Sometimes, you just need a great sauce to make dinner more exciting—to turn that plain chicken breast into something that feels more like an actual dish. Here, we share speedy, easy sauces to help you gussy up your protein. They’re geared to go with everything from seared salmon, to roasted pork tenderloin, or even rotisserie chicken.

By Ann Taylor PittmanHannah Klinger and Brierley Horton
January 08, 2018
Credit: Jennifer Causey

For the heartier braises and roasts of winter, there’s gravy and a creamy horseradish dollop. And for fresher touches, we look to seasonal citrus, pomegranate, and pears to lighten things up.

Pear and White Balsamic Chutney

This sweet, fruity, herby chutney pairs best with pork. Try it on roasted pork tenderloin, seared pork chops, or ham. If you don't have white balsamic on hand, use 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Pepperoni Tomato Sauce

Turn plain chicken breasts, hamburger steaks, or leftover pot roast into a surefire family favorite with a sauce that tastes like pepperoni pizza. It's also great as a dip for homemade chicken fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or roasted zucchini wedges.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Smoked Gouda and Beer Sauce

We save on fat by adding flour straight to the beer rather than making a roux with butter or oil. The result is a thick, velvety cheese sauce with a pleasantly butter edge from the beer. Spoon over beef burgers or sliced roasted turkey.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Tandoori Yogurt Sauce

The key to this marinade-turned-sauce is to heat the spices in oil to release their fragrance and keep the final mixture from having a gritty texture. Use the sauce on pan-grilled chicken or tofu; garnish with chopped cilantro.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Maple-Bacon-Tarragon Dressing

To avoid splatters, remove the pan from the heat first, then carefully add the liquid. You can sub fresh rosemary or thyme for the tarragon. Spoon this sauce over simply baked chicken breasts for an impressive main.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Horseradish-Dill Sour Cream Sauce

While too pungent to eat on its own, prepared horseradish sings in a rich sour cream sauce. It's also tasty stirred into a cheese sauce or a creamy coleslaw. Dollop the sauce over seared steak or salmon, or serve with roasted potato wedges.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Peppered Gravy

This quick, easy gravy delivers rich flavor without any needs for pan drippings. Cooking the flour (before adding the stock) adds a slight toasty note. Serve the sauce over roast chicken or pork, or use it to perk up leftover turkey or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Credit: Jennifer Causey

Citrus-Cilantro Salsa

We section all the citrus, including a lime, and chop the flesh for juicy bits that burst with freshness. Serve the salsa over seared salmon, halibut, or shrimp, or tuck into fish or shrimp tacos for a next-level dinner.

Credit: Jennifer Causey