This roundup of 44 easy homemade sauce recipes includes both sweet and savory varieties, all of which require only a few ingredients and minimal time to make. Use the recipes below to spruce up a meal, spread on your pizza crust, drizzle over a dessert and so much more!
Original post: November 2021 | Updated: June 2023
Whether you are in a pinch and needing a sauce pronto or you’re just trying to be more money and ingredient conscious, this list of easy sauce recipes is going to save you! Links to the recipes are provided below, as well as recommendations for ingredient substitutions.
Most of the recipes inside this roundup can be made, cooled and frozen for future use. Simplify busy weeknights by thawing a jar from the freezer and using it for an easy meal!
Easy Homemade Sauces
Creamy sauces – Cream-based varieties such as alfredo sauce, tartar sauce, mayonnaise, cheese sauce and easy hollandaise sauce are all super easy to make at home.
Tomato based sauces – Varieties that contain tomatoes as a base include different types of pasta sauce, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, ketchup and romesco sauce can be made with ease at home.
Savory sauces – The number of savory sauce options is literally endless, but most are ridiculously easy to make. A few favorites include ginger, taco, bbq, teriyaki, soy, pesto, enchilada and stir fry sauce.
Spicy sauces – There’s nothing better than adding spice to a dish by creating an easy homemade sauce! Options include chili paste, hot sauce and buffalo sauce.
Dressings and dips – Easily dress up your salad or create a dip for your fries by throwing together an easy homemade dressing or dip. Favorites include avocado ranch, seasoned sour cream, balsamic dressing and lemon butter sauce to name a few.
Sweet sauces – Don’t forget the sweet varieties! Blueberries, caramel, hot fudge, apple butter and other fruits transform into delicious sweet sauces.
Jellies and jams – Homemade jam is always better homemade and they aren’t as intimidating as you might think.
Most types of sauce (homemade or store bought) freeze well, as long as they are properly stored in an airtight container for no longer than 6 months for best results.
Varieties that contain a large amount of starch or cream such as gravy or mayonnaise-based sauces may not retain optimal quality once thawed. For these types, ingredients can easily separate during the freezing process causing the consistency to be altered.
How To Freeze Sauces
Here are a few best practices for freezing homemade sauces:
- Allow it to cool to room temperature first.
- Transfer to airtight containers, freezer-safe containers, mason jars or heavy duty freezer bags.
- Divide into smaller portions so you can thaw only as much as you’ll need. This prevents you from needing to refreeze it a second time (or to have to toss it).
- Liquids can expand when frozen, so leave a bit of wiggle room at the top of each container.
- Place in the freezer for a maximum of 6 months.
- When ready to use it, place the entire container in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Once thawed, reheat as needed on the stovetop or in the microwave.
How To Make Food Spicy
Make a good sauce even better by adding spice! Here are a few ingredients that will get the job done:
- Red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Hot sauce
How To Thicken Pasta Sauce
If you make or purchase a batch of pasta sauce and find that is thin and lacks substance, there are ways to fix it! Read on for tips about how to make thick spaghetti sauce.
What To Do With Leftover Spaghetti Sauce
Aside from the obvious reason (the amazing flavor!), my favorite thing about pasta sauce recipes is that they are so versatile. Here are a few ideas for ways to enjoy it!
- See this comprehensive list of recipe ideas for leftover pasta sauce.
- Reheat and pour over the top of cooked noodles of any kind.
- Spread over your next meatloaf as a delicious, hearty topping.
- Replace a jar of marinara sauce or alfredo sauce with it in any recipe.
- Use it as a filling for stuffed spaghetti squash.
- Add it to your morning eggs because everything tastes great with eggs.
- Use as a dipping sauce for breadsticks, garlic bread or quesadillas.
- Pile into stuffed bell peppers for a hearty dinner.
- Spread inside your next grilled cheese sandwich (with or without the leftover noodles!).
- Add leftovers to your next batch of lasagna, cheesy manicotti, baked spaghetti, spaghetti pie or baked ziti.
Easy Sauces – Use Now or Freeze For Later!
This alfredo sauce is super easy to make and done in under 10 minutes. Save yourself a trip to the store and also a little cash! This tasty sauce is creamy and goes great with pasta, pizza or bread sticks!
Use this one fresh, preferably, as it does not always freeze well.
Make buttermilk at home with just 2 ingredients and in 5 quick minutes. This kitchen hack will save you stress and money since it is expensive to keep on hand at all times. Gone are the days of avoiding recipes just because they call for this ingredient!
- Use vinegar and lemon juice interchangeably in this recipe.
This copycat Dominos garlic parmesan sauce recipe can be made in your own kitchen with a few simple ingredients and in just a few minutes. Use as a dipping sauce for breadsticks or pizza!
- The fresher the Parmesan cheese, the more delicious the end result!
Copycat McDonald’s Breakfast Sauce
Do you have deliciously fond memories of McDonald sauces? Here’s one you might remember and that has been shelved at the famous fast food spot.
Delivering the McDonalds breakfast sauce recipe straight to your kitchen, so you can make this low carb recipe yourself using only 5 simple ingredients and in just 5 minutes.
- Don’t limit yourself to breakfast sandwiches with this recipe! Drizzle it over eggs benedict or scrambled eggs.
Spruced Up Jarred Alfredo
Planning to serve alfredo sauce but find the jar in your pantry bland? Read on for delicious ideas about how to transform jarred alfredo into a yummy cream sauce!
Tomato Based Sauces
Homemade marinara is one of my favorite sauce recipes! Make this easy marinara sauce to dip bread sticks or mozzarella sticks in, or to add to your next pasta dish. Made in just a few minutes. Don’t forget the fresh basil!
Fresh, homemade tomato sauce made in an Instant Pot is made with fresh tomatoes and does not require peeling or seeding! This basic tomato sauce recipe requires just a few simple ingredients and you will be blown away by the savory flavor.
Use it in place of canned sauce or as a topping on pasta!
Learn how to thicken tomato sauce to for an even more robust texture!
Homemade Pizza Sauce
This easy pizza sauce recipe takes less than 25 minutes to make and tastes way better than a store-bought sauce. It is loaded with bold flavor and goes well with any toppings. The recipe makes enough to cover two 12-inch pizzas!
Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce
Instant Pot spaghetti sauce is super easy, meaty and hearty when made in an Instant Pot. Using a pressure cooker to cook pasta sauce makes it flavorful and quick to prepare, but tastes like is has simmered on the stove all day.
Pour this tomato-based sauce over a pile of cooked pasta!
Pasta Sauce Made With Tomato Paste
Transform 1 can of tomato paste (plus a few spices) into a delicious, savory, easy spaghetti sauce that’ll fill all the bellies around your table tonight! Done in just 20 minutes and made using only a few ingredients, this is the easiest way to make your next batch of pasta sauce.
- One of the great things about this recipe is that it can be made meatless or loaded with ground beef or any other ground meat.
Pasta Sauce Made Using Tomato Sauce
Transform 2 cans of tomato sauce (plus a few spices) into a delicious, simple spaghetti sauce that’ll fill all the bellies around your table tonight! This is one of those simple sauces that will change your dinner game.
Spaghetti Sauce With Fresh Tomatoes
Once you make this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe with fresh tomatoes, you’ll never go store-bought again! Goes great on spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli and more!
- Thaw (if using frozen) and chop 20-25 ripe tomatoes for this recipe, including juices (don’t discard!). A suitable substitution is 56 oz crushed or whole tomatoes or use a combination of fresh and canned.
It takes only 5 minutes and just a few ingredients to make this homemade pesto sauce recipe that boasts of olive oil, pine nuts and spinach. It is the most versatile, delicious sauce around!
Pairs well with so many different foods and I promise you won’t want to stop eating it!
Hot Dog Chili Sauce
Don’t use any old chili recipe to pile on top of hot dogs. This is the perfect sauce to top hot dogs or chili dogs with!
This homemade quick bbq sauce is packed with a bold, delicious flavor that is hard to resist. It takes only a few minutes to make and takes grilled chicken, burgers or brats to the next level!
This Asian inspired Ginger Sauce is an exact replica of that famous Benihana sauce you love so much. It is a great sauce for steak, veggies, rice, egg rolls or fish!
Teriyaki sauce is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients and it’s done in a few minutes! Add it to stir fry, your next Asian-inspired salad, pork or chicken wings.
Red Sauce For Meatloaf
You’ve made a delicious meatloaf recipe, now dress it up with a yummy sauce! This meatloaf red sauce recipe will transform your next dinner and quickly turn into a family favorite.
Pumpkin puree is a pantry staple in the fall when fall baking is in full force. For a super fresh pumpkin flavor, consider making homemade puree!
Way more delicious than anything you can buy at the store and it is super easy to make. Homemade enchilada sauce only requires a handful of ingredients and is done in 15 minutes, with perfect flavor and consistency.
Add it to your favorite enchilada recipe!
Copycat Arby’s sauce makes sandwiches sing! This zingy flavorful BBQ style sauce is so delicious and you don’t have to wait for a fast food run to enjoy it. Throw it on a pile of roast beef or a sandwich of any kind!
Make your own taco sauce to use in a variety of Mexican dishes, such as tacos, burritos and taco salads. Ditch the store-bought version so you know EXACTLY what goes inside! Takes just a few minutes to throw together.
Give your next Asian dish a little kick by adding homemade chili paste! It is healthy, super cheap to make yourself and packed with flavor. This is a great condiment to have on hand!
Make this copycat baja sauce recipe from Taco Bell easily and in just a few minutes. Use it as a taco, burrito or quesadilla topping!
This copycat Sonic crave sauce recipe can be made in your own kitchen with a few simple ingredients and in just a few minutes. Skip the line at the popular fast food chain next time and make your own! Use as a dipping sauce for fries or as a burger topping.
Taco Truck Green Sauce
Make that irresistible sauce you find at taco trucks in your own kitchen! Don’t limit taco truck green sauce to just tacos. It goes perfectly with so many different foods.
Popeyes sweet heat sauce recipe can be made right in your own kitchen with a few ingredients and in just 5 minutes. Use this fast food restaurant copycat to spruce up your next stir fry dish or use it as a dipping sauce for chicken!
This copycat Subway chipotle sauce recipe can be made right in your own kitchen with a few simple ingredients and in just 5 minutes. Don’t limit it to just sandwiches, either. This stuff tastes great on just about anything!
The sauce is so often the star of the show and there is no exception with jerk chicken! Read on for tips and a recipe detailing how to make jerk chicken sauce so dinner is delicious. This is a great recipe with authentic flavor that the entire family will love!
- For a less chunky texture, create a blender sauce out of the mixture by pureeing in a blender or food processor until desired consistency has been reached.
Dressings and Dips
Avocado Ranch Dressing
Creamy avocado ranch salad dressing is bursting with flavor. Fresh lime, cilantro and avocados create a delicious dressing you’ll want to lick off the spoon! Pour this creamy sauce over a salad, on tacos or use it as a veggie dip or sandwich spread!
Seasoned Sour Cream
Not just a good seasoned sour cream recipe, but the best ever! This delicious dipping sauce gives Champps a run for their money and has such a perfect consistency. Great for your next stack of French fries or even a platter of veggies.
Cilantro Lime Dressing
Make this cilantro lime sauce recipe easily and with just a few ingredients. It is the perfect complement to shrimp tacos or when used as a delicious dressing on your favorite leafy salad!
Five ingredients and five minutes of your time and you will have a chocolatey, dreamy hot fudge sauce on your hands! It’s a thick, smooth and rich treat.
Store in the fridge and reheat as needed for your next bowl of ice cream or pan of fudgy brownies. This great recipe will not last long in the fridge. It is also a great DIY gift that people will love!
Dulce de Leche
Homemade Dulce de Leche (aka milk candy) is one of my favorite sweet sauces and can be used in so many delicious recipes and it is easy to make in your own kitchen with a single ingredient!
Blueberry sauce is super easy to make and goes great on pancakes, waffles or works great as a pie filling! If you want to know how to make blueberry sauce in your kitchen, read on for quick and easy instructions!
Just 4 ingredients are needed to make your own salted caramel sauce. It’s easy to do and you’ll be glad you know how to make it yourself because this recipe has so many uses – top or fill your next batch of baked goods with this delicious, irresistible sauce.
You will need to resist the temptation to eat it by the spoonful! Salt and caramel make the best food duo.
Learn how to make lemon curd with egg yolks! A fresh, light and lemony filling or topping that goes great on cakes, cookies, cupcakes or any baked treat!
This is the best apple butter recipe you’ll find and it is worth the wait! Not to be confused with butter, it is delicious when spread over the top of everything!
Make the stovetop version or pressure cooker apple butter!
Jellies and Jams
Make this pepper jelly recipe to spruce up your next piece of toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or serve with crackers and cream cheese for a delicious party appetizer!
Apple Pie Jam
Make an Amazing Apple Pie Jam recipe without pectin this fall! Tastes just like Apple Pie because it’s so similar to pie filling. Get ready to be addicted! Put it on your English muffins, pancakes or use it to make your next peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
This is a great way to use up extra apples in the fall and it is also a great gift idea.
Rhubarb Peach Jam
This Rhubarb Peach Jam is a great way to use up rhubarb from the garden! The peach-rhubarb combo makes a fantastic pair.
Mixed Berry Jam
Instant Pot berry jam or stovetop mixed berry jam tastes great with toast, bagels, English muffins or use it to make your next peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
Cherry Berry Jam
Berry jam isn’t complete without a few delicious cherries mingled in! No pectin required for this recipe. It is so easy to make you won’t even believe it and the jam is so good!
Sweet Cherry Jam
Making your own jam is delicious and rewarding. It is easy and done in no time and is a treat worth making each summer. Fresh cherries are the perfect fruit that are probably sitting in your fridge already.
Cherry Jam will make people swoon on any baked breads or cookies. It also makes a great gift!
FAQ About Sauces
A few sauces known for pairing well with salmon are dill sauce, lemon herb sauce and any other sauce made with fresh herbs.
Mustard, vinegar and mayonnaise are typically gluten free. Many store-bought sauces are made using wheat, so be sure to check labels before purchasing. On the flip side, many homemade sauces are 100% gluten-free and are safe to eat on GF diets.
When sitting at room temperature for more than 4 hours, most sauces should be discarded. Bacteria can grow fairly quickly in sauces and may be unsafe to consume after that period of time.
Most sauces can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.