The 9 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Steak Sauces

A well-cooked steak is a beautiful thing, though many will argue about what exactly defines a "well-cooked steak." For some, a steak dinner's just not a steak dinner unless there's steak sauce involved.

When you think steak sauce, you might think of, in particular, A1, the brand that's become synonymous with the condiment and boasts a long, long history of being paired with steaks at the dinner table (it was invented in the early 1800s!). However, at the grocery store, you'll find a much larger array of steak sauces available for purchase, and it's not just their flavor profiles that differ. Some are far healthier (or, in this case, unhealthier) than others. Like many condiments, steak sauce can be packed with more sugar, sodium, and other unhealthy ingredients than you likely think, and those few tablespoons on the side of your plate or atop your steak could be standing in the way of reaching your health and nutrition goals. As such, here are some of the unhealthiest store-bought steak sauces that you might want to think twice about buying.

1. A1 Original Steak Sauce

Many can recognize the red and white bottle on sight. A1 Original Steak Sauce, with its tomato and vinegar base and mix of spices, makes for a savory addition to not just steak but many similar dishes, such as grilled chicken or pulled pork. However, with all that famous flavor, you're also getting 290 milligrams of sodium per serving (which is just one tablespoon — and, let's face it, no one eats just one tablespoon). This amounts to 13% of your daily recommended sodium intake. Now, think about all the sodium elsewhere on your plate. A few dollops (or tablespoons) of A1 Original Steak Sauce, whatever seasoning you put on the steak, maybe a baked potato with salt and pepper — the sodium really starts to add up fast.

That said, A1 Original Steak Sauce isn't the unhealthiest steak sauce on our list, and if you're particularly trying to watch your sodium and sugar intake, you could do far worse. At least this steak sauce doesn't have any fat, which can't be said for every sauce on the shelf.

2. A1 Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce

In terms of flavor profile, A1 Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce is fairly similar to the A1 Original Steak Sauce, but there are a few differences when you look at the lists of ingredients and the nutrition labels. First and foremost, whereas A1 Original Steak Sauce includes just corn syrup as an added sweetener, A1 Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce uses high fructose corn syrup. According to Cleveland Clinic, consuming too much high fructose corn syrup can result in myriad health problems, as fructose is processed in the liver, where it produces cholesterol and triglycerides. It can even cause leaky gut, insulin resistance, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and Type 2 diabetes. The Clinic recommends staying away from high fructose corn syrup completely.

Otherwise, A1 Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce contains 300 milligrams of sodium — which, while more than the A1 Original Steak Sauce, still works out to about 13% of your daily recommended sodium intake — and 5 grams of sugar per serving.

3. Peter Luger Steak House Old Fashioned Sauce

Peter Luger Steak House in New York City is an iconic steakhouse that's withstood the test of time, becoming one of the city's oldest dining establishments specializing in all things steak. Given its popularity and reputation, it just makes sense that this restaurant would put its name on a variety of products, including, of course, a steak sauce. The brand explains that this sauce's flavor is similar to that of both a cocktail sauce and a traditional steak sauce, with slightly spicy flavor notes thanks to the horseradish. Other ingredients added to the sauce's tomato and vinegar base include molasses, onions, garlic, and anchovies. In addition to adding the sauce to steaks, you can put it on vegetables, burgers, chicken, and more.

However, this is yet another steak sauce that includes high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient Cleveland Clinic recommends staying away from at all costs (one Cleveland Clinic doctor even said that high fructose corn syrup is a sign of poor quality food). While the sauce is relatively low in sodium (at least for a steak sauce), with only 125 milligrams per serving, or 5% of your recommended daily intake, it has 7 grams of sugar per serving, which is about 20–30% of your recommended daily intake, according to the American Heart Association.

4. St Elmo's Izzy Sauce

Don't let the fun name distract you from the high amount of sodium in this sauce. St Elmo's Izzy Sauce, like Peter Luger Steak House Old Fashioned Sauce, is a sauce that's spun off from an overarching restaurant brand, though admittedly, the Indianapolis-based St Elmo Steak House isn't quite as famous as Peter Luger's. Regardless, now you can buy St. Elmo's sauces at grocery stores nationwide.

Like many steak sauces, this Izzy Sauce contains vinegar and tomatoes, but also a few more unique ingredients, such as soy sauce, brandy, and butter (because of this, it's one of the few steak sauces to contain common allergens and anyone with a dairy or soy allergy will want to stay away from this option). Similar to the steak sauce options from A1, St Elmo's Izzy Sauce includes 300 milligrams of sodium, or 13% of your daily recommended value, as well as 3 grams of sugar per serving.

5. Aloha Katsu Hawaiian Steak Sauce

While you might not think of Hawaii and immediately think of classic steakhouses with T-bones, baked potatoes, and creamed spinach, you can find some Hawaiian-inspired steak sauces in the condiment aisle at the grocery store. Aloha Katsu Hawaiian Steak Sauce even features many of the same ingredients that you'll find in a standard steak sauce, like a tomato paste and vinegar base, along with spices. However, this steak sauce's ingredients label sticks out for a few reasons. For one, it includes a few unexpected ingredients that you might not find in other sauces, such as Worcestershire sauce, and two, the first ingredient isn't the tomato or vinegar. It's sugar. This steak sauce is loaded with sugar, at 9 grams per serving. However, this sauce isn't all sweet and no savory. It also packs in 490 milligrams of sodium, for 21% of your daily recommended intake in just a two-tablespoon serving.

It's worth noting that while this katsu sauce is branded as suitable for serving with steak, it's also great for, just as its name suggests, katsu. You'll find traditional Japanese katsu sauce in your international foods aisle; it typically includes other additional ingredients, like apples, carrots, and soy sauce, among others, and it's intended to be eaten with tonkatsu or breaded pork. 

6. Omaha Steaks Traditional Steak Sauce

If you want to order a steak in the mail, Omaha Steaks has you covered. The brand has long shipped beef products all over the country to customers who've maybe seen an ad on television or who received a free box of steaks as part of another purchase. However, Omaha Steaks isn't just steaks. The brand also offers a wealth of other products, including chicken, pork, seafood, and steak accompaniments like steak sauce.

Omaha Steaks Traditional Steak Sauce is on the sweeter side, with molasses as the first ingredient; however, it also brings in other ingredients that you might not see in other steak sauces, such as applesauce and pineapple juice concentrate. The latter makes this sauce suitable not only for serving alongside cooked steaks but also for use as a marinade and tenderizer (pineapple enzymes work wonders as they break down proteins). However, as molasses is the first ingredient and sugar is the second, this steak sauce packs in 11 grams of sugar per serving, making it the sweetest on our list.

7. Hannaford Steak Sauce

Sometimes, you don't need anything fancy or name brand, as you just want to grab your favorite grocery store's take on a product for a lower price and not that much of a decrease in quality, if there's any decrease at all. However, if you're reaching for a store-brand steak sauce, you might want to think twice about getting Hannaford's steak sauce. This New England grocery store boasts more than a hundred locations throughout Upstate New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. What it doesn't boast, though, is a healthful steak sauce. Hannaford Steak Sauce, with its tomato and vinegar base, plus high fructose corn syrup, comes with 340 milligrams of sodium per serving, for 15% of your daily recommended intake.

In comparison, other store-brand steak sauces aren't that much healthier, but they're not as bad, either. For example, both Walmart's Great Value Savory Steak Sauce and Wegmans Steak Sauce contain 270 milligrams of sodium per serving each.

8. Kinder's Prime Steak Dipping Sauce with Black Truffle and Butter

Most store-bought steak sauces are relatively low in fat and calories because they're made with vinegar and tomato bases. Their unhealthiness lies in their sodium and sugar. However, that's not the case with the outlier Kinder's Prime Steak Dipping Sauce with Black Truffle and Butter. As the decadent name would suggest, this sauce packs in the calories and fat.

Compared to most bottled steak sauces, this sauce comes in a squeeze tube and is creamy white and flecked with spices, not brown. Its first ingredient is soybean oil, with egg yolks quickly following, not unlike mayonnaise. Other ingredients include vinegar, garlic puree, sugar, and spices. All this adds up to 180 calories per two-tablespoon serving, along with 19 grams of fat, or 24% of your total recommended daily fat intake. The sodium is also there, with 220 milligrams per serving, or 10% of your daily recommended intake. Still, maybe it's worth it; reviews for the item on the Walmart website say the sauce is rich and flavorful, even if some say the truffle flavor isn't very prominent, and a little goes a long way.

9. Primal Kitchen Steak Sauce

Primal Kitchen presents itself as a very healthful brand. The brand's website touts that it uses only "real, high-quality ingredients" and never uses any dairy or artificial sweeteners. Many of the brand's products are labeled as organic, and everywhere you look, wellness is front and center. So, how did Primal Kitchen's steak sauce make our list of the unhealthiest steak sauces that you can buy in the grocery store? It all comes down to the sodium.

While, yes, Primal Kitchen's steak sauce contains no artificial sweeteners and barely any sugar at all, and its ingredients list is filled with organic ingredients like tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, and spices, a little look at the nutrition facts shows that this sauce comes with 300 milligrams of sodium per serving or 13% of your daily recommended intake. While otherwise, yes, this steak sauce could be considered healthful, that sodium is something to watch for if you're trying to cut down on your sodium intake overall. The American Heart Association says 90% of Americans eat too much sodium daily and that cutting your sodium intake by 1,000 milligrams per day can result in marked health improvements.