When it comes to cooking, sauce is king. Just ask an Italian! Sauces add flavor and dimension to starches, vegetables, meats… You name it, it can be smothered in sauce. While we love us some hot sauce recipes and tomato-free alternatives, sometimes you just need a crowd-pleasing, time-tested traditional sauce. That’s where these 12 classic recipes come in. (Spoiler Alert: We’ve also included a handy infographic at the end of this post that you can pin or print to help you make these classic sauces!)


1. Béchamel Sauce: This French favorite is also known simply as white sauce. It’s made primarily from from milk and cheese, with some nutmeg and butter thrown in for extra flavor. (via The Cook’s Pyjamas)


2. Hollandaise Sauce: Hollandaise is a delicious, fatty, low-sugar sauce that’s commonly used atop poached eggs and English muffins. This completely Paleo-friendly version is *super* simple to make for an at-home brunch. (via KetoDiet Blog)


3. Parsley Sauce: Traditional English Parsley sauce is a creamy topping for fish, and this cod recipe totally does the stuff justice. It’s not the trendiest recipe in the book, but it has stood the test of time. Pair it with a cold pint and a handful of chips, DUH. (via Martha Stewart)


4. Tomato Sauce: This Simple Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe will take you back to your childhood. Perfect for rainy days, this traditional tomato sauce is delicious paired with grilled cheese or any other classic sammie. (via Foodie Crush)


5. Béarnaise Sauce: Leave it to the French (the creators of hollandaise and béchamel) to come up with béarnaise sauce, which is traditionally made from clarified butter and egg yolks. PRO TIP: Be sure to blend hot butter in with the egg yolk and vinegar mixture instead of whisking separately. (via Serious Eats)


6. Bread Sauce: Bread sauce — not to be confused with bread pudding — is a classic holiday staple. As a bonus, you can also make it in advance and freeze it for later. (via Delicious)


7. Chimichurri Sauce: Native to Argentina, chimichurri sauce is AMAZING drizzled over a top-notch sirloin or other kind of steak. It’s a parsley-based sauce, but you can add an extra dimension of flavor with the creative addition of cilantro. (via Little Spice Jar)


8. BBQ Sauce: There’s nothing quite like the taste of barbecue smothered over a rack of ribs or some chicken wings. But there’s no need to pick up the store-bought version. Make your own at home and you’ll be amazed at the extra flavor and dimension of this classic American sauce. (via Budget Savvy Diva)

Horseradish Cream Sauce

9. Horseradish: When it comes to horseradish, people tend to either love it or hate it. We personally love it, especially when paired with a fantastic prime rib. This creamy sauce utilizes horseradish as well as crème fraîche and chives, making for a perfect addition to your best cut of meat. (via Serious Eats)


10. Espagnole: Espagnole sauce comes from France, and it’s BURSTING with all the flavors European cuisine is known for (we’re talking onion, carrots, tomato, celery, mushrooms and beef stock). It’s no surprise that this delicious sauce goes best with red meats. (via Only Best Cooking)


11. Velouté: Yet another French creation (there’s a reason why French cuisine is known for its sauces!), velouté is a super-simple combination of butter, flour and stock. One of the five French mother sauces (the others include hollandaise, béchamel, tomate and espagnole), velouté is easily prepped ahead of time, so it’s perfect for storing in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. (via Girl Gone Gourmet)


12. Sweet and Sour: Real Chinese sweet and sour sauce is *AH-mazing*, but it tastes nothing like the packaged or bottled creations you’ll find at the supermarket. Go the authentic route and whip up a batch at home. But don’t worry about keeping things light with this recipe… The best pairings for sweet and sour sauce are deep fried or pan fried. (via China Sichuan Food)

As promised, here’s a fun graphic that will help you make the most basic versions of these 12 classic sauces right in the comfort of your home kitchen.


Follow us on Pinterest for more classic sauce + other traditional recipes!

(Graphic via QuickQuid)