How to Garnish a Plate With Swirls of Sauce

Updated February 21, 2017

Food must be tasty and well-cooked, but at the same time an attractive presentation can help make the mouth water. Despite most people's childhoods of simply presented dinners, what was sauce for the kid may not be sauce for the adult who wants to test his culinary skills. The sauce which accompanies a dish is a useful material for the imaginative chef to give a steak an extra little something, or a fillet of sole a certain "je né sais quoi".

Prepare one or more sauces which will go with the dish. You can make more complex designs with two or more different colour sauces, such as raspberry sauce and chocolate sauce.

Warm the sauce slightly if it is cold and beginning to thicken. This will help the flow of the sauce.

Fill a plastic squeezy bottle with the sauce. For this you could use an old bottle that contained honey, for example. If you cannot find a squeezy bottle, an alternative is a clean plastic food bag. Simply trim one corner off when it is full. The narrower the tip, the more fine the sauce swirls will be.

Pour a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the plate and tilt the plate until the entire surface is covered. This step is suitable only if you plan to use more than one sauce, and your dish, such as a chocolate cake, can handle lots of sauce. If you only have one sauce, omit this step. Swirls of sauce generally go under the rest of the ingredients of the dish.

Squeeze the contrasting sauce in a spiral from the centre of the plate out toward the rim. Keep one hand squeezing the bottle and use the other hand to turn the plate around and around.

Add more small spirals to the edge of the plate if desired. Another option is to make little heart shapes. Simply squeeze out a dime-sized dot of sauce, and run the tip of the knife through the dot from top to bottom and out at an angle.

Run the tip of the knife through the spiral pattern, from the centre of the plate outward, before the sauce begins to thicken and dry, if you wish to make a swirly spiderweb design.

Plate up the rest of the ingredients and serve to your diners as soon as possible before the sauce hardens.


Sketch out the plate design on a piece of paper before attempting it on the plate in case you make mistakes, which will help keep down the dishwashing, and will also reduce sauce wastage.

Things You'll Need

  • Plate
  • Butter knife
  • Sauce
  • Squeezy bottle
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About the Author

Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.