Though many vegan meals made with fresh ingredients and herbs often have more flavor than classic recipes, sometimes you’ll still want to squeeze some ketchup on your Beyond Meat burger. Read our list of the best vegan condiments to buy to keep your plant-based pantry and fridge well-stocked!
The Big List of Vegan Condiments: Our Top 16
#1: Nutritional Yeast
Often referred to as “Nooch” in the vegan world, this inactive flaked yeast topping looks a little unappealing but tastes as good as parmesan cheese! You can put nutritional yeast on almost anything and make it better – it’s salty, cheesy, and nutty, and contains a hefty dose of essential amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals. Feel free to sprinkle generously on any savory dish!
#2: Duck Sauce & Hoisin
No ducks were harmed in the making of this sauce. This super sweet Chinese-American sauce contains oranges and apricots and is usually smeared on crispy fried wontons and spring rolls.
Beware and use this sauce sparingly, as 2 tsp contains 11 g of sugar!
Hoisin sauce is another fantastic sweet Asian sauce that’s darker in color and the perfect glaze for roasted veggies.
#3: Soy Sauce, Tamari, & Coconut Aminos
It sure is! Salty soy sauce adds a rich umami quality to any meal it touches. Perfectly paired with steamed rice and marinated tofu, this Asian sauce deserves a seat at every vegan table.
Soy sauce sometimes contains wheat ingredients, which is why coconut aminos and tamari are included in our list of vegan sauces, too. Both alternatives are still salty but less salty and a little sweeter than traditional soy sauce.
#4: Sweet Relish
What goes well on a veggie dog? Sweet relish, of course! Sweet relish made from midseason cucumbers has enough tang to enhance your vegan BBQ favorites, like veggie dogs, veggie burgers, and veggie sausages.
Try sweet relish as a twist on pasta salad, sandwiches, and potato salad.
#5: Dijon & Maple Mustard
For the most part, yes. Many brand-new vegans may be disappointed to give up the sweet spice of honey mustard, but maple mustard is even better – and it doesn’t involve any bees in the production process! Producers blend pure maple syrup with whole grain mustard seeds to achieve the perfect flavor, with an added caramel undertone that honey mustard doesn’t have.
Dijon gives that strong hot kick that’s much tangier without the added sweetness. Read your labels if you plan to eat Dijon as a vegan – most brands that contain white wine or verjus in the ingredients list are unsuitable for vegan consumption.
Both processes often use animal-based “fining” ingredients from dairy and eggs, so if you’re unsure, email the manufacturer.
#6: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the multiple kinds of vinegar that a vegan can keep on hand, but personally, it’s our favorite. Why? Fermented raw apple cider vinegar contains digestive enzymes and bacteria that promote better gut health. Also, it tastes great!
If you’re brave, you can try drinking a few sips of ACV straight, or you can add it to homemade salad dressings, marinades, and refrigerator pickles.
Beyond apple cider vinegar, you may want to keep balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and any other favorites in your pantry. You can even use white vinegar as an all-natural cleaner that’s safe for most household surfaces!
#7: BBQ Sauce
This smoky, sweet sauce makes the perfect grill-mate for vegans and non-vegans alike. Most barbecue sauce contains a tomato base with mustard, onion, and vegan spices, as well as sugar for sweetness and vinegar for tang.
One ingredient to watch out for in your BBQ sauce is Worcestershire sauce, which contains hidden anchovies or fish sauce.
This sweet red sauce is an American classic, second only to mayonnaise as the top-selling sauce country-wide. You’ll find vegan ketchup on the table of every restaurant, waiting to be used to add a little sweetness to a hot plate of french fries.
Though ketchup gets a lot of flack for its high sugar content, it’s perfectly fine to use the sweet sauce in moderation as part of a plant-based diet.
#9: Horseradish Sauce
Horseradish is so hot it will make your eyes water and clear your nostrils with just one big whiff. This root is a relative to the broccoli plant. It’s often grated fresh or blended with vinegar, making it entirely suitable for a vegan diet. When buying horseradish sauce, ensure you’re getting a vegan brand – some varieties contain cream.
You can mix it with ketchup for a vegan “seafood” sauce that tastes delicious when drizzled on vegan shrimp cocktails.
This Middle-Eastern staple is the perfect dip for veggies, naan, or pita. Hummus is a simple combination of ground chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and olive oil, though you’ll find all sorts of unique recipes at the grocery store. They’ve even started making hummus without chickpeas, using lentils, beans, and other bases instead.
Make your own chickpea hummus at home in a food processor or buy your favorite brand – both options are delicious!
#11: Vegan Hot Sauce
Though it feels like choosing between children, our favorite plant-based hot sauce is spicy habanero hot sauce.
Whether you want habanero peppers or something a little more mild, most hot sauces are in the clear for vegans – they contain just chilis, vinegar, lemon, and water. While the basic recipe is vegan, always check your labels as some may be sweetened with honey or have other animal-based ingredients.
#12: Himalayan Rock Salt
Salt is both an essential mineral and a handy condiment, saving the flavor of millions of bland dishes over the years.
While table salt tastes okay, we prefer the taste of fine or coarse Himalayan salt, with a pretty pink hue and some essential trace minerals to improve many bodily functions.
#13: Old Bay Seasoning
While you may know this spice blend exclusively for its use in flavoring seafood dishes, Old Bay is a great way to make plant-based dishes, like faux crab cakes, have more of that authentic seafood taste.
Old Bay is a blend of herbs, spices, and salt that you can add to grilled veggies, potato salad, or chickpea “tuna” salad.
#14: Vegan Mayo
Mayo is the #1 selling condiment in America, adding creamy moisture to any picnic potato salad or sandwich.
Though regular mayo contains eggs, you can find some brands of plant-based vegan mayo that taste almost identical to the original. Vegenaise is one of the most popular, and we think it has the best flavor compared to other brands we tried.
#15: Maple Syrup
Vegan or not vegan, this nutritious syrup is one of the best-tasting foods on earth. This rich condiment comes from draining maple tree sap and cooking it way way down. Seriously, you need 40 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of the stuff.
Drizzle this syrup on vegan pancakes, add it into your cookie recipes, or use a little in your favorite sauces and dressings to balance the acidity.
#16: Salsa, Pico De Gallo, & Salsa Verde
Most salsa contains a few simple ingredients that are all plant-based. Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, onions, and jalapenos come together to add a sweet flavor to your tacos, wraps, or even rice and beans.
Not a fan of the sweet flavor of red tomato salsa? Try fresh pico de gallo that’s tangier than sweet or slightly bitter salsa verde instead.
What Condiments Are Not Vegan?
Here’s a quick list of a few condiments to avoid if you follow a plant-based diet:
- Fish sauce
- Most creamy dressings
Final Notes on Vegan Condiments
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, if you stock your vegan pantry with many of these staples, you will have the perfect sweet, spicy, or salty addition to all of your favorite vegan dishes!