You don’t have to settle for summer standards like ketchup, mustard and mayo right out of the jar. Better burgers, hotter hotdogs and tastier sandwiches are just a dollop or squiggle away. Try these simple tricks to elevate the flavor of store-bought condiments, or get really crafty with outstanding recipes for making a few classics from scratch.
Add soy sauce: Soy sauce is an umami power house, so mixing a little into your ketchup will add deep, savory flavor that’s wonderful on burgers. I prefer reduced-sodium soy sauce for this since ketchup is already pretty salty, and I also add just a touch of rice wine vinegar for brightness.
Spike it with smoked paprika: A touch of natural smoke flavor is a great way to heighten the cookout cred of just about any food. Smoked paprika is one of the easiest ways to get it, and all you’ll need is just a little stirred into ketchup. It’ll give a touch of deep, meaty flavor to turkey burgers and veggie burgers and makes a great topping for oven fries.
Try jerk: Nothing beats combo of heat and spice you’ll get from a touch of jerk seasoning or jerk paste stirred into your ketchup. Go light: jerk is by definition fiery, but some blends are down-right incendiary, so start by mixing in just a touch and adding more until you get to a heat level you like. Try it on hot dogs!
Juice it up with lemon: Stir in a little fresh lemon juice and minced shallots into whole grain or Dijon mustard for a total taste treat. It’s the ideal accompaniment to bratwursts or knockwursts, but it will elevate even the lowliest frankfurter.
Lighten with yogurt: The combo of about half Dijon and half Greek yogurt is terrific for milder meats and sandwiches. If you have some chives on hand definitely stir that in as well. It’s excellent with salmon or tuna burgers or on turkey sandwiches.
Stir in dill: This classic summer herb has a natural affinity to mustard. I like dilled mustard best with a touch of sweetness from honey − you can either start with honey-mustard or just add a little honey or agave to Dijon or whole grain mustard. It’s a great match for ham or cheese sandwiches.
Just add pesto: This is one of the easiest condiment upgrades I know and one of the best for summer. Use a combination of about half prepared pesto and half mayonnaise; the basil-garlic flavor matches perfectly with tomatoes, so include both in your sandwiches or burger toppings for maximum impact.
Get your sriracha fix: Blend your mayo with a little sriracha, lime juice and garlic salt and keep this tasty,versatile condiment on hand. It’s fabulous for turkey burgers and veggie burgers, but I use it for everything from a base for egg salad to slathering on grilled corn.
Miso magic: Miso is another umami-rich ingredient that really bumps up the flavors of foods around it. Whisk a few tablespoons of miso paste into your mayonnaise before spreading it on sandwiches, veggie burgers or just about any seafood.
Ready to dive in and make your own from scratch? It’s probably a lot easier than you think. These super-flavorful recipes will give you a taste of homemade with a minimal amount of effort.
How do you take ordinary condiments to the next level? Share your secrets in the comments below.