Ketchup with the Grill Master: 4 Spicy Sauces for the Well Seasoned Burger

Bacon Cheeseburger with spicy curry ketchup

Whether you’re new to grilling and homemade burger seasonings or you’re a long-time grill master, there are so many different types of spicy sauces that can help you take your grilling game to the next level. From quick sauces that spruce up the mayo or ketchup you already have in the fridge to more complex, from-scratch sauces, there’s something for everyone in this piece. Here, we’ll dive into 4 delicious spicy sauces that you can add to your repertoire the next time you want to add a personal touch to your burgers.

A burger on a bun with a swirl of Spicy curry ketchup

Easy Curry Ketchup

First up is an easy recipe that comes together in just minutes. Curry ketchup is an excellent and quick option if you’re in a pinch and looking for a way to spice up your burgers without spending a lot of time making a killer sauce. This sauce is inspired by German curry ketchup (called Currygewürzketchup, say that 10 times fast) and makes an excellent topper for burgers, hot dogs, and fries. It even works as a great marinade.

To make this quick curry ketchup, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of tomato ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of water

Just add all of these ingredients to a bowl, give it a good mix and let it sit for a while so the spices can all get incorporated together.

While you can make a simpler version of curry ketchup by adding curry powder to ketchup, the few extra ingredients listed above help take this sauce up a notch and make it more unique.

Grill Master Advice:

  • If you don’t have honey (or you don’t eat honey), you can replace it with maple syrup
  • If you want your ketchup to be spicier, you can add more chili powder or add a touch of cayenne as well.

Burgers with The Works sauce Ketchup, mustard, and mayo

The Works (A Grill Master Favorite)

Okay, so you could put all these ingredients in separately if you wanted, but that’d make for one messy burger (and too many bottles on the table). So, why not make a sauce with all the go-to burger classics in one place? That’s exactly what this sauce is — which is why we call it “the works.” This sauce makes an excellent burger topper and a great dipping sauce for fries, onion rings, and whatever else you feel like dipping!

For this sauce, you’re going to need:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons onion granules
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chili powder or cayenne (for spice)

Simply add all of these ingredients to a bowl and whisk them up until everything is well combined. You can use this mix immediately, but it is much better if you cover it and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to really let those flavors meld together!

Grill Master Advice:

  • If you want more mustard flavor, try dijon mustard instead of yellow.
  • The vinegar adds a delicious tangy flavor that keeps the sauce from being too sweet, but if you like it on the sweeter side, try rice wine vinegar instead of white vinegar.
  • If you want to get your “tang” another way, try substituting the vinegar for pickle juice.

Red Chile Chutney

Delicious Chili Chutney

If you’re looking for a burger topper that offers a bit more of a homemade touch, this chili chutney might be a great option. This recipe takes about an hour to make, and the end result is a delicious pepper chutney that can add a boatload of personality to any burger (or even be enjoyed on a slice of bread!).

To make this chutney, you’ll need:

  • 10 medium-sized hot peppers (like jalapenos)
  • 8 medium bell peppers
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 2-inch piece of a cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

The first step is to char the peppers. You can do this on a gas stove, on a grill, or with a broiler. The idea is just to get the peppers nice and charred. Once your peppers are charred, put them in a covered bowl until cool enough to touch. Removed the charred skins and cut the peppers in half to remove the seeds and cores. Chop the peppers and set aside for now.

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, rosemary, bay leaves, cinnamon, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the onions have softened and darkened. Now stir in the chopped peppers, vinegar, and sugar and continue to cook. Stir occasionally until the mixture has reduced and is thick and syrupy (around 30 minutes). Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick before transferring the chutney into a jar and season once again with salt and pepper as needed.

Grill Master Advice:

  • If you want your chutney to be spicier, add more hot peppers and use fewer bell peppers.

A jar of spicy ketchup

Spicy Ketchup from Scratch

If you’ve never tried spicy ketchup, you’re in for a treat. With the right combination of spices, you can take a classic like ketchup and turn it into a standout sauce. Now, you can, of course, spice up that bottle of ketchup that you probably already have in your fridge, but there’s something special about making homemade ketchup. So, if you’re looking for a truly homemade sauce for your next grill-out, bookmark this one; it’ll be worth it!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cans of whole tomatoes (in juice)
  • 5 medium onions, chopped
  • 20 cloves of garlic
  • 10 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 ¼ cups light brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 5 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground allspice

To make this spicy ketchup you’ll need a blender, a pan, and a stove. This sauce is a bit more labor intensive because you are making it from scratch, but it is worth it in the end!

Step one is to blend the tomatoes and their juice until they form a smooth juice. After that, you’ll need to heat the onions, garlic, and salt in the vegetable oil on medium heat until the onions are golden brown (around 8 minutes). Next, add the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the tomato juice, tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar and cook for 45-55 minutes (until it becomes thick). Finally, puree everything in the blender and chill the mix for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to combine thoroughly.

Grill Master Advice:

  • If you want to make homemade ketchup (not spicy), just omit the spices!
  • If you’re looking for more spice, increase the chili powder or add another ground pepper to the mix, like habanero or chipotle pepper.



Whether you have always been a fan of the classic ketchup and mustard burger toppings or have always been searching for more unique burger toppings, we hope these four spicy sauces have inspired you to have some fun with your burger toppings. If you’re an avid griller or cook, you likely already have most of the ingredients you’d need for these sauces, and you can always whip up a small batch to try out before committing to a larger amount by scaling back the recipes.

If you need any spices or seasoning for a recipe that really inspires you, check out FreshJax’s selection of delicious organic seasonings! We are pretty partial to Grill Master Burger and SteakCan you tell?



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A Man and a Woman using two plant-based burgers to high Five
Burgers with buns and fries on a tray

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