subscribe Signup for our Newsletter expand Expand Browser
Calorie Count Blog

How To Make Your Own Condiments

Posted on Apr 02, 2013 10:00 AM in Recipes

By Leyla Shamayeva

Being health-conscious we constantly think about what we put in our body. We decide between organic vs. non-organic produce, grass-fed vs. non-grass-fed beef, and processed vs. raw and natural foods. Condiments are one of the largest sources of unhealthy preservatives and additives, but we often overlook them and have an extra squirt of BBQ sauce or an extra tablespoon of dressing without thinking. Making your own condiments is a great way of avoiding the additives, and while they may not stay fresh as long as the pre-packaged versions you buy in the supermarket, they do contribute to more wholesome meals and help reduce the amount of saturated fat, sodium, added sugar, and calories they typically provide. Some of the easiest DIY recipes are below, and you can adjust them to make how much you want!  

Plain Ketchup  

This ketchup recipe is very easy to make and can keep in your refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. With no high fructose corn syrup, coloring, or preservatives, and less than half the sodium of store-bought brands. It may come out in a thinner consistency and orange (red food coloring makes ketchup red!) Variations include curry powder to make curry ketchup, or red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit.     

1 large onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic  
1 tablespoon olive oil  
2 teaspoons salt 
30 oz. canned tomato paste/puree  
½ cup brown sugar  
1 tablespoon honey (or molasses)  
¾ cup red wine vinegar   
1 teaspoon paprika       

Wrapped in a cheesecloth:   
1 stick of cinnamon  
½ teaspoon whole black pepper  
½ teaspoon coriander seeds  
3-4 whole cloves  
6-7 sprigs fresh thyme (can break sprig into pieces)  


  1. In a blender, blend the onion and garlic into a puree.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the puree. Add the salt and stir the mixture until very slightly browned. (2-3 minutes)
  3. To the pot add the canned tomatoes paste, brown sugar, honey, and red wine vinegar. Let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring every 5 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes throw in the cheesecloth filled with spices. Let simmer for another 20-25  minutes, or until there is about half the original volume remaining.
  5. After volume is reduced, stir in 1 teaspoon paprika and let the mixture cool.
  6. Spoon out the cheesecloth pack and place ketchup in jars.

Click here for Plain Ketchup Nutrition Facts.


BBQ Sauce

Similar to the ketchup, this recipe cuts the sodium content of BBQ sauce in more than half and lets you sidestep all the preservatives. You can keep it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.    

1 large onion, quartered 
3 cloves garlic 
1 tablespoon olive oil  
30 oz. canned tomato paste/puree 
½ cup molasses  
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar  
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce  
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper  
1 teaspoon paprika  
1 teaspoon chile powder  
1 teaspoon salt  
½ teaspoon pepper    


  1. In a blender, blend the onion and garlic into a puree.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the puree. Stir the mixture until very slightly browned (2-3 minutes).
  3. Add the tomatoes, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. Stir well and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spices and let simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the mixture is reduces by about a half. Stir occasionally. 
  5. Let the mixture cool and then transfer to jars.

Click here for BBQ Sauce Nutrition Facts.


Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Compared to store bought versions, this recipe used yogurt instead of mayonnaise, drastically reducing the fat and calorie content. You can play around with the spices: dill, oregano, basil are all good options. You can even make the buttermilk at home using 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice and adding enough milk to make 1 cup. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.    

½ cup buttermilk 
½ cup plain non-fat yogurt 
1 garlic clove, minced 
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar  
¼ teaspoon pepper  
½ tablespoon parsley leaves, finely chopped 
½ teaspoon dill, finely chopped  
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped 


  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before use.

Click here for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Nutrition Facts.


Balsamic Vinaigrette 

This vinaigrette is easy to put together and can be mixed in with your favorite salads, with reduced sodium and fat content compared to store-bought brands.   

¾ cup olive oil  
¼ cup balsamic vinegar  
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1 clove finely minced garlic  
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped  
½ teaspoon oregano leaves, finely chopped  
½ teaspoon tarragon, finely chopped 
salt and pepper to taste 


  1. In a jar, combine all ingredients and shake. 
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use, store up to 2 weeks.

Click here for Balsamic Vinaigrette Nutrition Facts.


Honey Mustard

A great addition to sandwiches, this honey mustard is very flavorful and smells great. You can use water instead of white wine and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.   

3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds 
3 tablespoons brown mustard seeds (or 6 tablespoons of either) 
1/3 cup white wine vinegar 
1/3 cup white wine (or water) 
1 tablespoon honey  
½ teaspoon garlic powder 
¼ teaspoon pepper 
¼ teaspoon cumin  
¼ teaspoon salt  
1 tablespoon honey   


  1. Soak the mustard seeds in the white wine vinegar over night, covered and in the refrigerator.
  2. In a blender, add the soaked seeds/vinegar and the rest of the ingredients. Blend until desired consistency is reached, coarse or smooth. 
  3. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.

Click here for Honey Mustard Nutrition Facts.



You won’t even be able to tell the difference between this hummus and store-bought hummus. Play around with the spices to suit your tastes: chile powder/cayenne can make a spicy hummus or adding basil leaves will give it a fresh kick. The options are endless. Whatever you do, store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Storing with a very thin layer of olive oil over it can help keep it fresh longer.   

1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed  
2 cloves garlic, finely minced  
2 tablespoons olive oil 
¼ cup tahini*  
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)  
½ teaspoon salt  
1 teaspoon cumin


Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until a smooth consistency is reached. (Note: if you want to achieve desired consistency, blend all ingredients except for the olive oil, which should be added slowly until desired consistency is reached)

Tahini can be made at home as well. For ¼ cup:

  1. Toast ¼ cup white sesame seeds in a pan for about two minutes, shaking every 15-20 seconds to prevent burning.
  2. In a blender, mix the toasted seeds and 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth.

Click here for Hummus Nutrition Facts.


Yogurt Dip

Cut calories and saturated fat with this recipe while adding protein. It is great for snacking with vegetables. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.    

1 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt  
1 clove garlic, finely chopped  
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard  
1 teaspoon lemon juice  
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped  
½ tablespoon dill, finely chopped  
½ tablespoon parsley, finely chopped  
dash of salt and pepper, to taste

Note: any fresh herbs can be used!     


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate before use.

Click here for Yogurt Dip Nutrition Facts.


Your thoughts...

Spring is in the air and summer is fast approaching! Will any of the above be a welcome addition to your BBQ's, picnics or other get togethers?


I can't see the nutrition information -- it pops up something that wants me to sign up for the paid food logger.  Too bad.


By using the recipe analyzer, it's easy enough to get nutritional information.

why cant we see the nutritonal facts all i get is a food log...

i hope someone can figure this out cause i need to know the facts!

Here are the Nutrition Facts: 

Plain Ketchup (1 tbsp): Calories 20,  Fat 0.3g,  Sodium 87mg, Carbs 4.2g, Fiber 0.6g, Sugar 3.1g, Protein 0.6g 

BBQ Sauce (1 tbsp): Calories 23,  Fat 0.3g, Sodium 72mg, Carbs 4.9g, Fiber 0.6g, Sugar 3.3g, Protein 0.6g 

Buttermilk Ranch (2 tbsp):  Calories 16,  Fat 0.1g, Chol 1mg, Sodium 30mg, Carbs 2.3g, Fiber 0.1g, Sugar 1.9g, Protein 1.5g 

Balsamic Vinaigrette (2 tbsp):  Calories 166,  Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 2.7g, Sodium 23mg, Carbs 0.5g, Fiber 0.2g, Sugar 0.1g, Protein 0.1g

Honey Mustard (1 tbsp):  Calories 33,  Fat 1.2g, Sodium 36mg, Carbs 3.9g, Fiber 0.6g, Sugar 2.4g, Protein 1.1g

Hummus (2 tbsp):  Calories 71,  Fat 4.1g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Sodium 167mg, Carbs 7.7g, Fiber 1.5g, Sugar 0.1g, Protein 2.1g

Yogurt Dip (1 cup): Calories 163, Fat 5.5g, Saturated Fat 1.3g, Sodium 34mg, Carbs 17.5g, Fiber 0.5g, Protein 11.4g


If you scroll down on the food log popup, it gives the nutrition facts for the recipe.

Both homemade ketchup and home barbecue sauce last a heck of a lot longer than two or three weeks in the fridge in my experience.  The acid and the sugar act as great preservatives.

These recipes could probably be made with stevia instead of sugar, if you're avoiding sugar. I plan on trying the bbq sauce, I hate the commercial brands because most of them (except Stubb's) has HFCS as the second ingredient.  I was reading a label for tomato soup (Campbells) and it's got HCFS as the 2nd ingredient too. Crazy!

All these recipes sound good. A little time consuming but worthwhile. The one weakness that consumes me is mayonnaise but it is probably the worst condiment there is. Does anyone know a healthier alternative to mayo? As in homemade like these? The "light" mayo or "fat free" mayo doesn't taste anything like mayo so it's pointless. I want that flavor without the added fat and calories. Anyone? I'll do more research online but thought I'd pose the request here since we're talking about condiments Smile

I hated mayonnaise until a few years ago, so I always used yogurt mixed with vinaigrette as a substitute.  Nowadays, I just stir vinegar, a little mustard, and whatever other seasoning I want into the yogurt.  It doesn't taste exactly like mayonnaise but it's creamy.

I make my own honey mustard just using fat free plain yogurt, vinegar, honey, dijon and salt and pepper and I use it every day.

Original Post by: moonduster

I can't see the nutrition information -- it pops up something that wants me to sign up for the paid food logger.  Too bad.

You don't have to pay for the food logger. 

Post Your Comment

Join Calorie Count - It's Easy and Free!