Whether you are just starting out on your own or updating your pantry a condiments list can help. A condiment is simply a category of food made up mostly of sauce type items.
Everyone is familiar with catsup, one of the most popular condiments, but there are many others to choose from. A large selection of these sauces will add flavor and color to any menu and complete many simple dishes. Imagine a hamburger without catsup, mustard or mayonnaise.
Once you move past the basic condiments there are sauces, pastes, liquids, and jellies for every taste, cuisine and menu. Many can be made at home if you have the time and the inclination. Most can be obtained at your local grocer, although you may have to look in the imported foods for some of these, depending on where you live.
This condiments list is not complete by any means. There are many more flavors to explore. Make it a habit to try new things regularly. It will improve your cooking and your appreciation of food.
Basic Condiment List
These are condiments that nearly everyone needs in their pantry.
Barbecue Sauce – Barbecue sauce is a spicy tomato based sauce that you brush on chicken and other meats before grilling or baking.
Catsup (ketchup) – Catsup is made from tomatoes, sugar, and spices cooked into a thick paste. It is excellent with hamburgers, French fries, meatloaf, and hotdogs. It has many uses.
Honey – Honey is the sweet product that bees make.
Hot Sauce – Hot sauce is made from spicy peppers, often cayenne. A few drops can add spice to almost any dish.
Jam and Jelly – What is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly? Sweet condiments usually made from fruit that are used on toast and other bread items.
Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise is a combination of eggs, vinegar and oil. It is the basis for many other condiments as well as used on sandwiches and in salads.
Mustard – a piquant yellow or brown condiment that can be used with most meats, as an ingredients in many salad dressings, or in a variety of recipes.
Vinegar – Vinegar is an acidic liquid that is comes from a variety of sources.
- Balsamic - a fruity, mild vinegar
- Cider – made from apples
- Distilled – made from other vinegars, usually malt
- Malt – made from barley
- Wine – made from wine that is allowed to age and sour
Relish – Relish is made from a variety of finely chopped vegetables, often cucumbers, which have been pickled in a vinegar based sauce. It is excellent on hamburgers, hot dogs, and is an important part of both Thousand Island dressing and tartar sauce.
Soy Sauce – Soy sauce is made from fermented soy beans and is good as part of a marinade for many meats. It can be used as a flavoring for rice and oriental sauces as well.
Tartar Sauce – Tartar sauce is a combination of mayonnaise and relish used on fish dishes.
Teriyaki – Teriyaki is a mixture of soy sauce in sweet rice wine. It is good in many oriental dishes.
Worcestershire Sauce – Worcestershire is a savory sauce that is good on beef, game, and in a variety of recipes.
Other Condiments to Consider
Once you have the basic items you will want to consider some of the flavors of different cultures. These condiments includes flavors from all over the world.
Aioli – Aioli is a garlic flavored mayonnaise used in French cooking.
Béarnaise – Another French sauce, Béarnaise is a rich accompaniment to grilled meat and fish.
Capers – Capers are immature buds from a Mediterranean tree that are brined. They add a savory flavor to many dishes.
Chutney – Chutney is a spicy – sweet combination of fruits, onions, and spices that goes well with curries, meats, and many other foods.
Harissa – Harissa is a Moroccan paste that brings a slow burn to anything it is added to. Made of peppers, olives, tomatoes and spices it is a must have for people who love spice.
Horseradish – Horseradish is a uniquely flavored hot herb that is ground into a paste. It is good with roast beef and many other meats.
Salsa – Salsa is a fresh Mexican sauce that is made of fresh chopped tomatoes and other vegetables in an acidic base such as lemon juice or vinegar. It comes in a variety of spice levels from mild to "Oh my gosh I am on fire".
Tapenade – A tapenade is a dish of finely chopped olives, capers, and other savory ingredients. It is good as a spread for a variety of sandwiches, on crackers for an appetizer, and many other uses.
Keep a Record of What You Use
A list of condiments is a helpful tool to have. Print it out and place on the refrigerator to remind you of the things you need or the items you would like to try.
Generally condiments are inexpensive. Always store them in the refrigerator after opening unless the package states otherwise. Experiment with them in your cooking and learn to make the condiments that you like best at home.
Adding variety to your meals is one way to keep things interesting. Listing your condiments is one way to keep track of what you have, what you have tried, and what you like.