Dip into this exhaustive list of the many different types of condiments you should know about so you know which ones to keep handy in the kitchen and which ones to top a dish with some magical taste.
The 10 most popular condiments:
- Olive oil
- Maple Syrup
- Hot sauce
Interestingly, honey is more than 10 times as popular than ketchup, maple syrup, relish, hot sauce, mustard and soy sauce. Go figure. This list is based on search volume for each per month.
I bet you’re a bit surprised. I know I was. I thought for sure ketchup would reign supreme. It’s the condiment that first comes to my mind. While the above are the 10 most popular, they aren’t all condiments. There are many of them. We set out more than 50 below.
Table of Contents
Related: Types of Food | Types of Garnish | Types of Herbs | Vegetables and Herbs | Types of Fruit Trees | Types of Beans and Legumes | Types of Mushrooms | Types of Bread | Types of Milk | Types of Nuts | Types of Spices
People are always looking for new ways to make food more flavorful with herbs, additional ingredients, and of course — condiments. Condiments are one of the simplest ways to improve the taste of food, without the need for special culinary skills. From breakfast toast to sirloin steak, there are countless foods that can be altered or improved with condiments.
The list of existing condiments is extremely diverse, and many countries have their own distinct condiment types. For example, while traveling through Southeast Asia, I found that sesame oil is one of the most common condiments for rice-based dishes. However, outside of a restaurant serving authentic food from the region, you would never see sesame oil used as a condiment in the United States.
Nonetheless, there are dozens of condiments that are widely used around the world. But before we take a closer look at all the different types of condiments, there are a few questions we should answer first.
What are Condiments?
Condiments refer to various types of spices or sauces that are typically added to food after its preparation. While every condiment adds something a little different to a meal, all condiments are used with the intent of enhancing the flavor of a cooked meal. If you’re eating in a restaurant, condiments are generally served in glass or plastic bottles. In some cases, there may be dishes placed on the table with different kinds of condiments. For those who prefer to prepare their own meals at home, you can easily find dozens of condiments at the grocery store or local supermarket.
Now that you understand a little bit more about condiments and their function, let’s look at a complete list of available condiments.
Complete List of Condiments
Generally, condiments are broken down into the following categories: herbs and spices, sauces, dressings and syrups, and dairy. While herbs are sometimes put into a separate category, they are often used along with spices as post-preparation condiments. In any case, let’s start off by looking at all of the herb and spice condiments in alphabetical order:
Salt (a mineral)
Salt is an element on the periodic table. It’s pure white when freshly mined, yet it gains color over time. Salt is usually found in sea water or under the earth’s surface and crystallizes out of the water when exposed to air.
We must have salt. It’s rare not to eat sufficient salt given how much of it is added to so many processed foods. Even then, there’s nothing like a good bag of salty chips (my junk food weakness).
At one time, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in the world. Nowadays, you can find salt everywhere, as it is one of the most common and popular flavor enhancers.
Sugar (a sweetener)
Sugar is a carbohydrate. It comes in two forms: white sugar and brown sugar. Sugar comes from sugar cane, sugar beet, or sugar beet.
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, sugar is the best way to go. Sugar crystals can be sprinkled on desserts or mixed with drinks to cut the bitterness and improve the overall taste.
Sauces, Dressings & Syrups
Almond butter is a paste made from almonds. It can be flavored with salt or even nutmeg, but it must remain neutral in taste and consistency.
Almond butter takes the mildly sweet flavor of almonds and turns it into a rich and creamy spread.
Balsamic vinegar is a kind of flavored vinegar. It is made from the distillation of wine and the fermentation of grape juice. It originated in Italy, where it is called “Aceto Balsamico”. The best quality of Balsamic Vinegar comes from Modena in Italy, but can be found all over the world.
It is most commonly used as a salad dressing throughout the Western world.
Barbecue sauce is a distinctly American condiment that combines many different ingredients and spices, including tomato paste, vinegar, and mayonnaise.
Caesar dressing is one of the most popular salad dressings in the world and can be recognized by its rich, lemony flavor.
Caesar dressing is a really easy-to-make dressing. It’s mainly made with garlic, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and chives. Tarragon is often substituted for the chives in the majority of recipes that call for it.
Caramel is a sugar that is made by heating a mixture of sugar and water until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Caramel can be made into a liquid or cooled into a hard candy.
Whether you want to add additional sweetness to a cake or add a topping to your banana split, caramel is a great condiment to have on hand.
Originally from Argentina, chimichurri is an olive oil-based condiment for grilled meat.
Chimichurri is a sauce made out of parsley, garlic, and olive oil. It’s the base for several Argentinean dishes. The best way to make Chimichurri sauce is to blend it together by hand with a pestle or mortar and combine with fresh minced garlic and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.
Most frequently used with ice cream, chocolate sauce is a great way to bring the taste of chocolate to just about any dessert.
Cocktail sauce is a simple sauce that is used for marinades and sauces. It’s made by combining honey, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce or horseradish to taste, garlic powder, salt and pepper into one bowl. Put the meat into the bowl of mixed seasonings and stir until the meat is coated.
Hailing from France, dijon mustard is a spicy and delicious condiment that is great for hot dogs, sandwiches, and similar meals.
It is a French-style of mustard that features an intense flavor. It is made from the seeds, or sometimes the juice, of black mustard. This gives it a tendency to have a heaty bite to it.
Fish sauce is a common ingredient in Thai cuisine, however, this salty condiment can be added to just about any rice or noodle-based dish.
It is a liquid that is made from the whole body of a fish, including all of its organs. Making fish sauce today often involves adding salt and/or other seasonings to give it added flavor. Fish sauce can be used to flavor a dish, but it should not overpower the dish.
French dressing is generally a ketchup-based salad dressing, though it can also be added to other dishes.
Guacamole, also known as avocado dip, is made from mashed avocados, salt and lemon juice. It can be topped with lime slices, chopped onions and tomatoes.
A staple of Mexican cuisine, guacamole uses the rich, natural flavors of avocado to complement a variety of dishes.
The sweet flavors of natural honey are perfect for hot drinks (like tea), cakes, and any food or beverage in need of an extra dose of sweetness.
Honey is a sweet, thick liquid produced by bees from the nectar secreted from flower buds.
Commonly used as a dipping sauce in the United States, honey mustard adds a tangy twist to traditional yellow mustard.
it’s a sweet-and-sour sauce that is flavored with honey, vinegar or lemon juice and mustard. It’s popular to use on sandwiches, hotdogs and salads. Honey mustard can be made by hand in just minutes.
Horseradish is a plant that goes by several different names. It can be called “Moringa pungens”, “Moringa oleifera”, or even “Molokhia” in Egypt. The plant itself is highly spicy and when used as a sauce or in a marinade it’s delicious.
As the name implies, hot sauce is used to add spiciness to your meal. The exact ingredients vary between brands, though many use hot peppers as a base.
Despite the name, Italian dressing is most common in North America. It is an herbal, vinaigrette-style salad dressing.
There are dozens of kinds of jelly, from grape to strawberry, and they are commonly added to toast, sandwiches, or baked desserts.
It’s a sweet -yet-tart dessert made from cooked fruit. It can be made by cooking fruit with sugar over heat. Jelly can be served on its own or mixed with other ingredients such as milk or ice cream.
Ketchup is a tomato-based condiment (with vinegar, seasonings and sugar) that is a staple of American cuisine. It is extremely popular to use with french fries, burgers and hot dogs. Some love it with mac and cheese.
Maple syrup is a concentrated sweetener made from the sap of the maple tree. Maple syrup comes in different grades that are color-coded for quality and price. The darker the grade of syrup, the more heat and flavor it has -and usually a higher price as well.
Marinara sauce is a red tomato based sauce. It comes in a jar or can and can be used for many different recipes, such as pasta dishes, pizza and stir-fry.
Mayonnaise is a tangy, egg-based condiment that is popular on sandwiches, certain salads, and french fries.
Olive oil is extremely versatile, as it can be used as a salad dressing, a dipping sauce, or even a flavor enhancer for pasta.
It comes from ripe olives. Olive oil can be used for cooking, baking, marinating and even making salad dressings.
the Oyster sauce has a very distinctive, salty flavor that is popular in Asian cuisine for flavoring seafood, meat and vegetables.
It’s made by mixing oysters with water and thickening agents.
While almost everyone knows about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter actually has a lot of different uses. It can be used as a condiment or dipping sauce for foods like celery, apples, and crackers.
It is a compound made from ground peanuts. It can be flavored with salt to taste. It can also include crushed peanuts for “crunchy peanut butter.”
Peanut sauce is made from ground peanuts and vegetables, such as water chestnuts, carrots, cabbage or green onions. It has a salty flavor that is similar in taste to peanut butter.
It’s rarely used in Western dishes. As a result, its unique flavors are generally associated with the cuisine of Southeast Asia.
Pesto is a condiment that originated in Italy and is made using garlic, pine nuts, salt, and basil. It comes from the word “pestare”, which means to pound or crush in Italian.
Ranch dressing was created from a recipe that called for buttermilk, sour cream and mayonnaise. As it became more popular, other dressings started to be added such as green onions, garlic salt, chives and sometimes paprika or cayenne pepper for a little spice.
Relish is a condiment made from pickled vegetables and herbs. It can be used as an ingredient in certain salads, though it is more commonly used as a condiment on hot dogs.
Salsa originally comes from Mexican cuisine and is a tomato and onion-based sauce that can be added to tacos, tortilla chips, and even omelets.
Soy sauce is a Chinese sauce that is made from fermented soybean. It is generally used in small quantities, as it has a strong, salty taste.
Sriracha is a spicy condiment derived from chili peppers.
It has a spicy flavor that’s similar to Tabasco sauce, but with more spice from the red chilies. Sriracha is made from red jalapeño and Fresno peppers as well as vinegar and garlic.
There are tons of different brands of steak sauce, but the majority use tomatoes, vinegar, and spices to enhance the flavor of a cut of beef.
Sweet and sour sauce
Traditionally used in Asian cuisine, the sweet and sour sauce is now popular around the world. Recipes and flavors vary by region, but as the name implies, this condiment produces both sweet and sour flavors.
Tartar sauce is a condiment made using mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, horseradish or minced capers. It is almost exclusively used with seafood dishes.
Teriyaki sauce is used to complement many Japanese meals and is a primary ingredient in Teriyaki chicken, among other things.
Thousand Island dressing
Thousand island dressing is a creamy dressing that’s made with mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet pickle relish and spices such as parsley, basil or dill. The exact ingredients vary by brand and region, but a thousand island dressing usually has a very creamy texture and tangy flavor.
Similar to ketchup, tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes down to a concentrated form. Though ketchup is much more popular as a condiment, tomato paste is an adequate substitute.
Wasabi is a spicy condiment that hails from Japan. Though it can be used with a variety of foods, wasabi is generally used alongside soy sauce as a condiment for sushi.
It is a green paste that has a spicy flavor. It’s made from hot chilies and sometimes horseradish and mustard. Wasabi is usually served with sushi, but it can also be used as a condiment or even in sandwiches, if mixed with cream cheese or mayonnaise.
Worcestershire sauce originates from the UK and is a source of umami flavorings. It is primarily comprised of vinegar, salt, onions, and various spices.
Yellow mustard is popular as both a cooking ingredient and a condiment. In the United States, mustard is commonly used on hot dogs, sausages (my fave) and hamburgers.
It’s made from the seeds of the mustard plant. Mustard is commonly served for sandwiches, can be used as a salad dressing or even as part of a marinade. There are many different types of mustard, including yellow mustard and Dijon mustard.
Blue cheese can be used as a condiment in the form of a spread or a creamy salad dressing.
Blue cheese can be either white or orange in color and has a crumbly texture. It’s very pungent and is usually used as a topping for salads, steak or burgers.
Butter is one of the most common flavor enhancers in the world. Whether you want to spread it on toast or melt it down into a lobster dipping sauce, butter is a great condiment for just about any meal.
It’s a dairy product made by churning cream.
Cream cheese is a popular spread for many baked goods and breakfast foods in Europe and North America. Its flavor is very similar to that of mascarpone cheese.
It’s a dairy product that’s made with milk and eggs. It’s used as a topping on desserts, as an ingredient in dips or even as spread for bagels.
Feta cheese hails from Greece and is generally made using sheep or goat’s milk. Feta cheese can be turned into a salad dressing, or combined with vegetables as part of salsa. It’s a crumbly, salty cheese (one of my favorite cheeses).
When ground up or made into shavings, parmesan cheese is an extremely popular condiment for soups, pasta, and salads.
Ricotta cheese is a popular Italian cheese that can be turned into a creamy, delicious dipping sauce for bread, crackers, and similar finger foods.
As the name implies, sour cream is produced by fermenting traditional cream. The sour flavor goes great with a wide variety of foods, from salad to nachos.
Whipped cream can be made fresh or bought in a can. Either way, whipped cream is a perfect condiment to add extra sweetness to your ice cream, cake, or fruit salad.
It is made by agitating a mixture of heavy cream and sugar until the mixture becomes frothy and light. It can be used to top pies, cakes or other desserts, but it’s also used in many desserts as an ingredient.
There are many herbs you can use in cooking to add flavor. Because there are so many and it’s a topic unto its own, we have a mega list of herbs here.
Spices of all kinds are used to “spice” up food which is essentially adding flavor. Like herbs, because it’s a huge list, we have a dedicated list of the different types of spices here.