While some simply prepared dishes boast big-time flavor all on their own, other meals could use a little dressing up. That's where these homemade sauces come in. Whether you want to add kick to baked chicken or brighten up grilled steak, these delicious DIY sauces go with just about everything.
Credit: Photo: Whitney Ott

Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce

Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

You don't need to have cooked a beef roast ot make this full-bodied sauce. The richness comes instead from sautéed mushrooms and red wine. Spoon the sauce over steak or a baked potato topped with blue cheese.

Buttermilk-Dill Sauce

Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

Think of this no-cook sauce as your put-it-on-everything sauce. Spoon over baked fish or chicken. Beyond a main, use it to dress a potato salad or as a veggie dip. We prefer 2% Greek yogurt over nonfat for a milder tang that complements the buttermilk.

Quick Peanut Sauce

Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

The warmth and zing of fresh ginger and garlic put bottled versions of this sauce out of the running. For heat, stir in a generous pinch of crushed red pepper. Drizzle the sauce over grilled chicken or shrimp skewers. You can also use as a dip for spring rolls or toss with a soba noodle salad.

Spinach-Walnut Pesto

Credit: Photo: Greg Dupree

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.

Miso-Chili-Garlic Sauce

Credit: Photo: Whitney Ott

Just four ingredients deliver big umami flavor with a hint of heat thanks to the chili garlic sauce. It pairs well with most proteins—we like it with shrimp, chicken, or tofu. Thin leftover sauce with a little sesame oil for a quick salad dressing.

Cilantro-Caper Sauce

Credit: Photo: Whitney Ott

Herby, garlicky, and briny, this easy food processor sauce is a loose combination of classic Italian salsa verde and Argentinian chimichurri. Use it to brighten up seared pork chops, grilled steak, or grilled chicken skewers.

End-of-Summer Tomato Salsa

Credit: Photo: Whitney Ott

Late-season cherry tomatoes and woodsy thyme bridge the seasons in this versatile condiment. Try it on everything from grilled chicken breasts to sautéed salmon and roasted pork tenderloin.

Quick Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Credit: Photo: Whitney Ott

A quick whir in the blender brings this romesco-style sauce together in seconds. The ingredients are also easy to keep on hand for a a last-minute sauce that's delicious on mild fish fillets or simple baked chicken breasts.