11 Three-Ingredient Sauces You Should Make from Scratch

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you meal prep just one thing over the weekend, my best (and favorite) advice is to always make a sauce. I’m a strong believer that a simple, flavorful sauce is the single thing that will take any meal from good to great. And the more simple, the better.

You truly don’t need a lot of ingredients or effort to pull together a really good sauce, and these 10 recipes prove it. Start with three ingredients (and a little salt and pepper, if you like) and you’ve got all you need.

Rich and sweet, with a faint bitter edge, this is the sauce you’ll want to drizzle over grilled chicken breast, pork, and salmon.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Equal parts creamy and punchy, this bold-flavored sauce isn’t just for summer. It’s perfect for drizzling over everything from meat pulled from the grill and roasted vegetables, to grain bowls and just about anything else.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Start with some good-quality tomatoes, add a splash of vinegar and some garlic, and you’ll instantly see why making your own pizza sauce totally beats the store-bought stuff. Best of all, it makes a big batch and freezes really well.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This is my absolute favorite sauce of all time! Use any herbs you have handy and the result is a bright, fresh sauce with nutty undertones that also doubles as a dip.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I’m convinced this sauce has the power to make anyone fall in love with tomatillos. This sauce has a sweet smokiness that makes it a good match for just about everything you pull off the grill, from chicken and pork, to fish and vegetables.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This super-simple pesto starts with whatever green things you have in the fridge, be it wilted herbs or leftovers leafy greens, like spinach, arugula, or kale.

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(Image credit: Christine Han)

You just need three ingredients to pull off a bold, punchy sauce you’ll want to eat with everything. If you have some fresh parsley hanging out in the fridge, it’s a fun extra to toss in.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When you want a sauce that doubles as a marinade, this one really delivers. It’s just the right balance of sweet, salty, and sour, and also works well with stir-fries.

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(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Take three basic ingredients (you get pasta water and salt as freebies), plus some comfort-food inspiration, and you’ve got a grown-up version of buttered noodles that’s light with just a hint of indulgence.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The next time you’re ready to call cheese and bread (or a sleeve of crackers) dinner, this sweet and tangy sauce is the one thing you’ll want to have on hand. Of course, it also makes a natural partner to any kind of meat or tofu you’re cooking up.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How about a 1-ingredient sauce as a bonus? Simmer balsamic vinegar until it becomes thick and honey-like to make a sweet and nutty sauce that’s great drizzled on caprese salad, roasted vegetables, and even vanilla ice cream.

3-Ingredient Roasted Lemon Sauce: Watch the Video

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