Recipe Spotlight

The Secret to Great Homemade Steak Sauce? Raisins

Bring the steakhouse home with our classic steak sauce recipe.

Published May 31, 2022.

Steak sauce is a controversial condiment. To dip or not to dip? But for the staunch sauce supporters, the best steak sauce cuts through the fat of buttery, Roasted Thick-Cut Rib-Eye Steaks while being balanced enough to not overpower the smokiness in Charcoal-Grilled Porterhouse or T-Bone Steaks

Sure, you can buy a steak sauce at the store, but then you’re at the mercy of whatever cloyingly sweet or overly salty concoction is in stock. (Especially if they don't have our winner on their shelves.) Luckily, we’ve got the solution for homemade not-too-sweet steak sauce, and it’s hiding right in your pantry. 

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

The secret? Raisins. (Yes, you read that correctly!) This humble dried fruit has a candy-like natural sweetness and depth of flavor that plain white sugar can’t compete with.

Our Classic Steak Sauce is tangy, sweet, and a little acidic to complement a perfectly Grilled Steak with New Mexican Chile Rub or punch up a batch of Pan-Seared Steaks if you don’t feel like firing up the grill. 

Recipes & Expert Food-Styling Advice

Take boards beyond cheese and crackers. Show off your effortless entertaining style with show-stopping spreads that will impress your guests but give you the flexibility to make or buy components as you choose.

But it's not just adding in the dried fruit to the sauce. The key step is steeping the raisins in boiling water, which plumps them up and makes them easier to blend. In addition to sweetness, the blended raisins add viscosity to the sauce, giving it enough body to stick to steak, fries, and more.

And best of all? This perfectly balanced sauce comes together in just 15 minutes (even less if you boil your water in the microwave). Here’s how to make it. 

Classic Steak Sauce

Serves 4 (Makes 1¼ cups)

For the most accurate measurement, boil more water than you need and measure into a separate container once boiled.

  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ½ cup boiling water 
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  1. Combine raisins and water in a bowl and let sit, covered, until raisins are plump, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Puree raisin mixture, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, and vinegar in a blender until smooth. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to one week. Let sauce come to room temperature before serving.)

This is a members' feature.