What’s Really in Papa John’s Garlic Sauce?

If you’ve ever ordered a pizza from Papa John’s, you’re well acquainted with their iconic garlic sauce that accompanies every pie. It’s creamy, it’s delicious, and it begs the question – what’s actually in it?

Let’s explore the science and ingredients behind this popular dipping sauce.

Expectation vs. Reality: Butter or Mayonnaise?

At first glance, one might assume that Papa John’s garlic sauce contains butter, given its yellow color and thick consistency. However, upon closer inspection, it’s clear that this sauce is more akin to a traditional mayonnaise than a butter sauce.

The Core Ingredients: Soybean Oil and Water

Contrary to popular belief, the main ingredient in Papa John’s garlic sauce is not butter, but soybean oil. This is followed by water, making it similar to a traditional mayo that consists of an emulsion of oil and water.

Instead of using conventional ingredients like egg yolks and acids to combine oil and water, Papa John’s garlic sauce contains mono and diglycerides – modern emulsifiers. In essence, this sauce is a space-age mayonnaise that relies on advanced food science ingredients.

Flavor and Additives

Of course, we can’t forget the garlic element. The sauce contains garlic and other natural flavors, giving it its unique taste. Other ingredients include salt, lactic acid (which likely aids in the emulsification process), and various preservatives.

Interestingly, the sauce’s butter-like color comes from beta carotene – the same compound that gives carrots their distinctive hue. This naturally occurring substance also imparts a yellow color to grass-fed milk and actual butter. By using beta carotene, Papa John’s garlic sauce mimics the color of butter.

Enjoying the Sauce: Embrace the Process and Savor the Flavor

So what do we have in the end? Papa John’s garlic sauce is a delicious, highly-processed dipping sauce made from a blend of soybean oil, water, emulsifiers, and flavorings. While it might not be the healthiest option, it’s certainly enjoyable when paired with your favorite pizza.

The sauce’s name might be a bit misleading, considering its garlic content is less than 2%. However, the taste and experience of dipping your pizza into this delightful sauce are undeniable.

In conclusion, don’t overthink the ingredients behind Papa John’s garlic sauce. Embrace its space-age mayonnaise qualities, and most importantly, enjoy the flavors it brings to your pizza-eating experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Papa Johns garlic sauce is made of soybean oil, water, mono and diglycerides, salt, natural flavors, lactic acid, preservatives, and beta carotene.
  • The mono and diglycerides act as an emulsifier to mix the soybean oil and water.
  • The beta carotene is used to mimic the color of butter.
  • The sauce is essentially a garlicky, space age mayonnaise.
  • The sauce is processed, but delicious.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.
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