A Sweet Touch Is All You Need To Instantly Elevate Store-Bought Steak Sauce

A juicy piece of steak is rarely complete without a sauce to smother over it. While we may dabble with a red wine reduction, buttery garlic mushroom sauce, or even some spiced dark chocolate, we always return to a classic steak sauce. It never fails us — although we certainly don't mind sprucing it up every now and then.

Though no steak sauce is identical, those found in grocery stores often share similar ingredients. Tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and onions frequently make the cut, with soy sauce, garlic, or orange peels typically rounding out the list. Essentially, these sauces are often predominantly savory and tangy — but an extra hint of sweetness is all you need to balance out the flavors even more, making it even more delectable. 

The possibilities are endless. While a honeyed bourbon with tasting notes of vanilla, toffee, and oak makes for a richer steak sauce, a splash of pineapple juice can give it a fun, tropical flair. Expanding on flavors already present in the sauce can also help to give it more depth. Raisin paste is an unexpected ingredient that elevates steak sauce, and a splash of grape juice can bring out that delicious, concentrated flavor even more.

Sweet ingredients to elevate your steak sauce with

To determine the best sweet ingredient for your store-bought steak sauce, examine the listed ingredients. Among the top bottled steak sauces is A.1. Original Sauce, a sweet and wonderfully tart condiment. While the sauce gets most of its sweetness from raisins, to amplify it with a hint of fruitiness, we suggest a splash of orange juice. Start with a few teaspoons of juice, and simmer the mixture down to thicken the sauce.

Another classic, Lawry's Steak and Chop Marinade, is a zesty, earthy sauce. Made with garlic, caraway, soy sauce, and red bell pepper, the piquant mixture would benefit from some added sweetness and heat. Hot honey could be a perfect addition, meshing well with the garlic and soy sauce. Depending on the type of honey used, the ingredient could bring a citrusy vanilla flavor, or come packed with dark notes of caramel, enhanced with some sizzling spice.

Filled with horseradish and garlic, Peter Luger Steak House Old Fashioned Sauce is no stranger to heat. It's also deeply savory with hints of sweetness, thanks to molasses, anchovies, tamarind, and tomatoes. For this sauce, a woodsy liquid like bourbon will do the trick. It shares the same deep flavor as the sauce, and with tasting notes of caramel, toffee, and walnuts, it can amp up the sweetness while maintaining the sauce's rich, umami flavor.