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10 Ingredients To Substitute For Ketchup

Need a good substitute for ketchup? Try these 10 delicious ketchup alternatives and recipes to use in a pinch!

Heinz ketchup bottle standing upside down on its cap on restaurant table.

Ketchup is one of America’s most popular condiments! It’s used on hotdogs, French fries, as a base for dressings, in sauces, and more.

Most of us have a bottle in our fridge right now even if it’s on its last drop!

If you do run out of ketchup and need some in a pinch, or if you have to find a substitute for health reasons, there are several alternatives you can try!

Use a Common Ketchup Substitute

If you’re out of ketchup and you don’t have the ingredients or time to make your own, here are some common ketchup substitutes to use in a pinch.

For Dipping and Topping

1. Tomato Jam

Tomato jam in small clear glass jar surrounded by vine ripened tomatoes.

Tomato jam works well as a ketchup substitute for dipping or in a sauce. You’ll get the same sweet, tomato flavor with a little tang. You can find tomato jam in select grocery and health food stores.

2. Salsa

Salsa roja in large clear glass jar with green garnish on top.

Depending on what you need it for, salsa can be a great substitute for ketchup on eggs or even on hamburgers. It won’t be as sweet, but it’s usually more healthy and has that same tomato base.

The are many varieties of salsa, and the closest match in consistency to ketchup is salsa roja, which is blended well and smooth.

3. BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce in white bowl with spoon on white washed wooden cutting board.

Many BBQ sauces actually use ketchup as a base. A good BBQ sauce can work well as a ketchup substitute if you don’t mind the smoky undertone and deeper color and flavor.

You can dip your fries in BBQ sauce and it makes a great topping for hamburgers.

4. Sriracha

Sriracha in black bowl next to chili pepper and bottle of sriracha.

Sriracha is a spicy chili pepper paste sauce that has become incredibly popular in the last decade. If you like spice, you can try this unique and delicious condiment on its own or by mixing it with a little tomato paste for dipping and to top your dishes with extra flavor.

For Cooking

5. Tomato Paste

Opened can of tomato paste with lid sticking out and wooden spoon inside.

Tomato paste offers an intense tomato flavor without added sodium or sugar. It’s not as complex in taste as ketchup, but you can use it as a substitute in cooking and for other uses if you don’t mind the one-note flavor profile.

You can even get tomato paste in a tube so it’s easy to squeeze.

6. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce in clear glass bowl next to fresh tomatoes and herbs.

Tomato sauce is slightly more soupy than ketchup, but is very similar in flavor. You can use it as a substitute for sauces and in cooking.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar in large, labeled glass jar next to stack of apples.

Apple cider vinegar does not have a tomato base, but it’s often used when making ketchup. Vinegar is responsible for ketchup’s tanginess. If that is the flavor note you’re after, try using ACV as a substitute when texture and consistency don’t matter.

Make Your Own

Here are some recipes you can use to make your own ketchup. If you’ve got the ingredients on hand a little extra time, these make a great substitute for ketchup from the store and can help you improve your health.

The Closest Match

Homemade French fries next to homemade ketchup substitute in small glass canning jar.

If you need ketchup for dipping you’ll want to try to match that same sweet, tanginess as much as possible. That signature ketchup flavor may seem complex, but recipes are generally pretty simple.

For example, the ingredients for Heinz Ketchup are: “Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring.”

Here’s a slightly more complicated ketchup recipe that’s perfect for dipping, great for meatloaf, and delicious to use as the base for a barbeque sauce.

You’ll need:

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 ¼ cups water

MIX all ingredients and ADD to a sauce pan over low heat. COOK for 45 minutes to an hour or until sauce becomes the consistency of ketchup. ADJUST seasonings as needed.

Healthy Ketchup

Healthy homemade ketchup in glass jar with brown paper over top tied with twine.

If you’re health conscious or have specific health concerns, it may be necessary to find a healthier alternative to bottled ketchup as it is quite high in sugar and sodium

Here’s a healthy ketchup recipe that even kids will love which requires no cooking:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup tomato paste (270 g)
  • 4 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Sea salt to taste (optional)

MIX all ingredients and taste. ADJUST if desired.

For Cooking

Homemade ketchup in glass canister next to garlic cloves and fresh tomatoes.

If using ketchup for cooking or in sauces, you don’t have to pay as much attention to flavor, depending on the dish. Sometimes, all you need is a kick of tomato and that same ketchup consistency.

Try this cooking substitute with only three ingredients:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 12 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

MIX all the ingredients and use as desired. If the consistency is too thin, you can COOK the sauce over med-low heat until thickened.

Other Condiments

Mustard, diced onion and BBQ sauce in mini condiment dipping bowls on wooden table.

If you want even more condiment substitutes, here’s a comprehensive guide, including mustards, capers, mayo, and more!

Recipes with Ketchup

Here are some easy and delicious recipes that call for ketchup. Use these to try out your favorite substitute for ketchup, above.

Cowboy Baked Beans with Ground Beef and Bacon

Cowboy baked beans in dutch oven with wooden spoon and striped towel nearby.

Deluxe Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps

Grilled cheeseburger wrap cut in half surrounded by French fries on wood plate.

Easy Baked Beans With Brown Sugar

Glass casserole baking dish with baked beans with bacon and kitchen towel.

Simple Crock Pot Hamburger Stew

Bowl of hamburger stew with potatoes and carrots on table with plate of scones nearby.

Burger Bundles Recipe

Blue plate with Inside out burger bundle with stuffing on a pile of mashed potatoes.


Saturday 20th of August 2022

Srirachi is actually a red jalapeno chili based sauce. I'm sure you could mix it with tomato paste for a spicy ketchup substitute. 🍅 🔥

Jessica Ashcroft

Monday 22nd of August 2022

Thank you San. I'll update that in the post!