10 Store-Bought Sauces Our Staffers Can't Live Without

Get ready to take your food to the next level!

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August 06, 2021
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It's no secret that sauce takes a dish to the next level and can make or break a meal — it's all about the complementary flavors. While we definitely support homemade creations, a store-bought brand works in a pinch and will deliver the same taste every time. Here are some of our favorite sauces for the next time you want to try something new.

$2.96

Texas Pete is just hot — no extra spice, no vinegary taste; it adds a kick to my food without changing the flavor. I think my obsession started when I was younger, it's likely that one of my siblings dared me to swallow a few drops straight out the bottle. Since then, I reach for it for nearly everything: eggs, pasta, wings, seafood, even popcorn! A bottle permanently resides in my room. As an added bonus, Texas Pete was actually created in North Carolina, my home state.

-Hadiya Presswood, Intern, Editorial

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$9.99

I always have a container of Kirkland pesto on hand for super-fast dinners (like this one), TikTok-famous pesto eggs or even a last-minute side dish for a cookout like this pasta salad. It's got a long shelf life in the fridge, but if you feel like you're not going to use it all in time, freeze half for later.

-Julie Hines, Managing Editor, Food Network Kitchen App

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$8.39

Growing up, store-bought sauce was not an option in my Italian-American household. However, that all changed after my family tried Rao’s Homemade Marinara. It’s free from added sugars and has a super-simple ingredient list — plus, it tastes delicious! I always make sure I have a few jars tucked in the pantry for an easy dinner I can make on the fly.

-Leah Scalzadonna, Associate Editor, Programming

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I was first introduced to Trader Joe's Zhoug Sauce when I moved to a new apartment just a couple short blocks away from a Trader Joes's, and it quickly became one of my favorite store-bought sauces. This cilantro based sauce originated in the Middle East and has the perfect balance of heat, acidity and spice, thanks to fresh jalapeno, garlic, cumin and cardamom. I typically dollop zhoug on my morning eggs, spread it on sandwiches as a spicy condiment or simply use it as a "dip" for warm pita and veggies.

-Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer

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Old Bay is a staple in my spice cabinet, so I was so excited to see this Old Bay Hot Sauce pop up on store shelves last year. McCormick claimed this collab was a limited edition, but you can still buy bottles on their website. I swear by this sauce for literally everything: eggs, wings, avocado toast — seriously, everything!

-T.K. Brady, Senior Editor

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I love the bright tang and subtle heat of Tabasco's green pepper sauce. I like it on burritos and quesadillas or anything that needs some zip and heat, like chili, soup and even vinaigrettes.

Fun Fact: Tabasco decided to bottle the khaki-colored sauce in bright green bottles so it would look pretty on grocery shelves.

-Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary

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I always have a jar of Brooklyn Delhi's Garlic Achaar in my fridge. It's got a real kick, but is also irresistibly savory. I love to mix it with yogurt for finishing a grain bowl with roasted veggies, it adds a little lively and unexpected something stirred into hummus, and is perfectly at home topping nearly anything you can think of — a bowl of soup, a sandwich, a slice of pizza. You'll reach for it again and again.

-Lauren Piro, Senior Editor

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I put this spicy, tangy tomato-chili sauce on everything, but I like it best on with egg dishes (egg sandwiches, breakfast tacos), avocado toast and anything with cheddar cheese, like mac and cheese — the spice cuts the richness of the cheese in the most delicious way.

-Michelle Buffardi, VP, Digital Programming

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$7.49

I get panicky when I'm low on this spicy (but not too spicy), pickle-y condiment; I use it on egg sandwiches and breakfast tacos like I use tomato achaar, but this sauce is also great on steamed or roasted cauliflower; spoon some on top and it's an instant side dish.

-Michelle Buffardi, VP, Digital Programming

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