Jan Sauce

Copycat Jan sauce is one of the best chicken finger sauces you have never heard from. From the Candlelight Inn in Illinois, this is a sauce all locals know, love, and crave. You can create this chicken dipping sauce at home.

a bowl of Jan sauce with chicken tenders around it

Jan Sauce Recipe

This sauce is easy to make and tastes great on battered chicken strips, chicken tenders, and even a salad. What’s more, it stays fresh in your refrigerator for up to ten days.

If you live in the vicinity of Sterling, Rock Falls, or Clinton in Illinois, you are probably familiar with the Candlelight Inn. This popular local eatery was founded in 1967 by Bob and Jan Prescott. Their specialty is a fried chicken dinner called Chicken George, which is served with Jan’s special sauce and one side of your choice. Locals who don’t live really close think that the Inn’s chicken is worth the drive wherever you live in Illinois.

While the chicken at the Candlelight Inn is certainly wonderful, it becomes even tastier when eaten with the sweet and sour dipping concoction named after Jan Prescott – Jan Sauce. Now you can enjoy this Candlelight Inn eating experience at home by making this copycat Jan Sauce. You probably already have the simple ingredients you need – mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, and Tabasco Sauce.

Wonderful as a dip for battered chicken strips. Just as good as the original!


  • Mayonnaise
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Tabasco Sauce

Jan Sauce Ingredients in separate bowls

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Jan Sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl

Chill for at least 15 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

Serve with fried chicken tenders.

Create Copycat Jan sauce at home

You have got to give this easy chicken finger dipping sauce at home. It’s so easy, and you can make it with easy to find ingredients. I also think this sauce is great to spread on a sandwich, and it can be used for a dipping sauce for fish sticks too!

So if you can’t get to the Candlelight Inn, you can make some of this sauce at home in just a moment or two!

a bowl of Jan sauce with chicken tenders around it

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a bowl of Jan sauce with chicken tenders around it

Jan Sauce

Jan Sauce is a dip for fried chicken strips. Just as good as the original!
4.73 from 11 votes
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Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Copycat Jan Sauce Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 101kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco


  • Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.Let sit for 15 minutes in the fridge or until sugar dissolves.
  • Mix again before serving...Enjoy!


Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 2mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Erin Jones

    4 stars
    Did you mean Clinton, Iowa? The Candlelight Inn is famous for their Chicken George. *I think the Key to what we always called George Sauce is the heating of it.*
    I first had Chicken George at a restaurant called Maude’s in Clinton, Iowa, owned by my best friend’s family. I think the first time I had it was about 27 years ago. Thank you so much for posting this! We lost my friend’s mom 5 years ago, and this is one of the recipes I never got the chance to write down. (And yes, I was the “daughter” that got the recipes and still make them on the regular, though her daughters do now as well.)

  2. Stan

    Hi. Grew up in sterling and probably have a couple percent jans special sauce content in my blood. I have a recipe for the sauce my mom gave me 30 years ago that she got from a “reliable” source. Same ingredients as the OP’s, but the sugar is way off. With two tablespoons, it’s basically just mayonnaise. I took that recipe and just kept adding heaping tablespoons of sugar until I hit the magic number of 12. Heated up in the microwave and it was perfect! Enjoy!

  3. Sarah

    5 stars
    Thank you for creating this copycat recipe. I moved out of state a while ago and have been looking for something like this.

  4. Kat

    4 stars
    Another former Sterling resident here. I use a similar recipe, but I use 1 cup Hellmann’s mayo, 1/2 cup powdered sugar (not granulated), 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (not white, it’s too harsh) and hot sauce to taste. The apple cider vinegar is what gives the sauce it’s distinct taste. This is as close as I can get to having jan sauce without travelling. I have a feeling that Candlelight heats the sauce somehow and that’s what gives it that perfect flavor, but I can’t confirm it and this recipe is close enough that I don’t mind.

    • Todd Peterson

      4 stars
      I tried both recipes. I had a cup of the real jan sauce sitting there as a reference and I have found the recipe from Kat is the Best! It matches exactly and they are using apple cider vinegar.

    • Stan

      Yes, this is spot on. Kat is right. The apple cider vinegar is the key. As is Hellmann’s mayo. Or Best Food’s Mayo for us west of the Rockies. Interesting fact. Denver is the only town in the country where you can buy both Hellmann’s and Best Foods:)

  5. Scott

    I miss the real jan sauce from the candle light in sterling Illinois. This is a great recipe but nothing like the candle lights!

    -Scott S.

    • TMac

      I was told by my relatives after eating at the Candlelight in Sterling, that it was mayo, hot sauce, and powdered sugar. IDK – worth a shot maybe.

      • Melody

        Okay we as a family are at Peppermill in Mount Morris Illinois discussing the Jan sauce that comes with chicken jockey and was wondering if you came to a conclusion as to what was in the recipe

    • Sam_tank

      Dixon/Sterling. I’ll resident I worked at a place that made this without the vinegar,(o’learys closed in 2010) attempts at home isn’t quite the same due to normal mayo we get has a slight texture and flavor difference to heavy mayo that restaurants use.

  6. Liz Nelson

    5 stars
    This was really good I made a mild batch for me and a hotter batch for my husband.
    We really enjoyed it on our chicken tenders.

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