Whiskey BBQ Ketchup

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Glass jar filled with homemade Whiskey BBQ Ketchup

It takes a lot for John and me to fall hardcore in love with a new restaurant, but the minute I dipped one french fry into the whiskey bbq ketchup at Beer Kitchen in Kansas City, it was all over. It had to be made at home.

Cooking homemade Whiskey BBQ Ketchup in a saucepan

I’m already a condiment and sauce lover, so if there’s legit house-made ketchup somewhere chances are I’ve tried it. Oddly enough though, I’ve never made my own! That had to change.

Since my love for the whiskey BBQ ketchup has become borderline obsession, I decided to try my hand at it. Although it’s not a total 1:1 match, I got dang close!

It has all the rich flavor of ketchup with a hint of smoky BBQ and a boozy undertone. Mmmmm, delicious.

Using a wooden spoon to stir a batch of homemade ketchup
Cutting board with tomatoes, bourbon, sugar, and a jar of homemade ketchup

This ketchup is about as simple as it gets:

30 minutes
10 ingredients
1 pot

And somehow it still delivers all the bold flavor of BBQ in a saucy, rich ketchup. Friends, ready your french fries.

Cutting board with homemade ketchup and ingredients used to make it
Side shot of a jar of whiskey BBQ ketchup and ingredients used to make it

You guys are going to love this ketchup. It’s

Perfectly sweet
& Perfect on just about anything

Breakfast potatoes, french fries, burgers, tots – you name it, we’re going there. Cheers!

Top down shot of a jar of Whiskey BBQ Ketchup and ingredients used to make it

Whiskey BBQ Ketchup

10-ingredient, 30-minute, 1-bowl homemade ketchup! So simple yet flavorful, with the bold flavor of BBQ and a hint of booziness from the whiskey. Perfect on fries, burgers, and everything in between.
Author Minimalist Baker
Spoon in a jar of homemade Whiskey BBQ Ketchup on a wood cutting board
4.42 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 15 (~2-Tbsp servings)
Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 weeks


  • 15 ounces tomato sauce (organic when possible)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste (organic when possible)
  • 2-3 Tbsp whiskey (I used Bourbon Whiskey from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire (ensure it’s vegan-friendly // ensure gluten-free for GF eaters)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine.
  • Cook until bubbly – about 5 minutes. Then reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 15 more minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more whiskey for a more boozy flavor, brown sugar for added sweetness, vinegar for more tang, and liquid smoke extra smokiness.
  • Transfer to a jar and let cool before putting lid on. Will keep in the fridge for at least 2-3 weeks (probably longer).


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with lesser amount of whiskey and vinegar.
*Recipe makes ~2 cups ketchup.

Nutrition (1 of 15 servings)

Serving: 1 two-Tbsp serving Calories: 24 Carbohydrates: 4.6 g Protein: 0.5 g Fat: 0.1 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 196 mg Fiber: 0.5 g Sugar: 4 g

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My Rating:

  1. Marrok says

    Amazing! We had Knob Creek bourbon on hand; I also added another splash of apple cider vinegar for some more tang. Partnered with the recommended simple breakfast potatoes and the southwest tofu scramble from the same site (minus the kale.) Big hit and all these will be on our regular rotation.

  2. Maria Clausen says

    Delicious!!! I didn’t use the liquid smoke. I will absolutely keep this in my recipe wheelhouse!

    Thank you for an amazing, easy, and scrumptious recipe!

  3. Hanna says

    I omitted the whiskey and this tastes fantastic- haven’t had ketchup since diagnosed with celiac and corn allergy! Wondering if you can share a homemade mustard recipe, that uses apple cider vinegar instead of distilled??

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Blair, we think it would be suitable as a marinade or glaze, but we wouldn’t recommend serving it on the side as a BBQ sauce. You could try adding more sweetener and cooking it longer so it reduces and gets more caramelized like BBQ sauce. Hope that helps!

  4. Kerstin says

    I love this! Recently I bought Heinz “ketchup for kids” with 50% less sugar only to find out that they replaced half of the sugar with sweetener. Normally I read labels carefully before buying but this time I didn’t and got so mad when I tasted the unmistakable taste of artificial sweetener.
    I had been looking for a ketchup recipe for which I didn’t have to use fresh tomatoes and that would be pretty much effortless. Now I found it! I didn’t have any whiskey so I just made it without any alcohol but will definitely try it with someday. My 3-yo who is a ketchup lover totally approved.

  5. Nick260682 says

    Worcester sauce is not vegan friendly by definition.

    It’s the anchovies that give you all the delicious savoury depth; it’d be pointless without them.

    • Chris says

      Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce is available in any good health food store and most well-stocked grocery stores. The anchovies only serve to add a pop of umami, which is definitely possible to do without fish/animal products (using mushrooms, soy, etc.).

  6. John h. says

    Soooo, made the whiskey bbq ketchup. Iam thinking you meant 1.5 oz. can of tomato paste not 15 oz. can. I just had to thin it out some. Thought it didn’t seem right , you my want to check that.

    • ALew says

      1 @ 6-oz can there’s a space between the 1 and the 6 but it definitely reads funny, esp after the tomato sauce entry.

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        That’s correct! Thanks for your comment. If you have any suggestions for what might make it more clear, we’d love to try to make it’s more user-friendly!

  7. Anne says

    Hi Dana!

    Would you be able to create a beet ketchup recipe? We were at By chloe and loved their beet ketchup and after trying different recipes online they were just nothing alike!

    Thanks in advance


  8. Joy says

    Regarding the recipe below which is labeled as gluten free is concerning for any one that has Celiac or a gluten sensitivity because Worcestershire and Whiskey both contain gluten.
    15 ounces tomato sauce (organic when possible)
    1 5-ounce can tomato paste (organic when possible)
    2-3 Tbsp whiskey (I used Bourbon Whiskey from Trader Joe’s)
    2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire (ensure it’s vegan-friendly)
    optional: 1 tsp liquid smoke
    1/4 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp garlic powder-soup

  9. Allaire says

    I just made this but thought it was WAY too sweet. Also because of the sodium content of both the tomato sauce and tomato paste didn’t end up adding any salt and I can’t imagine needing to add any more…I will try again tweaking a bit to see if that works!

  10. Mollie says

    Can I sub brown sugar for coconut sugar?! I don’t have any brown on hand – and this recipe looks amazing!

  11. Bill says

    Wow, this recipe is excellent – I have made it twice now, doubling the batch both times and it makes a perfect three pints of heavenly sauce – I am not sure whether to call it ketchup or BBQ sauce, it seems to belong in a category of its own. Makes a great basting sauce for ribs and goes with just about anything else. On the second go around, I added 1/2 tsp of chipotle pepper powder for a little smoky kick and just a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar for an added note of zing and sweet. THANK YOU FOR THE RECIPE!

  12. Jen says

    Great recipe! Great for dipping. Perfect on top of a meatless meatloaf, on a burger. I plan on using at as a base for a garbanzo bean, shredded carrot and onion sloppy joe soon. It is so good!

    • Sandy says

      Also want to add, I otherwise followed recipe exactly. Used Mesquite liquid smoke. Not sure what type recipe is actually calling for.

  13. Roberta J Taylor says

    So, I decided to use Marinara Sauce with San Marzano Tomatoes. I am a perfectionist and wanted to be sure I was using the right ingredients. I am Happy I didn’t wait. I made it with my ingredients and Wow!! It’s so Delicious!!! I Love it!!!Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes.
    Peace & Blessings

  14. Roberta J. Taylor says

    Hello, I left a question earlier today. I may have asked it under someone else’s feedback.?:)
    My question is a bout the Tomato Sauce. Which brand do you use? Should I use Marina Sauce, Pomodoro Sauce, or a can of San Manzaro Tomatoes?
    Thank you so much and have a blessed day.

  15. diana says

    Gosh I hate to say anything, esp bc I make plenty mistakes on my own, but for anyone writing a blog, I feel it is important to use the best grammar possible, esp bc someone may follow the same usage. Quite simply, instead of saying, “John and me”, it would be “John and I.” That’s it! And great recipe!!

    • Nyna says

      Just a friendly correction: if you’re talking about the sentence that reads “It takes a lot for John and me…”, this is actually the correct grammar usage. If you split the subjects (John and me) into separate sentences, you have “it takes a lot for John” as well as “it takes a lot for me”. This would not be the case if the sentence were structured as “John and me take”, as you would have “John takes” and “Me takes”, and we can all see how that is incorrect. “You and I” vs. “you and me” can both be correct; it depends on the context of the sentence.

      That being said, I am supposed to be commenting on how fantabulous all of Dana’s recipes are instead talking grammar :P. I whipped up this sauce tonight to simmer my meatless meatballs in so that I can take ’em to work with me tomorrow for lunch. I personally added a bunch of brown sugar and liquid smoke; sweet and smoky, what a dream!

      • Diana says

        I thank you (from the bottom of my heart!) for this great explanation, this is definitely something I needed to know, esp for my own usage! ?As children, our father was always correcting our grammar, unfortunately he has passed on this nasty habit to me as well. Once again great recipe, very rich, best one we have tried so far!!!

  16. Gitta Burt says

    Making the black bean burgers tonight. Just finished making the ketchup. It came out great. I added a 1/2 tsp of chipotle sauce instead of whiskey. I would have added whiskey, but didn’t have it available. Will share pic’s and comments on the finished product this evening. Gitta Marie.

  17. Janice says

    This is brilliant!! Made it this morning to go with the sweet potato black bean burgers. Used two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of Johnnie Walker Red Label whisky. Substituted minced garlic instead of the power. Absolute heavenly, I almost licked the pan……..

  18. J says

    Looks great – do you mean passata sauce when u say tomato sauce? We’re in Australia and just needed to clarify. Thanks for the great blog.

    • Yvonne says

      I’m wondering the same. I’m in Ireland and here tomato sauce is what we call ketchup. I assume the recipe calls for passata but I’m not sure. Can anyone clarify please? It sounds amazing & I’d really love to try. Also, I assume the alcohol content cooks off and it would be OK to serve this to kids?

    • Charlie says

      Tomato sauce is the base that pasta sauce is made from…this recipe is making ketchup so do not use. Tomato sauce is basically purred tomatoes with minor additives

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  20. LiseE says

    OMG! This “ketchup” is amazing! I can’t believe how easy it is to make and WOW! What a great punch of flavor, to think I have been paying a premium for another name brand which does not even compare! Thank you! P.S. I made to accompany the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers, delicious!
    Excuse me while I go find more adjectives to describe your food! ;)

  21. Marie says

    Wow! I’m gonna try this to eat with a “millet pie” for the holidays!
    I’m also looking for something to remplace the traditionnal mayo/ketchup dip… Do you think that I can use this ketchup mixed up with silken tofu? Should I add something else?
    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Great, thanks for sharing Marie! I think using vegan mayo in place of tofu would be more ideal. But silken tofu is worth a shot!

  22. Sarah says

    I am a big fan of minimalist baker and so is my husband. I just started my own blog and we always went back to see “How does minimalist baker do it” in order to draw inspiration. Thanks you guys.
    We have also downloaded the Food Photgraphy E-Course and it is our go-to tutorial for our pictures.

    I just tried making BBQ Sauce which was a success. I’m an absolute sucker for Ketchup. This definitely goes on my to-make list.

  23. debg says

    i made this to go with the potatoes yuuuuummmmm i did not have the liquid smoke i added a little chili powder i was eating this with a spoon luv your recipies

  24. Jacki says

    Do you know how long this stays for? I have wanted to make ketchup for a while but my family doesn’t eat a lot of it so I’m always worried it will go bad before we can get through it. Also how much ketchup does this make?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      This makes quite a bit, but I’d think it should stay for at least a month. You could definitely half the ingredients for half as much OR gift half of it to someone else! Hope that helps.

  25. Kate says

    Honestly, I’m not usually into homemade ketchups (Heinz is so good!) but I LOVED this ketchup when I tried it at your place! Can’t wait to make some!

      • Roberta J Taylor says

        I’m wondering if would please tell me what kind of tomato sauce you use? I’m not sure what to use? Should I use a Tomato Marina Sauce or a Tomato Pomodoro Sauce or just a can of San ManzaroTomatoes?
        Thank you so much.
        Have a blessed day.
        Roberta J. Taylor

  26. Andria says

    There’s a great restaurant around here that has porter ketchup to go with their IPA battered onion rings. Heaven. I imagine you could make this with the beer of your choice as well :)

  27. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen says

    I am in love with this ketchup recipe! I have made my own BBQ sauce before but have never ventured into the land of ketchup – now I just might have to :) Yum!

  28. Liz @ Floating Kitchen says

    Oh yes, I am ready for this (and like a million french fries!). Whiskey makes everything better!

  29. Hadiya says

    Hi, what would you suggest as a substitute for the whiskey… Alcoholic and otherwise?
    Love your recipes btw

  30. Matt Robinson says

    I would be obsessed with this too. I have been wanting to make my own ketchup and absolutely love this idea!

  31. Shikha @ Shikha la mode says

    Love that beautiful red color! I’m also pretty sure that putting alcohol in anything makes it better. I have that bourbon at home hahahah.

  32. Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolate says

    Yum, I’m a condiment lover, so I always love to make them at home, so that I know what hoes into them! This is awesome!

  33. Christina @ but i'm hungry says

    I started making my own ketchup a few months ago, and we love it. But THIS… this looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it; my hubs will go nuts. Also… is that Trader Joe’s bourbon?! Just when I thought I couldn’t love that place any more! ;)

  34. Maryea {happy healthy mama} says

    I feel like condiments can make or break a meal, and this looks like one that would totally make the meal!