Is Ketchup Vegan? A Complete Ingredient Breakdown

Ketchup is considered vegan by most organizations and experts. This staple condiment contains only a few ingredients, many of which are plant-based. However, for some strict vegans, not all ketchup make the cut.

Is ketchup vegan? 

Is ketchup vegan? While this food is plant-based by nature, and some vegans choose to consume ketchup, others won’t eat certain varieties containing a few ingredients that don’t fit into their veganism definition.

is ketchup vegan

Vegan condiments become even more critical when you’re learning how to flavor and adapt to an entirely new way of eating. Tomato ketchup is one of America’s favorite condiments, and that doesn’t have to change when you become vegan – you just find different foods to squeeze this sweet tomato sauce onto instead. Many different kinds of ketchup fit into any standard vegan diet. Learn more below about ketchup’s main ingredients, which ones can cause trouble for vegans, and the best vegan ketchup brands on the market.


Most of the ingredients in tomato ketchup are vegan, but there are a few questionable ones that not all vegans choose to eat. If you choose to make your own vegan ketchup recipe at home, this might help:



These sweet, red vegetables are safe and encouraged for a vegan diet, as they contain a load of crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

is ketchup vegan


Vinegar is an acidic solution from plant-based sources, like apples, other fruits, and grains like barley. All essential kinds of vinegar are vegan, but specialty bottles of vinegar with an elaborate ingredient list may not be.  The vinegar used in tomato ketchup making is vegan.

is ketchup vegan


Spices are sourced from plants and are therefore always vegan in their natural state. Any spice blends added to ketchup are vegan-friendly.

is ketchup vegan


Salt is a mineral that comes from the earth, and no animals are exploited or involved in its production.

is ketchup vegan

Here are a few other popular vegan brands:

  • 365 Everyday Value Organic Tomato Ketchup
  • Tessemae’s Organic Ketchup
  • Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
  • Veg’d Organics Vegan All-Natural Ketchup
  • True Made Foods Ketchup
  • Westbrae Natural Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
  • Sir Kensington’s Ketchup
  • Fody Foods Vegan Tomato Ketchup


Based on the above, you’d think that ketchup is vegan and suitable for a plant-based diet. But it’s not as simple as that.


While not an animal product in itself, many vegans consider sugar in ketchup to be non-vegan-friendly, as many white and brown sugars are filtered and bleached using animal bone char. Heating cow bones to a high temperature until they break down into carbon creates bone char or activated carbon.

Sugar lies in a grey area for many vegans, as the resulting sugar is filtered, and no bone char remains in the sugar itself. You can find sugar refined using other products, like beets, and many omit carbon from their process altogether. It’s not a guarantee that bone char is used to process the sugar in your ketchup, but most national brands opt for inexpensive ingredients, like non-vegan white sugar.

is ketchup vegan


You won’t run into this ingredient in tomato ketchup often, except in homemade or specialty ketchup cases. Honey is an animal product, so when it’s present in food, it’s no longer safe for vegan consumption.

is ketchup vegan


One of the best things about ketchup is that it’s naturally acidic. This means you can store an opened bottle at room temperature, and once Heinz tells us to do so in their instructions on how long we should keep our fridge stocked with tomato sauce – they usually recommend throwing out any bottles which have spoiled after six months because there’s no point keeping them if their color or scent has changed! The only downside might be when opening your new KETCHUP container- just remember not to put hot stuff near cold ingredients.