14 Condiment Recipes That Prove Homemade Is Always Better Than Store-Bought
Except ketchup. Fuck homemade ketchup.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin.
Do you have a refrigerator door that is groaning under the weight of 8,000 condiment bottles? Do you buy new hot sauce like you buy souvenirs while traveling, accumulating them in your pantry like collectible shot glasses? Do you occasionally reach into the depths of your fridge and pull out a half-used bottle of something that might have at one time been mayonnaise, but now looks like a science experiment? Then you, friend, have a condiment problem. It’s quite common, really, since condiments tend to be the thing we think of as sort of superfluous, so we use them once and promptly erase the memory of the jar in our fridge, where it’s doomed to sit until you clean the appliance out when you move. But why? Condiments are so important! They take meh food and make it great, and take great food and make it even better. Your condiments deserve better! But really, you deserve better condiments. And the only way to ensure your condiments are as good as they can be is if you make them yourself. That’s right, we’re talking about fermenting your own hot sauce, pickling your own kimchi, and whipping up your own mayo. (But as our culinary director, Farideh “Fuck Ketchup” Sadeghin says, don’t even fucking bother with that syrupy tomato shit.) Here’s a collection of recipes for the condiments we truly believe are 1) better when homemade, and 2) will improve your quality of life tenfold. (We don’t even care what you put them on, just make ‘em.)
Piccalilli is the kind of condiment that is best made at home so you can really customize it with your preferred veggies, spices, and heat level. So do yourself a favor: make a double batch of this recipe and jar up the extra so your pantry is always stocked.
With the amount of vinegar in this yellow mustard recipe, it’ll keep for up to three months in an air-tight container in the fridge, so it’s totally worth it to take 20 minutes and make this yourself.
The truth is, there really isn’t anything all that “special” about a certain fast food chain’s special burger sauce, because you can make it with a bunch of things you already have in your own fridge. Whip up a big bowl of this for your next cookout for superb burgers.
We’re not even suggesting you make your mayonnaise like some old-school French chef, painstakingly whisking away by hand for like a half hour. Make your blender or food processor do exactly what it was intended to do—replace manual labor in order to make extra-delicious food (or, you know, condiments).
There’s nothing quite like catching a whiff of your homemade kimchi fermenting away in the back corner of your fridge every time you reach in for something.
The world of things that can be kimchi’d is vast and exciting—try scallions, peaches, mushrooms, mango… literally anything, just go for it with this kimchi base paste.
If the fishy funk of kimchi isn't your thing, give a mango pickle in the South Indian style a try for something you'll inevitably end up putting on just about everything.
Most hot sauces have to ferment before they’re ready to use, but this one—which uses more tomatoes than peppers—is ready to use right away. Slather this on your Saturday morning BEC to start the weekend off right.
As long as you are very careful to not take off your fingertips while slicing the garlic on the mandolin, we can promise you that this toasty, spicy condiment will vastly improve your day.
Use this homemade chili oil to give frozen or take-out dumplings a little something extra.
Relish made out of sweet pickles is great, sure, but we think it makes just as much sense to use a veggie that’s already sweet (and sort of earthy) like a beet.
This recipe yields five pint jars of this stuff, so you can buy the affections of all of your friends by giving the extras away as gifts. (Or keep them for yourself, you selfish hoarder.)
The uses of harissa--as a condiment, as a rub on meat and fish, as something to slather over roasted veggies--are damn near endless, so watch closely and give it a go yourself.
This salsa—made using all dried chilies, not fresh ones—is a truly versatile condiment, but we highly suggest mixing a few teaspoons of this into some mayo or aioli to use as a dip for crudités or fries.