Ketchup on a spoon.
How (And When) To Substitute Ketchup For Tomato Sauce

If you’re making spaghetti but forgot the tomato sauce, ketchup may not always work. Ketchup can only stand in when tomato sauce isn’t the main ingredient.

Slow cooker meals, pot roasts, and beans could all handle the swap. You can substitute ketchup for tomato sauce in a one-to-one ratio, adjusting to balance out the sweetness.

When swapping tomato sauce for ketchup, put the ketchup in a separate bowl and add whatever additions you like. That way, it will be easier to taste and adjust as you go.

Spices and fresh herbs are key to making ketchup taste less ketchup-y, so lean into ingredients like basil, rosemary, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Several tomatoey recipes are built off of ketchup from the start. A sloppy joe sandwich recipe based around ketchup instead of tomato sauce can save substitution guesswork.