Making Homemade Condiments and the $6 Bottle of Mayochup

As I mentioned last week, we were recently camping in Colorado when we stopped by a local Safeway to restock our food supplies. On that visit, all five members of my family – Sarah and I and all three of our kids – went into the store to get supplies and, in the condiment section, my oldest found a bottle of Mayochup.

Mayochup, rather than just being a condiment mixture that one might make on their plate to dip French fries in or put on their sandwich, is now a prepackaged condiment sold by Kraft. Mayochup is really just a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup – I like a mix of about 60% mayonnaise and 40% ketchup, but any roughly 50/50 mix is fine for dipping things and putting it on sandwiches.

Here’s the thing: it cost $6 a bottle. $6.

Let’s say I wanted to make my own mayochup. I could do it in the absolute simplest way possible by taking a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of mayonnaise, emptying them into a bowl, mixing them together, and refilling both of the bottles. If you happen to have an extra squeeze bottle, just empty half of the ketchup and half of the mayo into the bowl, mix it, then put it in the extra squeeze bottle. Boom.

Here’s the absolutely absurd part. Right next to the mayochup sat a “picnic pack” of three condiments – a squeeze bottle of ketchup, a squeeze bottle of mustard, and a squeeze bottle of mayonnaise. Each of them was the size of a bottle of mayochup. The cost for the three pack? $5.

So, you could go back to the campsite, pull out a bowl, squeeze out all of the ketchup and mayo, mix it together, refill those two bottles, and you’d have yourself two bottles of mayochup and an extra bottle of mustard, and it would still cost a dollar less than a bottle of mayochup.

As I mentioned before, I’m a big fan of condiment and spice mixes and I consider them to be a pretty nice way to add convenience and save money in the home kitchen. I also consider straight mayochup to be a somewhat inferior cousin to “fry sauce,” which consists of 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon barbecue sauce or Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Again, you could take that “picnic pack” and, provided you could find a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of barbecue sauce, make a significantly better version of mayochup in the same way, have a ton of ketchup, mayo, and mustard left over, and still save a dollar.

Folks, it’s time to talk about condiments.

If you like things like mayochup or “fry sauce,” don’t buy the prepackaged version in the store. Instead, just wait until your squeeze bottle of ketchup or mustard or mayonnaise or salad dressing is finished, clean it out, remove the label, slap on a bit of masking tape, and then make your own condiments and store them in those bottles. You will save a ton of money and you’ll have far more variety in your condiments than you’ll find on your store shelves.

Here are a few of my own favorite mixes to get you started. Just buy the ingredients in store brand form or in a combo pack as noted above, and be sure to save your squeezable condiment bottles. All of these are going to be far cheaper than buying specialty condiment mixes at the store.

“Mayochup” is basically a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup with some favoritism toward the mayonnaise. It’s a solid fry dip and sandwich topping. Just mix about half a cup of mayonnaise with a third of a cup of ketchup in a bowl, then put that in a clean squeeze bottle. Boom – all the mayochup you’ll want for a lot cheaper than $6 per bottle.

“Fry sauce” was mentioned earlier, but I’ll repeat it here again because most people will just skip to this for reference. Just mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon barbecue sauce or Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon white vinegar. It’ll adopt kind of an orange-ish color and it’s amazing as a French fry or vegetable dip or as a sandwich spread.

“Mayoracha” is perhaps the best thing on earth to mix with tuna. It’s pretty simple – 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sriracha, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder. Mix it all thoroughly. It makes a wonderful tuna salad – just mix it directly with a bit of tuna until you have the consistency you like, then spread it on crackers. It’s also a really good French fry dip. Wait, isn’t everything a really good French fry dip?

“Kranch” is something that is also apparently sold in stores now at a $6 per bottle price, but it’s something my daughter’s been making on her plate for many years. It’s just equal parts ranch dressing and ketchup, again used as a sandwich spread or dip. Half a cup of each will work just fine.

“Chicken dip” is a honey mustard style dip that works really well as a dip for chicken strips that a friend of mine shared with me. I used to make this all the time, usually in a bowl right before eating chicken strips, but if you eat chicken regularly, it might make sense to have this in a bottle. Just mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup yellow mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/2 tablespoon garlic sauce, and a dash of cayenne pepper if you want it a bit spicy. You can definitely add more honey if you like, but I find more honey makes it sticky and makes the honey taste dominate too much.

For that matter, you can actually easily make your own basic condiments, too.

Ketchup is just a mix of several ingredients that people have in their pantry. As with all such recipes, you can vary this slightly to taste. The backbone of ketchup is tomato paste that’s just slightly watered down to be easily pourable/spreadable, so just start with 3 6 ounce cans of tomato paste. To that, add a tablespoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, honey, molasses, sea salt, and mustard powder. You can add a little more of specific elements if you like, as well as dashes of cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, or curry powder, depending on what tastes good to you. Mix this with half a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water and you have yourself a large quantity of pretty tasty ketchup. It won’t last forever, but if you use ketchup more than once a week, you’ll be fine.

Mayonnaise is also quite easy, but homemade mayonnaise does include raw eggs, which you should be familiar with in terms of health concerns. The USDA considers it safe to eat raw eggs if they’re pasteurized, so check the egg carton before you make your own mayo. You just mix together two egg yolks (separate the yolk from the egg white and discard the white), a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt. Then, slowly add that mixture to a cup and a half of canola oil, whisking constantly over the course of a few minutes. Just whisk it all thoroughly and you’ll have some amazing mayonnaise. It’s a good idea to use this within a day or two (and keep it covered in the fridge), but I think it tastes far better than store-purchased mayonnaise.

What about mustard? You can make it from mustard powder or mustard seeds if you have them available, but I haven’t yet found a way to get it as inexpensive as mustard purchased from the store (or, honestly, as tasty, either).

What’s the take-home message here? Save your squeezable condiment bottles and make your own mixes. It’s far cheaper than buying fancy condiments at the store and often tastier, too, and it only takes a few minutes, a small bowl, and a spoon or whisk to pull it off.

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.