Six More Sauces Everyone Should Learn How To Make

Six More Sauces Everyone Should Learn How To Make

A good sauce can take a dish from bland to spectacular, and with just a few tweaks you can create an endless variety of dishes. Here are some more sauces to add to your arsenal.

Photo by Jira Hera (Shutterstock), LoggaWiggler

Earlier this year we highlighted five great sauces to learn how to make. Most of those were traditional French sauces, considered to be the “mother” sauces from which all other sauces are derived (the omitted one, Hollandaise, is below). Still, with so many variations of sauces from around the world to enhance the foods we cook, we thought it worth pointing out even more common and versatile sauces to jazz up your meals.


Last time we mentioned a garlic white sauce, toum, which is a mayo-like sauce, but the “mother” of white sauces is Hollandaise. A lot usually goes into it, but as Lifehacker reader Collin Christopher pointed out, there’s an easier Julia Child’s method:

Add your yolks, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a blender, then blend it until it’s all incorporated. Melt your butter until the foaming stops, and, while the butter is still very hot, slowly stream it into the running blender. The heat from the butter “cooks” the eggs gently in the same way a double boiler would. You might want to have a little more butter on hand because this can come out a bit thicker than traditional hollandaise. After the butter is done, throw in a pinch of dill, tarragon, cayenne, or whatever you like.

Easy hollandaise without ending up with Popeye arms. 🙂

Hollandaise sauce, most commonly used in eggs benedict or paired with asparagus, can be turned into other sauces, such as Bearnaise sauce for steak, which Child demonstrates above (using vinegar instead of lemon juice and with added herbs).

Barbecue Sauce

We’re not talking conventional bottled barbecue sauce as found adjacent to tomato sauce in your local supermarket here. There are lots of barbecue sauce variations arond, from sweet (brown sugar or honey) BBQ sauce to spicier versions. Here are a few to get you started:

A Soy-Based Asian Sauce

Many Asian cuisines use soy sauce as the base for their “master sauces” With it, you can make Chinese sweet and sour sauce, Japanese teriyaki sauce, Korean kalbi, and other sauces, dips, and broths — each with distinctive flavours based on the additional ingredients you select. There are endless possibilities, but knowing at least one of these sauces can add more variety to your meats, vegetables and grains.


Curry describes a wide variety of dishes from around the world. The word technically means “sauce”, though curry can be simply vegetable and/or meat dishes cooked with spices — with or without the gravy. Coconut milk, yoghurt and/or chilli paste are often used to make the base of the curry sauce, while curry spices may include cumin, turmeric, mustard seed, and others, depending on the region and dish. It’s beyond the scope of this article to cover ever kind of curry dishes; sufice to say there’s lots of territory to explore!

Green Sauce

Who said sauces need to be white, red or brown? When you have fresh herbs or other greens available, throw them together into a sauce. Argentinean chimichurri sauce is delightful spooned over steak or other meats, pesto sauce pairs well with pasta and other grains, and salsa verde adds zip to tacos and other Mexican foods.

  • Hilah Cooking shows us how to make chimichurri (basically, coriander and/or parsley plus garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar) — and then take that basic recipe to make a French persillade or Italian gremolata sauce. Very versatile!
  • David Lebvovitz’s perfect pesto is a classic take, using basil, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, all mashed together with a mortar and pestle. As Bobby Flay demonstrates in this video, though, pesto doesn’t have to be made with basil.
  • This salsa verde recipe on Simply Recipes offers a few different ways to cook the tomatillos (and then mix them with classic Mexican ingredients such as cordiander, lime juice and capsicum)

Hot Sauce

Sure, you can buy bottled hot sauces, but making your own from fresh ingredients and exactly to your tastes is more satisfying. Hot sauces figure prominently in a variety of cuisines.

  • Mexican red chilli sauce, for example, is used in enchiladas and tamales. To make it, boil chillies for a few minutes, then blend with garlic, salt, cloves, and peppercorns.
  • Sriracha is easy to make yourself using just a handful of ingredients as well. And hot sauce lovers put it on everything

Again, these are all just scratching the surface of the kinds of sauces you can make, but perfecting your own version of each category you like can open up a world of additional flavours. Bon appetit!


  • I apologise for the following rant but after reading and re-reading this post, as a chef that completed an apprenticeship and who eked out an existence in the catering industry for over 30 years I became angry over the fact that anyone can post anything on here and profess it to be correct.
    Again, information published on Lifehacker by ill-informed “Gastronomes” such as
    Melanie Pinola give the readers incorrect facts. French Cookery, which is the benchmark of the modern culinary world should be used as a reference here and not some bastardised American version of various recipes. Melanie does mention that “Most of those were traditional French sauces” but then goes about contradicting herself by not referring to them.
    So here are some facts.

    Fact 1:- Hollandaise Sauce is an “Emulsion” sauce where 2 liquids are combined. It is NOT a “White Sauce” in the culinary sense and most definitely NOT the “Mother of All White Sauces”.
    Fact 2 :- A “White” Sauce is the generalised term for a “Bechamel”, made from a blonde roux of equal amounts of butter and flour where milk infused with a “Cloute” is incorporated. This IS the “Mother of All White Sauces”
    Fact 3:- You don’t “turn” Hollandaise into Bearnaise (this is what I refer to as bastardising recipes). You create the base emulsion and add a vinegar/ tarragon/chervil/bay leaf/thyme reduction instead of lemon juice. 2 separate recipes – 2 separate sauces.

    Please Melanie Pinola, when posting about anything food related, research outside of the world as you know it “U.S. of A.” and give your readers fact. You profess on your Linkedin page to have “honed my research skills”, please understand that the first google answer is not always correct…..just the most popular! Stop dumbing-down the general population with poorly researched posts like these. You’ll end up with most readers here running around telling others that Hollandaise is the “Mother”. Nek minnit it’s become truth because more people than not say it is………popularity outweighing fact!
    Larousse was the god of the culinary world, Julia Child is the devil-incarnate. You should pick up a little book he wrote a while back, it may save you the embarrassment of coming off as just another self-professed journo/hack with an interest in food.

    • apologising before you go off on a rant, is not really an apology at all, own up to the fact that you are going to have a massive whine and drop the false pleasantry.

    • Good on you for setting those facts straight – I was definitely going to lose sleep tonight not knowing that an author on lifehacker failed to be perfect with their semantics & descriptions of sauce types on an article which seems to merely be an easy instructional + some links for newbies.

  • Ouch, Tezz! Sorry if I hit a nerve with you.
    Pity you didn’t comment on the subject, your post would have some relevance here.

    • A few decent links to some what I would think to be some pretty tasty sauces, not a terrible article…

      I don’t think anyone but you cares about people running around misrepresenting the status and linage of sauces, does it matter if they do? Not everything on the internet has to be a reflection on the current state of affairs/culture/ignorant masses.

      it’s an article on sauce.

      Put the fedora away.

  • i agree with master_tatts . if you are providing information on a mass media, i expect there to be some form of accuracy and research done. Heck, misinformation stems from poorly written articles like these.

  • @Haxalotl – “misrepresenting the status and linage (sic) of” anything published in the context of providing information as a “Learning or Educational Tool” defeats the purpose of posting articles such as this, which is to inform those without specific knowledge of a subject containing the correct facts.

    If you’re happy to read anything on the net and take it as verbatim, then more power to you!
    I for one do not, will research anything of interest and will educate myself with material based on fact. And so I hope by refuting a poorly written article such as this I can help the masses make a more informed decision.

    Here’s an analogy for you – Once upon a time the earth was flat because the general consensus believed it true after some ignoramus told them so, until it was proven otherwise. A poster comes on here with an article on Cruising holidays giving advise on a few tips when cruising and mentions the possibility of sailing off the edge of the earth because
    a) they either google’d it and used that first entry as fact or
    b) believed it so because they heard it from somewhere/someone else
    ……… don’t think anyone would care or comment?
    Ignorance is Bliss – Knowledge is Power! I prefer to impart knowledge, some like yourself seem to be happy leading a blissful existence. That’s your prerogative but please don’t shoot the messenger that brings the knowledge, it only proves you to be more “blissful” than others! 😉
    BTW I wear an Akubra!

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