Today- we are going to delve deep… to a place where most blogs refuse to go…But I, never backing down from the more serious issues, have chosen to take this on…

Are condiments sauce?

Per Oxford Languages:

Condiments are a substance such as salt or ketchup that are used to add flavor to food

Sauces are a thick liquid served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor

Both add flavor: does that mean they are the same thing?

Reminiscent of the age old is a hamburger a sandwich debate…is there a case to be made that ketchup or mustard are sauces?

Is pesto a condiment?

Some people make the distinction that condiments are served on the side, while sauces are served on the food. This seems an interesting distinction, until you think about things like:

Turkey is often served with gravy, but the gravy is usually on the side. Would you consider gravy a condiment or a sauce?

While we are on the Thanksgiving theme, let’s think about cranberry sauce, which clearly has sauce in the name. Is that a side dish or a condiment or truly a sauce? (For the record, I don’t eat turkey with gravy; I put cranberry sauce on my turkey)

I expect there will be much healthy debate about this topic, but no name calling please- this is a family blog…

Are condiments sauces? Are sauces condiments?


55 thoughts on “Condiments: Are they Sauce

  1. I’m laughing this morning. We go from being socially conscious and deep discussions on bias to an even more important and socially prominent question on condiments! I say that condiments are not sauces…technically. I also say that in the privacy of your own home I don’t care one iota what you call it: sauce, condiment, dressing, gravy, topping- or what you choose to do with it. I admit to using ranch salad dressing as a *sauce* at times. I dare anyone to argue with me and if you do I will deny I ever wrote that admission.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. All sauces are puddings, all condiments are Chef-ing CYA.
    But seriously Folks…think salad dressings, Chili-Dogs, and Herbes de Provence…Just tossed the latter in as a reminder to buy some more..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sauces are puddings…that’s a good one…and the chili dog…but I will say when I make chili dogs at home I make a looser chili than when I make chili


  3. I got stuck on your reference to hamburger/sandwich. My rabbit hole is that in Mexico, you can order a hamburguesa, clearly a hamburger. If you want a fish sandwich, you order a hamburguesa de pescado. Wrap your head around that one! As to the important issue of condiments and sauces, I think the Oxford is right for general usage. You certainly brought up some specific cases where the user needs to make a choice and it really doesn’t matter what they decide. Perhaps it’s one of those things that is heavily influenced by what your family or close associates call it. Heavy topic for today; I’m reeling!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think of a sauce as more of a liquid type substance and condiments I think of more like spices. Mustard and ketchup are usually on the condiments table but I think they are kind of saucy. Cranberry sauce is definitely a sauce not a condiment and delicious on leftover turkey sandwiches with lots of mayo, which might also be found on the condiment table but really I think it’s a sauce.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm condiment vs. sauce. A true dilemma.
    Being Italian I often face a similar quandary when people ask, is it sauce or is it gravy. (There is a definite distinction you know).
    Maybe though, the way I see it anyway, a condiment is added while cooking while a sauce is more the finished product. Turkey gravy is made from giblets and the drippings, so it qualifies as a sauce either on the side or directly on the bird. On the other hand, cranberry sauce I feel should be declared illegal in all 50 states. There oughtta be a law.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another view is

    “The definition of a condiment is: ‘a spice, sauce, or preparation that is added to food to impart a particular flavor or to enhance its flavor.’

    So a sauce can be a condiment, but not all condiments can be a sauce.”

    I disagree with Danny when he says, “Condiments are most definately NOT a sauce and pesto is neither.” I think it depends on how much you use. Most people use ketchup as a condiment but some people use it as a sauce, completely covering the food. Much to the consternation of the poor chef.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I see condiments as optional items that you put on food. Like pickles or ketchup. Not everyone wants those on their burgers, for example. So condiments are usually kept to the side. But sauces are those items that everyone partakes in, because it’s mixed in the food. At least that’s my take on it. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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