What’s The Best Ketchup Substitute? Our Ultimate List!

You’re probably here looking for a ketchup substitute. And we’re here wondering: Why don’t you have ketchup, one of the most popular condiments in the world?!

Kidding aside, we get that not everyone likes ketchup or may be allergic to it (gasp!). Sometimes, we forget to buy ketchup, only to realize it once we’re in the middle of the recipe already.

You can always use a ketchup substitute without destroying your recipe, whatever the case may be. Read on to learn more about what you can replace ketchup with!

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Top 11 Substitutes for Ketchup in Your Recipes

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Let’s skip the ketchup introduction because we all know this popular condiment.

It’s a smooth sauce chiefly made from tomatoes and vinegar, which we use to top burgers, hotdogs, and a lot more savory dishes.

Fun fact: You can even find ketchup made from different fruits, like banana or apple ketchup. And yes, the flavor actually works!

There are different reasons you may need a ketchup substitute, whether for allergies, disliking the ketchup flavor, or running out of it in the kitchen or supermarket.

You can find the best substitute for ketchup in our list below:

1. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is the best ketchup substitute as it offers a similar taste and texture. You also use tomato paste when making ketchup!

That said, tomato paste isn’t acidic. When adding tomato paste to a dish, we recommend adding a splash of vinegar to get a more accurate ketchup flavor.

You can use tomato paste as a ketchup substitute in making sauces or recipes. However, we suggest using another substitute for ketchup if you need a dipping sauce. Tomato paste has too strong of a tomato flavor!

2. Tomato Sauce

Jarred tomato sauce is another good ketchup substitute, which is rich and offers the same flavor. If you want to add a kick to your recipes, add a splash of apple cider vinegar with it!

Tomato sauce, like ketchup, is a pantry staple. We like to use it for cooking, but we don’t recommend it as a condiment.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

We all know ketchup for its acidic and vinegary flavor. We recommend using apple cider vinegar instead if you miss out on that flavor in your recipes or sauces.

Apple cider vinegar tastes slightly sweet and can give similar notes to ketchup, just without any tomato.

That said, apple cider vinegar is strong and more acidic than ketchup. According to your preferred taste, only add a teaspoon or two of it. Also, we don’t recommend using it as a condiment for your fries!

While you can use white vinegar, it’s something to use in a pinch as it’s too acidic.

4. BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce is another excellent ketchup substitute. While they don’t have the same flavor profile, it’s a bit similar, making it a good condiment in place of ketchup.

You can use barbecue sauce on meatloaf rather than ketchup, or you can add it to sauces. However, if you add ketchup to sauces, be wary! The barbecue may diminish the original recipe’s flavor.

5. Sriracha

Sriracha is a popular type of hot sauce made from chili. It doesn’t contain tomatoes but goes through the same process as ketchup, this time using chili.

Sriracha has an acidic flavor, making it an excellent substitute for ketchup if you want something spicy. You can use sriracha as a condiment or add it to your dip for flavor. We love using sriracha to dip our French fries, which adds a kick!

But if you have a low heat tolerance or want a tomato flavor, you may wish to use another substitute. Alternatively, you can add less sriracha to your recipe or add brown sugar to lessen the spices.

6. Tomato Jam

Yes, there’s such a thing as tomato jam! This is ketchup’s sweeter and less-processed cousin, which we sometimes refer to as the fancier version of ketchup in cooking.

You can buy tomato jam in supermarkets or create your own. Either way, you get a sweet and acidic tomato flavor, making it a good substitute for ketchup.

However, note that this jam is chinkier than ketchup, adding texture to dishes. We recommend using tomato jam in stews, sauces, or condiments to your fries and chips!

You can also try using tomato concentrate, but use less than what the recipe calls for, as it’s strong, like tomato paste. You can even add onion powder, salt, or garlic powder to add more flavor!

7. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are another suitable substitute for your recipes! These are stored in oil, lasting for a long time.

When added to recipes, they offer a rich umami flavor. You can add these to your sauces or stews, allowing them to cook.

You can also blend them in a food processor until it achieves a paste-like consistency. That way, you can use it as a condiment.

That said, this ingredient won’t give you an acidic element, so we recommend adding a splash of vinegar.

8. Salsa

Salsa is chunker than ketchup. However, it’s made of tomatoes with a rich and sweet taste, making it a suitable substitute for ketchup as a dip.

We don’t recommend adding salsa to sauce recipes because of its chunkiness, but it’s possible to do so only if needed.

Salsa is incredible for dipping, offering a lot of flavor because of the onions, spices, and other ingredients!

9. Chili Jam

Similar to tomato jam, chili jam is another fancier kind of ketchup!

There aren’t any tomatoes, but it adds a sweet and slightly spicy flavor, suitable for sauces and other recipes. You can even use this as a condiment for its sweet flavor and spicy punch.

10. Hummus

Hummus sounds like an odd substitute, but if you need a condiment without tomatoes, then you’ll like this one.

Hummus is made of chickpeas and comes in various flavors, offering a more savory flavor than ketchup.

That said, we don’t recommend using those for cooking recipes as hummus can ruin the texture and flavor.

11. Make Your Own Ketchup Substitute

Yes, you can make homemade ketchup! It’s actually very easy and uses ingredients you most likely have at home for cooking.

To make homemade ketchup, all you need is tomato paste, sugar, salt vinegar, and your preferred spices. We recommend adding garlic powder and onion powder for a more savory flavor!

Cook these ingredients down until you get a sauce-like texture and you’ve got homemade ketchup ready to use.

Homemade ketchup is like what you buy in the supermarket, which you can use for cooking or as a condiment. Note that homemade ketchup will last in the fridge for about two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know what you can use as a substitute for ketchup, we’ve got more answers to your burning questions!

1. What recipes do you make from ketchup?

Not only can you use ketchup as a condiment with your cooked food. You can also add it to your recipes, as ketchup adds extra flavor!

Fun fact: Ketchup is an American staple inspired by a Chinese condiment: The Hokkien, a sauce made of fermented fish. (*)

Here are some sweet and savory recipes that call for ketchup:

  • Sweet and sour chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • Meatballs
  • Sloppy joes
  • As a meat marinade or glaze
  • Baked beans
  • Stir-fried chicken
  • Sambal Chili Lala
  • In sauces
  • And more!

2. What are the nutrition facts of ketchup?

Here are the nutrition facts of ketchup per tablespoon:

  • 15 calories
  • 0.02g fat
  • 136mg sodium
  • 4.1g carbohydrates
  • 0.05g fiber
  • 3.2g sugars
  • 0.16g protein

Since it’s a bit high in sugar, sodium, and calories, especially when you use a lot of it, you can either make healthy ketchup or find a great substitute!

Learn: Can Ketchup Go Bad Or Expire? How To Tell If Ketchup Is Bad? 

3. Can you use ketchup for tomato sauce on pizza?

Tomato ketchup is not a great substitute for tomato sauce, as it’s too thick and sweet. We recommend other sauces or ingredients like crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, or other forms of tomato sauce. These are more subtle than a ketchup bottle!

4. What’s the best ketchup substitute for meatloaf?

Ketchup is a common ingredient. You’ll find it in meatloaf mix. If you have no ketchup, you can substitute it with barbecue sauce or tomato paste for its similar texture and flavor.

Note that BBQ sauce has a different flavor but still gives it a good taste. The tomato paste will do a similar job as regular ketchup if you want a more accurate substitute for ketchup.

5. Can I substitute ketchup with barbecue sauce and sweet and sour sauce?

If you don’t have any ketchup but need to make various sauces, you can always replace it with:

  • Use tomato paste instead of ketchup when making sweet and sour sauce, which has a similar consistency and flavor. You can also use chili sauce or tomato sauce, but use less than what the recipe calls for.
  • Use a mixture of tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, and sugar when making barbecue sauce. This will give your homemade barbecue sauce a similar flavor profile.

Wrapping It Up

No ketchup? No problem! We hope our list helped you find the perfect ketchup substitute for any of your fries or recipe. Let us know what you thought was the best substitute, and share your own tips in the comments section below!

Also, if you love cooking and learning more about different flavors, check out our other blog posts all about food spoilage, substitutions, and lists of food!

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