Beyond Ranch: Here’s What Else You Should Be Dipping Your Pizza Into

I’ve been dipping pizza into Ranch dressing since I was in high school. The pizza our cafeteria served kind of sucked (shocking, I know), but what the food lacked in flavor, the staff made up for in a seemingly endless supply of lightly diluted salad dressing. Cardboard crust slathered in too-sweet sauce and plasticky cheese is a lot more palatable when it’s been dunked in a milky, salty, herby concoction otherwise intended for iceberg lettuce and carrot sticks. (My other favorite high school cafeteria move was making nachos with Cool Ranch Doritos on taco bar day, but that’s a story for another time.)

Even though I’m an adult now and have the freedom and agency to eat pizza that’s better than cafeteria pizza, I’m still a dunker. No, I’m probably not dipping a slice of a good Neapolitan pie into a ramekin of Hidden Valley, but I’m not likely to refuse a little something to moisten up them bones once the good part is gone. Of course, there’s a whole world of pizza dips to explore. Ranch may always be the go-to for legions of Southerners and Midwesterners, but next time you’re looking to lube up a slice, try one of these recommendations from members of the Mythical crew.

Other Salad Dressings

salad dressing for pizza
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You probably have a few different salad dressing options in the door of your fridge—something creamy, something oily, something well past the expiration date. Well, if it isn’t beyond its prime, it’s probably pretty good on pizza. Good Mythical Morning director Morgan Locke is partial to Thousand Island. It hits the same creamy notes as Ranch, but also includes little pickle bits and—controversial opinion alert—pickles are actually really good on pizza if you’re not a purist. Others preferred a dressing on the oilier end of the spectrum, like an Italian or balsamic vinaigrette, which adds richness, sweetness, and a bit of tang.

Hot Honey

hot honey
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Hot honey is an elite condiment for everything from biscuits to fried chicken. Mythical people and culture coordinator Jasmine Williams keeps it on hand for slices of pizza too. “It provides that perfect sweet-savory combination, and the heat adds to [pizza] like red pepper flakes normally would,” Jasmine explains. “Sweet heat = sweet perfection!” If your local pizzeria has a white pie (or, even better, a cacio e pepe pie), hot honey is truly the perfect dip or drizzle. Hot honey is becoming more ubiquitous too. CVS even makes its own version now.

Good Olive Oil

olive oil
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Frozen pizza is great (we particularly love these), but sometimes it lacks the slippery unctuousness you get from a pizzeria slice. If your piece needs more grease, a good extra virgin olive oil makes a great pizza dip. Mythical Kitchen‘s Nicole Enayati likes it for crusts in particular, but if your mozzarella isn’t producing that beautiful orange puddle, go ahead and give your whole slice a dunk.

Peri Peri Sauce

peri peri sauce
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If you don’t have a Nando’s nearby, you may not have ever tried peri peri sauce, a sweet, tangy, spicy condiment popular in Portugal and Africa. It’s mostly used for chicken, but, like lots of hot sauces, its applications are endless once it finds its way into your fridge. Pick up a bottle and give it a shot the next time a pizza is falling short in the flavor department. Bursting with chili peppers, citrus, bay leaves, garlic, and oil, this sauce is a surprisingly natural complement to a cheesy piece of pizza. Mythical executive producer Matt Carney is a big fan of the combo. “The spice in peri peri is a great alternative to red pepper flakes,” he says. “Plus, it’s not cream based like Ranch is—so it’s not heavy.”

Hot Sauce

hot sauce
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If you like spice, a dash of hot sauce improves pretty much anything. Pizza is no exception. Make a little puddle of whichever hot sauce sets your buds ablaze—whether its Tabasco or Sriracha—and get to dipping. Members of the Mythical crew are particularly into Truff as a pizza dip. Savory and unique, truffle oil is already a natural fit with pizza, and this sauce’s tomatoey base makes for a true umami bomb. Mythical writer Davanté Sanders likes a fruity hot sauce (like Dirty Dick’s) with his pizza. “Unless you’re crazy enough to prioritize health and having regular bowel movements over taste, more spice and more sugar is never a bad thing,” he says. “Your basic pizza is inherently going to hit a lot of the right mouth buttons: it’s cheesy, crunchy, chewy, savory, buttery, etc. But by upping the ante on sweetness and throwing spiciness into the mix, you make what was already the best food in the universe even better.” Amen.

Chick-fil-A or Cane’s Sauce

chick-fil-a sauce
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I don’t personally eat at Chick-fil-A, but, goddamn, their namesake sauce (available at the grocery store, even on Sundays) is smoky, robust, and absolutely delicious, almost like Ranch mixed with BBQ sauce but better. I’m convinced it would be good on anything, so pizza makes sense. I’ll admit I’ve never had Cane’s sauce, but Mythical marketing and design intern Celina Bolanos can vouch for it as a pizza dip: “I feel like it adds the nice creaminess that ranch gives but with more flavor and tang to the pizza,” they say. “A lot of other sauces, like vinegar or dressings, make the bread soggy, but these have enough weight where it doesn’t sog, it just makes it creamy.”

BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce
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It’s sweet. It’s smoky. And it’s good on pizza—even if you think BBQ pizza is kind of an abomination. “I think BBQ sauce goes very well with pizza, but I hate ‘Hawaiian BBQ Chicken’ pizzas,” says Mythical studio operations coordinator Kristian Rodriguez. “That seems to be the only mainstream option for BBQ + tomato sauce. So to remedy, I add a dipping side of BBQ.” Kristian has two go-tos: Stubb’s Spicy and Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet Vidalia Onion. “Just depends on my mood and fridge inventory,” he says.

About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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