The Best Sauces to Pair With Meat (Recipes & Guide)

picture of sauce for meat

Dipping sauces are typically associated with fries, veggies, crackers, chips — really, anything salty or crunchy. If you haven’t dabbled in dipping sauces for meat, however, you are missing out. 

A lot of emphasis is put on finding the best marinade for your meat, but sometimes meat with the most simple marinade can be elevated with an epic dipping sauce.

The thing is, when it comes to dipping sauces, the sky's the limit. There are so many textures and flavours to play around with to elevate your chicken, steak, wings, ribs, you name it. 

If you’ve been dipping your meat in ketchup and barbecue sauce, consider trying your hand at making your own sauce for dipping. At least this way, you’ll be in full control of what goes into the sauce. After all, store-bought sauces are known to be full of sugar and chemicals.

Use some fresh ingredients to make drool-worthy sauces that will have your friends and family begging for the recipe. 

Get to know the different types of sauces you can use to take your meat dish to the next level,  and put them into action with some killer recipes we’ve sourced from around the internet:

picture of three cream sauce recipes

1. Cream Sauces

About Cream Sauce: Cream sauce (also known as a white sauce) is typically smooth and rich in taste. Cream-based sauces oftentimes call for flour and or cheese to provide that desired texture. This sauce goes with pretty much any meat but is particularly well suited to steak, as well as seafood like salmon.

Mustard Cream Sauce

Cream sauces are known for being rich, but mustard provides a tang that cuts that rich sweetness. This is a partially great dipping sauce for your killer chicken wings!

Read the full recipe here

Horseradish Cream Sauce

This horseradish cream sauce makes the perfect addition to any steak, prime rib or roast beef — it will also keep well in a sandwich! There’s a lot to love about this cream sauce with a kick. 

Read the full recipe here

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Sauce

It’s like caesar salad dressing and ranch dressing got together and birthed this incredible sauce to lay over your meat. Of course, it also makes a perfect side addition for light dipping if that’s more your speed. Garlic, cheese and cream — where exactly can you go wrong?

Read the full recipe here

A Note: How do you fix a broken cream sauce?

Sometimes cream sauce can break — this is when it curdles or liquifies. When this happens, how do you save your sauce? Well, the answer is easy: take ½ cup of heavy cream, reduce it to ⅓ of its volume, and drizzle in the cream while you whisk. 

picture of three herb sauce recipes

2. Herb Sauces

About Herb Based Sauces: What do you do when you have herbs left in your garden? You make a sauce. Herbs bring a fresh taste to any meat dish and are also a healthier ingredient. 

The bonus? Herb sauces boast a vibrant green colour that brings a splash of colour to a dish. This sauce typically also incorporates citrus and other acidic ingredients.


Pesto isn’t just for your pasta. This basil-based sauce is pretty widely regarded but is vastly underestimated as a dipping option for your meat. Get your food processor ready to make this epic sauce for your next get together.

Read the full recipe here

Roasted Garlic Herb Sauce

If you’ve never roasted garlic, the time to start is now. This sauce boasts the perfect texture to lay over your meat. It’s more of a garnish than a dipping sauce, but it’s delicious whatever way you spin it. 

Read the full recipe here

White Wine Herb Sauce

This sauce gives a whole new definition to “cooking with wine.” This herb-filled sauce brings an entirely new flavour to any meat dish. Made with wine, butter and herbs, it marries some of the best of tastes. 

Read the full recipe here
picture of three tangy sauce recipes

3. Tangy Sauces

About Tangy Sauces: A “tangy” flavour is one that’s defined as having a strong, taste, or smell. Tangy is typically associated with being tart; sour with some heat. Tangy sauces are those who like to experience a fusion of flavours.

Sweet & Tangy Barbecue sauce

Why buy a prepackaged barbecue sauce when you can make your own with a sweet tang? This thick sauce is perfect for ribs and chicken. 

Read the full recipe here

Tangy Sweet & Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour is probably one of the best sauce combinations to exist. The balance of the two flavours elevates any and every dish. This sauce only takes 10 minutes to make and is great for stir fry, meat and seafood.

Read the full recipe here.


This herb-based sauce is actually inherently tangy. The combination of vinegar and fresh herbs like parsley and oregano gives off the desired tangy taste. While there are many ways to make chimichurri, we love how this recipe calls for vinegar and other citrus ingredients that provide a bit of a twist.

Read the full recipe here.
picture of 3 spicy sauce recipes

4. Spicy Sauces

About Spicy Sauces: Spicy sauces don’t have to be a painful “burn your entire mouth” experience. A good spicy sauce will provide a kick of heat, while also being flavourful and enhancing whatever you’re dipping into your sauce.

Meat tends to be savoury, which is why spicy sauces really add an entirely new flavour to meats like chicken and steak. A great way to ease your way into spicy sauces is to find ones that incorporate sweet ingredients that balance out the heat with flavour.

Spicy Sweet Chilli Sauce 

The thing about sweet chilli sauce is that it goes with everything — grilled chicken, chicken wings, and basically anything deep-fried. This sauce has a delicious garlic kick that elevates the taste of whatever you dip into it. It’s inspired by Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, and is a must-try.

Read the full recipe here

Spicy Miso Sauce

We had to include a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s foray into the internet, her lifestyle website Goop. As advertised on the site, this sauce is perfect to pair with chicken and roasted duck. 

The best part about Goop, other than it’s cultural relevance, of course, is that it offers a special printer-friendly version of the recipe.

Read the full recipe here

Peri-Peri Sauce

This isn’t your local Nando's peri-peri sauce. The take on the traditional African sauce, also frequently used in Portuguese cuisine, is the perfect addition to any chicken or steak. Its chilli base gives a nice kick to any meat, and herbs provide a great texture.

Read the full recipehere.

A Note: How do you cut the spice in a spicy sauce?

To reduce the heat of your sauce, add a sweet ingredient like sugar or honey.

picture of 3 sweet sauce recipes

5. Sweet Sauces

About Sweet Sauces: Sweet sauces are typically matched tangy or spicey ingredients to provide a balance of flavour — which is why we can’t make this list of sauces without recipes for some killer sweet sauces. 

Honey Mustard

Honey mustard is a pretty universal sauce that goes with everything. We love that this specific recipe only calls for 6 ingredients and does double time as a dipping sauce and a potential salad dressing. If you do want to use leftovers of this sauce as a salad dressing, consider adding some yogurt to reduce its thickness.

Read the full recipe here

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce 

Sometimes you just want the taste of thanksgiving, and this sauce will give you just that. There is something to be said about how sweet and smokey flavours complement one another — it’s an unexpectedly perfect pairing. It provides a slight sweetness without being overpowering and still offers the tart taste of a barbecue sauce. 

Read the full recipe here

Mango Lime Dipping Sauce 

This sweet and tart sauce pairs with almost anything from shrimp to chicken. The sweetness of the lime paired with the tart lime makes for a beautiful marriage of flavours. With 5 ingredients, this recipe doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to bring to life — it’s tasty and efficient! 

Read the full recipe here

Note: How do you un-sweeten a sauce?

If you find that your sauce is too sweet, you can salvage it by adding vinegar. This will bring some zest to your sauce while reducing its sweet taste. You can use white or cider vinegar to get this effect. Alternatively, you can add an acidic substance like lemon or lime juice to enhance its natural flavours and offset the sweetness.

smokey sauce recipe

Honourable Mention: Smokey Sauce

About Smokey Sauces: How can a barbecue-centric website forget about a smokey sauce? After all, smokey is one of the most common tastes associated with barbecue. If you’re already armed with the best smoker for your culinary needs, consider balancing your smoked meat recipes with one of our other recommended sauces. 

Spicy Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Everyone has the right to experience a good barbecue sauce — after all, it can make or break any meat dish. When you grill your meat to perfection, it’s only enhanced by the smokey flavour of a good barbecue sauce. We love the kick of this spicy- smokey barbecue sauce that brings together two of our favourite flavours. 

Read the full recipe here

About the Author William Clay

William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.