Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Condiment Questions

Spice up your next meal by adding ingredients for a do-it-yourself condiment. Check out these spice pictures.
©2007 Chris Brown

Q. How can I get more creative with the condiments I use?

A. The right condiment can make a world of difference. Meat patty, slice of cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a sesame seed bun (or turkey and Swiss between two slices of white bread) may be the beginnings of a basic burger/ sandwich, but add a phenomenal condiment and you just may have yourself a hand-held meal of gourmet proportions.

While ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and barbecue sauce are classic sandwich toppers, don't be afraid to dress up your meals with less conventional sauces, relishes, and salsas.

Many can just as easily be made as bought from the store, depending on your personal preferences. Flavor preexisting sauces and spreads with herbs and spices, or mix several sauces together for a unique taste.

Try the ideas below. Begin with 1/4 cup mayonnaise, ketchup, or barbecue sauce (enough for four sandwiches or burgers), and add the suggested ingredients for a totally new sandwich taste experience.


  • Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil and 1 tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomato to make Sun-Dried Tomato-Basil Mayo.
  • Add 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic to make Lemon Aioli.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and 1 tablespoon mango chutney to make Curried Chutney Spread.
  • Add 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish to make Tartar Sauce.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning for Spicy Cajun Mayo.
  • Add 1 teaspoon wasabi powder to make Wasabi Mayo.
  • Add 1-1/2 teaspoons honey and 1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard to make Honey Mustard Mayo.
  • Add 1 tablespoon prepared pesto for Pesto Mayo.
  • Add 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish, and 1/2 teaspoon finely minced onion to make Thousand Island Spread.
  • Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped sweetened dried cranberries for Cranberry Mayo.


  • Add 1/2 teaspoon horseradish, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of hot pepper sauce to make Cocktail Sauce.
  • Add 1 teaspoon prepared mustard and 2 teaspoons brown sugar for Meat Loaf Sauce.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, a squeeze of lime juice, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and a dash of fish sauce to make Thai Spicy Red Sauce.
  • Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon finely chopped pineapple, and a dash of soy sauce for Sweet 'n' Sour Sauce.

Barbecue Sauce:

  • Add 1 tablespoon honey to make Honey Barbecue Sauce.
  • Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup and a dash of liquid smoke for Smoky Maple Barbecue Sauce.
  • Add 1 tablespoon finely diced canned chipotle peppers to make Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon jerk seasoning for Jamaican Barbecue Sauce.

Salad dressing is also great in your favorite sandwiches. In addition to classic combinations such as Italian dressing on a sub or Thousand Island on a Reuben, try blue cheese dressing on a roast beef sandwich, poppy seed dressing on a chicken breast sandwich, or raspberry vinaigrette drizzled over a ham and brie baguette.

For more great information on condiments, see: