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

3.67 from 133 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


We didn't even wait for the oil to cool but while still warm, we drizzled over freshly sliced garden tomatoes and then just sprinkled on some Maldon sea salt. The flavor, though still subtle, shone through ... perfection. Thanks Heidi for such an inspired condiment. BTW, hope you had a great time recently at the ice cream shop with David Lebovitz. I only wish!


I finished some hasselback potatoes with this lovely sauce last night. It seeped into all of the crispy little edges of the potatoes. So, so delicious.


Wow, I have all the ingredients to make this. A great use for my fresh herbs, too. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog.

Erin @ Hungry Times Two

I wonder if it's necessary to heat the oil or just to keep the ingrediences some days in the fridge. So the oil can keep the unsaturated acids. I love your pure recipes !


After reading about the magic sauce, I stumbled upon "Heather's Quinoa," which calls for pesto. I'm thinking that magic sauce might be a good substitute for the pesto in that one?


    Hi Jef - that's a brilliant idea!

    Heidi Swanson

How on earth have I lived without this up to now?? Thanks, as always, Heidi, for another fantastic and useful recipe. I might swirl some of this into your baked farro risotto ....or any risotto... Just to finish it. And eggs...omg... Thank you!!!


I love the idea of a magic sauce! I can think of all sorts of things I would put this sauce on. Thanks for sharing!


Me thinks this will find its way over just picked corn on the cob tonight. Yummy recipe Heidi. Thanks!


This sauce does look magical! It's full of lots of my favorite ingredients, so I'm not surprised :)


This does sound like magic sauce...looks so fabulous! I bet it is great just for dipping bread!

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray

Seems several of us are confused over whether to use fresh or dried bay leaves? Thanks.


Looks great! YOU are magic!


That sounds amazing. I just love the way you write about food! I just bought Super Natural Everyday last week and have already made three recipes to rave reviews. Buying it for everyone this Christmas!!

Jenn from Much to My Delight

How can I not make this, with a name like that?! I love all-purpose condiments, and this sounds like the perfect one to have on hand.

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

Thinking to marinate pork chop with this sauce, I think it will do the magic and I will have very delicious pork chop. :)

love cooking

Thank you! This is the time of year when I'm feeling overwhelmed by all of the herbs that have grown, waiting to be used and cherished. This will certainly help! (I even found a bay plant which is full of leaves that will need to be processed before our long Minnesota winter sets in.)


Sorry. Just read the recipe again (drooling) and saw the last paragraph (can refrigerate for 7-10 days). Yup, need a good mason jar with lid, one that I can permanently mark for this.

Anne J.

BTW, how long will it keep? Refrigerate, or room-temp for storage? Must buy a good mason jar with lid now.

Anne J.

Okay, I already bookmarked your website and subscribed to your emails, but this page warrants a bookmark of it's own! Inspired and inspiring prose, and the recipe looks delightful! I'm going to try this on so many different things, including just dunking olive bread in it. Mmmmmmm..... Might just be the go-to recipe when I'm delayed getting supper started and need to patch something together in a hurry from whatever is thawed. Thanks for this!

Anne J.

With that combo of spices and ingredients I'm sure it's perfect! Great idea!

Simply Life

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