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Substitute for Ketchup

Ketchup is one of the most popular and beloved condiments in the world. You are sure to find a bottle of ketchup in most American homes. With summer barbeque season, the condiment is featured in meals even more than usual. Keep reading below to learn more about the best substitute for ketchup.

glass jar with ketchup with two bottles of ketchup

What Is Ketchup? 

Ketchup is a condiment often made with tomatoes, vinegar, and assorted spices like salt, pepper, and onion powder. It has a smooth consistency and rich infused tomato flavor. The condiment is often used as a topping or dipping sauce for a myriad of meals. 

Originally, ketchup was made with ingredients like anchovies, kidney beans, mushrooms, and walnuts. However, the recipe was evolved to use tomatoes back in 1876 when it first went on sale by the F & J Heinz Company. They are currently one of the most well-known producers of the condiment today.  

Best Substitutes For Ketchup 

While preparing some homemade ketchup is a great way to enjoy this condiment, you may not always have the time or ingredients. Check out the list below for a few superb alternatives to ketchup that are worth a try.

1. Barbeque Sauce 

Barbeque sauce is one of the most popular and versatile condiments on the market. It may be featured in meals as a marinade, topping, or dipping sauce. The condiment typically boasts a rich, tangy flavor with sweet or spicy notes. 

Much like ketchup, many store-bought barbeque sauce varieties contain added sugars and preservatives. Crafting a homemade version of the condiment is an excellent option to limit your sugar intake.

2. Mustard

You can easily omit ketchup for its yellow partner – mustard. While mustard and ketchup have entirely different flavors, they are often paired together as toppings for hamburgers, hot dogs, and other American staple dishes.

If you want to cut back on your ketchup intake, you can just skip using it altogether and simply use mustard instead. Mustard, particularly Dijon mustard, works great in a sandwich or wrap spread for some added flavor. 

3. Salsa 

Salsa is a phenomenal substitution for ketchup. It contains the same base ingredient, fresh tomatoes, and often doesn’t have any added preservatives or artificial flavors. Salsa is also incredibly simple to make at home using all-natural ingredients.

The condiment is traditionally made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, chilies, and lime juice. You can add some extra heat by adding some spicy jalapenos to your dish.

4. Sun-dried Tomato Hummus 

Hummus is one of the healthiest spreads made entirely of natural ingredients. The primary ingredient in most hummus varieties is chickpeas.  However, if you are on trying to eat low-carb, hummus is not the most keto-friendly option since chickpeas contain a significantly high content of carbohydrates. 

5. Tomato Paste 

Tomato paste, a key ingredient in ketchup recipes. It may be used on its own as an alternative to ketchup. It is pretty low in calories, containing about fifteen calories per serving. The tomato paste is simply made with concentrated tomatoes that are reduced over an extended period to remove any excess moisture.

The condiment can be incorporated into a variety of meals and is most commonly used as a base for several pasta sauces.

Many people feature tomato paste in meatloaf recipes as an alternative to ketchup since it is much lower in sugar and sodium while providing the same yummy flavor. 

6. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce can work as a ketchup replacement. However, you will notice that because the sauce is much thinner, the consistency will be different. The flavor might differ as well. While ketchup is sweet, tomato sauce is more bitter tasting and has a less apparent seasoning taste.

If you are using it as a substitute for tomato sauce, consider adding more seasoning to the dish. Adding a sweetener like honey or maple syrup will help to create a similar taste. If you are using tomato sauce as a dip, adjust the flavor as noted above.

It will not work for all foods, though. Otherwise, tomato sauce is excellent as a fill-in for cooked recipes. You can simmer tomato sauce for a thicker consistency. If you leave this sauce as-is, adjust the other wet ingredients in the recipe to create a dish that does not have too much liquid. Use a 1:1 ratio when you utilize tomato sauce as a swap.

7. Tomato Juice

Tomato juice can work in a pinch if you’re only looking to replace a tomato flavor in a dish. It has a much thinner consistency even than tomato sauce. You’ll find a similar earthy taste to tomato juice, though it will have a blander flavor.

Tomato juice typically consists of tomato juice and salt. It lacks the other seasoning that ketchup is known for and its sweet taste. This swap is limited in its uses; you can add a few dashes into recipes that require a tomato taste. However, you’ll need to add extra seasoning. This replacement works best in conjunction with other substitutes like BBQ sauce. Use 1-2 tablespoons at a time in a recipe.

8. Sriracha

Sriracha can also work as a ketchup substitute, especially if you enjoy a spicy flavor. This replacement offers a similar bright red color and consistency. However, the taste is much different than that of ketchup.

Sriracha is created without tomatoes. Instead, the main ingredients are chili, garlic, salt, and vinegar. While you may taste some similarities due to the vinegar and seasoning, you will not find the tomato taste that ketchup offers. There is a sweetness present that mimics that of ketchup, though.

Sriracha works best as a dipping sauce due to its thicker consistency. There is no exact amount needed to replace ketchup, as it’s up to your taste preference. Keep in mind; this swap provides a much spicier taste. If you are not a fan of spicy foods, opt for a different replacement option.

You can also use sriracha to add flavor to cooked dishes. In this case, use one tablespoon or less depending on the heat level preference. It will add some sweetness to the dish. Due to the flavor difference and heat present, do not use sriracha in place of ketchup when large amounts are required.

9. Tomato Jam

As with the other swaps that included tomatoes, you’ll also find a similar tomato flavor in tomato jam. The sweetness of tomato jam rivals that of ketchup. This swap works well for specific instances, like as a dip and to replace ketchup in sauces.

There is a flavor difference due to the seasonings present in tomato jam. Tomato jam includes spicy peppers, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon instead of vinegar, pepper, and onion powder. When using tomato jam in recipes, the difference in flavor will be noticeable.

This jam is another swap that works best for people who enjoy spiciness in their meals. Keep in mind tomato jam will not work in all recipes due to the additional spices included. Cumin is a strong taste that does not complement every spice or food item.

Use tomato jam in a 1:1 ratio as a replacement. If you have a low heat tolerance, you may want to start with ½ the required amount and adjust to your taste.


What can I use instead of ketchup in meatloaf?

There is one swap that stands out for use in the meatloaf – BBQ sauce. Due to its similar consistency and sweet taste, BBQ sauce works excellently in this dish. Salsa will also work if you don’t have this sauce on hand, though the flavor will be quite different.

Is ketchup and tomato sauce the same?

No, ketchup and tomato sauce are two different items. They do have a similar makeup of ingredients, with some differences in the seasoning used. There are two main differences – tomato sauce uses more tomatoes and has less of a sweet flavor.

Is There a Healthy Version of Ketchup? 

Ketchup boasts a relatively low-calorie count in comparison to other mainstream condiments. Despite being low-calorie, the condiment often contains excessive amounts of sugar and sodium. Several store-bought brands, even include high fructose corn syrup in their recipes. For a healthier ketchup substitute, look into different organic brands that contain less sodium and no artificial sugars. Some organic ketchup varieties on the market include Annie’s Organic Ketchup, Hunts 100% Natural Tomato Ketchup, and Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup. 

Recipes To Enjoy With Ketchup

Crispy Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

sweet potato fries on the white plate with ketchup in the small dish

Keto Fried Okra

plate with fried okra and chicken

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

oval white plate with baked potatoes and small dish with ketchup

Sheet Pan Breakfast with Eggs and Sausage

white plate with sunny side up eggs, cubed potatoes with ketchup sauce

Crispy Beef Quesadillas

large white plate with sliced quesadillas and small dish filled with dressing

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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