We declare our love for chili oil, curry ketchup, balsamic glaze, and more.

By Bridget Hallinan
April 08, 2020
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Whether it's a slick of mayonnaise on sandwiches, fish sauce for flavorful soups and stews, or hot sauce sprinkled on, well, everything, you can never underestimate the value of a good condiment. Although we work with all different kinds for recipes, there are some that our editors permanently reserve spots in their pantries for. One loves balsamic glaze, pouring it on everything from pizza to ice cream; another (hi, that’s me) finds nostalgia for her college years in hot tomato oil, and if you open her cabinet, you’ll find no less than six jars stacked inside. You'll also hear us waxing poetic about barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, curry ketchup, miso paste, and more—read on for all the delicious things to splash, spread, dip, douse, and add to your favorite recipes.

Courtesy of Sur La Table/Brooklyn Delhi/Instacart/Target/Pastabilities

Maille Dijon Mustard

“I’ve been cooking a ton with Maille's Dijon mustard at home–we've used it in marinades for salmon, salad dressings, and to add complexity to stir-fry sauce with soy, ginger, and chili oil.” –Oset Babür, associate restaurant editor

Maille Mustard Dijon Originale, available at instacart.com (price dependent on location)

Junzi Chili Oil 

Courtesy of Junzi Kitchen

“I’m also a big fan of Junzi Kitchen's chili oil, which I love using on stir-fried green beans with ground pork or tofu.” –O.B.

Junzi Chili Oil, $7 at squareup.com

Jack Miller’s Bar-B-Que Sauce 

“My absolute favorite BBQ sauce and Cajun seasoning is Jack Miller's, made in my grandmother's tiny hometown, Ville Platte, Louisiana. Their Cajun seasoning is fantastic in everything from étouffée to potato salad and their BBQ sauce, which is thick and tangy and onion-y, is fantastic for basting grilled chicken.” –Erin Clyburn, copy editor

Jack Miller’s Bar-B-Que Sauce, $19-$46 (depending on order quantity) at jackmillers.com

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise 

Courtesy of Target

“Mayonnaise is a weeknight miracle worker, and, while you can make it in under a minute using a blender, I always keep a squirt bottle of Hellmann’s in my fridge door. It is great for making Caesar dressing without raw egg, crisping grilled cheese, or helping to bind the best crab cakes ever (and, hint, sub any cooked, flaked fish for the crab to make easy fish burgers). But my favorite quick-fix is for simple baked fish that is impossibly moist and juicy, thanks to mayonnaise. For each raw fillet of any fish, stir together one tbsp. mayonnaise, one tsp. grainy or smooth Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper, and some chopped thyme, dill, or scallions, some grated lemon zest or garlic, and/or some paprika. Spread the seasoned mayo over the fish fillets and bake at 350°F until the fish is almost cooked through (five-nine minutes depending on thickness of fillets). Turn on the broiler for the last minute of cooking to brown the crust. It’s ready in less than 10 minutes and totally delicious.” –Mary-Frances Heck, senior food editor

Hellmann's Squeeze Real Mayonnaise - 5.5 fl oz, available at target.com (price dependent on location)

Pasta's Daily Spicy Hot Tomato Oil

“I have a lot of fond food memories from going to school in Syracuse, New York—reuben fritters from Kitty Hoyne’s Irish Pub, scoops of ice cream piled high at Gannon’s, sushi from Bleu Monkey Cafe. But luckily, one of my favorites doesn’t have to be just a memory. At Pastabilities, an Italian restaurant in downtown Armory Square, the signature Spicy Hot Tomato Oil the kitchen serves is sold online and at Wegmans, so I’ve been bringing jars home long after college graduation. It’s prepared with tomatoes, pure olive oil, sliced garlic, honey, spiced oil, salt, and chili peppers—serve it on pasta, spoon it over eggs, or do as I do and sop it up with bread until dinner becomes an afterthought.” –Bridget Hallinan, digital reporter (me)

Hot Tom™ 2-Pack, $17 at shop.hottom.com

New York Shuk Signature Harissa

“I’m cooking more than ever these days, but that means that dinner prep has to be as streamlined as possible. This jammy, not-too-spicy harissa paste is the key to one of my go-to sheet-pan dinners: Mix with a squirt of tomato paste, a couple cloves of minced garlic, a dash of cumin, some olive oil, and salt and pepper, and slather on chicken thighs. Roast on a sheet pan over a bed of oiled and seasoned canned chickpeas until everything is cooked through, golden brown, and crispy. It's also delicious slathered over white fish fillets or vegetables like carrots and cauliflower before roasting, or mixed with mayo and spread on sandwiches, and so much more.” –Adina Steiman, deputy digital editor

Signature Harissa, $13 at nyshuk.com

Miso Paste 

Courtesy of Milk Street

"My can’t do without-it condiment in good times and bad is miso paste. I don’t bother with the teensy tubs sold at Amazon or western grocery stores, but head to my local Asian grocery, where it’s inexpensive, and comes in appropriately large (pound-plus) denominations. (Even if you don’t use a lot of miso, it’s worth buying it this way—the stuff keeps forever in the fridge.) Miso comes in a different shades (white, red) and there are lots of different brands (Marukome, Hiraki, etc), but to be honest, I am color- and brand-agnostic. They’re all varying degrees of deeply umami and savory, and can be used for the same things. I use miso paste most often to make miso soup; you can follow a recipe, or honestly just swirl miso into simmering water to taste, then add anything you like (tofu and wakame are traditional; mushrooms and spinach are good; my Japanese cousins make it with shredded carrot and onion). I use it to make kicky dips and salad dressings, to make miso butter (great on salmon, shrimp, steak or plain old toast). I’ve experimented with making Japanese-style miso pickles (including miso-pickled eggs, which are an awesome homemade ramen-topper), which bring me great joy—no small feat, these days!" –Karen Shimizu, executive editor 

Namikura Red Miso, $11 at store.177milkstreet.com; Namikura Kyoto-Style White Miso, $11 at store.177milkstreet.com

Zakuson Hot Mustard

Courtesy of Mercato.com

“Back when we could leave our homes and do things, I would go to the Russian and Turkish Baths fairly often. Regulars don’t rave about their food, but there is something there worth talking about on a food website: Zakuson hot mustard. It’s grey and gloopy and stings you hard right where the nose meets the brain. The Russian phrase on the jar translates to mother-in-law mustard; I’m not really sure what that’s about. I like to dab it on post-schvitz pelmeni and see how much I can take before I’m like OK, that was way too much, that’s the limit right there.” –Ryan Grim, executive digital editor 

Zakuson Gourmet Mustard Hot, $3.50 at mercato.com

Cholula Hot Sauce

“I think the only condiment I truly get nervous about running low on is Cholula. Since it's not super spicy but full of tangy, almost fruity flavor, I can pile it on pretty much anything that needs a boost. It works especially well with the most common meals I have on rotation: scrambled eggs, nachos, and rice and beans.” –Sarah Crowder, digital photo editor

Cholula Hot Sauce - 5oz, available at target.com (price dependent on location)

SD Sauce Thai Hot Sauce

Courtesy of SD Sauce

“I boost take-out Thai with this sauce, because most of the Thai places I have access to moderate their intensity for an American audience; I also like it on pork loin or leftover roast chicken, or if you turn said leftover roast chicken into a salad. It's also great on chopped-veggie-couscous-etc salad-y things.” –Ray Isle, executive wine editor 

SD Sauce Original Hot Sauce - 5oz, $10 at sdsauce.com

Seggiano Balsamic Glaze

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

“I put balsamic glaze—which is balsamic vinegar that has been reduced into a thicker, denser version of itself—on everything. Pasta. Pizza. Roasted vegetables. Even ice cream. It is truly my favorite condiment and every pantry should have a bottle (or a few)!” –Nina Friend, assistant editor

Seggiano Super Dense Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, 8.5 fl oz available at wholefoodsmarket.com (price dependent on location)

Bushwick Kitchen Bee's Knees Spicy Honey 

“Bee's Knees Spicy Honey is a perfect companion for everything from margaritas to pepperoni pizza. Add it to a charcuterie spread for soft cheeses, drizzle it over fried chicken or buttermilk biscuits, or use it as a topping for ice cream for the ultimate balance of spicy and sweet.” –Megan Soll, associate digital editor

Bushwick Kitchen Bee's Knees Spicy Honey, $14 at surlatable.com

Red Boat Fish Sauce 

“I sprinkle fish sauce into pretty much everything I cook, so it's always in my fridge. It adds a wonderfully funky depth of flavor to soups, stews, dressings, and noodles that you can't quite get from anything else. Red Boat will forever be my brand of choice.” –Maria Yagoda, digital restaurant editor 

Red Boat 40°N Fish Sauce, $9 at surlatable.com 

Brooklyn Delhi Curry Ketchup

Courtesy of Brooklyn Delhi

“I am very particular about ketchup. I never want the fancy house-made stuff. It's either the vinegary tang of Heinz or bust. But then I came across a bottle of Curry Ketchup by Brooklyn Delhi. It has all the good tomato notes of ketchup, but it also has deep savory notes thanks to roasted garlic, chili peppers, and tamarind. The sauce is basically the lovechild of ketchup and chutney. It adds much needed oomph to dishes like veggie burgers and basic omelettes, without adding too much sweetness. And yes, it is great with fries.” –Khushbu Shah, restaurant editor 

Brooklyn Delhi Curry Ketchup, $10 at brooklyndelhi.com

Kikkoman Ponzu

“Say "Kikkoman ponzu" enough times in a row and it becomes something of a calming mantra—and what could possibly be more useful these days? Oh, I know: PONZU. Kikkoman ponzu is technically a ponzu shōyu since it includes soy sauce, and it melds with citrus, vinegar, and bonito into a sweet, salty, tangy, savory condiment—or marinade—that complements and awakens every single food I've tried it with. This is the little black dress (or in these times, yoga pants) of my condiment collection and while I haven't hoarded, the notion of buying it by the case has definitely crossed my mind.” –Kat Kinsman, senior editor 

Kikkoman Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Dressing & Sauce 10 oz, available at target.com (price dependent on location)

Blackberry Farm Jams 

Courtesy of Food52

“Blackberry Farm strawberry and blueberry jams—these are my favorite jams, hands-down. They're super concentrated and flavorful, and not so sweet that they become overpowering. Perfect as is, or paired with salty things like charcuterie and cheese. I could eat this jam for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, and usually do.” –Caroline Schnapp, Audience Engagement Editor

Blackberry Farm Seasonal Jam Gift Set, $46 at food52.com

Yakami Yuzu Kosho

Courtesy of Milk Street

“I do what my friend Justin Smillie does and make a sauce for chicken wings by mixing rice wine vinegar, yuzu kosho, and smoked bacon fat in a bowl and toss hot fried or grilled chicken wings in the mixture. It's also really good mixed into a miso dressing for an extra citrusy, chile kick. And mixed in with Kewpie mayo and a spoonful of ketchup for a different kind of cocktail sauce with peel and eat shrimp.” –Hunter Lewis, editor in chief

Yakami Yuzu Kosho - Green, $13 at store.177milkstreet.com