52 condiments everyone should have on hand

Whipped cream is a classic sweet condiment. Shutterstock
  • Everyone has a few condiments they love, but odds are you haven’t tried all of the great options on this list.
  • Whipped cream, Nutella, syrup, and honey are great sweet condiments for breakfasts and desserts.
  • Ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce are staples, but you can spice things up with chutney, aioli, and honey dill sauce.
  • Condiments that are popular in some Asian cuisines, like oyster sauce and teriyaki sauce, can add flavour to any meal.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories .

With so many condiments out there, it feels like there’s one for every meal. There’s sweet, savoury, thin, thick, and everything in between.

Here is a list of almost every condiment you could ever need – and a few you probably haven’t tried yet.

Mayonnaise is often used on sandwiches or for dipping.

It’s typically made using egg yolks. Patrick Semansky/AP

Made from egg yolks, oil, and vinegar, mayonnaise is a creamy addition to any dish.

It has many different uses around the world, but it is often used as a sandwich spread in the US and as a dip for fries around Europe.

Tartar sauce is kind of like a fancier version of mayonnaise.

Fish and chips with tartar sauce and peas. Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Tartar sauce is created with a base of either mayonnaise or aioli with diced pickles and various spices mixed in.

Its origins are debated (though it likely has French roots) – but today, tartar sauce is often a creamy topping for fried fish or french fries.

Soy sauce can add a salty kick to any savoury dish.

It’s often served with sushi. Shutterstock

Soy sauce is a simple condiment that turns anything from rice to vegetables into a flavorful meal. It’s also a common dipping sauce for sushi.

It’s made of fermented soybeans, salt, and water and gives an umami kick to any food.

Chutney is the base of some of your favourite Indian dishes.

There are so many flavours of chutney. reniitz/Shutterstock

A bit of chutney sauce or dry paste is typically used as a base in Indian cuisine. They can be made from a variety of ingredients including yogurt, nuts, and fruits, and they are made by grinding the fresh ingredients together.

Mint chutney is a delicious addition to samosas and coconut chutney can be added to rice.

Mustard is a pantry staple that can spice up a boring sandwich.

Mustard comes in a few different varieties. Andrew Balcombe/EyeEm/Getty Images

Crushed up mustard-plant seeds provide the starting point for the yellow condiment.

There are dozens of types of mustards used all over the world, including honey mustard and Dijon.

In the US, you’ll often find mustard on top of a hot dog or sandwich.

If you love pad thai, you’re perhaps already a fan of fish sauce.

It’s commonly used in pad thai. Shutterstock

The sauce is popular in a variety of Asian dishes, and it’s made by coating fish in salt and leaving them to ferment. The liquid left over after the fermentation process is the sauce.

The condiment makes a great addition to a chicken marinade or a dipping sauce.

Ketchup is sweet and savoury.

It’s perfect for dipping. T.Dallas/Shutterstock

Fries, burgers, chicken nuggets – you can name any savoury food and it’s bound to taste even sweeter with some ketchup on it.

Made up of tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and spices, the traditional condiment is likely a variation on a Chinese fermented fish sauce, according to National Geographic.

Thousand Island dressing is a tasty addition to salads and sandwiches.

It’s a popular salad dressing. Renamarie/Shutterstock

With mayonnaise as its base, Thousand Island dressing combines ingredients such as olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, and mustard.

It’s often used to top salads, but it is even more commonly known as a “special sauce” on burgers and sandwiches.

Vinegar comes in many variations.

Red-wine vinegar can be used as a salad dressing. Shutterstock/DPRM

Balsamic, rice, red wine, there are so many different types of vinegar out there to try.

The pungent sauce is a by-product of alcohol fermentation, and it can be used to balance the flavours in a dish.

Vinegar is the base of many other condiments, but it can also be a delicious topping to a salad, sandwich, or french fries on its own.

Barbecue sauce is a sweet addition to any meat.

It’s a great choice for grilling. Shutterstock

The origins of barbecue sauce are hard to trace and the sweet sauce can vary based on where it’s made, but many versions of it feature a tomato base with molasses or brown sugar added.

The condiment can be added to nearly anything including smoked meats, burgers, wraps, and chicken wings.

There’s something luxurious about the taste of truffle oil.

It’s a key ingredient of truffle fries. Joshua Resnick/ Shutterstock

Although some versions are created artificially, the condiment is traditionally made by infusing truffles into an oil base, resulting in a sweet and savoury flavour.

When made with real truffles, it’s on the pricey side, but a little bit can go a long way.

It can be added to everything, from fries to pasta, and is usually used as a finishing touch to a meal.

With lots of different flavour options, aioli is the perfect dipping sauce.

It’s great with fries. Let Geo Create/Shutterstock

Take garlic, mix in some olive oil and maybe an egg or two, and you have aioli.

It can also be punched up with chilli, extra garlic, paprika, or any other spice.

Harissa is red hot on any plate.

There are a lot of recipes for harissa hot sauce. iStock

Harissa is a spicy sauce commonly found in certain African cuisines that combines a variety of peppers, including roasted red peppers, Baklouti pepper, and Serrano peppers, with herbs and olive oil to form a thick paste.

Its recipe and uses can vary between regions, but it’s commonly added to rice, soups, and meats.

Punch up some of your favourite breakfast dishes with brown sauce.

Brown sauce is often found on English or Irish breakfast plates. photographyfirm/Shutterstock

Brown sauce has a variety of uses and is commonly found in the UK and Ireland. It’s made up of tomatoes, molasses, dates, apples, vinegar, and a variety of spices.

The condiment is a common addition to an English or Irish breakfast and is often added to red meats.

There’s a reason Sriracha is one of the trendiest condiments on the market.

Sriracha is a versatile hot sauce. Erin McDowell/Insider

This spicy sauce is made up of just a few simple ingredients including chilli peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Although some may see it as a trendy new sauce, it’s been used for nearly a century in Vietnamese and Thai cooking.

You can add it to anything from pho to stir-fry to avocado toast.

A little wasabi goes a long way.

It’s commonly served with sushi. PANORAMe / Shutterstock

Many typically see wasabi in paste form, and it gets its signature taste from a plant that’s in the same family as mustard and horseradish.

Most sushi restaurants don’t actually serve real wasabi, according to The Daily Meal. Fresh wasabi is very expensive and has a short shelf life, so instead, they may use wasabi powder or even a pseudo paste made from horseradish and food colouring.

Salsa can be eaten on top of dishes or as a dip.

Salsa comes in all kinds of flavours and spice levels. Scruggelgreen/Shutterstock

Salsa is made by combining chopped ingredients such as chilies and onions with a base of anything from tomatoes to pineapple to corn.

A dip with centuries-old roots, salsa can be added to most dishes but is often used as a sauce for Mexican cuisine.

Sweet chilli sauce adds a kick to just about anything.

It’s often served as a sauce for spring rolls. Andy Lidstone/Shutterstock

Sweet chilli sauce is often paired with eggs rolls, spring rolls, and lettuce wraps. It is made from red chile peppers, rice wine vinegar, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar or honey.

It is particularly popular in Thai and Malaysian cuisines.

Peri-peri sauce is full of pepper.

It pairs well with chicken. Q77photo/Shutterstock

Peri-peri sauce is often made from the African bird’s eye chilli and is typically used on meats like chicken.

Africa’s bird’s eye chilli is the hottest pepper grown in the continent but is hard to find elsewhere, so many modern recipes call for red bell pepper, chilli, paprika, black pepper, vinegar, oregano, and salt.

Horseradish has surprising origins.

The sauce has a kick. invizbk/Getty

Horseradish had many uses dating back to 1500 BC – it was used as an aphrodisiac, back-pain medicine, and cough syrup, though it’s not widely known for having medicinal uses today.

Horseradish sauce is made by grating the root of a horseradish plant and combining it with sour cream, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise.

Ranch dressing is often used as a condiment on everything, from salads to pizzas.

It’s not just for dipping. MSPhotographic/Shutterstock

Ranch dressing is most commonly used as a topper for salads or as a dipping sauce for pizza and chicken wings.

According to The New York Times, the creamy condiment dates back to the 1950s when a couple living in a ranch called Hidden Valley was making a dry mix that everyone they knew became obsessed with. People would add their own mayonnaise or buttermilk to the mix at home.

Ranch is basically comprised of dry herbs, garlic, onion, and a dairy base (which could be buttermilk, sour cream, or even mayonnaise).

Sour cream can provide a cool relief in spicy dishes.

It adds some creaminess to any dish. farbled/Shutterstock

Sour cream can be added to virtually any food. It is made by fermenting lactic acid-producing bacteria with cream, and it likely originated at the beginning of the 20th century in Eastern Europe.

Today, people use it to top everything from dumplings to burritos, and it can also be mixed into baked goods for added moisture.

Tahini is a sesame seed-based condiment.

Tahini is made by crushing sesame seeds into a paste. Shutterstock/vanillaechoes

Tahini is made with crushed sesame seeds and oil. It can sometimes be used as a nut-butter alternative, and it’s also a key ingredient in hummus.

The creamy sauce can top rice bowls or even be added to smoothies as a healthy fat.

Who doesn’t need some hot sauce in their lives?

Hot sauce comes in different levels of spiciness. INSIDER

Hot sauce can be added to eggs, used as a sauce for chicken wings, or poured on any dish that needs a little extra flavour and spice.

There are many different types of hot sauces but the basic ingredients are usually chilies, garlic, onions, salt, and oil.

Hoisin sauce can be used as a glaze or a dip.

It pairs well with fried dumplings. Chansak Joe/Shutterstock

Hoisin sauce, which is a bit sweet and a bit sour, is made from soybeans, water, flour, garlic, and chilli.

It is often paired with shrimp, pork, and chicken, and it’s especially popular in Chinese cuisines.

Jam is a sweet spread that’s great on toast.

Jam comes in a variety of flavours. Shutterstock

A recipe for jam first appeared centuries ago in one of the world’s oldest recorded cookbooks – “De Re Coquinaria (The Art of Cooking),” according to Spectator Life. At that time, it was simply fruit heated with sugar or honey – which is basically what it still is today.

Now, you can make or buy jam in almost any flavour imaginable.

Not only is peanut butter incredibly filling, but also it’s a great pantry staple.

It can be spread on top of toast. Photo-Dave/ iStock

According to the National Peanut Board, the peanut plant (and the practice of turning the nuts into a spread) was likely first discovered in South America by the native Inca population of Peru.

But according to the Board, the peanut butter we know and love now was created by Dr. John Harvey Kellog in 1895. He formally introduced the product at the St. Louis World’s Fair, where countries showcase different achievements, in 1904.

Most peanut butter today is made with peanuts, sugar, and salt, and palm oil is often added to keep the oils from separating.

Pesto is often used as a sauce for pasta.

It pairs well with pizza, too. Andrey Starostin/Shutterstock

Pesto sauce is said to have originated in Genoa, Italy, in the 16th century.

It is most commonly made with basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, and garlic, but more recently people have begun making pesto with kale,almonds, and lots of other alternatives.

It can be mixed with pasta, slathered on a sandwich, or simply used as a dip.

A drop of toasted sesame oil can deepen the flavour of a dish.

Sometimes it’s used when making scallion pancakes Shutterstock

Sesame oil is commonly used as a cooking or flavoring oil in Asian dishes. You can also add it to tempura and stir-fry.

Gochujang is a great sauce if you’re a fan of heat.

It’s a type of red chilli paste. Tipayarat K/Shutterstock

Originating in Korea, gochujang is another chilli paste, but it has a twist.

Ingredients such as glutinous rice and chilli powder keep this condiment fresh. You can use it to marinade meat or use it as a spicy dipping sauce.

Vegemite is an Australian condiment with a unique flavour.

It’s commonly spread on toast. Daniel Munoz/Reuters

Vegemite is a very popular Australian spread that’s made from leftover brewer’s yeast extract. It’s popularly used a topping on buttered toast.

The flavorful, salty spread has existed since 1922 and can be found in many Australian pantries, although people who like it often debate how much Vegemite should be used on toast.

Miso is a base for many dishes.

Miso soup wouldn’t be the same without it. jazz3311/Shutterstock

Miso is made from fermenting soybeans, wheat, alcohol, and salt.

It’s the primary ingredient in miso soup, but when used in paste form, you can use it to marinade meat or add it to baked goods.

Caesar dressing is the key ingredient of a popular salad.

It’s the real hero of Caesar salads. SQUAMISH / iStock

No, Caesar salad dressing doesn’t have anything to do with the historic Roman Julius Caesar. In fact, the popular salad dressing is said to have its roots traced back to an Italian-American restaurateur in Mexico.

Now, the dressing is commonly made with garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. It can be used to top salads, but it is also used in wraps and on sandwiches.

A1 sauce is a must for steak night.

It’s a staple at most steakhouses. Chris Helgren/Reuters

A1 steak sauce is mostly comprised of tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, and sweeteners.

As its name implies, it is typically used for steak, but it can also be used for hamburgers and chillis.

The invention of the sauce dates back to the 1800s, and it is widely credited to Henderson William Brand, who was a cook for King George IV.

Maple syrup makes pancakes and waffles even sweeter.

It’s a pancake essential. Larry Crowe/AP

Maple syrup goes hand in hand with waffles and pancakes, but it can also be used as a sweetener in anything from oatmeal to baked goods.

The sugary sauce is widely produced in Vermont, New York, and Canada.

Whipped cream is tasty right out of the can.

Put it on your waffles or ice cream sundaes. Shutterstock

The process of making whipped cream used to be a lot more difficult, but thanks to modern kitchen technology and a wide array of store-bought options available, you can easily add it to everything from ice cream sundaes to cakes.

You can make your own by whipping sugar and cream together in a cold bowl.

Oyster sauce is a great compliment to green veggies.

It’s an easy way to add flavour to a dish. Saranya Maikaen/Shutterstock

According to the Telegraph, oyster sauce was supposedly created by accident in 1888 when Lee Kum Sheung, a restaurant owner in South China, left a pot of oyster soup over the flame and it boiled into a gravy.

Making your own is a little complicated but the ingredients needed are oysters, soy sauce, and salt.

Today it’s often used as an ingredient in stir-frys or used to add a salty kick to rice dishes.

Gravy is more than just a US Thanksgiving staple.

It pairs nicely with mashed potatoes. Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Gravy might be associated with Thanksgiving in the United States, but it’s a great condiment all year long.

It’s basically made of just flour and beef or chicken stock, but you can also purchase premixed packages where all you have to do is add water.

It makes a perfect topping for potatoes or meat.

Everything tastes better with a little butter.

Melted butter can give veggies a boost of flavour. Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

Butter was first referenced thousands of years ago on a limestone tablet, and it’s made by churning milk or cream until the butterfat separates from the liquid.

It’s no secret that you can use butter on top of nearly anything including bread, potatoes, and steak.

Cream cheese is a bagel’s best friend.

It can be mixed with a variety of flavours. INSIDER

Cream cheese is similar to the French Neufchâtel cheese, and it is a common ingredient in a variety of baked goods.

The creamy spread is made with cream, milk, and lactic acid and makes a perfect companion to bagels and sandwiches.

Chimichurri adds spice and flavour to meat dishes.

Chimichurri is often green but can also be red. Shutterstock

This sauce often pairs best with meat and is made with chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and red wine vinegar.

It’s popular in Argentina and Uruguay, and though the green version is the most iconic, adding tomatoes and bell pepper make it chimichurri rojo (red).

Hollandaise sauce is beloved in France.

Eggs Benedict wouldn’t be the same without it. Proxima13/iStock

Hollandaise comes from Normandy, France, and it is most commonly used to make eggs Benedict.

The creamy sauce is made by mixing together egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Olive oil is a useful ingredient, drizzle, or dip.

It adds a smooth flavour. Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

The process of getting olive oil from olives is a bit complicated but this is a simple version: olives are (supposed to be) hand-picked, pressed into a paste, mixed with water, put through a machine that discards of the paste and collects the liquid, and then that liquid is refined.

Today you can certainly cook with it, but it also makes a delicious addition to pasta or serves as a tasty dipping sauce for bread.

What would shrimp be without cocktail sauce?

Shrimp cocktail is a classic appetizer. Africa Studio/Shutterstock

According to John Mariani’s ‘The Dictionary of American Food and Drink” from 1983, the famous cocktail-hour sauce may have been invented in the early 1900s by Ernest Arbogast from the Palm Court restaurant in San Francisco, California.

Arbogast supposedly used a sauce similar to the one we know today on a dish called “oysters Kirkpatrick,” that combined ketchup, chilli sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and A1 steak sauce.

Many current recipes for cocktail sauce list ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and hot sauce as ingredients.

Teriyaki sauce pairs well with many meats.

It adds a bit of sweetness to any dish. Shutterstock

Teriyaki was originally thought of as a cooking method in Japan – but in Hawaii, Japanese immigrants are said to have blended soy sauce with pineapple juice as an early version of the tangy condiment.

Teriyaki sauce is now commonly made with soy sauce, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, oil, onions, garlic powder, and ginger. It is a great marinade for meats and a tasty sauce for stir-frys or noodle dishes.

Chocolate syrup adds sweetness to sundaes.

It’s a sundae staple. pogonici/Shutterstock

Chocolate syrup has some surprising origins – for example, in part of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was mixed with medicine to hide a remedy’s bitter taste, according to the Smithsonian magazine.

Today, it’s used to top ice cream and other desserts or to make chocolate milk.

Tzatziki is a cool and refreshing condiment.

It’s a crucial ingredient in a gyro. Getty Images

Tzatziki is a popular Greek condiment that’s typically made with yogurt, cucumbers, dill, lemon juice, and olive oil.

It’s a perfect topping for a gyro or other meat dishes in addition to making a great dipping sauce.

Hummus isn’t just a dip.

It’s perfect for dipping carrots into. Inna Reznik/Shutterstock

Hummus is commonly served with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, and it can be made at home with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, water, and olive oil.

You can dip pita or veggies into it, but it’s also great for topping sandwiches, rice dishes, and meats.

Ponzu is a thin, salty sauce.

The sauce is popular on poke bowls. Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Ponzu is made by combining soy sauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, mirin, katsuobushi, and kombu.

We often see it used in poke bowls, but it can also be added to meals, like rice dishes, for a boost of flavour.

Honey dill sauce is hard to find outside of certain parts of Canada.

Dried dill is a key ingredient in the condiment. Shutterstock

This little-known condiment comes from Manitoba, Canada. It is produced by Greetalia and is hard to find outside of the province.

If you want to try making it at home, mix mayonnaise, dill weed, and honey. It can be paired with savoury foods, like fries or chicken nuggets.

Nutella is a popular hazelnut and cocoa spread.

It’s a sweet addition to toast. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Though this rich spread originated because of ceratin food shortages in Italy during World War II, it’s now beloved across the globe.

It’s made with chocolate, hazelnuts, skim milk, and sugar, and you can often find it topping bread, pancakes, or ice cream – if it’s not being eaten right out of the jar with a spoon.

Honey can sweeten up any dish.

You can add it to yogurt or toast. Shutterstock

Honey is a naturally occurring product made by bees, and people have been eating it for thousands of years.

Today, it can be used to sweeten up tea, top toast, or add flavour to oatmeal.

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