Grown-Up Dipping Sauce

Two weeks ago, I decided I needed to practice our Better Homes and Gardens cook-off recipe one more time before the big day, so we did a test run of burgers and s’mores (which were not part of the cook-off, but it was the first time in 6 months we could light a fire without immediately wanting to die). My friend Jeni brought fries and with them, she brought what was hands-down one of the best dipping sauces I’ve ever had. Ever. Like…one of those dips where you check to see if anyone’s looking and then nonchalantly dip your finger in it and then proceed to lick it off. Yes, I totally just admitted to that.

About a year-and-a-half ago, we posted a recipe for crispy diner-style fries along with fry sauce, a species that seems to be indigenous to Utah/Southern Idaho. Being a born-and-bred Utah girl, of course I love my fry sauce. But this is the next step up–something you don’t have to apologize for or explain to people who may not be familiar with the pink stuff. This is full-blown grown-up fry sauce. And I can’t think of anything savory that it wouldn’t be good on. In addition to the diner-style fries, you could try it on…

Oven Steak Fries
Sweet Potato Fries (the honey-lime dip is awesome, but just in case you feel the urge to mix it up)
Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers
Baked Fish Sticks
Crispy Shoestring Onions. Please don’t even get me started on this…save your pennies on the Bloomin‘ Onion/Awesome Blossom {extra awesome} /Onion Brick (which, incidentally, gets the award for the worst appetizer name in restaurant history).
–Spread it on buns before adding grilled burgers or chicken breasts

–Use it as a sandwich spread, especially hot turkey, roast beef, or corned beef sandwiches
–Omit the ketchup and use lemon juice instead of lime juice for a crab cake remoulade
The ingredients are inexpensive and probably stuff you either already have or that are super easy to find: Ketchup, mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip), capers, garlic, red onion, fresh lime juice, cayenne pepper, and Creole mustard. Don’t worry, you can find Creole mustard at most major American grocery stores (Zatarain’s is widely accessible and inexpensive). It is really uniquely flavorful and so good; if you’re looking for a great ground mustard, this is one of the best options.

If you are wondering (or ever have, or will now that I’m bringing it up) what capers are, they’re little buds from the caper bush, which grows in the Mediterranean. The buds are plucked off the bush before they can bloom and then they are pickled.

They’re salty and mild and add a similar flavor to dill pickles, only a little more subtle and complex (hence the grown-up dipping sauce).
Anyway, combine all the ingredients in your blender or in the small bowl of your food processor (if you have one) and blend until the desired consistency is reached. If you’re worried about heat, start with a little less than a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper and then, after you’ve mixed everything together, add a little more until the sauce is as spicy as you’d like it.

After you’ve mixed your sauce, store it in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to a week. Serve it on whatever you want and prepare yourself for a little subtle finger-licking…


  1. Filled with stuff I would never seek out to eat, yet still looks like it might be worth a try…how odd is that, lol. Here in OK…if fries are dipped at all, they are dipped in ketchup, ranch or gravy, lol.

  2. Brian and Anne–You pose a tricky question. 🙂 Honestly, once you get all the flavors in there, the capers really don't taste very caper-y. They do add a little zip, though. So if you really, really don't want to add them, you might need to add a little dill pickle juice or dill pickle relish (although not the full 1 1/2 tablespoons–maybe closer to 2 teaspoons of dill relish).

    Carlie–The great thing about Creole mustard is that it's not super mustard-y to start with; it's not as spicy as brown or traditional ground mustard and it's not mustard-y at all like yellow mustard. I accidentally left it out of this particular batch at first and I knew something was off and then as soon as I added it, it really rounded out the flavors. There are so many strong flavors going on here (garlic, onion, capers, ketchup, cayenne) that the mustard is actually one of the mildest elements. Hope that helps! 🙂

  3. Question – Our family does not like mustard at all. SO I wondering if this sauce has mustardy taste at all? We love fry sauce in this house, so the idea of this grown-up sauce sounds yummy but I'm worried about the mustard.

  4. Alyssa–Hahaha, those are totally the frozen Checkers fries from the grocery store! I was going to make my own, but these shorter days (and less natural light) + picking up my kindergartener from school keep throwing me for a loop!

  5. This sauce looks and sounds amazing! I've been looking for a sauce to go with quesadillas and I think this will be great! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

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