Meet Monkey Sauce: The 1960s Recipe That Deserves a Comeback

"Palm Royale" is onto something with this one.



During a recent catch-up session of the new Apple TV+ show “Palm Royale,” a quirky condiment caught my eye. There's a scene in the show—which is set in 1960s Palm Beach, Florida—where Kristen Wiig’s character Maxine is served a hot dog and peas for dinner by her husband, and he provides her with monkey sauce for dipping.

“Did he say monkey sauce?” I asked my husband. “I think he did,” was his answer. Immediately, I was down the monkey sauce rabbit hole, determined to try the tangy, tomato-based sauce for myself.

What Is Monkey Sauce?

Monkey sauce (also called monkey gland sauce, despite not containing a single monkey gland) is a tangy hodgepodge of condiments you probably already have in your refrigerator, and it’s delicious for dipping. It's said to have gotten its start in South Africa in the 1930s, but the mix of sauces like ketchup, chutney, and Worcestershire sauce was also popular on dinner tables in the U.S. in the '50s and '60s. 

There are a lot of variations of monkey sauce online, but most include a few staple ingredients: a chopped onion, minced garlic, ketchup, chutney, Worcestershire sauce, and a touch of vinegar. Some recipes called for port wine or freshly-grated ginger, but I kept my monkey sauce as close to the majority’s way of making it as possible.

How To Make Monkey Sauce

With the exception of chutney, I already had all the makings of monkey sauce in my pantry and refrigerator. Most recipes call for a spicy chutney, but since I could only find a sweet variety at my grocery store, I upped the spice level by adding a heaping spoonful of chili crisp to the mix.

The sauce is simple to make: Just chop up an onion and let it soften over medium heat in a bit of oil, then toss in everything else and let the whole pot summer for a bit. Here's how to do it.


  • 1 large onion, diced

  • A drizzle of olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • ¾ cup chutney

  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon chili crisp with oil

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté one minute more. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the concoction to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes.

How To Eat Monkey Sauce

I served my monkey sauce right off the stove, doing Maxine proud by plating it alongside beef kielbasa sausage, green peas, and mashed potatoes. Warm from the stove, the sweet and tangy dipping sauce was delicious and perfectly contrasted with the savoriness of the sausage.

After dinner, I placed the remaining monkey sauce in a glass jar and stored it in the refrigerator. My husband enjoyed it over eggs the following morning and I made mozzarella sticks in my air fryer for lunch and used the monkey sauce as a dip. After a night in the fridge, the sauce only improved in flavor, becoming more smoky from the chili crunch and getting a bit thicker with cooling.

Internet fans of monkey sauce say it’s a staple in South Africa over burgers and steak, and judging by how well the sweet tang of the tomatoey sauce complements savory meats, I can see why.

Read the original article on All Recipes.