The 5-Ingredient Sauce Claire Saffitz Eats With Everything

It's easy to think of Claire Saffitz as specifically a baking and sweets guru — the pastry chef to turn to when you need help with perfect pie or epic cookies. Her latest cookbook and YouTube channel are both titled "Dessert Person," after all. But Saffitz has plenty of savory wisdom for cooks looking for some simple, flavorful advice for the weeknight scramble. Her secret weapon for an instantly tasty meal? A tangy yogurt sauce primed for dipping, drizzling, or just plain dolloping.  

Described by Bon Appétit as a "weeknight power sauce," Saffitz's concoction is made of yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a spicy kick of freshly grated garlic. Though you can use any kind of plain yogurt you please, Saffitz urges you to stick to whole fat, as the sauce benefits from the boost of creamy richness. If the consistency is too creamy for your purposes, you can thin it out with either olive oil or water — dealer's choice. Saffitz likes to pair this sauce with just about everything, from chicken and fish to soups and salads.

Tangy yogurt sauce for the win

There's a long tradition of yogurt sauces in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine, from Greek tzatziki to the Turkish haydari. This sauce runs in the same vein as these others, a cooling and tangy counterpoint for spicy and savory dishes, but with a conveniently on-hand ingredient list. With that in mind, consider pairing this with recipes that have plenty of aromatic spices and seasoning or are particularly rich and could use a bright acidity to cut through.  

Plus, this is a classic no-recipe recipe, where no specific amounts are given, so the cook can adjust the formula to exactly what their tastebuds desire. If you need more acid, add more lemon juice. If it's too bland, pump up the salt. The only ingredient you need to be cautious about going overboard on is the grated garlic, as raw garlic is significantly more pungent than cooked garlic. Start off with incorporating half a small clove and work your way up. If the mood strikes you, you can add whatever herb you have on hand (mint and cilantro are good options), but it's certainly not required. 

One secret ingredient that may help take this sauce to the next level? Time. Make this sauce at least thirty minutes before you start cooking, and let it chill in the fridge. This extra time will allow all the flavors to mingle and marry, resulting in a punchier sauce.