Bagna Cauda

Bagna Cauda (Anchovies and Garlic Dipping Sauce)

Inspired by Gian Luca, a Piedmontese friend and collegaue.

You might enjoy this recipe on our tours in Piedmont! Gian Luca's secret is to cook a peeled potato in the bagna cauda and then squash it with a fork to make the sauce smoother. You might also find other versions featuring butter and/or cream. 


Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 4 garlic heads (approx. 16 garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 400 grams (15 ounces) salt-cured anchovies (from a 800-grams can with salted cured anchovies we obtained 250 grams of cleaned and rinsed filets)
  • 1.5-2 cup EVOO based on your preference
  • 1 cup of red wine



  • Peel the garlic cloves and remove the centers
  • Slice and place in a bowl with the milk
  • Place covered in the fridge for a few hours
  • Thoroughly rinse the anchovies to remove the salt (you will need to change the water multiple times to draw out the salt)
  • Separate the fillets from the bones and proceed with a final rinse in red wine, as it is typical in Piedmont
  • Pat them dry with paper towels
  • Over a low flame, cook down the garlic and milk into a sauce (approx. 15 mins)
  • Separately, also over a low flame, cook the anchovy fillets with 1 cup of EVOO
  • The anchovies will melt into a sauce (approx. 10 mins)
  • Stir the melted anchovies into the garlic sauce, add the remaining 1/2 cup of EVOO and continue cooking for another 10 mins
  • The mixture should never boil! As needed, add EVOO to adjust consistency: it should be smooth and not too runny
  • If you like a smoother consistency, use an immersion blender to amalgamate the sauce
  • Alongside vegetables for dipping* bagna cauda is served very hot in small individual terracotta pots (or fondue mugs set with individual tea light candles). If such are not available, serve in individual bowls such as those for cereals.


*Ingredients for Vegetables (add or replace with ones you love, don’t be shy, but for sure, to enjoy authentic bagna cauda, the below are musts): 

  • 4 raw cardoons, de-strung and sliced (ideally, the Piedmontese variety called "hunchback" though harder to find in the U.S.)
  • 4 onions baked in the oven with their skins, then peeled
  • 4 potatoes baked in the oven with their skins, then peeled
  • 8 raw sunchokes, peeled
  • 4 bell peppers baked in the oven, then peeled and sliced into fillets
  • 4 beetroots, baked in the oven or steamed and then peeled
  • 4 raw shallots -4 raw radishes
  • 1 raw fennel bulb, sliced
  • 4 savoy cabbage leaves, steamed and sliced


Buon appetito!


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