The Ultimate guide to 9 of the top 10 Most Popular Spanish Sauces

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Why only 9 of the top 10?

1. Almogrote is a unique sauce consisting of over-cured hard cheese, garlic, olive oil, and peppers. It is traditionally prepared using a wooden mortar and pestle, but it can also be made in a blender. After it has been prepared, almogrote is usually spread on toasted bread or used as a sauce. It is recommended to pair it with a glass of wine.


  • 500 g mature Goats Cheese

  • 4 tablespoons of paprika

  • 1 whole Red chilli pepper with Seeds

  • 1 cup of Olive oil

  • 10 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • 300g tomatoes, (optional)

2. Mojo rojo or red mojo is a flavourful Spanish sauce. It is believed that it has origins in Spanish cuisine, which was heavily influenced by the Moors. The sauce usually consists of olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, garlic, chili, cumin, and pimentón paprika. It is typically consumed with meat dishes and boiled potatoes. Mojo Rojo is sometimes referred to as Mojo Picón, which means “spicy sauce” – the reason being the amount of chilli used.


  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 5ml (1tsp) of roasted cumin

  • 4 Pimienta Palmera peppers

  • 1 hot pepper

  • 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) sea salt

  • 30ml (2 tbsp) red wine vinegar

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) of sunflower oil

3.Mojo Verde or green mojo is an uncooked, fresh and vibrant sauce that’s used as a condiment, as a topping, or as a marinade for fish, chicken, vegetables, and more adding tons of flavour in the process. It consists of coriander, parsley, green peppers, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and sea salt. The sauce is typically served with a variety of fish dishes.


  • Cilantro

  • Garlic

  • Lime juice

  • Cumin

  • Jalapeno

  • White wine vinegar

  • Olive oil

4. Picada is a Catalan and Valencian speciality sauce consisting of almonds or other nuts, bread, and liquids such as water or different broths. Some cooks like to add cinnamon, cumin, chocolate, saffron, or garlic in order to improve the flavours even further. The sauce is traditionally used as a thickening agent when added to other sauces, or as a seasoning for various meat, fish, and vegetable dishes.


  • ⅓ cup hazelnuts

  • ⅔ cup croutons or completely dry bread pieces

  • ¼ cup tightly packed parsley

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

5. XATO IS A Catalan sauce made with breadcrumbs, garlic, hazelnuts, almonds, vinegar, olive oil, dried nyora peppers, and a bit of salt. It is traditionally prepared in a mortar, but home cooks can easily make it in a blender. Originally, xató comes from the Garraf and Penedès regions, where it is usually prepared for the Carnival and used as an accompaniment to different varieties of filled omelettes. Apart from that, the sauce is traditionally used as a a sharp, delectable dressing for the eponymous xató salad that consists of endive leaves, anchovies, Arbequina olives, salt cod, and tuna.

A good pinch of salt


  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 8 Almonds; peeled and roasted

  • 1 Sharp chilli pepper; or more to taste

  • ½ cup Spanish olive oil

  • ¼ cup wine vinegar

  • Good pinch of salt

6. Samfaina is a Spanish dish that is closely related to the French ratatouille. Originating from Catalonia, Samfaina is made with eggplants, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and olive oil. Of course, there are as many variations as there are cooks, so some prefer to add garlic or roast the peppers before making the dish. Samfaina is both a sauce and a side dish, and nowadays, it can even be served on its own as a vegetarian dish. When served as a sauce or a side dish, it usually accompanies meat, rice, or fish (especially cod). The name of the dish means symphony, possibly referring to the symphony of various vegetables and flavours.


  • 2 Onions

  • 2 Cloves of garlic

  • 2 red peppers

  • 2 Aubergines

  • 3-4 Tomatoes

  • Paprika

  • Sugar

  • Salt

  • Spanish olive oil

7. Tomate frito is a basic Spanish sauce consisting of puréed fried tomatoes, salt, sugar, olive oil, and onions. This traditional sauce is used in numerous fish and meat dishes, but it can also be used as a base for pasta, lasagne, or pizza. Sometimes, bay leaves, garlic, or basil are added for extra flavour. The sauce can be made at home or bought in most Spanish supermarkets.


· 1 kilo of ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and with the pulp and seeds removed, diced

· 100 grams (about ¼ lb) of pancetta, diced (or a ham bone)

· 50 ml (about 3 Tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

· 100 grams onion (about 1 medium onion), diced

· 100 grams carrot (about 2 large carrots), diced

· 25 grams (about 2 Tablespoons) flour

· 80 grams (about ⅓ Cup) tomato paste

· ½ litre (about 2¼ Cups) water

· 2 cloves of garlic, skin left on and smashed

· Bay leafs

· Salt, pepper, and sugar to taste

Once cooked pass through a colander and season to taste.

8. Sofrito Is a basic preparation of tomatoes, garlic, oil, and onions that forms the base of many traditional Spanish dishes; it is an aromatic combination of herbs and spices that is used to season numerous dishes, but it is most commonly used as the base on which the rest of the dish can be prepared. Although it is nowadays mostly associated with Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, sofrito has Spanish origins and was brought over to Latin America by Spanish colonists during the late 1400s. The name sofrito is also Spanish, meaning to lightly fry something over a low flame. It has been used since medieval times in Catalan cuisine, and the first mention of this technique is found in the Libre de Sent Soví, which is one of the oldest European cookbooks dating back to the 14th century.


  • 8 1/2 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin oil

  • 4 1/3 cups onions, finely chopped

  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme

  • 3/4 tsp dried rosemary

  • 1/2 dried bay leaf

  • 8 oz pureed fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree

  • 1/2 tsp salt

9. Romesco is a savoury Spanish sauce consisting of red peppers, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of roasted or raw nuts such as pine nuts, hazelnuts, and almonds. The sauce is extremely versatile, so it can be served with fish, seafood, salads, vegetables, and meat dishes, although it can also be used in stews, giving them a savoury richness. Romesco is also traditionally consumed as a dipping sauce for grilled spring onions, which is another Catalan delicacy.


  • 2 medium tomatoesis a flavourful Spanish sauce. It is believed that it has origins in Spanish cuisine, which was heavily influenced by the Moors. The sauce usually consists of olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, garlic, chilli, cumin, and pimentón paprika.

  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 onion

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided

  • 2 dried nora peppers

  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds

  • 1 slice stale bread

  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar

  • salt, to taste

10. So I left out your own favourite sauce? I’d love to hear from you with your suggestion as to what the tenth sauce should be.

I blog/vlog about everything PintxoTapas, the past and the future trends from San Sabastian being driven by Michelin starred chefs.

I am a self-taught semi-professional chef working in a 300 cover restaurant in Surrey UK. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved, or sometimes not but you've got to push the boundaries. Inspired by cookbooks, other food blogs, TV chefs, and family recipes.

​I try to make practical PintxoTapas recipes available on this site that can bring your family and friends together for an informal, but an amazing adventure into the world of Pintxo. As well as writing, I work on my YouTube channel and with suppliers to produce all sorts of video content, from interviews, how-to guides and recipe guides.

13 views0 comments