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.


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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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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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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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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