Is Ketchup A Sauce? Uses, Nutritional Benefits, & Substitutes

Whether with or without added preservatives, ketchup is a processed and preserved sauce made from tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, seasonings, and spices.

However, ketchup is generally used as a condiment and served cold due to its texture and flavor. A bottle of ketchup is like a gallon of milk in many homes.

And it’s used in about their every dish. But not many people know what exactly it is. If you don’t or if you have doubts, this article got you covered.

What is sauce?

A sauce is any thick liquid used to add flavor and moisture to food while it is being cooked. You can get it with the main dish or on the side, but either way, it is freshly prepared.

There are different types of sauces. Sauces are differentiated by the base ingredients which could be either tomato, milk, pale roux, white stock, or an emulsion (mayo or hollandaise).

Furthermore, depending on the base ingredient, a sauce can be sweet, spicy, sour, or savory.

What is ketchup?

Ketchup is a tomato-based sweet and sour-flavored condiment. Besides tomatoes, other ingredients in ketchup include sugar, vinegar, and seasonings and spices such as onions, cinnamon, mustard, cloves, coriander, and allspice.

Ketchup is sold and served cold but it is most often paired with hot fried items such as hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, grilled meat, and chicken tenders.

Is ketchup a sauce?

Yes, ketchup is a sauce; a tomato-based sauce. While ketchup is a sauce, not all sauces are ketchup.

Differences between ketchup and sauce

As a general rule, ketchup is an uncooked puree of tomatoes and is best served chilled. On the other hand, sauces are cooked with a variety of vegetables, herbs, spices, and seasonings. Also, sauces are served warm.

Furthermore, sauces contain oil and ketchup does not. The majority of sauces do not contain sugar except for sauces that contain sugar in the base ingredient. But ketchup contains sugar to bring a balance to the sour taste.

In addition, sauces are served with sweet and savory dishes such as pasta and casserole. On the contrary, ketchup is served with hot and fried fast food such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries.

How to use ketchup

Besides using ketchup for burgers and fries, it also makes great recipes such as:

  • Glazes: Ketchup is now used to make sweet glazes for a tofu-mushroom salad. You must combine the ketchup with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sherry. Then you dress grilled salmon with it, red wine vinegar, curry powder, and honey mustard.
  • Barbeque sauce: To make your barbeque sauce sweet and spicy, mix equal parts ketchup and peach jam with a dash of lemon juice to make it sticky and delicious.
  • Coleslaw: You can combine ketchup, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and spicy sauce by simply whisking the ingredients together.
  • Shrimp Cocktail: You also use ketchup to make shrimp cocktails.

Benefits of ketchup sauce

Here are some of the healthy benefits of ketchup:

1. It can improve your eyesight

In addition to having a high vitamin C and a low-fat content, ketchup is a rich source of vitamin A, which is essential for a healthy immune system and, most importantly, clear vision.

2. It promotes healthy eating

Despite its health benefits, ketchup is high in sugar and salt. Hence, ideal for a healthy diet.

3. It protects against heart disease

Tomatoes’ lycopene, the main component in ketchup, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

4. It combats infertility

Lycopene, a powerful red carotenoid pigment found in tomatoes, is reported to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men and fight infertility.


Is ketchup made with real tomatoes?

Yes, it is. Ketchup is prepared from tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, seasonings, and spices.

Is ketchup better than sauce?

If you’re looking for a healthier option, sauces are better than ketchup. Ketchup contains about 76% more calories than regular tomato sauce.

Moreover, you can always modify the ingredients in your sauce to suit your dietary needs. Ketchup also contains more carbs but less protein. On the other hand, sauces are higher in fat because they contain oil.

Should you refrigerate ketchup?

You may keep ketchup in the refrigerator after opening it to preserve quality. However, because of its overall acidity, ketchup won’t go bad if you leave it out at room temperature.

Does overeating ketchup have side effects?

Yes, it does. Some problems with consuming too much ketchup include acid reflux, heartburn, obesity, and insulin resistance.


Ketchup is a traditional condiment that pairs well with sandwiches, burgers, French fries, and other foods. So, if you like ketchup, you will be glad to know that it is high in lycopene because it is made from tomatoes.

Finally, to reap the most health benefits from ketchup, you should limit your consumption to no more than a few tablespoons at a time. Also, choose ketchup variants with low sugar and salt, and pair them with other healthy dishes.

Thank you for reading.

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