Easy Sauce Recipes to Keep in Your Back Pocket
This intensely flavorful and savory Asian-inspired marinade is a vibrant twist on our “Master Marinade,” and is a delicious match for anything from chicken wings to shrimp skewers. That said, we found that we especially love it as a marinade for crisp veggies—like broccolini and baby bok choy. This flavor bomb recipe is one worth keeping in your back pocket for sure.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
Top a pizza or bread for Italian bruschetta, or toss with penne. Seeding half the tomatoes keeps the sauce from becoming watery.
Copycat Wendy’s Ranch Sauce
Rich, creamy, and tangy—just like the signature Wendy’s ranch sauce, but without the preservatives. Easy to mix up and perfect for all kinds of dipping, this copycat Wendy’s ranch is the perfect homemade condiment to prep ahead and use all week long.
North African Marinade
This incredibly flavorful North African-inspired marinade, also known as chermoula, is delicious twist on our “Master Marinade.” While it would be delicious used on beef, seafood, or any other number of proteins, we especially loved the fresh, exotic flavor profile of this marinade matched with grilled lamb.
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro; Food Styling: Anna Hampton
Buttermilk-Bourbon Caramel Sauce
The key to this sauce is the sugar's color. You're looking for a large patch of golden-colored sugar (this usually develops in one section of the saucepan).
Quick Marinara Sauce
Sun-Dried Tomato Oil
Sun-dried tomatoes add visual dazzle as well as flavor to this seasoning oil. Use Sun-Dried Tomato Oil as a marinade, drizzle for salads, or dipping oil for breads.
Whisk together Soy-Ginger Dressing for your favorite salad greens, or use the dressing as a dipping sauce for your favorite cabbage rolls. With only 5 ingredients, Soy-Ginger Dressing is as versatile as it is delicious.
An evergreen, everyday pesto will perk up pastas and pizzas when fresh basil is no longer in season. The warmth from the toasted walnuts will help the sauce emulsify; don't skip this step. Try the sauce on seared salmon or chicken.
Ultimate Quick-and-Easy Pasta Sauce
Carne Asada Marinade
A hunk of skirt steak and this classic, flavor-packed carne asada marinade are the staples of the most epically delicious taco night you'll ever have. While we went with skirt steak to prepare our traditional Carne Asada, you can use this multipurpose marinade for just about any type of meat you want.
Tangy-Sweet Barbecue Sauce
For a quick, 5-ingredient barbecue sauce, add apricot jam, honey, soy sauce and vinegar to ketchup. It's ideal for summer entertaining on both grilled chicken and pork.
Ranch Olé makes a tasty topper for plain burgers thanks to the jalapenos and scallions that lend kick and flavor to ranch dressing.
Liquid sunshine? Yep. This sauce is a warm, tangy hug with a mission to brighten up your day—and your grilled meats. It’s a great crowd-pleaser that’s as easy as it gets. Try it on grilled meat (We recommend drumsticks, hot dogs, and pork tenderloin) or a highly spiced meat, like barbecue. Keep this recipe in your back pocket, or at least on the door of your fridge: People are definitely gonna ask for this one. The best part? You probably already have all the ingredients.
Need to use up extra curry paste? Give your ketchup a serious upgrade. This bright curry ketchup has a decent spice from the curry paste that the lemon juice moderates. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even make your own curry paste. Just use it wherever you’d use regular ketchup: Burgers, hot dogs, and fried foods, especially fried seafood.
Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce
Picky eaters of any age will love this simple sauce. It’s got everything you need in a sweet and sour sauce, and you don’t need any high-end ingredients. We tested it with chicken fingers, but it’d also work for stir fries, carrot sticks, shrimp and salmon—pretty much anything you need to convince a kid to eat.
Spicy Umami Sauce
This super intense sauce takes strongly flavored ingredients to the next level. To cut back on the heat, reduce or omit the sambal. You can also use low-sodium Worcestershire sauce without altering the taste. This is great for meat (Brush it on a steak or chicken thighs) or anything highly caramelized, like stir-fried vegetables. A little bit goes a long way, so you’ll have plenty to go around.
Looking for an all-purpose sauce that can be used all over the place? Make some remoulade. Ours has a sweet richness, and its mouthfeel is enhanced thanks to the presence of relish and mustard seeds. It’s creamy, tangy, and sweet with a titch of spice that enlivens things. Remoulade is obviously great paired with shrimp and crab cakes, but it’s also incredible on a roast beef sandwich. When in doubt, serve it with something fried and crunchy.
Creamy Tahini Dressing
Lots of flavors battle it out in this rich, sweet topping with acid and spice thrown in for good measure, but tahini wins at the end with a mouth-coating finish move. Use warm water to dissolve the tahini—it’ll moderate the graininess. This goes well with meat, like grilled chicken (it’s also great used as a board dressing) and both fresh and roasted vegetables. Drizzle it over a grain bowl or veggie-heavy salad for some extra flavor.
Banh Mi Mayo
This stuff has a perfect balance of fish sauce, lime, sugar, tanginess, and relish. Don’t skimp out when it comes to buying fish sauce: The cheap ones might taste harsh, but the high-quality sauce will last. Try this on a sandwich with plenty of raw veggies (carrots, cucumbers, radishes, sprouts, avocado) and a lean protein like grilled chicken breast or pork tenderloin. Or, since there’s a slight tartar sauce flair, pair it with crispy seafood.