The sweet and sour tomato based sauce needs no introduction. You might consider it a pantry staple but what can you do if you ran out or someone in the family can’t stand it? Whatever recipe you have in mind, it can be saved with one of these excellent ketchup substitutes!
Whether you want a tasty dip next to your fries or need a ketchup substitute in a cooked dish, there are, luckily, several delicious alternatives that work well. So, keep reading to learn more about these mouthwatering ketchup alternatives.
🍅What is Ketchup?
Ketchup is a tomato-based condiment, and it’s primarily used as a spread or for dipping. However, it can also be cooked into sauces or used in marinades.
It contains other ingredients like vinegar, sugar, and several spices and seasonings. These might include green peppers, onion powder, cloves, allspice, garlic powder, cumin, and even mustard.
In addition to the traditional version of ketchup, you can find other types that don’t use tomatoes as the main ingredient.
These include grapes, olives, peaches, mushrooms, and figs. However, in this article, I’ll focus on the alternatives that you can use instead of your good old tomato ketchup.
The origins of ketchup go back to Southeast Asia when Chinese chefs used a delicious sauce made of fermented fish which English traders really enjoyed.
So, they returned to Europe and tried to replicate the taste using a common ingredient, tomatoes.
📌Overview of Ketchup Substitutes
- Homemade Ketchup – Can be used for anything you’d use store-bought ketchup.
- Tomato Paste – Best for cooked dishes like stews and chili.
- Tomato Puree – Can be used for soups, stews, chili, and other cooked recipes.
- Tomato Jam – Best as a spread or a dip.
- Sundried Tomatoes – Works great for cooked recipes and can also be used in dips, sauces, and marinades.
- Salsa – Excellent as a spread or in sandwiches.
- BBQ Sauce – Use it in marinades, cooked recipes, spreads, or dips. Mix it with a bit of tomato paste for closer resemblance to ketchup.
- Sriracha – Best as a dip, sauce ingredient, and in cooked dishes like soups and stews.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Adds a bit of acidity to sauces, dips, marinades, and cooked dishes without the tomato flavor.
- Mayonnaise – Can be used as a spread, dip, and for dressings, and marinades.
🔗10 Best Ketchup Substitutes
Having no access to ketchup shouldn’t affect your culinary plans when making a quick batch of Air Fryer Curly Fries, Air Fryer Waffle Fries, Roasted Rutabaga Fries or Air Fryer Hamburgers.
You can still either have a homemade alternative that delivers the same taste, go for another store-bought option, or completely change the look and taste profile of your dish by trying a non-tomato ketchup substitute.
This fast and easy homemade ketchup alternative should be your go-to option if you want to have the same color and taste as ketchup.
It works if you’re worried about the preservatives or you have someone in your family who is allergic to one of the ketchup ingredients.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can prepare a big amount and store it until needed. You also have control over the ingredients and their ratios.
After preparing this batch, you can keep it in the fridge for up to three weeks. This alternative works for all ketchup-based recipes and can be used as a sandwich spread or dip.
For this recipe, you’ll need the following.
1/2 can of tomato paste
1/2 can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of apple cider or white vinegar.
1 teaspoon of honey, sugar, maple syrup, and salt
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and onion powder
You must mix all the ingredients, except cornstarch, in a saucepan and let them simmer for 15 minutes.
Then, you need to strain them through a fine strainer to remove all the liquid. After that, discard the solid leftovers.
Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water, and then add it to the mixture and simmer over low heat.
You can also add some smoked paprika for a stronger taste. Finally, you can pass it through a mesh again to make it more glossy.
If you’re looking for a ketchup alternative in a cooked dish like stew or chili, you can use tomato paste.
However, tomato paste is pretty concentrated and lacks the sweetness and interesting character of ketchup.
I recommend that you add a dash of honey, maple syrup, or some brown sugar to get a similar taste to ketchup. Adding Worchester sauce also works.
Spices like onion powder, garlic powder, and sweet paprika will add an exceptional taste profile to your dish.
Tomato purée has a thinner consistency than tomato paste and ketchup, so it works best in cooked recipes. It has a concentrated taste because it’s pretty tangy.
To get the right consistency, you can mix some cornstarch with water, add it to the tomato purée, and heat it a little to make it thicker. You can also make it sweeter by adding some maple syrup or honey.
You can use your tomato purée in cooked recipes. It goes well with stews, chilis, and soups.
If you find ketchup too sour, you can try tomato jam instead. It has more umami, and it’s sweeter, so it will work as a spread or a dip, especially next to sandwiches.
You can add it to avocado toast, next to brie cheese, or on top of roast dishes for a richer taste.
Tomato jam adds a lot of depth and complexity to your recipes, making everything taste sweeter. You can adjust its taste by adding your favorite spices like onion powder and garlic powder.
Sundried tomatoes have an intensely sweet and tart flavor. It’s a tangier alternative than ketchup and will enrich your recipe with a strong tomato flavor.
For a similar texture to ketchup, you can blend sundried tomatoes with some olive oil in the blender.
You can also add a dash of honey for extra sweetness, and it will work as a tasty ketchup substitute.
Sundried tomatoes will work in several cooked recipes and can also be used as a base for dips, sauces, and marinades. You can add them to pasta sauce, shrimp dishes, and steak.
Mixing sundried tomatoes with hummus will create an excellent dip or spread for almost any appetizer. Moreover, this dip is packed with the health benefits you get from hummus.
Salsa is a tomato-based condiment, just like ketchup. However, it’s a bit chunkier and tangier, and it contains other ingredients, so it can be hot.
Salsa works great instead of ketchup as a spread or in a sandwich. It can be slightly zesty or tangy, depending on the ingredients used to make it.
Green salsa is another alternative to try, but it’s more tart because it’s made of green tomatoes.
If you feel that ketchup isn’t strong enough, you can try BBQ sauce as an alternative. There are several variations of BBQ sauce, but the most common ones contain tomato paste and several spices.
The best thing about this ketchup alternative is that it’s so versatile, so you can use it in marinades, cooked recipes, spreads, or dips.
BBQ has a thick, rich, smoky, tangy, and sweet flavor, so it’s more complex than ketchup.
You can mix a little bit of tomato paste with BBQ sauce to make it milder and more ketchup-like.
If you’re not a big fan of tomatoes, you can use sriracha instead of ketchup. This sauce comes from Thailand and is a staple in several Asian cuisines.
Sriracha is made of chili pepper, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic powder. However, there are several types that you can try in your recipes.
It’s described as being mildly spicy, although there are hotter versions, so it might not work for you if you don’t like spicy foods.
You can use sriracha as a dip next to several dishes, including eggs, wings, meat, spring rolls, or on top of noodles.
It also pairs well with cooked dishes like stews and soups, where it adds color and a strong taste.
Sriracha elevates the flavor of cream-based sauces, but you should use a small amount and increase it gradually.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is another alternative if you want to find a tomato-free ketchup substitute. Apple cider vinegar is sweet with a little bit of tartness, so it can replace ketchup in cooked recipes.
When added to dishes, apple cider vinegar leaves a fruity aroma and brings out the other flavors. It works in sauces, dips, marinades, and other seasoning blends.
Mayonnaise doesn’t contain tomatoes, but it’s a good alternative if you’re not a fan of tomatoes and need an alternative dip.
It’s great as a spread and dip that can be served with fries, wings, and sandwiches, and it has a sour taste with a rich, creamy texture.
Mayonnaise is mainly made of eggs, but there are several egg-free alternatives you can try.
It adds a richer taste to dressings and marinades, in addition to acidity, as it contains lemon juice, salt, and vegetable oil.
Because it’s so rich, mayonnaise can elevate the taste of any bland food like bread and potatoes.
🍳Favorite Recipes With Ketchup
Looking for more recipes with ketchup as an ingredient, dip, or topping? Here are some of the ones me and my family always return to!
Slow Cooker Baked Beans – To prepare the sauce of this dish, you can try using sriracha if you want it to be spicy. You can also use your homemade ketchup or add some BBQ for a smoky taste.
Air Fryer Pickles – You can serve this tasty and fast dish with a different dip every time. Try it with some sundried hummus dip, mayonnaise, or BBQ sauce for a mouthwatering experience.
Easy Instant Pot Spanish Rice – This recipe contains tomato paste and sauce, in addition to ketchup, so you can increase the amount of tomato taste, add some tomato purée, a dash of apple cider vinegar, and your favorite spices for the perfect taste.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp – You can prepare the sauce using sriracha, tomato purée, BBQ sauce, or tomato jam. There’s also the option to serve your fried shrimp with mayonnaise if you’re not a big fan of tomatoes.
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries – Sweet potato fries are a lower-carb option compared to regular potatoes and you can serve them with ketchup, other tomato-based sauces, BBQ sauce and many others.
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders – This is an excellent treat kids will love and so much better than any store-bought option. Serve these tasty chicken tenders with ketchup or another dip you enjoy and dinner is ready!
All of your substitutes needs all in one handy reference spot! Comprehensive list substitutes here or to print off for your own menu binder. You to find an ingredient option that will allow you to not run out to the store or you may find a flavor combination you love even better than the original. Garlic Powder Substitute, Cojita Cheese Substitute, Parsley Substitute, Green Chilis Substitute, Italian Seasoning Substitute, Mustard Seed Substitute, Cilantro Substitute, Sriracha Substitute, White Pepper Substitute, Onion Powder Substitute, Five Spice Substitute, Turmeric Substitutes, White Wine Vinegar, Cardamon Substitute, Parsley Substitute, Cremini Mushroom Substitute, Egg Yolk, Leeks, Egg Wash, Coconut Cream, Tomato, Stewed Tomatoes, Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar, Hoisin, Adobo, Chili Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Escarole, Watercress, Rice Wine Vinegar, Ketchup, Tomato Puree, Tomato Paste, Lemongrass, Chervil, Cheesecloth, Worcestershire Sauce, Fennel, Dark Soy Sauce.
Ketchup is a tasty condiment that you might not imagine your recipes without. However, in some cases, you might just run out of it or have a picky eater who doesn’t like its taste.
For most recipes, you can use a homemade ketchup alternative, which works as a spread, dip, or in cooked dishes. It’s a highly versatile option that you can change and adjust by adding and omitting spices to suit your preferences.
If you need a ketchup alternative in a cooked dish, you can go for tomato paste or tomato purée. Apple cider vinegar also works, but it lacks the tomato ingredient.
Tomato jam is a sweeter option that elevates the taste of sandwiches and roasts. If you need to prepare a dip, you can blend sundried tomatoes with hummus for a richer taste and texture.
Sriracha is a hotter option than regular ketchup and can work in dips, marinades, and spreads. You can also go for salsa if you need something stronger than ketchup or BBQ sauce to add more smokiness to your recipe.
If you need a tasty condiment, you can try mayonnaise. It will work for you if you don’t like the taste of tomatoes, and it goes well with almost everything.
How to Make Homemade Ketchup
- Sauce Pan
- 3 oz tomato sauce
- 4 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan except for the cornstarch. Heat up to medium heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain all of the ingredients in the pan through a fine strainer to remove all the liquid. Discard the leftovers and keep the liquid.
- Put the liquid back into the pan. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and then add it to the liquid mixture in the pan and stir. Allow to simmer over low heat until it thickens to your liking.
- OPTIONAL: If you want it to be shinier or glossier, you can run it through the strainer again.
- Store in the fridge for 3 weeks in a sealed container.
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