types of sauces

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This article shares all the most popular types of sauces as well as their uses in food preparation and photos of each for easy identification. So, if you have been wondering about the various sauces, then this post is for you.

types of sauces


What is a sauce?

A sauce can be described as a liquid or a cream that is used to season, add flavor, or add moistness, or interest to a dish.  They’re made with all types of foods, from vegetables, to fruits, to mayonnaise and even heavy cream.

Sauces come in many different flavors and colors, and this is why this list of the different types of sauces is important. It will serve to help you understand each sauce better so you choose the best option for various dishes. 

Types of sauces

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce


Hoisin sauce is soy based Asian inspired sauce that includes other ingredients like molasses, peanut butter, miso, rice vinegar and seasoned with Chinese five spice, sriracha or chili sauce.

This sauce is rich, salty, sweet and sometimes spicy and is used for dipping, stir frying, cooking noodles, meats, vegetables and even great for adding to meats or poultry for broiling.

Sweet chili sauce

Sweet chili sauce


Sweet chili sauce is a Thai inspired sauce made with red chili peppers, rice vinegar, fresh garlic, a thickening agent like cornstarch and a sweetener such as cane sugar, fruit or honey.

Sweet chili sauce is sweet and savory sauce with a mild chili flavor and it is best used as a dip for shrimp, vegetables, chicken, crisps, spring rolls, wings and anything else you desire. It also works well as a spread for toast, as a dressing and even to drizzle over tacos, pizzas and burgers.

Taco sauce

Taco sauce


Taco sauce is a tomato based sauce with a soupy consistency that is made with ingredients like tomato puree, water,  jalapeño peppers, vinegar, sugar, and taco seasonings.

Taco sauce is tangy and bright with a bit of spice and is used for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortilla chips, vegetables and nachos.

BBQ sauce

BBQ sauce


BBQ sauce or Barbecue sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce made with ingredients like ketchup, red vine vinegar, brown sugar, water, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and spices.

BBQ sauce is often used as a marinade, to baste (meat), to top meat when making BBQ style chicken, pork or ribs, and also as a table sauce.

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce


Cranberry sauce, also sometimes called cranberry jam is a sauce or condiment made with main ingredients like cranberries, water and sugar. Depending on the recipe you try, it can also includes other ingredients like orange juice, orange zest, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. This sauce has a flavor that is the perfect balance of sweet and tart

Cranberry sauce is used popularly with meats like turkey, chicken and ham during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Caramel sauce

Caramel sauce


Caramel sauce is sweet, smooth, creamy, rich sauce made with ingredients like granulated sugar, water, unsalted butter, heavy cream, vanilla and sometimes salt.

This type of sauce is used mainly to drizzle over cheesecake, ice cream, cakes, pancakes and even brownies. It is also stirred into ice coffee, frappuccino and used as a dip for fruits like apples.

Chocolate sauce

Chocolate sauce


Chocolate sauce is another sweet, chocolate flavored sauce that is made from cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt. Chocolate sauce, also sometimes called chocolate syrup is used mostly as a topping for desserts like ice cream, pancakes, waffles and cakes.

It is also great for adding to chocolate milk and hot cocoa, milkshakes and also used as a dipping sauce for fruits like strawberries, bananas and even apples.

Tartar sauce

tartar sauce


Tartar sauce is made from ingredients like mayo, capers, chopped pickles, olives, onions, lemon juice, dill, tarragon and sometimes even parsley, all finely chopped.

This white sauce is used as a condiment and is often used as a dip for fried foods like fried fish, spring rolls and even tacos. It is also used on marinate chicken and as a salad dressing!

Alfredo sauce

alfredo sauce


Alfredo sauce is a whitish, creamy Italian sauce made with ingredients like heavy cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and sometimes nutmeg and cinnamon.

Alfredo sauce is commonly used to make Alfredo pasta, as a dip, as a pizza sauce, for lasagna etc. 

Soy sauce

Soy sauce


Soy sauce is another sauce worth mentioning. Made by brewing water, soybeans, wheat and salt, this sauce has a rich, savory, salty and umami flavor.

This sauce is used in many ways including as a marinade for meats, as a salt substitute, in salad dressings, in Asian inspired recipes, glazes and as a seasoning.

Sweet soy sauce

sweet soy sauce


Sweet soy sauce also called kecap manis is a fragrant, sweet, rich, smooth sauce that originates from Indonesia. There are variations, but generally, sweet soy sauce is made using ingredients like soy sauce, palm sugar, and spices like garlic, ginger and black peppercorns. 

This sauce is used in a lot of Asian recipes like stir fries, fried rice, rice noodles and even meats and vegetables. Kecap manis is very versatile and also makes a great dipping sauce, condiment and marinade.

Marinara sauce

Marinara sauce


Marinara sauce or marina is a a tomato-based sauce made with ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs and spices.

Marinara sauce is rich, chunky sauce that has the flavor of fresh tomatoes with garlicky and oniony fresh flavors. Marinara is used widely to for pizza, tomato soups, pasta, dipping sauce and lasagna to name a few recipes.

Honey mustard sauce

honey mustard sauce


Honey mustard sauce is a creamy, sweet and tangy sauce made with ingredients like honey, mayo, mustard, vinegar, garlic and spices. 

This sauce is used as a dipping sauce, in wraps, in vegetables in meats and more.

Yum yum sauce

Yum yum sauce


Yum yum sauce is a mayo-based sauce made with ingredients like mayonnaise, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, paprika, sugar and water.

This sauce is sweet and tangy and used popularly as a dipping sauce for shrimp and other seafood, as well as, chicken, steak, potstickers and wontons. It is also used on hamburgers, hot dogs, and even drizzled over fried rice.

Tomato sauce

tomato sauce


Tomato sauce has a fresh, rich flavor and is made by using tomato puree, onions, garlic, spices and herbs.

This sauce is super popular and used in all sorts of recipes including soups, stews, pastas, marinades salad dressings and more.

Chili garlic sauce

chili garlic sauce


Chili garlic sauce is a thick and chunky sauce made with ingredients like coarsely ground red chiles, fresh garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar and cornstarch slurry. This sauce is spicy and tangy and used as a dipping sauce, for stir fries, eggs, meats burgers and more.

There are more than 50 different kinds of sauces in the world. However today, we’ve shared some of the best sauces used in dishes around the world. You can use these for chicken, pasta, as dipping sauces, for pizzas and so much more!

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