Difference between Ketchup and Catsup

January 11, 2017 by Editorial Team

Condiments are popular around the world because they enhance the flavor of dishes. Adding condiments to our food enables one to adjust the taste depending on one’s preference. While it is easy to differentiate one condiment from the others based on their taste and physical appearance, some are confusing because of their spelling. One example is ketchup and catsup. What is the difference between ketchup and catsup? Let us find out in this article.


Ketchup vs Catsup
Bottle of ketchup

Ketchup is a table sauce condiment. Its ingredients are red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, spices, and natural flavoring. Ketchup has a sweet and tangy taste because of the spices and seasonings that have been added. Recipes vary depending on the intended consumers. Seasonings that vary per recipe includes onion, cloves, garlic, and cinnamon. Ketchup is commonly used as a condiment for French fries, cooked eggs, grilled meat, hamburgers, and hot dogs.

The word ketchup is believed to have come from the name of a Chinese sauce of pickled fish and spices called kê-chiap in the 17th century. By the 18th century, Malay states were already using the Chinese sauce in the dishes. During this time, the English settlers may have changed the name to “ketchup.”

Ketchup was originally prepared with mushrooms instead of tomatoes, in the United Kingdom. In a 1742 London cookbook, mushrooms and shallots were added to the fish sauce to have a British flavor. Tomato ketchup was first sold in a bottle by an American named Jonas Yerkes.

Bottle of catsup

Catsup is the old American word for ketchup. Its ingredients, taste, and method of consumption are similar to those of ketchup. The term “catsup” first appeared in a quote by Jonathan Swift, an Irish author, in 1730. When Heinz launched the condiment, it was marketed as “catsup.” But Heinz then changed its spelling to “ketchup” to be differentiated from competitors. Other brands then switched to the new spelling as well, and this change defined the spelling for the modern American market.

Because tomatoes are the main ingredient of catsup, it is believed that it prevents cancer because of its high lycopene content. It is also believed to increase sperm count, improve eyesight, and lower cholesterol levels.

Ketchup vs Catsup

So what is the difference between ketchup and catsup? Ketchup and catsup have the same ingredients, taste, method of consumption and health benefits. Their only difference is their spelling. Catsup used to be more popular in the United States than ketchup. But in the modern times, ketchup has become the preferred spelling of the condiment.


Here is a video that shows how to make tomato ketchup or catsup at home.