Basil Pecan Pesto Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

Nothing elevates a simple dish faster than the right sauce. Store bought sauces are fine, but homemade sauces add a touch of personal pizzazz to your cooking that is unmatched.

There are a variety of sauces floating around the culinary world that are easy to incorporate into your home cooking. Here are six recipes for homemade sauces that you can use in the kitchen.

Cumberland sauce

If you have some​​ boring old thing like a boneless chicken breast or slice of ham or even a venison steak and you need something to jazz it up, look no further than Cumberland sauce. This recipe for Cumberland sauce has just the right combination of sweet and sour, plus the spice and citrus flavors make it interesting. You might even try this savory sauce on vanilla ice cream or plain cake.


Salsa is a great condiment that can be customized to your preferences. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Salsa literally translates to “sauce” in Spanish, and there is no better way to dress up a simple dish than with a spicy blend of tomatoes, herbs and onions. Fresh salsa is not only great on tacos, but also eggs, fish and innumerable others. Here is a simple recipe for fresh salsa with infinite variations to suit your tastes.

Chili sauce

This chili sauce has a fine, rich sweet-and-sour flavor and will brighten up all kinds of dishes. The tomato-and-pepper-based sauce is a wonderful addition to beef and chicken and even scrambled eggs.


Pesto isn’t just for pasta. You can mix it in scrambled eggs, spread it on sandwiches, mix it in salad dressings or toss it onto roasted veggies. Try this recipe for pesto, or consider one of the many variations on pesto that you can use in your kitchen.

Cranberry chutney

Cranberry chutney is a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal, or any other time of year. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

This recipe for cranberry chutney isn’t just for Thanksgiving. Cranberry chutney is delicious with chicken, vegetable curries, pork, ham and even spread on goat cheese as a quick appetizer on crackers.

Peanut sauce

This peanut sauce is great with a hefty pile of greens and vegetables, onions and garlic sauteed in a little sesame seed oil, all in pasta. This sauce is perfect to add a Thai-inspired twist to simple ingredients.

These simple sauces are easy to make and a wonderful way to add a little extra flavor to simple dishes. Getting a little saucy with these recipes will turn any meal into a masterpiece.