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The 6 Best Side Sauces For Pizza and Why You Need Them Right Now

Some pizza purists may turn up their noses at the practice of dunking a slice into a side sauce like ranch, but we at Slice don’t judge.

While pizza is plenty delicious on its own, we don’t deny that the addition of flavorful sauce can enhance the taste of a slice or deliver a complementary tang to a pie.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular side sauces for pizza and more details on why you should experiment with them:

Hot Sauce

For those with a palate that can handle some heat and hazard, hot sauce is a go-to condiment that will provide your pizza with the spice you hunger for. If you’re a fan of crushed red pepper on your pie, then hot sauce may be the next logical step for you. Whether you decided to drizzle Sriracha, Tabasco or Cholula on your pizza, hot sauce will surely provide the flash of spiciness, warmth and peril that you crave.

Ranch

While ranch is technically a salad dressing, that classification hasn’t stopped Americans from pouring the condiment all over an assortment of non-cruciferous dishes, pizza among them. And there’s data to back that up: a 2017 Slice survey shows that that ranch is an especially popular pizza companion, with 39 percent of Americans saying that they use it as a side sauce. Pizza lovers adore how the creamy buttermilk dressing interacts with a slice’s crispiness. So if you’re curious about how the flavors interact, give it a try: many local pizzerias likely keep a stash of the popular dressing on hand for an extra fee.

Garlic Butter

The classic combination of garlic, salt, seasoning and melted butter makes for an organic fit with pizza. The addition of this savory mixture to your pizza delivers a delectable burst of fat, salt and herbs to your taste buds. And — like the other side sauces named on this list — garlic butter dip is a perfect condiment to sop up the rest of your crust with.

Marinara

Those pizza lovers who love extra tomato sauce on their pie may want to consider testing out a side of marinara instead. An ideal accompaniment for those who love a tomato’s fleshy, fruity and acidic qualities, marinara adds moisture and zest to each bite. It’s also a great companion to side dishes like breadsticks or garlic knots.

Honey

Honey may seem like an unconventional pairing with a slice, but — believe us — the versatility of this rudimentary grocery staple extends to the realm of pizza. The sweetness of the honey acts as the perfect complement to a pizza’s salty and cheesy nature. This condiment meshes especially well with white pizza — which is a tomato sauce-less variety — as well as those pies that incorporate spicy ingredients or soft cheeses like chèvre or ricotta. So, if you’re seeking out a sweet-n-salty combo, look no further than this nectar.

Calabrian Chili Oil

Made from chiles that originate in Calabria, Italy, Calabrian chili oil is found in various pasta dishes, like Arrabiata sauce. But it’s also a praised pairing for pizza. Calabrian chili peppers — a favorite of celebrity chef Bobby Flay — bring a smoky and spicy kick to each bite and is a fitting condiment for those who prize piquancy in their foods.

— Melanie Lawder