These Classic Condiments Are So Much Better When You Make Them from Scratch

Skip the store-bought version and whip up these recipes yourself.

It's time to upgrade your meals with homemade condiments. In addition to tasting better, homemade condiments also don't contain additives and preservatives found in store-bought versions. It's also easy to customize the yield of each recipe, so you don't have half-used bottles of condiments stored in your refrigerator for weeks or months on end—just cut the recipes here in half if you're serving a small group or make a big batch for a larger gathering (COVID guidelines in place, of course). From a garlicky aioli that serves as a fabulous dipping sauce for French fries to a summery cocktail sauce that pairs with a raw seafood bar to dips for chips, we believe that the best things in life are made from scratch—including these eight condiments.

Johnny Miller
favorite aioli in ramekin
Johnny Miller


A decadent condiment for serving alongside French fries or spread onto sandwiches, the process for making homemade aioli is similar to mayonnaise. To make our aioli recipe, whisk egg yolks with salt and lemon juice, then slowly stream in extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture has emulsified and flows in a steady stream. Aioli can be hard to find in the grocery store, so that's another reason to make this garlicky powerhouse from scratch.

martha stewart cooking school cocktail sauce

Cocktail Sauce

Bottled cocktail sauce has got nothing on our recipe. It calls for freshly grated horseradish, ketchup, and lemon juice, but if you're feeling extra-spicy, you can add a dash or two of hot sauce. You can make it up to one day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until it's time to serve with poached shrimp or oysters on the half shell.


Barbecue Sauce

There's a reason why our Quick Barbecue Sauce is one of our most popular recipes ever. It's made with just five ingredients—ketchup, light-brown sugar, white-wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika—which is far fewer than you'll find printed on the back of a store-bought bottle. And yet, our version delivers just as much sweet and smoky flavor for brisket, pulled pork, burnt ends, and all of your other barbecue favorites.

Lennart Weibull

Caesar Dressing

Whether it's a simple vinaigrette or a more complex creamy dressing, we always advocate that home cooks make their own salad dressings. Preparing Caesar Salad Dressing is so much easier than you may expect. Start by chopping garlic and anchovies together, then mix them with lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Quick Sauerkraut


Making your own sauerkraut is one of the best ways to make use of a large head of green cabbage. All you need to do is cook thinly shredded cabbage with vinegar and salt until the greens have wilted and are tender. Plus, it's an unexpected homemade dish to bring to a backyard barbecue.

stirring spicy red chile relish
Lennart Weibull


Up your grilling game by making relish to serve with burgers and hot dogs, vegetables, and chips. Since many burger fixings are often store-bought—ketchup or mustard, cheese, vegetables, and buns—it's extra-fun to top them with something homemade. Try our Sweet Corn Relish or a fiery Hot Red-Pepper Relish.


Tomato Salsa

Taco Tuesday is right around the corner, so why not make our homemade salsa recipe? We're fans of making salsa in the summer when local tomatoes are at their peak. Dice them, then toss with red onion, jalapeño peppers (seeds included for extra heat), garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. That's all it takes!

classic guacamole
James Baigre


For game day, backyard barbecues, and summer picnics, make homemade guacamole. We promise it's easy! Just be sure to use very ripe avocados for easy mashing, ripe plum tomatoes, fresh lime juice, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro. If you want to make it an hour or two in advance, drizzle lime juice over the top; the acidity will help prevent the guacamole from browning pre-maturely.

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