle. Inquiring minds want to know: is it worth the hype?

Ever since 1980's McDonald's commercials sang about "special sauce" in their Big Mac burgers, Americans have had an obsession with special or "secret" sauces. Oooh. Everybody loves a secret, right? Soon places like Burger King would follow suit with the Big King, and although I wasn't exposed to them until many years later, In-N-Out on the west coast would slather their burgers and animal style fries with a mysterious pinkish dressing that astounded and allured the masses.

I'm not sure why, but myself, my family, and my circle of friends didn't figure out that these clandestine condiments were simply a mixture of other more common toppings like relish, ketchup, and mayonnaise, with a few spices thrown into the mix, until many years after we'd first partook of the secretive salsa in our fast food burgers. Are we a bit slow? Perhaps. But at least now the cat's out of the bag. All special sauces are basically conglomerations of other less exotic constituent parts. So is the $2.99 squeeze bottle of Magnifisauce really that magnificent?

Yes and no. The convenience factor is high. I don't think I've ever seen special sauce sold as special sauce before, and certainly not in such a handy package. It's shelf stable until it's opened, and it's best if used within 90 days. 

Sonia and I don't eat hamburgers all that often, but we'll be able to finish this sauce as a dip for appetizers like French fries and onion rings. Make no mistake, it's pretty tasty when eaten as the main condiment on a traditional burger. We got a couple of patty melts from the bar and grill restaurant down the street yesterday, took them home, broke out this sauce, and were pleasantly surprised with its taste. Flavor-wise, it really is basically just Thousand Island dressing with a good bit of pickle relish and some faint garlic and onion in the background. We both think it's a little thinner than mainstream fast food secret sauce, and by my estimation maybe just a tad sweeter.

I'm no food scientist, so you can tell me in the comments below why canola oil is good or bad. It's the base of this sauce. Most Trader Joe's products at least have the veneer of being healthy-esque. I'm not convinced either way, but even if canola oil is detrimental to my health, I won't be eating enough of this stuff for it to kill me. Like I said, we'll finish this bottle over the next few months. After that, not sure if I'd re-purchase except perhaps to take to a big party or neighborhood barbecue type gathering where lots of burgers will be eaten all at once. I wish I could join the ranks of either the Magnifisauce zealots or even the haters, but alas, I'm a moderate and a centrist at heart, even when it comes to condiments. Call me a milquetoast fencesitter if you must. You wouldn't be wrong. Three stars from me.

The wifey will be slightly more pro-Magnifisauce and throw out four stars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. How timely. Just saw this in the Fearless Flyer and was intrigued. But they lost me at relish. There's a similar looking product by Hidden Valley I just spotted at Target. The top ingredients after oil are tomato paste and buttermilk which sounds more to my liking.

    1. Hmm. Now I'm curious about this Hidden Valley version...

    2. I don't know if this changes your mind, but big mac sauce has relish in it.