10 Sauces Everyone Should Know How to Make

Transform plain pasta into an unforgettable meal, create a dessert masterpiece out of vanilla ice cream, and make a regular hunk of meat into something truly special with these brilliant sauce recipes.

  • Miso Caramel. This umami-rich caramel sauce gets enriched with a generous dollop of miso. The genius of this recipe is its versatility—yes, you can spoon it over ice cream (or eat it from a spoon), but why not use it to glaze roasted pork or fish?
  • Honey Balsamic Sauce. Transform ordinary honey and grocery-store balsamic into a sticky, tart sauce that begs for strawberries, ice cream, or just a spoon.
  • Simple Cocktail Sauce. Tangy, with a bite from the horseradish, this well-balanced sauce is the best, simplest cocktail sauce we’ve ever tasted.
  • Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. The most popular sauce on the Internet, this sauce showcases the bright, sweet acidity of tomatoes with nothing but a simple saute of onion in butter.
  • Homemade Gluten-Free Peanut Sauce. Sriracha, honey, tamarind, and peanut butter come together in surprising harmony for a sauce that is spicy, sweet, and salty all at once.
  • Sunday Pork Ragu. Roast pork bones and both hot and sweet sausage before bathing them in tomatoes and aromatics, and then let everything bubble gently for several hours. The finished sauce is vibrant red, studded with chunks of sausage and flecked with lots of fresh parsley.
  • Torrisi’s Spicy Sauce. Made with hot cherry peppers, red peppers, and chili flakes, this DIY hot sauce packs a serious punch.
  • Barca Tuna Sauce. This is a quick, smart, and surprisingly complex Spanish pantry sauce that would do any pound of pasta very proud. It's spicy and rich and the bacon and tomato combo is, as you would expect, delectable.
  • Dead Guy Sauce. Though the meaning of it’s name eludes us, the taste of this barbecue sauce speaks for itself. It's tangy and bright with layers of flavor, but without the cloying sweetness of so many other barbecue sauces.
  • Giddy Swamp: South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce. This tangy, spicy sauce is your new grilling condiment, with a serious kick. The sauce can be used on chicken, ribs, or hash, but is best with pulled pork.

Sauces are powerful. A delicious sauce can rescue a subpar meal, and a lackluster sauce can ruin a great one. If you have the magic of the sauce on your side, anything becomes possible. You can transform plain pasta into an unforgettable meal, create a dessert masterpiece out of vanilla ice cream, and make a regular hunk of meat something incredibly special. With these 10 recipes for our favorite (and most essential) sauces, you too can be in on the secrets of great food.

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