3 easy ways to kick up sauces, marinades and dressings


According to Technomic’s 2017 Flavor report, 65% of consumers say they like trying new flavors from time to time. However, diners may be more likely to try new flavors if they’re used in familiar dishes, so when operators set out to menu new foods and ingredients, it can be helpful to use them in menu items that diners already know they like.

Giving classic menu items a new twist of flavor is easy with marinades, sauces and dressings. From chicken to salads to elevated fish dishes, check out these three ways to amp up the flavor in familiar foods.


Marinating chicken in ingredients such as yogurt or pickle brine is a well-known way to add moisture and flavor to the finished dish. But operators can add an additional layer of flavor to marinades or brines with a hot sauce such as Cholula Original Hot Sauce. Hot sauce can also be added to Italian dressing for a zesty Italian marinade or to a teriyaki blend for a spicy teriyaki marinade.

For instance, this kicked-up brined chicken can be fried into a delicious spicy chicken sandwich—and those are popping up on menus all over. Bar Louie, for instance, recently added a Hot Honey Chicken sandwich to the menu. It features spicy fried chicken, jalapeno honey and pickles on buttered brioche.


Diners love spaghetti and meatballs—it’s classic Italian comfort food in a bowl. In fact, spaghetti dishes are the most commonly menued pasta item in restaurants, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. This crowd-pleaser doesn’t need any help to sell, but offering a next-level version of it certainly can’t hurt.

A kicked-up marinara brings new heat to the pasta bowl. Blending Cholula Chili Garlic Hot Sauce into marinara sauce adds a burst of savory flavor and a hint of heat that’s perfect on any pasta dish, such as spaghetti and meatballs, or as a delectable dipping sauce.

At Three E Taste of Thai in Astoria, New York, there’s an iteration of this dish, Chili Garlic Pasta, on the menu. It features Japanese spaghetti sauteed with bacon, garlic, dried chili, olive oil and black pepper.


Ranch dressing is ubiquitous on the salad menu, but for those who want something a little different, Zesty Chili Lime Ranch Dressing, made with Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce, is perfect for chicken or shrimp salads (and it can also be used as a French fry dipping sauce or even a marinade). It’s also an easy way to give fish tacos a delicious twist. At Monty Gaels Tavern & Grill in Chicago, the Popcorn Shrimp dish is comprised of buffalo popcorn shrimp, scallions, spiced popcorn and chili-lime ranch dipping sauce.

Chipotle Ranch can be offered in the same ways—perfect for seafood salads or as a dip for quesadillas, this smoky, creamy update offers an interesting take on classic ranch dressing. Best of all, it’s just as easy to make—just blend Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce into ranch dressing, and it’s ready to go.

This post is sponsored by Cholula® Hot Sauce


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