Magic Sauce

I call this the magic sauce recipe. In part, because it makes everything it touches shimmy with deliciousness. It's magic like that. Technically, it's a riff on a chimichurri sauce - one that has veered off the rails in a big way.

Magic Sauce

I call this my magic sauce recipe. In part, because it makes everything it touches shimmer with deliciousness. It's magic like that. Technically, it's a riff on a chimichurri sauce - one that veered off the rails in a big way. Much tweaking has rendered it a distant second cousin. If that. In fact, the hallmark of that sauce, parsley, I skip entirely. But I love this. Love love love. And I use it a hundred different ways. Magic sauce, it's real.

Magic Sauce Recipe

Double Up

Let's just start by putting one thing out there. You're best off making a double or triple batch. This is the sort of stuff you burn through in minutes. Not exaggerating. I cook eggs in it - scrambled, omelette, frittata, you name it. I drizzle it on soups. This time of year that means corn soups, brothy bean pots, or lunch time slurpy noodle bowls.
Magic Sauce Recipe
Magic Sauce Recipe

 I can also attest it's the sort of thing that makes baked potatoes even better than usual. And salads welcome it as well - particularly shaved salads, or ones made from spicy greens. You can use it to marinate or slather ingredients before grilling or roasting. And its the sort of dressing that turns a bowl full of farro or quinoa or soba noodles into something close to a full meal - just toss in another favorite seasonal ingredient or two.

Magic Sauce Recipe
This sauce is as versatile as a black dress. Although, it's not really the little black dress of sauces. Think more bohemian that that - earthy, intricate and interesting. Completely approachable. The way the garlic-perfumed oil suspends flecks of rosemary, thyme, and oregano is really nice. And the rusty red tint of the paprika makes everything this sauce touches look just that much more special.
Magic Sauce Recipe

If you do anything extra special with it, give a holler in the comments. I still have a half-full mason jar of it ready for business. -h

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Magic Sauce

3.72 from 139 votes

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste
  • 1 well-crumbled bay leaf
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4+ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Gently warm the olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet or pan, until it is just hot. When hot remove from heat.
  2. While the oil is heating, lightly pound the rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Stir the paprika, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt into the oil. Then add the bruised herbs and lemon juice.
  4. You can use this now, but know - the oil just gets better as it ages over a few days. Keep it in a refrigerator for up to a week/ten days-ish. It thickens up when cold, so if you need it in a liquid state, place it in the sun or in a warm place for a few minutes.
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment

Recipe Rating


Mmm, sounds heavenly. I'd drizzle a little right over fried eggs on top of some cheesy, creamy polenta.


I love things like this--magic little beauties that have so many uses. Thank goodness for my herb garden!


This sounds amazing! I can't wait for the weather to cool so I can turn on my stove.

Maria @ Orchard Bloom

This sounds like another one of your recipes that we love. My children gobble up your kale and farro salad (except I make it with quinoa instead). Thank you!


Oh wow, this is definitely my type of sauce! I can just picture this with a beautiful piece of steak.. mmm..


That sounds like a wonderful flavor combination. And you're right, it does sound versatile. I use those flavors on so many things. Yum.

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

Anything that you suggest making a triple batch of right off the bat...well, that instantly screams winner! And love how versatile it looks...from being a dip, dressing, frying aid, you name it, looks like it will work. And it's EASY...

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

I love your magic sauce, heidi, and am intrigued by the enchanting title as well :)

Nisrine M.

Oh my goodness! I am making this tonight!!!! Stunning work Heidi!!!! I'm just thinking about dipping homemade focaccia, or serving it on top of my endless bounty of zucchini!!!!


I was just stirring some polenta and green peppers in the kitchen, saying wistfully, 'gosh, I really wish I had some sort of sauce to tie this altogether.' The internet gods have spoken!


Thanks for sharing your secret magic sauce! Sounds like something that is a must-always-have.

Belinda @zomppa

I made one of my favorite meals tonight. Shrimp and grits. Sauteed the shrimp in this delightful sauce. Yummy!


I've noticed that my cooking lacks these 'magic' & versatile sauces/dressings that tie a dish together, so I'm truly grateful for your wonderful recipes (and gorgeous pictures). I'm suffering from a garlic intolerance though; would you have any advice on that?


I'm ready to try this sauce. However, my experience with leaving garlic in a sauce too long is that it becomes bitter. The recipe doesn't say to remove it. Or does the garlic become cooked in the oil, and then get milder, so it doesn't have to be removed?

Caryl McColly

Hi Heidi, I make, almost exclusively, all of my homemade meals from your website, for about two years now. I also made my mom, a long time cook, a huge fan. Your first name is well known in our conversation. "I made a Heidi recipe today," and every time we finish one of your meals we say, "Heidi is the best, seriously." I reference everyone seeking recipes to your site. Thanks so much, just wanted you to know how appreciated you are! And I'm totes going to make this sauce.


If only my thyme hadn't gone to seed... it's so tiny I didn't even see it until it was too late! I have tons of rosemary and oregano though... will have to get some thyme from my CSA to make this. It sounds amazing. Once again Heidi does not disappoint!


I like it and want to try it. My only question: what exactly do you mean by just hot? HS: Well, not so hot that ingredients sizzle when they hit it.


I just love sauces like this - I can make it your way or I can modify it slightly based on what I have -- love that!

Maggie at Eat Boutique

Artfully crafted post, you had me drooling at "shimmer"!

Suzy McQuown

Sounds AWESOME! However, I thought bay leaves were suppose to be removed from dishes once the flavor is extracted because the leaf itself isn't edible? I could be completely mistaken and would love to know your thoughts on the topic... Keep the lovely recipes coming! :) HS: Nope, buy them at the grocery store, and it's fine.

kelly. k.

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