The main difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip lies in the products’ vegetable oil content; Miracle Whip has less oil than mayonnaise. The flavor of Miracle Whip is spicier and sweeter than mayonnaise, although Miracle Whip contains many of the same ingredients found in mayonnaise, including soybean oil, eggs and vinegar. Kraft, the maker of Miracle Whip, classifies the product as salad dressing. By some accounts, the origin of mayonnaise predates that of Miracle Whip by around 200 years.
The USDA requires that mayonnaise products have a minimum of 65 percent vegetable oil by weight; Miracle Whip does not contain enough vegetable oil to meet the classification. The precise vegetable oil content of Miracle Whip is a trade secret.
In 1933, Kraft used Charles Chapman’s patented emulsifying machine to develop Miracle Whip as a more affordable alternative to mayonnaise. The condiment premiered at the World’s Fair in Chicago the same year and quickly caught on during the Great Depression.
Although there is some dispute among historians as to the origin of mayonnaise, many believe that the condiment first came into use in 1756 during celebrations of the French’s conquest of Mahon in the Spanish Isles. During the festivities, a cook substituted olive oil in a sauce that called for cream and eggs. Originally called Mahonnaise, the sauce purportedly received its current moniker due to a printing error in 1841.