Difference Between Ketchup and Tomato Sauce

Difference Between Ketchup and Tomato Sauce

Ketchup and tomato sauce are two condiments that are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different in terms of their ingredients and usage.

Ketchup is a sweet and tangy condiment whereas sauce is savory in taste and made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other vegetables and herbs.

Ketchup is a sweet and tangy condiment that is made from tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and various spices and seasonings. It has a thick and smooth consistency and is commonly used as a dipping sauce for French fries, burgers, hot dogs, and other fast foods. Ketchup is also used as a base for many other sauces and dressings.

Tomato sauce, on the other hand, is a savory sauce that is made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other vegetables and herbs. It is usually cooked down until it becomes thick and rich, and is used as a topping for pasta dishes such as spaghetti and lasagna. Tomato sauce can be seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs to create different flavors and can also be used as a base for other sauces and stews.

We’ve all been there: you look in the refrigerator for a bottle of tomato sauce and instead pull out tomato ketchup. So what’s the difference between the two of them?

Mostly on appearance, they both taste similar and have a spreadable consistency; nevertheless, there are several major variations between tomato sauce and ketchup that you may not be aware of.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is often produced using fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, onions, spices, and seasonings that are gently simmered together for many hours over medium to low heat and finally blended into a smooth consistency.

Tomato ketchup

Tomato ketchup is prepared from crushed tomatoes that have been quickly boiled, drained, and then blended with vinegar, sugar, salt, and other ingredients to get its distinctive thick consistency.

Sugar: The Key Difference Between the Two

Sugar is the main component that differentiates tomato ketchup and tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce is often made with only tomatoes, seasonings, onion, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Ketchup, on the other hand, typically has additional sugar, which contributes to its sweeter flavour. The sugar also thickens the ketchup, making it thicker and stickier than tomato sauce.

Generally, sauce does not contain sugar, but ketchup has a certain amount of sugar and other sweet seasonings.


The sauce is thinner and smoother in texture. Sauces can have varying viscosities depending on how they are used.

Tomato ketchup has a thick, homogeneous consistency.


Sauces of many varieties are served hot.

Tomato ketchup is naturally cold and is never served hot.


Compared to sauce, tomato ketchup is expensive.


Tomato sauce often is vivid red, whereas tomato ketchup is generally deep red in colour


Tomato sauce is served with the main course. It complements both meat and vegetarian cuisines. It is used to flavour pasta and salsa recipes.

Tomato ketchup is commonly served with french fries, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and other foodstuffs.


Vinegar is added as a preservative to tomato ketchup. However, tomato sauce does not contain vinegar.

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Spice use

Tomato sauce is often spicier than ketchup because it is flavoured with herbs such as oregano, whereas tomato ketchup is flavoured with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

Ketchup and Sauces are vital culinary ingredients. They provide flavour and spice to the cuisine, making it more delectable. When added to food, both enhance the flavour. Tomato ketchup and sauce are similar, but not the same thing.

It is important to keep in mind that ketchup is a type of sauce. However, all sauces are not ketchup.

Sauce and ketchup are complements that enhance the flavour of foods. They appear identical but differ in preparation, ingredients, and flavour.

In present times, tomato ketchup is a table sauce that refers to a tomato-based sauce, whereas a sauce is a semi-liquid or liquid which is served with food to increase hydration and flavour.

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