No pantry is complete without essentials like ketchup, mustard and soy sauce. Heck, you’ve gotten so good at the condiment game you’re even stocking fancier items like tahini and fish sauce on the reg. Pretty much any food can be made better when paired with the right sauce, dressing, spread or topping, but some condiments blow the basics way out of the water. Read on for ten that our editors would lick right off the spoon (or um, eat straight from the jar).
10 Condiments That Our Editors Put on *Everything*, from Truffle Mayo to Hot Honey
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1. Truff’s Truffle Mayo
We thought upgrading to Kewpie (aka the cult-favorite Japanese mayo made with MSG and egg yolks instead of whole eggs) was the end of the mayo-lined road for us. Then we tried Truff Mayo, an umami-rich mayonnaise made with organic eggs, sunflower oil and black winter truffles. It will add complex, savory flavor to everything from potato salad to deviled eggs, but our favorite way to use it is on breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and a hash brown. (Oh, and if you’re always adding a few dashes of hot sauce to your sandwiches anyway, spring for the Spicy Truff Mayo instead, which includes red jalapeños.)
2. Mike’s Hot Honey
In case you haven’t noticed, spicy sauces and foods reign supreme in 2021. It’s been deemed the “new umami” by Pinterest, and searches for hot honey have been on the rise. If you’ve ever tasted it, it’s no question why: Rich, luscious honey infused with hot peppers makes for a pretty epic condiment. Mike’s is made with pure honey, vinegar and chili peppers, so it offers just the right amount of sweetness, heat and zing in every drop. PureWow food editor Katherine Gillen says it’s especially divine on pizza, fried chicken and mac and cheese.
3. Melinda’s Spicy Garlic Parmesan Wing Sauce
Social media strategist Ali Brown swears by all of Melinda’s condiments, which range from barbecue sauces to preserves. But the Spicy Garlic Parmesan Wing Sauce has her heart. It strikes just the right balance between heat and flavor, so the habanero doesn’t drown out all the herbs and garlic. Toss chicken wings in the sauce as the name suggests, or slather it on pasta, pizza, breadsticks and sandwiches. Assistant editor Nakeisha Campbell’s favorite is Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce, thanks to its creamy consistency and bold, truffle-forward flavor. She loves adding it to salads for an extra kick.
4. Bitchin’ Sauce
Who knew a vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dip could be so creamy and indulgent? Chalk it up to Bitchin’ Sauce’s savory base of fatty almonds and grapeseed oil. Garlic, spices, lemon juice and nutritional yeast offer flavor, acidity and salt without the help of cheese. There are also pesto, chipotle, cilantro-chili and curry iterations, but the O.G. is pretty damn flawless. Senior editor of beauty and branded content Cristina Gutierrez loves slathering it on sandwiches and using it as a garlicky dip for chips and veggies.
5. Hoff & Pepper’s Smoken Ghost Ketchup
We first became familiar with Hoff’s when embarking on a massive hot sauce taste-test. The brand’s Smoken Ghost Hot Sauce uses four types of Tennessee chiles—red jalapeño, habanero, chipotle and ghost pepper, to be exact—to achieve a creeping heat and smoky flavor profile that lend themselves beautifully to avocado toast, egg salad and beyond. Hoff’s Smoken Ghost Ketchup is just as versatile and authentic, since it’s free of weird thickeners and high fructose corn syrup unlike some other ketchups on the market. Pair it with chicken fingers, French fries, burgers, hot dogs and scrambled eggs.
6. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
You’re no doubt familiar with the creamy, herbaceous magic that is ranch dressing. There are endless variations of the buttermilk-based dressing spiked with herbs and spices at the supermarket, but in the words of branded content managing editor Rachel Gulmi, Hidden Valley’s is “simply the best.” There’s egg yolk and buttermilk in the mix, as well as dried mustard, garlic and onion, so it’s one of the creamiest and most flavorful on the market. Not only do we love putting the dressing on salads and sandwiches and using it as a dip, but we’re also a tad obsessed with Hidden Valley’s ranch seasoning packets. They’re just the ticket for sprucing up chicken breading (and TikTokkers love it dusted onto Flamin’ Hot Cheetos).
7. Ken’s Steak House Honey Mustard
Honey mustard may seem simple enough to pull off at home: It’s just a matter of whisking together the right amounts of honey and mustard, right? Think again, sauce-loving friends. The creamiest, tangiest honey mustards are mayo-based, and Ken’s is no exception since it’s largely made up of vinegar and egg yolks. Dijon mustard and mustard seed handle the condiment’s savory side, while sweet honey rounds out their zippiness. Honey mustard pairs well with fried fish, deli meat, fries and apples, but our favorite application is on shatteringly crisp chicken fingers, obvi.
8. Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing
Miso paste is a great ingredient to have on hand 24/7, since it imparts a punch of salty umami to recipes like noodle soup, sheet-pan fish and vegan caramel dip. In this TJ’s fan favorite, it collides with sweet carrot, spicy ginger puree, rice vinegar, shallots and canola oil to create an outrageously flavorful salad dressing. But it can do so much more than spruce up a bowl of greens. Director of brand partnerships Mirissa Kelly loves using it as both a chicken marinade (though it tastes just as delicious on salmon) and a dip for crudités.
9. A.1. Original Steak Sauce
A.1. is the gold standard when it comes to steak sauce for a reason, that reason being its uniquely bold, nuanced flavor. The ingredients include usual suspects like tomato paste, vinegar and dried garlic, as well as a few surprises (hello, raisin paste and crushed orange puree). Together, they create a condiment that’s equal parts savory, sweet, acidic and spicy. Commerce editor Liv Kappler loves how A.1.’s thick consistency and unique flavor complement roasted potatoes and chicken.
10. All The Hot Sauce
In case you haven’t noticed, our team is big on all things spicy. So, it’s no surprise that we have serious feelings about hot sauce. For tacos and micheladas, go with peppery, medium-heat Tapatío, Kappler’s favorite. Assistant editor Alex Hough’s go-to for eggs and toast is Frank’s Red Hot Original and Buffalo varieties, but she’s also a sucker for Spicy Delight Papaya Hot Sauce. Senior podcast producer Matt Bogart loves Underwood Ranches Sriracha for its subtle citrus notes and signature bite. Gallery Media Group CEO Ryan Harwood calls Mandolin Aegean Bistro's house hot sauce the best ever made, while chief operating officer Kevin Stetter swears by Huy Fong’s Chili Garlic Sauce. (FYI, it contains chile pulp, so it’s not as smooth as the brand’s famous sriracha and is best for stir-fries and sauces.)