If you love to eat well (and maybe even love to cook), this post is for you.  I’m going to give you a recipe for delicious & easy ketchup and other sauces that you can customize to your taste.  All in 1 place;  trust me, you are gonna want to PIN this!  I’ll wait while you do that real quick…

It has literally been YEARS since I have bought most condiments, spice blends, or sauces in a grocery store .  And that’s WITH a house full of kids and a hubby who THINK they love all those store bought flavors.

It’s not because I don’t like them, but because most of them are NOT what they are supposed to be; they are either chemical concoctions being sold as the real thing OR they are the real thing that come at the cost of my right arm (which I am kinda attached to).  Save yourself some money without making much extra work for yourself AND tailor things to you and your family’s taste.

Oh and all but a few of these items take 5 minutes OR LESS to make…. SERIOUSLY. LOVE!

So here we go…

SAUCES for every meal/purpose!



1C water
2C sugar (I like brown, but you could use a combination of brown & white)
2T butter
1T vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until butter is melted and sugars are completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Pour into bottle or jar of your choice and enjoys.

1)      feel free to leave out the butter if you prefer
2)      use any real flavor extract you prefer in place of the vanilla (e.g. maple, rum, etc)

*Note:  If you cook the syrup for too long, it will start to crystallize.  Don’t worry just pour it through a strainer/sieve to remove the crystals or add more hot water.

Homemade Syrup

Jam (low sugar)

1 1/3 C crushed fruit (I love strawberry)
1/3 C water
½C sugar
1pkg Pectin
Jam container

Combine the fruit and water in saucepan and slowly stir in the pectin.  Boil and stir constantly until the mixture cannot be stirred down.  Add the sugar and boil or about a minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, ladle into hot jars (just boil the jar(s) in a saucepan) and allow to cool at room temp.  EAT UP!  Or, refrigerate for up to 3 weeks (but it probably won’t last that long).

Lunch/snack (because all could be used for dipping):

Salad dressing – Basic Vinaigrette

1C Oil (choose extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or (room temp, not solid) coconut oil)
1C vinegar (choose Apple Cider, White, Balsamic, Red or White wine vinegar)
1t lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a sealable container (preferably the bottle you are going to keep it in) and shake, shake, shake.  This is a base that is good on its own;  add almost anything to vary the flavor

1)      Italian: Add fresh or dried chopped basil, oregano, and thyme
2)      Caesar: Add minced garlic, Dijon mustard, mayo and an anchovy filet (or paste).  YES, anchovies are in those Caesar salads we all love!  Just don’t use balsamic vinegar in this one.

Fresh Salsa (uncooked, AKA tomato Pico de Gallo)

1C fresh tomatoes, diced
1T hot peppers, chopped (I use jalapeno)
¼ C onions, chopped (can use yellow or green onions)
1T garlic, minced
1T cilantro, chopped
*Season to taste (I use my Mexican blend)

Put everything in a jar and shake it up.  Store the jar in the fridge.  DONE!
If you’re eating or serving it immediately, put it all in a (nice) bowl and stir it up.  DONE!

1)      Pico de Gallo can be made with fruit (e.g. mango or pineapple) or veggies (cucumbers, corn) or beans.
2)      “Picante” sauce is literally “spicy” salsa.  So to make it, just kick it up a notch and add more hot peppers or red pepper flakes.  It’s also usually thinner and cooked.  So, blend everything together in a blender or food processor and simmer it in a saucepan for 20-30 minutes.

3)  Salsa Verde (green sauce) – Use tomatillos instead of tomatoes.


1-2 avocadoes, pitted and diced
Half a tomato, diced
1T cilantro
Splash of lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper (season to taste)

Smash (DO NOT mash) the avocado in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir together (the avocado will continue to break down).  Season to taste and serve.  Or store in the fridge for a day or so, if it lasts that long (use guac in place of mayo on sammies, on top of eggs (devilled, boiled, fried, etc), as a veggie dip…. I could go on and on).

*Note:  If you make some salsa, making guacamole is as easy as adding salsa to smashed avocado and stirring it up.


1 C fresh parsley, packed
1/2 C olive oil
1/3 C red or white wine vinegar
1/4 C fresh cilantro, packed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 t dried crushed red pepper
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt

Put everything in a food processor or blender and give a whirl.  DONE!  Put it in a cutesy bowl and serve at room temp.  OR use it as a marinade (we haven’t gotten to that section yet).


Did you know that mayo is just eggs and oil, plus flavorings?  Really!  That’s all it is – at least that’s all it’s supposed to be!

1 large egg (or 2 medium)
1 C light olive oil or avocado oil
2-3 t lime juice or vinegar
salt to taste
(additional flavoring if you want)

Crack the egg into a jar or bowl (I use the jar I am going to store it in because I’m lazy like that).
Add the lime juice/vinegar, salt, and whatever additional flavorings you choose (herbs, spice blends, etc).  Pour in the olive oil and let it sit a minute or 2 (take a wine break).  Then get yourself a stick blender and, starting at the bottom of the jar, blend away until the mixture thickens.  Once the bottom is thick start SLOWLY moving up the jar or bowl until you make it to the top and the whole thing is thick like….. MAYO!  DONE!


And mustard?  Well that’s just  supposed to be mustard seeds and vinegar, plus flavorings.

1 C mustard seeds
1C vinegar
salt to taste
(additional flavoring if you want)

Combine the mustard seeds and vinegar in a bowl, cover and let sit until all the vinegar is absorbed (or just do it overnight).  Once absorbed, put it in a blender or food processor with salt, a little lime juice , and whatever additional flavorings you choose (herbs, spice blends, etc). Give it a whirl until it’s nice a creamy.  Put it in a jar and stick it in the fridge.  DONE!


Tomatoes, LOTS of tomatoes (start small with something like 5lbs or so, Roma’s are best), skinned, washed, and diced (or used 28 oz. canned organic diced tomatoes)
¾ C of 5% apple cider vinegar (ACV)
¼ C chopped onions
dash salt (I don’t put any in!)
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ t black pepper
½ t cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ C sugar (I prefer brown, or honey)

Put everything EXCEPT the vinegar in a big pot and simmer for 30 minutes.  Let the mixture cool then use a stick blender to get it semi-smooth.

Add  the ACV and cook it down until it’s thickened (you can do it on the stovetop or in a crock pot).

Once it’s thickened (about 15-20 minutes), let it cool again.  At this point I like to put mine in my NutriBullet & give it a whirl.  This makes it really smooth, much more like the store bought stuff.

Pour the mixture into clean bottles or jars and store in the fridge or dark pantry for 6 months.

Hot Sauce

Homemade hot sauce, homemade tabasco sauce

1C Red Chile peppers or jalapenos, diced
1 ½ T minced garlic
¾ C thinly sliced onions
¾ t salt
1 t vegetable or olive oil
2 C water
1 C distilled white vinegar

Sauté the peppers, onions and garlic in oil for a few minutes.  Add the water and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture  in a blender or food processor until smooth; add the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream and continue to blend.

Season to taste then strain the mixture through a sieve and transfer to a jar or bottle.  Store it in the fridge for at least 2 weeks before using. Keeps in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Peanut Sauce

½ cup peanut butter (I like crunchy)
2 T soy sauce
1 t honey
2 drops sriracha (or regular old hot sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced
Up to ½ cup water*

Mix everything EXCEPT the water in a bowl.  Slowly add water until the mixture is smooth.  DIP AWAY!  Or store in fridge in glass container.

Spring Rolls w/ Peanut Sauce


Marinades (good on chicken, pork, steak):

Pickle juice

That’s it, just pickle juice.


(See recipe above)


Balsamic vinegar, enough to coat the meat
Garlic, 1-2 cloves minced
Salt and pepper (to coat)
(Olive Oil optional if you want to stretch the balsamic)


(See recipe above)

Dry Rub

Use my Smoke Blend on Olive Oil coated meat

Jerk Rub

Use my Jerk Blend on Olive Oil coated meat



Meat drippings (if you don’t eat them first… OMG, Yummmmmm)
Olive oil and/or butter
2T flour (have more on reserve)
Broth (or water, but broth is better)
Salt and pepper to taste

To meat drippings, add a tablespoon or 2 of butter, olive oil, or a mixture of both.  Stir up the juicy bits if the drippings were in the same pan.  Stir in the flour until coated.  Add the liquid ¼ cup at a time, whisking constantly until the flour is fully dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Season to taste.  Simmer and continue adding liquid to reach desired consistency.

1)      Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers or any other seasoning veg you might like.

1)      If the meat drippings are from baking in the oven, carefully pour them from the baking dish into a pan.
2)      Trick for easily dissolving the flour:  Boil about a cup of your liquid and whisk the flour into it.  Add that to the drippings and butter/olive oil.

Alfredo Sauce

4T Butter
2T Flour
1 t garlic, minced
2 C Milk
½ C Parmesan Cheese
Italian seasoning (I use my Italian Blend)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in a pan with high sides.  Stir in the flour and garlic.  Whisk in the milk until well combined and smooth.  Stir in cheese, Italian blend, salt and pepper to taste.  DONE!  Toss some fettuccine, linguine, or angel hair pasta in this and enjoy!

1)      Add a dash or 2 of hot sauce to kick it up a notch.
2)      Leave out the flour and use cream cheese with less milk instead.

Pomodoro Sauce (fancy talk for a simple red sauce)

1 T olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. tomatoes OR 1 14.5 oz. can of organic diced tomatoes
(Italian) Herbs of your choice (I use my Italian blend)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan with high sides.  Add onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant and translucent.  Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

1)      Add a mushrooms or bell pepper if you like
2)      Add any meat you like, sliced or diced

Dill Sauce (GREAT for any kind of fish)

1 tablespoon butter
½ an onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ C cream
2 t dried dill weed
1 T chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a pan and sauté the onions and garlic.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  DONE!  Spoon this over baked, sautéed, or pan fried fish.

Bar-B-Que Sauce

1 ½ C Brown Sugar, packed {this step is crucial so the vinegar is balanced}
1 ¼ C Ketchup
½ C Red Wine Vinegar
½ C Water (leave it out if you want thick BBQ sauce)
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 ½ t Ground Mustard
2 t Paprika1 ½ t Kosher Salt
1 t Black Pepper

Whisk it all up to combine it well and dissolve the sugar.  DONE!  Pour it in a jar or bottle and enjoy.

One last little nugget:

I have a little trick I like to play on my family, as a few of them can be a little “picky” in the sense that they WANT the bad stuff.  I like to sterilize containers that originally held some of these items and reuse them for the good stuff.  They are none the wiser until DH or baby boy says something like “this don’t taste like blah.  This is good, where’d you get this?”

All of these are not for everybody; but if you are watching what you put into your and your family’s body, you should certainly give them a try.  You might not ever go back to store bought (i.e. processed).

Mmmmm Mm!

Have you tried making your own condiments & sauces?  Have some recipes you’d like to share/swap?  Are there others you like to learn to make?

Let me know in the comments!  Until then… Enjoy!

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  1. These look delicious! I may have to break down and shop for the ingredients. Thanks for these terrific ideas.

    1. Hi Tara!
      Most of the ingredients are items you’d probably already have. Believe it or not, the items you might not normally buy will become staples once you start. They are all just that good! Let me know if you try any of them, I’d love to know how they turn out for you and the family!

  2. I need to make some of these our refrigerator seems to be full of condiments. I have made mayo before, it is easy but when I use olive oil the olive oil taste is so strong. I have also tried Ketchup but mine didn’t come out very well and I never tried it again. I was hoping you would do duck sauce. Maybe next time?

    1. Hi Elle!
      I almost left mayo, mustard, AND ketchup off this post fearing it would scare people just to SEE those! (Send me a PM about what yes off about your ketchup, I may be able to help.)
      I think I will do another post with some “exotic” sauces…. thanks for the request! Stay tuned for that!