12 Best Substitutes for Ketchup

Ketchup is possibly the most famous condiment in the world. It is known for its vinegary, slightly sweet flavor, and thick texture.

It is perfect alongside meat and vegetables and sometimes added to sauces to help thicken and add flavor as well. Although it is so easily available and utilized for a bunch of things, you might not have ketchup on hand when you need it. 

Let’s look at some substitutes for tomato ketchup.

Best Substitutes for Ketchup

The following section contains similar ingredients to ketchup that you can use if you don’t have ketchup on hand and still enjoy your meal.

1. Tomato Paste 

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is one of the best substitutes for tomato ketchup because of its very similar taste and texture. It is also used to make ketchup.

Tomato paste is not as acidic. Therefore, if you’re adding it to a dish, you can always add in a splash of vinegar to emulate that ketchup flavor more closely.

Tomato paste is a great substitute for ketchup when adding it to dishes and making sauces, but cannot be used for dipping as it is too strong. 

2. Barbecue Sauce 

barbecue sauce

Barbecue sauce is one of the best substitutes for ketchup. Even though it doesn’t have the same flavor profile, it does have a similar one, so it is a great condiment to meals instead of ketchup.

It can also be used on top of meatloaf instead of ketchup and can be added to sauces. But beware when adding barbecue sauce to other sauces as it might diminish the flavor.

Barbecue sauce is the best replacement for ketchup when it comes to dipping. 

3. Sriracha

Sriracha sauce

Sriracha is a spicy condiment made of chili which has become super popular worldwide. It does not actually contain tomatoes, however, it is made the same way as ketchup, but with chili instead.

It has an acidic flavor to it, making it a great spicy substitute for ketchup. You can use it as a condiment or add it to sauces, just like ketchup, and you’ll get a great flavor in any dish.

Keep in mind that sriracha is spicy so you might want to add a little less to your dish and adjust spice levels accordingly. 

4. Tomato Jam

Tomato jam is the sweeter, less processed cousin of ketchup and is often referred to as a fancier version of ketchup. This can be bought at supermarkets or made at home and it has a sweet, acidic flavor and is a great substitute for ketchup.

It is a lot chunkier than ketchup as well so it can add texture to your dishes. Tomato jam can be added to sauces, stews or used as a condiment for potatoes and crisps. If you’re looking for a slightly fancier alternative to ketchup, tomato jam is the way to go.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Ketchup is known for its acidic, vinegary flavor. So, if you’re missing it for sauces, you can add in a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar instead, according to taste.

Apple cider vinegar has a slightly sweet taste to it as well so it will give the same notes as ketchup will, without the tomato. You cannot use it as a condiment as apple cider vinegar will be too strong. But you can add it to dishes as flavoring instead of ketchup. 

6. Tomato Sauce 

Tomato Sauce

If you don’t have ketchup available but want to add a tomato flavor to your dish, then you can always use jarred tomato sauce instead.

Jarred tomato sauce is very rich and has that same tomato flavor. And you can add a dash of apple cider vinegar to give it that punch as well.

Tomato sauce is a pantry staple. Therefore, it can be used instead of ketchup when cooking but is not a suitable replacement for ketchup as a condiment. 

7. Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are a great ingredient to keep as they are usually stored in oil and can last a long time, and they add a great tomato umami flavor to any dish.

You can add them to sauces and stews and let them cook. Or you can blend them to create a paste-like consistency which you can add to any dish and can use as a condiment.

Sun-dried tomatoes will also not give you that acidic element so you can add a splash of vinegar as well, but they will add that rich, tomato flavor that ketchup adds to any dish. 

8. Salsa

homemade salsa

Salsa is much chunkier than ketchup but is also made with tomatoes and has a rich, sweet taste to it, making it a great substitute for ketchup as a dip.

It is not recommended to add salsa instead of ketchup to sauces as it is a lot chunkier, but you can add it if needed. Salsa is great for dipping and has a lot of flavors thanks to the onion, as well as the addition of spice.

9. Chili Jam 

Like tomato jam, chili jam is known as a fancier alternative to ketchup.

It is not made of tomatoes but has a sweet, yet slightly spicy flavor. And you can add it to sauces to give flavor or use it as a condiment.

Note that chili jam is spicier than ketchup. So, you might want to add less and taste as you go. It is perfect to spread on sandwiches, add to sauces, or use as a condiment and it gives a great, sweet flavor to your dish, as well as a slightly spicy punch.

You can buy chili jam at your supermarket or make your own.

10. Red Pesto 

Red Pesto 

Red pesto is the cousin of green pesto, often made with sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and garlic, and is used on pizza or pasta. Or you can add it to sauces for flavor.

It is great to use instead of ketchup because it is not as sweet and acidic, but rather adds great flavor to vegetables and sauces. It is not recommended to add it to meatloaf or use it as a condiment, however, as it is better added in something and cooked.

You can buy red pesto at the local supermarket. Or opt to make your own as long as you have a blender or food processor.

11. Hummus 


Hummus might sound like an odd substitute for ketchup. However, if you’re looking to replace ketchup as a condiment then hummus is a great option.

Made of chickpeas, hummus is thick and rich. The best part? You can buy different flavors such as red pepper hummus, which has a more savory flavor resembling ketchup.

Hummus is a great substitute for ketchup when it comes to condiments. But should not be used when it comes to cooking as it might ruin the flavor and texture of your sauce.

12. Make Your Own 

Tomato Paste

Many people don’t know how easy it is to make your own ketchup at home.

All you need is some tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and some spices, and cook them down until they become a sauce.

Homemade ketchup can be used the same way as regular ketchup. You can also alter the spices and flavors to make unique ketchup that suits your taste buds better.

Homemade ketchup can last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Substitute For Ketchup In Meatloaf 

Ketchup is used in meatloaf in the mix, as well as on top before baking for some extra flavor. But if you don’t have ketchup, the best substitutes include tomato paste or barbecue sauce, because of their similar flavors and textures.

Barbecue sauce will give a different flavor to the meatloaf. However, it will still provide a great taste to it, and tomato paste will do the same job as ketchup.

Substitute For Ketchup In Barbecue Sauce

Ketchup is the main ingredient when making homemade barbecue sauce.

However, if you do not have ketchup you can always use tomato sauce, sugar, and apple cider vinegar to replace ketchup, and your barbecue sauce will have the same results and flavor profile.

You can also use just tomato paste. But you may have to adjust the flavors while making your barbecue sauce. 

Substitute For Ketchup In Sweet And Sour Sauce

The best substitute for ketchup in a sweet and sour sauce is tomato paste. It has a similar flavor and consistency. You can also use a smaller quantity of tomato sauce or chili sauce. But keep in mind that the chili sauce will make the sweet and sour sauce spicier. 

What Is The Substitution For 1 Cup Of Ketchup?

This depends on the substitute that you are using. But the best rule is to use a little less of the substitute and see how it affects the flavor.

If it’s a sauce, start with ¾ of a cup and then gradually add more if you need it. With apple cider vinegar, add about a tablespoon and taste as you go. This is the same with sriracha, as it is much spicier than ketchup.

1 comment
  1. Hi I’m allergic to tomatoes and so what would I use in place of it. I have celiac disease and dairy free. I can’t do bbq sauce either.

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