Ketchup, mustard, mayo: America’s condiment palate used to be best known for three simple, versatile items.
That was then.
Today, new generations—and a fresh appetite for foods from around the world—are driving a coast-to-coast surge in condiment diversity, variety, and popularity.
Here’s a state-by-state look at some of America’s newest and most enduring condiments. The only remaining question is which ones will you stock in your office pantry and which ones will you keep at home?
Alabama: White BBQ Sauce
From the Heart of Dixie comes America’s other white sauce: a mayo-based barbecue sauce, first introduced by Big Bob Gibson. Combining mayo, coarse black pepper, vinegar, and salt, white BBQ sauce brings tangy richness to grills, smokers, and even salad bowls across the Cotton State.
Alaska: Haskap Jam
This sweet spread features one of Alaska’s favorite summer treats, haskap berries (sometimes called honey berries). They have a dark color and blush similar to red grapes, and a flavor often described as a combination of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Arizona: Hot Sauce
Three years running, Phoenix-based, family-owned Big Red’s Hot Sauce has whooped world-class pepper breeders at the California Hot Sauce Expo. Since 2011, Big Red’s husband-and-wife team has crafted layered, nuanced sauces both mild and blazing hot. Their Original is a blend of 17 ingredients, including radishes, carrots, chipotles, and habaneros.
Arkansas: Barbecue Sauce
When it first opened in 1934, Little Rock’s The Shack wowed barbecue fans with its signature sauce, a divine ‘cue marriage of vinegar and black pepper. The Shack closed in 1988 (though over the years people have tried to bring it back). Today the sauce lives on at restaurants such as Whole Hog Cafe in North Little Rock.
California: Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
Do you reach for the rooster? With origins in Southeast Asia, Sriracha’s blazing red sauce has taken hold nationwide. You can find people squeezing and spooning it on everything from pad Thai to scrambled eggs.
Colorado: Boozy Jams & Preserves
Colorado is a peach haven. With around 100 distilleries in the state as well, it makes perfect sense to combine the juice of the barley and the fruit of the tree in this sweet spread with a kick. You may also get a kick out of the Centennial State’s delectable wine grape jellies.
Connecticut: Melted Butter
We know that you won’t find butter in the condiment aisle, but it’s the favored addition to an iconic Connecticut specialty: the lobster roll. While other states like Maine and Rhode Island have their fair share of lobster rolls—often served cold and tossed in mayo—Connecticut is often credited as the creator of the New England summertime staple. The Nutmeg State prefers its rolls served hot with plenty of melted butter.
Delaware: Hot Sauce
Delaware likes their food hot. Snagging third place at the 2016 World Hot Sauce Awards, the up and coming EagleWingz Chesapeake Hot Sauce combines modern heat with traditional Bay Crab tang. With more than 100,000 bottles sold, EagleWingz sauces are making their way onto more tables and dishes throughout the Chesapeake area and beyond.
With origins in Haiti, the spicy condiment pikliz has found a hot, spicy, crunchy welcome in the Sunshine State. With a base of carrot cabbage, some liken pikliz to “Haitian kimchi” and use it the same way they’d use any other fermented cabbage pickle.
Georgia: Creamy Peanut Butter
The Peach State could just as easily be nicknamed the Peanut State. Georgian farmers grow nearly all the U.S. peanut crop, so it only makes sense that Georgia also makes some mind-blowing peanut butter, including all-natural varieties such as the ones made by Georgia Grinders. Since 2012, the Atlanta-based company has used high-quality peanuts and sea salt to make their small-batch roasted creamy and crunchy peanut butters.
Hawaii: Huli-Huli Sauce
Hawaiian for “turn turn,” huli-huli sauce combines a sweet, mouth-puckering mix of sesame oil, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, and pineapple juice. The sauce is said to have been invented in 1955 to baste teriyaki chicken at a farmers’ gathering. Huli-huli has become a mainstay across the Aloha State ever since.
Idaho: Ranch Dressing
Despite ranch dressing’s California origins in the 1950s, the creamy, herbaceous concoction has not only become the most popular dressing in the country, but also the condiment gem of the Gem State. Maybe it’s all the potatoes. While you can dip just about anything in ranch, be warned if you take a slice of pizza anywhere near it—the internet might explode.
Illinois: Mild Sauce
Often described as a condiment you can only find in Chicago, mild sauce is typically considered a combination of barbecue sauce, ketchup, and hot sauce, with more emphasis on sweet than spicy. Don’t look too hard for it on the North Side though—word is, most places that serve mild sauce reside in the Windy City’s West and South sides.
Indiana: Spicy Mustard
Got a cold? The Rathskeller in Indianapolis has the cure: Their spicy mustard accompanies schnitzels, sausages, pretzels, and more, and is known for its near-mythical heat. The Rathskeller’s been an outpost for German cuisine since 1894, making it Indy’s oldest restaurant too.
Iowa: Hot Sauce
If you think bland dinners define the Midwest, Carmelita and Taufeek Shah, the mother-and-son team at West Des Moines-based Lola’s, want you to think again. A doctor who immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. in 1973, Carmelita received her family’s hot sauce recipe from her mother, known as “Lola,” which means grandmother in Filipino culture. Now the Shah’s original Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce recipe and three other sauces are available nationwide.
Around 1900, Louisville restaurateur, caterer, and cookbook author Jennie Carter Benedict created a simple creamy spread with cream cheese, cucumber, and onion. Spread on sandwiches or served with nibbles, green-hued Benedictine even shows up on Kentucky Derby menus.
Louisiana: Hot Sauce
If you want to spark a hot debate in the Big Easy, bring up hot sauce. Some residents swear by Tabasco. Others are devoted to Louisiana Hot Sauce. But the Louisiana-style hot sauce of choice for many New Orleanians is the cayenne, salt, and vinegar concoction made by Crystal. It’s even been the official hot sauce of the New Orleans Saints. Today Crystal brings the heat to more than 75 countries. No wonder hot sauce sales in the U.S. alone topped $2 billion in 2018.
Maine: Lobster Hollandaise Sauce
Hot or cold, there are countless ways to enjoy Maine lobster (and endless sauce and condiment pairings). But perhaps the best way to achieve authentic Maine flavor is with this briny, lemony, butter lobster-infused Hollandaise.
Maryland: Old Bay Seasoning
While this seasoning isn’t technically a condiment like the others on this list, Maryland loves it so much, we had to include it. In the 1940s, Baltimore spice merchant Gustav Brunn mixed up celery seed, dry mustard powder, salt, black pepper, and red pepper—and created an enduring seasoning. Today, more than 50 million ounces of Old Bay are sold in the U.S. alone every year.
Massachusetts: Marshmallow Fluff
Peanut butter. Marshmallow fluff. White bread. The famous Fluffernutter sandwich has its roots in Massachusetts, as does the fluff, which was first created in Somerville, MA, in the early 20th century. Today fluffernutters are still a popular New England choice for office and school lunches.
Michigan: Michigan Sauce
A Michigan hot dog needs Michigan sauce: a meaty, usually tomato-based chunky sauce that adds sweet zing to a steamed dog. Oddly enough, you can find plenty of Michigan hog dogs in New York state and loads of Coney Island hot dogs or “Coney dogs” in Michigan.
Minnesota: Top the Tater
Since 1914, Minnesota’s legendary sour cream chip dip has combined sour cream, chives, and onions for a zesty, creamy topper or spread for any sandwich or dippable food.
Mississippi: Comeback Sauce
This sauce, which has its roots in Jackson, combines the kick of barbecue sauce with the creaminess of ranch dressing. Nowadays you’ll find comeback sauce making a comeback on everything from fried foods to sandwiches, or even as a dip or salad dressing.
Missouri: Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
Sweet, thick, and tangy—when it comes to barbecue sauce, the taste of Kansas City is the taste of America. You won’t just find KC-style sauce with BBQ though. It makes a great baste, dip, or component for anything from beans to ribs, chicken, and more.
“Tomatoes, sugar, onions, apple cider vinegar, and spices.” That’s what it said on the recipe card Matt Henry got from his Grandma Bish. Henry knew that what was good enough for Grandma was good enough for the people of his native Bozeman, Montana. Since 2002, Henry’s Catsup has been made free of high-fructose corn syrup, gluten, and artificial preservatives—something Grandma would be proud of.
Nebraska: Dorothy Lynch Dressing
In 1940s St. Paul, Nebraska, Dorothy Lynch developed a sweet and tangy dressing for the restaurant she and her husband ran at the local Legion Club. Before she knew it, neighbors, Club members, and others in the community were bringing their own jugs and asking for fills of Lynch’s sauce. Today, you can find Dorothy Lynch Dressing in 35 states—a sweet finale for the sauce’s creator, who died in 1975.
Nevada: Zip Sauce
Declared “Best Condiment” by Nevada Public Radio, zip sauce is a rich, umami-packed butter, soy sauce, and consommé concoction. You’ll have to go to Las Vegas to get it though: zip sauce is only available at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse in the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel.
New Hampshire: Three Pepper Ketchup
Sweet ketchup meets spicy salsa, with snap and spark fueled by a trio of chiles, in Little Acre’s three pepper ketchup. From its origins in Dover, NH, More Spicy Ketchup took first place at the International Flavor Awards. Good thing too: Respondents to New Hampshire Public Radio’s Condiment Questionnaire said they were pro-spicy but had to have their ketchup. Now they can have both, all in one bottle.
New Jersey: Mustard
New Jersey likes mustard so much, it’s even showing up in place of tomato sauce on pizza. Legend has it that a customer who had too much to drink ordered a mushroom pizza, but it sounded like mustard, so that’s what he got. To put it mildly when it comes to mustard, pizza lovers are as divided as a pizza cut in half so you’ll have to decide for yourself!
New Mexico: Green Chile Salsa
With chile flavor, lingering punches of heat, and a slightly sweet acidity, the smoky, roasted flavors of green chile salsa come through in every spoonful or jarful. Either way, the incomparable taste of the sunny Southwest will brighten up anything you put it on. It’s no wonder that virtually every part of New Mexico has a favorite place for green chile, but Sadie’s and 505 are two you can find throughout the country.
New York: Spicy Ssäm Sauce
A savory, tangy combo of rice vinegar, sake, soy sauce, miso, and gochujang, David Chang’s signature sauce first got popular at his Momofuku restaurants in New York City. Now it’s available nationwide—and ready to flavor anything from noodle and rice dishes to pizza and burgers.
North Carolina: Hot Sauce
While North Carolina is known for Texas Pete hot sauce, we’re here to tell you neither Texas nor Pete were never involved in the making of this condiment. And, technically speaking, the sauce is Louisiana-style. One of the country’s most popular hot sauce brands actually began in Winston-Salem, NC, in the 1940s by Sam Garner and his three sons Thad, Ralph, and Harold. The original name? Mexican Pete—which was shot down by the Garners. Texas suggested cowboys. Pete was Harold’s nickname. Thus a hot sauce legend was born.
North Dakota: Steak Sauce
Shortly after Jack Humble and his family opened their landmark Jack’s Steakhouse in Bismarck, they got popular for something else: their tangy, sweet, orange-colored steak sauce. Customers use it for dipping seafood, vegetables, chicken, and more—and since 2015 the sauce is available in bottles so you can enjoy it at home.
Ohio: Ball Park Mustard
Many baseball fans flock to European-style Bertman’s Ball Park Mustard for its creamy sweetness. But Stadium Mustard lovers might consider the ball park mustard rivalry on par with that of the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians.
Oklahoma: Spicy Argentine Sauce
Oklahoma City might be a long way from Argentina, but for Galimaro founder Robert Hefner IV, Argentina is where he used to spend childhood summers with gauchos. After a hard day’s work, in the evening everyone would grill meat over open fires and mix up spicy red chimichurri sauce in empty wine bottles. Hefner and his wife Carol have brought their family version of this sauce to Oklahoma and beyond.
Oregon: Habañero Hot Sauce
Portland’s curiously named Secret Aardvark got its name from a teenage prank: Founder Scott Moritz and some friends told the local paper they were part of a gang called Secret Aardvark. Years later when Moritz was developing his signature hot sauce, now available coast to coast, he remembered his prank—but realized it could be a fun name for some seriously unique sauce.
Ketchup on the table? Odds are it’s Heinz, which had netted $6.9 billion last year. The consistent top choice for American ketchup originated in Pennsylvania in 1876, when H.J. Heinz introduced his now world-famous ketchup (which at the time he called “catsup”). The iconic octagonal glass bottle, though, didn’t come along until 1948.
Rhode Island: Hot Wiener Sauce
Philly has its cheesesteak. Detroit has coney dogs. Rhode Island has hot wieners. Order yours “all the way” with mustard, celery salt, onion, and the signature meat sauce or hot wiener sauce—just make sure you put the mustard on first. Either way, the meaty sauce brings the hot wiener into its own with the zip of chili powder and the warming depth of spices like cumin, cinnamon, and allspice.
South Carolina: Mayonnaise
Housewife-turned-entrepreneur Eugenia Thomas Slade Duke of Greenville, SC, created her signature, sugar-free Duke’s mayo during World War I. After the troops came home, they flocked to her sandwiches: According to legend she once sold more than 10,000 sandwiches in a single day.
South Dakota: Peanut Butter
Tennessee: Memphis-style Barbecue Sauce
Thin and tangy Memphis-Style barbecue sauce is tomato-based but tones down the sugar and doubles down on the vinegar. While barbecue cultures debate whether you pour on sauce or serve it on the side, in Memphis you’ll see both.
Texas: Bar-B-Q Sause
Yup, that’s “sause,” not sauce. As local restaurant Rudy’s says on their t-shirts, “taste is more important than spelling.” Rudy’s started in the 1800s as a gas station, and added barbecue to their repertoire in 1989. Today Rudy’s has 45 locations throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona—and their BBQ is even available online.
Utah: Fry Sauce
No, it’s not thousand island dressing. But yes, it’s pink. Fry sauce came to be in the 1940s at the Arctic Circle—not the one up north, but the Utah-based fast food chain with 62 locations throughout the West. It’s a simple mix of equal parts mayo and ketchup, or sometimes two parts mayo to one part ketchup. While some places change up the ingredients, such as adding Sriracha or swapping mayo for ranch, others favor the original.
Vermont: Boiled Cider
In 1882, the Wood’s Cider Mill in Springfield, VT, bought a twin-screw cider press from the Empire State Press Co. in 1882. Once run by water power (thanks to a nearby mill pond), the mill is now electric and is still being used to craft Wood’s boiled apple cider. Imagine the sweet, heady flavor of fresh-pressed apple cider with the consistency of a syrup. Wood’s boils a gallon of cider down to one pint of boiled cider, which you can then use for everything from topping pancakes to adding to recipes or drinks.
Wait… kale sauce? Yup. With half a pound of kale in every 12-ounce. bottle, Snack Kraken Kalechup brings new flavor to the Old Dominion. Billing itself as an alternative to fatty mayo or sugary ketchup, vegan Kalechup includes simple ingredients such as apple juice, vinegar, onions, water, garlic, peppers, and lemon.
From its origins in Italy to its renown in Chicago, giardiniera is now taking Washington State by storm. Hero’s “Mighty Condiment” combines carrots, celery, serrano chiles, jalapeños, roasted red bell peppers, house-brined pearl onions, and Spanish olives. Try its tangy, zippy crunch on sandwiches or mixed in a salad.
West Virginia: Chow Chow
This beloved pickled relish, called chow chow, typically combines cabbage, mustard seed, tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, sweet peppers, and vinegar. Cucumbers or other vegetables might join the mix, too. Why’s it called chow chow? The origins of the term are a mystery, but some think it comes from the French word for cabbage, or “chou.”
Mustard is so beloved by Wisconsinites that the Badger State has its very own National Mustard Museum, located in Middleton, WI. You can try hundreds of mustards at the tasting bar and take home your favorites from the museum shop.
Wyoming: Chugwater Chili
Inspired by a secret recipe that once took the Wyoming State Championship title, Chugwater Chili has been dubbed the gourmet spice of western life. Now you can find it as a spice mix that can be added to dips, stews, and more.
Coast-to-coast condiment deliciousness
Today’s sauces, dressings, and condiments market is expected to top $143,875 million by 2023, and it’s no surprise. With so many traditional favorites and innovative flavors, condiments abound coast to coast.