11 Ketchup Brands Ranked From Worst To Best

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Since the 1700s, ketchup has been jazzing up plates around the world. This condiment, found in 97% of American homes, can easily take a hot dog from bland to exciting, add moisture to meatloaf and give a little oomph to chicken nuggets. Each year, Heinz alone sells more than 11 billion packets of ketchup and more than 650 million bottles around the globe.

This beloved condiment got its start as kê-tsiap, an umami-packed fermented fish sauce that was reportedly brought from Vietnam to China. It was then brought to England by the British and evolved into a thin and dark concoction, usually made of mushrooms or oysters to help keep some of the rich umami notes. It wasn't until 1812 that the first mention of tomato-based ketchup appeared in the form of a recipe by scientist James Mease.

In 1876, Pittsburgh-based Henry J Heinz revolutionized and standardized ketchup into the sweet and savory tomato condiment we know today. And in 1905, after selling more than 5 million bottles, it was clear that Heinz had mastered the art of ketchup.

Today's ketchup, a combination of tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and seasoning, is loved around the world, by young and old alike. Some people prefer to eat their ketchup at room temperature, while others prefer to have it chilled, but whichever side of the debate you're on, keep reading for our list of ketchup brands ranked from worst to best.

11. Del Monte

Del Monte specializes in a wide range of canned tomato products, so it's no secret they also proudly produce their own ketchup. This is definitely a thicker ketchup so, yes, you can dip nuggets to your heart's content (unless you're a smotherer, instead). Does the thick consistency come from the addition of high fructose corn syrup? Yes, but with this ketchup, it provides a familiar richness and conjures up the thickness of traditional ketchup that we've grown to love.

Another plus of Del Monte ketchup is that it actually tastes of real tomatoes, not canned or processed ones, and isn't overly sweet. So, what is it about this famous ketchup brand that lands it at the bottom of our list? For such thick ketchup, we expected deeper, richer flavors. We don't absolutely hate it, but for such a famous brand, there's a disappointing disconnect between texture and flavor that we just couldn't ignore.

This could definitely be eaten alongside a dish that already packs big flavor but overall we'd say leave this on the shelf and choose another brand.

10. Sir Kensington's

Sir Kensington ketchup delivers a pure tomato flavor, which helps add richness. But the not-so-secret ingredient that Sir Kensington includes to provide some uniqueness to their version of the condiment is green peppers and they end up adding an unexpected greenness that we don't love for this ketchup. Sir Kensington also boasts of adding green and red tomatoes to the tomato paste, which is part of the ketchup's base, but adds an additional freshness that isn't totally right for ketchup.

One person on the consumer review site Influenster said, "This ketchup has an odd consistency... It's almost smooth but can be a little bit grainy. The flavor overall is okay, for myself personally it's almost a bit too natural? I definitely prefer my ketchups to have that little bit of a sweet note. Overall I would not buy again, but this product may be better suited for someone preferring a more natural, tomato forward ketchup."

They also produce a spicy ketchup with jalapeño, which is an exciting change of pace, but not for the faint of heart. Sir Kensington doesn't use high fructose corn syrup, so that gives it a plus in our book. But ultimately, we prefer smooth-textured ketchup, and the texture of Sir Kensington's is just a bit too grainy for our taste.

9. Primal Kitchen

"Ketchup" and "healthy" don't necessarily belong in the same sentence. Not only is ketchup often packed with preservatives, but a tablespoon of ketchup can also contain 4 grams of sugar. For the average person enjoying the occasional burger, that's not necessarily a dealbreaker. But for those who are more health-conscious, Primal Kitchen's ketchup is upgraded with organic ingredients and is unsweetened, so it fits the needs of many different dietary preferences, like Keto, Whole30, and Paleo.

This is indeed about as healthy as ketchup gets. Primal Kitchen is a brand that focuses on pantry staples with clean ingredients and big flavor, so it's no wonder their ketchup is wildly popular in the health food world. But sugar, which Primal Kitchen's ketchup intentionally lacks, plays an important role in ketchup. It balances out the acidic tang of the vinegar, so it may require some palate adjusting to fully enjoy this version. It's certainly an exciting ketchup option for someone with dietary restrictions but doesn't come out at the top of our list because it's lacking in both flavor and texture.

8. Market Pantry

Target fans may know that the general merchandise retailer Target has been producing its own line of grocery products since 1995. Their ketchup has earned a spot in this round because it contains slightly more vinegar than other brands, so it's reminiscent of a tangy cocktail sauce. Don't get us wrong, it's still clearly ketchup, but when you're looking for ketchup that has a bit more acid to balance out those richer, heavier dishes (think: bacon cheeseburgers, onion rings, etc), this one does the trick.

Here's where Market Pantry ketchup falls flat: There's quite a bit of science involved that explains why ketchup is more than just a simple tomato sauce. Vinegar is crucial in ketchup. And in some of our favorite ketchup brands, the vinegar and sugar play off one another and vinegar flavors can be masked or showcased depending on the sugar level. In Market Pantry's brand, it's not quite sweet enough for us, and ultimately the sugar takes a backstage to the vinegar, making it a bit too unbalanced for our tastebuds.

7. 365 by Wholefoods Market

For many consumers, Whole Foods has built a reputation as a trustworthy source of delicious organic products. But somewhere along the way, they got their 365 brand tomato ketchup very wrong. Store brand products can often be average, at best, and after tasting this one, it's clear this store brand ketchup is no exception. We will celebrate its spice blend but that's where the compliments stop, because the spices are overpowering and are way more pungent than fragrant. 

One Amazon reviewer said, "Flavor is off ... The spices here – allspice and clove- may be the culprit ... We immediately thought we'd mixed the ketchup with something else by accident (we didn't). It's so distracting in flavor that we can't eat it."

If that wasn't bad enough, this ketchup also has a grainy texture that makes it rather unenjoyable to eat. The one redeeming quality of this ketchup is that it is free of high-fructose corn syrup. If it's your only option, you might be able to enjoy the straightforward tomato flavor, but there are plenty of other options out there that top this one.

6. Annie's

Annie's has provided kitchens with tasty prepared organic products since 1989, well before the average diner caught onto the benefits of organic eating. Its ketchup is organic and made from California-grown tomatoes, so it has a fresh, luscious sweetness, with no high fructose corn syrup. We included it at number six in our ranking because for organic ketchup, it's surprisingly tasty.

But the strong acidity of this ketchup was hard to overlook, as one Amazon reviewer pointed out, "I don't really care for the taste. It's pretty acidic. It tastes very 'organic-y' and I can understand some people like this but I would like more sweetness. I have a little kid and this is certainly not his favorite either."

Overall, this ketchup didn't rate higher on the list because, in addition to the acidity issues, we also found it to be runny compared to other brands of ketchup.

5. French's

French's might be more well known for producing mustard, but we thought it was due time for us to spread the good news on the brand's ketchup. Only Canadian tomatoes are used for this ketchup, which is also made with no preservatives and free of high fructose corn syrup. Are Canadian tomatoes better than American? Who knows, but what we do know is that French's uses a proprietary spice blend that brightens up their version of the condiment and keeps it from tasting like every other ketchup on the market. This exciting flavor profile makes sense — French's is owned by giant spice and seasoning company McCormick and they've clearly put a lot of thought into the components of this ketchup.

We found French's to have a thinner consistency, though, so while it would be a zesty and flavorful component to add to meatloaf, marinades, and other dishes, there are definitely stronger contenders for all-purpose dipping ketchup.

4. Hunt's

While always in the shadows of the other "H" brand, Hunt's has quite a loyal following who love its simple yet robust tomato flavor. Those who have corn allergies will be thrilled to know that Hunt's 100% Natural is free of high fructose corn syrup.

Hunt's produces a wide range of preserved tomato products and was established as a canning operation in California in 1888. They removed the high fructose corn syrup from their traditional ketchup in 2010 but added it back in 2012. We're glad they did because that tinkering led to the 100% Natural that we love.

One Amazon reviewer loves the simple taste of Hunt's and said, "We purposely chose a 'no high fructose corn syrup' brand because we are tired of all the unnecessary added sugars to food products. This is true to taste, has no added fillers, just simple ingredients. Has a squeeze cap that is a controlled amount, meaning that you won't waste any by the ketchup pouring out of the spout."

Hunt's is for the umami lovers out there, so if you're looking for the perfect ketchup to make your French fries shine, this brand might be the perfect one.

3. Heinz

Heinz holds the title of number 1 ketchup brand in the world for very good reasons. It's everything you expect from ketchup — sweet, tangy, and rich. If Goldilocks was deciding on the perfect ketchup, this one would be just the right one with its spot-on consistency.

The ingredient list of Heinz ketchup is rather straightforward — it contains tomato concentrate from ripe red tomatoes, vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, and other natural flavorings. They've released a pared-back line of ketchup called "Heinz Simply Tomato Ketchup" that has no GMO ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup, but we still think nothing beats the original.

It stands firmly in our top three because it's simply delicious ketchup. This ketchup is available around the globe and it will always taste the same in every country. The consistency keeps us coming back.

We know why Adele keeps a bottle of Heinz ketchup in her purse!

2. Trader Joe's Organic

Trader Joe's Organic Ketchup might just make your tastebuds sing. It's smooth, it's rich, and has a simple list of ingredients that are easy to pronounce (and recognize). They spell out the specific spices that are included, like allspice and clove, so there's no need to guess what's in this ketchup. This level of transparency is hard to get from other ketchup brands but it makes us love this Trader Joe's ketchup that much more. California tomatoes, cane sugar, and the Trader Joe's blend of spices make this our second favorite ketchup.

Of course, this ketchup works well with hot dogs and hamburgers, but we think the warm spices also work well with corn dogs.

Many of the larger brands of ketchup introduced high fructose corn syrup-free ketchup within the last several years, but Trade Joe's has been at it for much longer, giving them time to perfect the organic ketchup craft.

1. Whataburger

There are two types of people in this world. Those who love Whataburger ketchup and those who don't know what they're missing. This spicy Southern cult favorite is a delicious departure from other brands of one-note ketchup.

Whataburger is an American fast-food chain based in San Antonio, Texas that has been churning out delicious burgers and fries since 1950. The original fancy ketchup recipe will forever remain a secret and must be protected at all costs, but we do know that this certainly isn't the healthiest ketchup on the list, as it's made with high-fructose corn syrup. This ketchup also contains tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and other spices and natural flavors.

Whataburger's ketchup is sweet, thick, and as close to tasting like ketchup perfection as any of us will probably ever get. We know today that tomatoes aren't the cure-all remedy Americans once thought they were, but a perfectly cooked burger topped with some Whataburger ketchup can certainly cheer us up on a bad day.