13 Popular Ketchup Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

There's no American condiment that's as beloved as ketchup. This thick, gloopy sauce is a staple at summer barbecues, where it's smothered on top of fresh-from-the-grill burgers or hot dogs. It's also a must-have pairing for fries and a staple ingredient for a homestyle meatloaf glaze. But how do you select the right ketchup brand for your needs, and is there a difference between generic ketchup and varieties in fancy glass bottles? And, can you really taste the difference between a ketchup made with high fructose corn syrup and one made with sugar? 

I set out to answer these questions and review some of the most popular ketchup brands on the market to determine which are worth stocking in your fridge. The bottles in this roundup are all sourced from grocery stores in the southern Rhode Island area, and were tasted independently and with a side of tater tots to evaluate the overall flavor, consistency, and value. I looked for a ketchup with a price tag that justified its quality, and options that offer a balance of sweet, tart, and umami notes to satisfy a variety of uses in the kitchen. 

13. G Hughes

G Hughes is a brand that specializes in sugar-free sauces, marinades, and more. The brand stays true to this sugar-free status when it comes to its ketchup made with sucralose instead of regular sugar. I was apprehensive that this artificial sweetener could tweak the flavor profile of the ketchup, and give it an odd aftertaste. 

The first thing I noticed was that this bottle was ridiculously hard to open. After about five minutes of twisting, I popped it open and attempted to pour the ketchup into the container. It came out with the consistency of the duck sauce you'd get from a Chinese takeout restaurant, with a color similar to some grocery store hot sauce brands. It wasn't the classic gloopy texture that I was expecting, and I should have known that something was up with this ketchup (if you could even call it that) when it came out of the container like a cascading river of orange baby food.

The taste of this faux ketchup was just about as odd as its color and its texture. It had the artificial sweetener flavor I was expecting, with undercurrents of carrot and vinegar. These issues, including an unsatisfying flavor, color, and texture, placed this ketchup dead last in this ranking. 

12. Primal Kitchen

I would describe Primal Kitchen as a premium brand. It touts an array of dairy-free products made without artificial additives. Though you can make dairy-free Alfredo sauce with white beans, I could see why you may want to spend a little more for Primal Kitchen's pre-made version. However, ketchup isn't something I'd spend extra cash on for an upscale version — especially if a cheaper brand does the trick. 

I chose to sample Primal Kitchen's organic unsweetened ketchup, which retailed for a few dollars more than the run-of-the-mill brand-name ketchups. This Primal Kitchen bottle was the only completely unsweetened ketchup variety that I came across, and it tasted exactly like tomato paste — not like the beloved condiment it was supposed to be. The flavor was earthy and wholly tomatoey, but it didn't offer the complexity and balance of other products that I sampled. There was no acidity or natural sweetness, just umami, with a texture that resembled canned tomato paste. 

The usability of Primal Kitchen's ketchup is very, very limited. Tater tots and fries could probably forgo sweetened ketchup, but it's essential for some people's palates, not to mention a classic meatloaf recipe. This variety's low utility and paste-like texture earned it a low spot on this list. 

11. Stop & Shop

Stop & Shop is one of the only non-organic brands that uses sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup in its recipe. The flavor of this ketchup was biting and overwhelming, to say the least. It came out with an immediately sweet undertone that distracted from anything complex that the condiment had to offer. When I ate a tater tot smothered in this ketchup, I was immediately hit by an acidic burn in the back of my throat. It was anything but pleasurable, especially considering that I couldn't detect the delicious saltiness from the tater tot because I was so preoccupied with the fiery, acidic sensation. 

This ketchup leans sweet, but doesn't rival the artificial quality of G Hughes ketchup. So, it's not placed at the bottom, but it would not be my ketchup brand of choice for a barbecue, or for when my fries long for their trusted companion. However, it did have a better texture than some of the lower-ranked brands on this list. 

10. Nature's Promise

Nature's Promise is Stop & Shop's in-house natural foods brand. A bottle of this ketchup was more expensive than the regular product, but it had a similar ingredient list: tomato concentrate, sugar, and vinegar. The difference, though, was that Nature's Promise's ingredient list was entirely organic. Although organic food may be priced higher than conventional products, some consumers can justify the price because of the ingredient list. This ranking focused entirely on taste and texture, so I didn't rank this (or any other ketchups) higher solely because they're made with organic ingredients. 

After trying the regular Stop & Shop brand ketchup, I was admittedly nervous to sample one that could potentially be just as sweet. As expected, this brand was equally as much of a sugar bomb. But I didn't experience that unpleasant acidic burst that hindered the regular Stop & Shop brand in the ranking. I also placed this brand slightly above the original Stop & Shop bottle because the texture was slightly thicker and easier to scoop onto the tater tot. But, it needs more salt to balance out the sweetness before it'll even come close to some of the top-ranking brands in this roundup. 

9. Woodstock

I found Woodstock's organic tomato ketchup in the natural foods section of my grocery store, so I knew that I would have to pay a premium price for it. It's made with organic sugar, organic tomato concentrate, and even organic vinegar (up until writing this review, I didn't even realize that vinegar was inherently non-organic). The price for this product was slightly more expensive than the non-organic brands, but not as high as the premium selections like Rao's and Primal Kitchen. 

Woodstock faced issues similar to the lower-ranking brands on this list. It was just far, far too sweet. However, the consistency of this ketchup was slightly thicker than the offerings of Stop & Shop, so Woodstock inched forward (just barely) in this ranking. The ketchup easily stuck to the tater tots, but it left a sweet flavor behind in the back of my throat that was rather unpleasant. 

8. Hunt's

Hunt's is a brand often associated with canned tomato products, so it's no surprise to see that it has ventured into the world of ketchup, too. It offers classic tomato ketchup sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, as well as a line of tomato ketchup sweetened with cane sugar. I sampled the former of the two products for this ranking. 

If you were blindfolded, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Hunt's and Heinz. The flavor is almost identical, but the one thing I noticed that was different about this bottle was that it had a slightly more orange color and thinner texture. It doesn't seem that this difference impacted the taste of this ketchup brand too much. But, this did make it slightly more difficult to dip with the tater tots, since the ketchup kind of slid off to one side and flopped back into the bowl. I would also have liked to taste a stronger tomato flavor rather than an overwhelmingly sweet profile. 

7. Good & Gather

This ketchup is from Target's lineup of organic Good & Gather products. Like other organic ketchups in this ranking, the Good & Gather bottle is made with organic sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, this ingredient addition led to a cloying flavor in the ketchup that wasn't far off from the profile of other sugar-based ketchup brands. However, I thought this bottle had a slightly more balanced flavor that leaned sweet, but it wasn't as sweet as the versions by Woodstock and Nature's Promise. 

Good & Gather would have clenched the top spot among the organic ketchups, except for the fact that it was slightly more expensive per ounce than Simply Nature. But if you're looking for an organic ketchup and find yourself aimlessly wandering the aisles at Target, this would be a good bottle to stock up on. Granted, it's not as tasty and viscous as my top-ranked ketchups, but that shouldn't matter too much if you're just drizzling a scant amount on your hot dog. 

6. Simply Nature

Aldi doesn't just offer plain ketchup; it also offers an affordable organic variety under its Simply Nature brand. This ketchup is made with organic sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. The major pro behind this brand is that it offers an organic product at a comparatively lower cost than the other brands I sampled. Plus, the overall quality of this ketchup was fantastic, considering its price. 

It had a much more balanced sweetness than several of the other sugar-based ketchup brands that I sampled, which placed it higher than Stop & Shop and Hunt's. The thickness wasn't as tantalizing as Heinz and Great Value, though, so it earned a well-deserved spot in the middle of the pack. The affordability and organic ingredient list also nudged this product forward in the ranking to surpass brands like Hunt's and Woodstock. A thicker texture and darker color would have won me over a little more, but it was relatively easy enough to scoop up the ketchup on a tater tot and enjoy. 

5. Burman's

Aldi is, by far, my grocery retailer of choice. The food is relatively inexpensive, the quality is on par with more costly brands, and it's a one-stop shop for most of the ingredients I cook with on a regular basis. So, it isn't surprising that Aldi would offer at least one ketchup product through its in-house Burman's brand. This ketchup was one of the cheapest and best varieties I sampled, especially considering the massive size of the container. Like Heinz and Hunt's, this bottle is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. 

I thought that the flavor of this ketchup was a bit fruitier than the Simply Nature variety. Although Burman's didn't have the same thickness as Heinz and Great Value, along with that appealing color, its flavor was very light and easy to enjoy. The saltiness of the tater tots muddled out the flavor of the sugar a little bit more.

This product ranked in the middle of this list because I would have expected to see a higher viscosity from a ketchup made with high fructose corn syrup. But, for a budget buy, it's not at all a bad option. 

4. Heinz

Heinz is undeniably the king of ketchup. The brand offers standard ketchup, as well as variations flavored with jalapeño, pickles, and chipotle, along with salt-free and sugar-free varieties. I chose to sample its OG product, which is made with tomato concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, salt, and onion powder. 

When I sampled this product, I thought it was just like the ketchup I remembered from my childhood. It was definitely sweet but not overwhelmingly sugary on the first bite. I would imagine that this is a ketchup aimed at younger audiences, because it lacked complexity in flavor and acidity. The price was more expensive than some of the brands on this list, but it certainly wasn't the most costly. I would call the original Heinz product a standard, run-of-the-mill ketchup that's easy to like, but doesn't offer anything in the way of adult flavors or complexity.

Moreover, the best thing about this ketchup was that it was super easy to dip with. So, I imagine it could be used on fries that are drizzled with malt vinegar or some other acidic element to help round out the flavor of the entire bite. 

3. Rao's

Up until I found this product on my grocery store shelf, I wasn't aware that Rao's had permeated into the ketchup market. I am familiar with the quality and superb taste of Rao's Homemade jarred pasta sauces, which I use on a regular basis, but I was excited to learn that the brand also sells ketchups in flavors featuring Roma tomato, spicy arrabbiata, and truffle with olive oil. 

The glass bottle this ketchup is sold in clearly makes it stand out among the plastic squeeze bottles. After a couple of quick shakes, it poured out of the bottle with a unique luster and shine that I hadn't experienced with other brands. The ketchup was thick, yet it flowed easily from the bottle into the dish. When I tasted this product, I was met with a sweetness that wasn't saccharine. Rather, it was like a fresh-from-the-garden flavor that wasn't so much spicy as it was sweet. It was pleasant to eat on its own or to use as a dip, but I was a little taken aback by how cloying this ketchup was.

I wanted to rank Rao's ketchup as my top product. But realistically, I don't see the value in spending extra money for a few dollops of this condiment on a burger when the Great Value or Market Pantry bottles would suffice. 

2. Market Pantry

Market Pantry is one of Target's in-house grocery brands. This ketchup is made with high fructose corn syrup, and tasted very similar to Heinz, Great Value, and Burman's. Overall, the color, texture, and consistency was similar to several of the other higher-ranking brands, which earned it a spot near the top. 

I liked the overall balance of acidity and sweetness in this condiment. It had a light flavor, it was subtly sweet, and featured slight (but not overpowering) acidity that really complemented the flavor of the tater tot. It was easy to pick up this ketchup on the tot, too, but lacked the same thickness as Great Value and Heinz. The price of the Market Pantry bottle was also more expensive per ounce than Great Value, but this was, overall, a solid condiment with a classic ketchup flavor. If the bottles were priced slightly lower, I would place them on par with Great Value. But for now, second place will suffice. 

1. Great Value

Great Value is Walmart's in-house brand. It aims to provide affordable groceries that are comparable in quality to its competitors. But does that hold true for its ketchup, too? 

The Great Value tomato ketchup is priced more affordably than other brands I reviewed, and contains a very similar ingredient list to Hunt's and Heinz's. High fructose corn syrup appears yet again with this product. This ketchup came out more like Heinz than Hunt's; it had a thick texture and dark red color. The flavor was on par with Heinz, and I didn't notice any noticeable differences between the profiles of the two.

Since color, texture, and taste were out of the question, it was easy to place the Great Value above Heinz based on price and value alone. I'm all about saving a couple of bucks whenever I can, and this brand seems almost identical to more premium products. 


For this roundup, I selected ketchup brands available in southern Rhode Island, where I currently live. There aren't any Whole Foods or Trader Joe's locations near me, so I ended up selecting products that were available at my local Walmart, Aldi, Stop & Shop, and Target. These products represent a wide array of dietary preferences, including sugar-free and organic varieties, as well as a wide range of price points. 

I sampled each ketchup first by the spoonful to assess the flavor on its own, before dipping into it with a tater tot. I chose this tasting vehicle because it has a rather neutral flavor, without any spicy or meaty undertones that would skew the ketchup's profile. I ranked ketchup brands with well-rounded sweetness, balanced acidity, and high ease of dipping at the top of this list. I also factored in the overall value of the product to consider if the extra cost was worth the experience of eating it.