Condiments are the kinds of things we all take for granted. Somehow, there’s always a bottle of ketchup or jar of mayo in the door of your fridge. Until there’s not…
And that will completely ruin your plan for a tasty meal.
Seriously, some sandwiches you just can’t eat unless you have the right condiment to finish it off.
But the next time your mustard starts spurting, sputtering and splattering out the last of its contents, you can stay home and make your own. We found a bunch of great condiment recipes for you to try, and this list covers many of the most-popular favorites.
1. Fermented Ketchup
You’d think ketchup would be the biggest condiment in America, but you’d be wrong. We were a bit surprised to learn that ketchup actually places third when it comes to condiments.
There was a time when ketchup was king. But more recently, both mayonnaise and salsa have surpassed it on the list of best-selling condiments. Still – as long as people keeping eating french fries – ketchup will always be a mainstay.
A lot of store-bought ketchup can be loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives. But if you make your ketchup at home, you can actually get some amazing health benefits out of it.
That’s because ketchup can be fermented. The fermentation means there are live cultures in the sauce, or good bacteria known as probiotics. Those culture can be beneficial to digestion, immune system strength and more!
You might think healthy, homemade ketchup would be a hassle to make. But Jenny from The Nourished Kitchen insists it is not. You’ll need tomato paste, raw honey, raw apple cider vinegar and some spices.
But what’s most important for fermenting is fresh whey or a vegetable starter culture. Jenny tells readers they can get fresh whey by straining yogurt or kefir. You can also order Body Ecology Starter Culture with free shipping from Natural Healthy Concepts.
2. Homemade Yellow Mustard
Ketchup’s BFF – mustard – can also be made at home.
When I was a kid, I loved mustard so much, I would squirt it all over foods I didn’t feel like eating to mask the flavor. It was usually some random casserole. I’m still not a big casserole guy.
There’s a key ingredient in mustard that has some major potential health benefits – turmeric.
Turmeric is what gives mustard it’s yellow color, and it’s also found in a lot of curries. A component of turmeric spice, known as curcumin, is believed to be a potent, natural anti-inflammatory with a variety of possible uses.
Best-selling, award-winning supplements like Terry Naturally’s Curamin and Curamed contain a special form of curcumin called BCM-95 – making it much more bioavailable (better-absorbed in your body). Of course, it can’t hurt to get the nutrient from real food too!
Food writer David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen, shares a yellow mustard recipe he makes that was inspired by Joe Beef Liverpool House – a UK-style restaurant that’s based in Montreal.
You’ll need to track down fresh mustard seed. Plus, the recipe calls for maple syrup and white wine – but you could also try beer or just use water. Lebovitz livens up his mustard with cayenne pepper and horseradish.
All of the ingredients, except for the horseradish, sit in a stainless steel bowl for several days before you throw it all in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth and ready to spread on a sandwich.
3. Fermented Tabasco-Style Hot Sauce
Looking to spice things up? Here’s a condiment recipe that will add some heat to your meals, and it’s also fermented.
Tabasco sauce is one of the most-loved hot sauces in America. This recipe from the website Honest Food is designed to mimic both the red and green sauces from Tabasco.
Writer Hank Shaw got to visit the Tabasco plant in Louisiana and was surprised to discover that the recipe is not kept secret.
You will, however, need to find real tabasco peppers. Yes, it’s not just a brand, it’s actually a variety of chile pepper.
The key to making this flavorful hot sauce is two-fold: lots of time and oak cubes. Yes, Hank put cubes of oak wood in the hot sauce, and he then patiently let it sit and ferment for two years!
You don’t necessarily have to wait that long. But Hank suggests fermenting your homemade Tabasco sauce for at least three months. The reason you use oak cubes is that the makers of real Tabasco age their hot sauce in oak barrels.
So if you’ve got one of those and want to make an entire barrel of hot sauce, I guess you could skip the cubes.
- Get the complete Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe
4. DIY Sriracha Sauce
I don’t know when Sriracha sauce became the trendiest thing since beards and banjos, but people are going crazy for the stuff.
Sriracha comes from Thailand where it was first traditionally served with seafood and used as a dipping sauce. But now, people are putting it on everything from burgers to scrambled eggs.
It seems like every major chain restaurant out there is trying to find a way to incorporate this chile sauce into their food. Now you can make your own and really impress your friends with how trendy you are!
Hannah, from the food Blog Blue Kale Road, says this homemade sriracha sauce recipe beats the store bought stuff by a mile.
Everything but the honey is mixed up and put in a tightly closed jar. After sitting for a day, you put the mixture on a stove-top, add the honey, bring it to a boil and let it simmer. Then blend it all smooth to make your spicy sauce.
- Get the complete DIY Sriracha Sauce recipe
5. Homemade Miracle Whip
Apparently, there’s a longstanding debate over which condiment is better – traditional mayonnaise or the slightly sweeter and tangier Miracle Whip.
Some sources will tell you that the only difference between mayo and Miracle Whip is that the latter has more sugar/sweetener. But that’s not entirely accurate.
According to Real Simple, Miracle Whip also has less vegetable oil. Plus, there is some sort of secret blend of 20 spices. And apparently, the original Miracle Whip, which was introduced at the 1933 World’s Fair, also blended other “inexpensive” salad dressings in the mix. It was supposed to be an affordable alternative to mayo – but now they’re the same price. Go figure.
If you’re in the Miracle Whip camp, and you’re also health conscious, you may be disappointed to learn there’s a lot of high-fructose corn syrup and genetically modified ingredients in the stuff.
But that’s where this recipe comes in…
Jan, from the recipe site Jan’s Sushi bar, has developed her own Miracle Whip recipe, which she says is even better than the real thing. She doesn’t have a ton of spices in this concoction. However, she does use Dijon mustard.
Whip some up and see how it compares. You could always try to experiment by adding your own spice mixture to this recipe too.
- Get the complete Homemade Miracle Whip recipe
Bonus Tip – Using Greek yogurt in place of mayo in many recipes is an excellent healthy alternative, especially if you or someone in your family has an egg allergy.
6. Easy Tartar Sauce
Staying on the mayo theme – tartar sauce is a must-have for many seafood lovers.
Natural Healthy Concepts is based in northeast Wisconsin where Friday Night Fish Fries with a side of tartar sauce are a time-honored tradition.
This recipe comes from Emily at Favorite Family Recipes. She and her sisters came up with this condiment recipe while making their homemade fish and chips.
Emily keeps her tartar sauce nice and simple. You’ll find chopped dill pickles, dill weed, lemon juice and black pepper.
You simply mix it all with your mayo base (or Greek yogurt) and let it chill in the fridge for about a day.
If you want to experiment with other flavors, additional tartar sauce ingredients could include: capers, onions or chives, fresh parsley, green olives and even diced hard boiled eggs.
- Get the complete Homemade Tartar Sauce recipe
7. Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
There are tons of great barbecue sauces out there. I like trying different kinds at the store, but I love trying original homemade recipes even more.
In fact, my father-in-law just gave me a BBQ sauce recipe for ribs, which a deceased friend passed on to him. I had to swear on my life that I wouldn’t share the secret online.
Lucky for you, there are other food bloggers out there who can share their recipes – like Mel from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. She says this Kansas City-style sauce is the best she’s ever made. It even beats her husband’s favorite store-bought brand.
Mel claims she’s tried quite a few BBQ sauce recipes, but this one is tangy, smoky perfection.
“The flavors of this sauce are exactly what we’ve been looking for and while I may continue to make, say, 50 more chocolate chip cookie recipes before the end of the world, barbecue sauce is one of those things where once I’ve found it, I’ve found it.”
This recipe starts the way you’d expect, with a base of ketchup and tomato sauce as well as red wine vinegar, molasses and brown sugar. The list of spices that create the flavor profile are: onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and coarse ground pepper.
Somebody fire up the grill!
- Get the complete recipe for this Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
8. Fresh Basil Pesto
I’m not sure if pesto can technically be called a condiment or not. But it does get put on sandwiches – completely transforming them into mouthwatering masterpieces.
I have a friend who made me a grilled cheese sandwich with his homemade pesto, and it was the best grilled cheese I ever ate!
This year, I grew my own basil in my backyard garden. And I just made this pesto recipe a few days ago. (Hat-tip to Mom for sharing it with me) It comes from Ali at the blog Gimme Some Oven.
Basil – by the way – provides some nice nourishment. The herb contains a lot of Vitamin K as well as Vitamin A and antioxidants.
You’ll need 2 to 3 cups of fresh basil along with Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic cloves and pine nuts. I used slivered almonds instead because the two grocery stores I tried were sold out of pine nuts. You can also try walnuts. And you might want to – because pine nuts are pretty pricey.
Traditionally, pesto goes on pasta. You may need to add more olive oil to get the pesto to spread over your noodles.
Ali says other potential uses for pesto include as a spread or dip, on top of soups and with mashed potatoes or gnocchi. Another healthy idea is topping large slices of tomato with basil pesto. I like to make pesto rice. If you have a rice-cooker, just add a big, heaping tablespoon sized scoop for each cup of rice.
- Get the complete recipe for Fresh Basil Pesto
What’s Your Favorite Condiment?
The 8 condiments on this list are certainly not a comprehensive sample of sauces and spreads. We stuck to the basics and just a bit beyond. But we could have added chutneys, aiolis, jams, salsas, hummus and more!
Thankfully, the story doesn’t have to stop with us. We want you to chime in now!
What’s your favorite condiment? Leave us a comment and tell us about your condiment recipes!