Reinventing classic fare has been a way of life for millennials over the last couple of years, as they try to harness youth again through nostalgia-inspired foods and culinary concepts. This reimagining is no different when it comes to the flavorful meal additions everyone can appreciate: sauces. Whether it's eating out or recreating beloved dishes at home, these sauce flavor trends of 2022 prove that elevating consumer cuisine to the next level is easier than ever. 


Fermented Classics

Rather than giving up tried-and-tested table items like butter or honey, 2022's young consumer base is opting for more beneficial, fermented versions of these classics with amped-up flavors. This proves that inventive, delicious food doesn't have to be filled with complications — it just has to include some essential condiments with a healthy twist.



It's clear Colleen Rush of Food Fanatics Magazine understands this refined mentality regarding an evergreen favorite, butter: Today, restaurants are presenting a more modest, balanced side of butter. It’s less of a culinary crutch and more like a high-quality seasoning.” Charlotte, North Carolina's is also well aware of how this shift can make a delicious difference, offering their housemade, beet-pink, cultured butter topped with flake salt served with homemade porridge bread as an elegant meal starter. 



Fermented honey naturally has higher moisture content and more beneficial enzymes in it than regular raw honey, with versatility enough to personalize it as a kitchen staple with additions like jalapeno or garlic. Roots York out of the UK showcases this sweet, natural delicacy and keeps it simple by making it the flavor star of their cod cheek with fermented honey and smoked butter dish. It can also be combined with other balancing condiments, as presented in AVOW Napa's pork schnitzel with a sweet-and-tart fermented honey mustard sauce.



Although many consumers may not realize it, vinegar is one of the main components of many of their favorite sauces, marinades, and dressings. In 2022, it is becoming the star of the show. Burnt and Salty, a craft condiment company out of South Carolina, lives by the motto, "Familiar + Unique + Versatile = Mouth Fun." Their coconut suka is crave-able and certainly versatile: a spicy coconut vinegar made with fermented coconut water, Thai chilis, ginger, and garlic. It's a tantalizing addition to many kinds of dishes. 


Sauces and Spreads

Sometimes the right amount of umami can leave an unforgettable impression in the mouth and uplift an otherwise everyday food experience to an elite one. When it comes to riding the line between the trifecta of salty, savory, and slightly tangy, nothing comes close in 2022 to upscale soy sauces and jams made from cherished nightshade, the tomato. 


Related: The Hot Sauce Express: Top Hot sauces for 2023



One of the most popular fermented sauces — if not the most popular — of all time, soy sauce is an intense, yet necessary foundational addition to endless dishes and cuisines. Keepwell Vinegar from Philly takes this title seriously and keeps it simple with their organic, 18-month-old soy sauce made with goods from Next Step Produce and koji spore. LA's Moromi ferments its barrel-aged rye soy sauce for over 18 months and adds rye for an earthy, deep flavor that brings life to any rice or seafood dish.



While many people aren't fans of raw or plain tomatoes, nearly all consumers can get behind this vine fruit when it is a component of a delicious sauce or condiment. In the case of Virtue's Chicago CB&J, tomatoes are made into a sweet, savory jam and spread on toasted sourdough alongside cashew butter and basil for a unique take on a perpetual favorite. Ai Fiori's titular burger, the Fiori, sits under tomato jam, dijonnaise, fontina cheese, and Spanish onion with crispy bliss potatoes for a sweet, tangy touch to a typical diner duo. 


Cultural Condiments

Three of the top sauce flavors consumers are craving in 2022 are quite a niche and not typically found on menus or in grocery stores. That makes them even more worth bringing to tables everywhere. No matter if it is the bright spice found in Latin American condiments or the rich sweetness found in certain Asian ones, people are searching for ways to bring worldly flavors into their kitchen by simply reaching into their refrigerator. 


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Salsa Macha

Salsa macha is a thick, rich chile condiment from Mexico made from variations of dried chiles, garlic, nuts, and seeds (often pine and sesame) fried in oil. The 76-seat Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina in San Francisco serves up a Sinaloan-style chicken atop chili and sweet potatoes, sprinkled with avocado and finished with a spicy, mouthwatering salsa macha that consumers will aim to replicate through the fall and into the end of the year at gatherings and get-togethers. 


Chili Crisp

The chili crisp obsession has gone viral, and that's mostly thanks to Momofuku Chili Crunch. Made with three types of Mexican chilis, crunchy garlic, and shallots, this infused oil is the perfect balance of incredible taste and texture. They're not the only product out there, though. Fly By Jing's Sichuan Chili Crisp is quickly gaining a cult following and becoming a top contender in the cultural condiment category, with a fun, funky social media presence to boot. 


Banana Ketchup

Yes, you read that right. Banana ketchup is a popular Philippine fruit condiment made almost identically to tomato ketchup, but with a slightly deeper sweetness and a more creamy texture. Flip 'N Patties is bringing Filipino American cuisine to the streets of Houston, and their Brekpas burger is slathered with banana ketchup and topped with seared spam, sauteed onions, and a fried egg —a dish that can be easily experimented with at home. 


Fermented Sauces and More in 2022

Perhaps the biggest reason sauces and condiments are making such an impact on 2022 cuisine is because everyone is looking for something new and refreshing without having to do much beyond what they already know. After all, what's better than making something that's already recognized as a staple a step above expectations? With so many intense shifts over the last couple of years, consumers are looking to have the time of their lives at the table— they just don't always want to have to leave their homes to do it. 


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