How to Make Your Own Homemade Lacto-Fermented Condiments

Commercial condiments are bad for you, and fermented things are good for you. So why not improve your health by killing two birds with one stone?

Regular ol’ condiments are often some of the worst foods that people eat because they tend to be chalk full of damaged vegetable oils: canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, and it goes on. Not to mention all the sugar, emulsifiers, deoderizers, and preservatives.

Making your own is a great idea so you know exactly what is going in them! And it’s not that hard considering condiments are usually used sparingly. Make a batch once in a while and it will last you ages.

Fermenting Your Condiments

So why not take it one step further and actually ferment your condiments as well? You don’t have to – you can make all the recipes as is, but if you do you get a great probiotic boost every time you dip your eggs in ketchup :)

PS: All these recipes call for a bit of whey (the watery part of milk that has been separated from the milk curds) to help you ferment the food. You make whey by dripping yogurt, kefir, or soured milk through cheesecloth. If you don’t have this or think that’s way too much work, I just learned that you can use juice from your homemade sauerkraut as a fermentation starter instead.

Lacto-Fermented Ketchup

  • 12 ounces organic tomato paste (no salt added)
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup whey (or water)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (could probably use a prepared dijon mustard if you don’t have powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used larger grained salt.)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (You could even add a bit of molasses.)


In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Pour sauce into a storage  container. Cover and leave at room temperature for two days. Move to the fridge.

-Picture and recipe from Gnowfglins

Lacto-Fermented Mustard

  • 1 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup of pure organic wasabi powder
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbs whey
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp honey (less or more)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbs whole black mustard seeds


  1. Soak the yellow mustard seed overnight.  Drain and grind into a paste.
  2. Mix in the wasabi powder, tumeric,  whey, sea salt, honey, lemon juice.
  3. Add  the water and blend until you obtain the desired consistency.
  4. Add the whole black mustard seeds.
  5. Place in a jar and cover tightly.
  6. Leave it at room temperature for about 3 days and then refrigerate.

-Picture and recipe from Heart of the House

Lacto-Fermented Mayonnaise

  • Pastured egg yolks, room temperature (3)
  • Olive oil (1 1/2 – 2 cups)
  • Lemon juice or wine vinegar (3-5 tsp)
  • Sea salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Mustard (1/4 tsp)
  • Whey (2-3 tablespoon)


  1. Mix the egg yolks for 1-2 minutes. If using cold (not room temperature), mix a few minutes more. This is the key to mayonnaise that will set. If you use cold egg yolks, the mayo will not set unless they are warmed up in the blender (or whisked long enough in a warmed bowl).
  2. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar), sea salt, and mustard. Mix for 30 seconds more.
  3. With the blender running, add the olive oil drop by drop. When I say drop by drop, I mean drop by drop. Or at least a very thin, slow stream. This is the other very important element for making a mayo that will emulsify. If you go too fast, you’ll end up with runny mayonnaise.
  4. Once you’ve added about 1/2 a cup of olive oil, the sauce should have thickened into a heavy cream, and now you can add the oil in a thicker stream. Not too fast, though (especially if you are a beginner). If the mayo becomes too thick, add a few more drops of lemon juice or vinegar.
  5. Blend in the whey. Spoon into a mason jar, cover with a lid, and leave it on the counter or in a cupboard (at room temperature) for several hours. Then transfer to the fridge.

-Picture and recipe from Cheeseslave

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

  • 1 large onion or a large bunch of green onions, cut into large chunks
  • 3 small bell peppers, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves (unchopped)
  • 2.5 pounds roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons coarse celtic sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 cup whey
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water


  1. Combine onion, bell peppers, garlic, and cilantro in food processor. Pulse 3-5 times until coarsely chopped. (At this point if the lovely smells coming from this combination don’t make you swoon then I don’t understand you.) Add 1/3 of the tomatoes and pulse 2-3 times until room is made for additional tomatoes. Repeat with another one third of tomatoes. Finally, add the last of the tomatoes and pulse an additional 3-5 times.
  2. Pour contents of food processor into large bowl. Add the lemon juice, sea salt, cayenne powder, and whey. Stir well and allow to sit a few minutes while you prep your containers.
  3. Wash two quart jars or one 1/2 gallon jar well with soap and hot water. Do the same for a food funnel and jar lids. Ladle the salsa into jars, leaving 2-3 inches of head space. Add water to submerge the salsa.
  4. Close lid tightly and leave at room temperature for a few days, until bubbly and fermented. During this process the solid vegetables may separate from the liquid. Simply stir with a wooden or plastic spoon until redisbursed and submerged under the liquid. Transfer to cold storage. Should keep for months.

-Picture and recipe from Nourishing Days

Lacto-Fermented Fruit Chutney

  • 1/2 cup filtered water (the chlorine in straight tap water can halt the fermentation process)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. whey
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, and finely chopped apples or other fruit
  • 1/2 cup raisins or small pieces of other dried fruit
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. slightly crushed coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more, if you like your chutney spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground spicebush berries (or black pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds


Combine the water, vinegar, honey and whey. Mix with the other ingredients and pack firmly into a quart-size glass jar, leaving at least an inch of headspace. The liquid should come up to the top of the fruit. If it doesn’t, add a little filtered water.

Cover and leave at room temperature for 2 days. Refrigerate and leave for another week before eating. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 months. Serve with whatever suits your fancy.

-Picture from Fiesta Farms, Recipe from Farm to Table

What’s your favourite condiment? Could you make it yourself? Could you ferment it?

photo by Chiot’s Run

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  1. Lizzie says

    Hi Tracy! Great post! Love your website!

    Just wondering, what could you dip into the salsa? I’m following the diet you outlined in your e-book.

    Also, any good lunch ideas that are filling?
    I’m in high school and I don’t have time in between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner to eat so I need something substantial.


  2. Lizzie says

    Oh *sorry* forgot to ask

    What are some breakfast ideas?

    What is a typical breakfast like for you?

    THANKS :)

    • Heather C. says

      Hey Lizzie! You could try making your own chips from gluten free/wheat free tortillas. Just cut (or tear) them into the shape you want and bake in the oven until they’re crisp. You could also try deep frying them in virgin coconut oil-it’s a very stable oil and much better than all the processed oil (like canola and veggie). You could try eggs for breakfast. I’m a college student and usually I don’t have time to scramble eggs in the morning so what I do is boil 6 eggs on a Sunday so I’ll have a quick spot of protien in the mornings or a snack when I feel like I’m fixing to chew my arm off. I also make a pitcher of Tracy’s green smoothie so I don’t have to deal with blending every morning. I drink about 16 oz in the morning and a pitcher usually lasts me about 4 or 5 days. If you do all of this on a Sunday, you can just grab and go in the mornings. I know it doesn’t sound like alot but it’s a really nutritious, filling breakfast.

      • Lizzie says

        Thanks! That’s a good idea. I’ve been scrambling around in the morning making smoothies but it would be a lot easier to pre-make them. Good idea!

  3. Heather C. says

    All these recipes sound so YUMMY! I’m a salsa freak and it’s pretty cool that it can become a probiotic as well. I can’t wait to try it 😀

  4. says

    Great recipes! These all sound super delicious! This isn’t really relevant to fermented foods but…could you write a post explaining how carbohydrates work? In relation to candida? I’m confused as to why pseudo grains are allowed on the cleanse (in moderation) when they contain carbohydrates…don’t all carbs break down into sugar?

  5. Heather C. says

    Hi Tracy! I was wondering what you think about horseradish or jalapeno being added to the mayo? I really like a spicy kick but I was wondering if that flavor would keep its kick since it’s being fermented. Hmm…

    • Tracy says

      I say go for it, especially because the mayo is only fermented for a short time (I guess because of the eggs), it would probably still be quite kickin.

      If you ferment for longer, maybe not – I just finished fermenting my first batch of salsa, but I fermented it for some time (more than a week), and I am finding that unfortunately it’s not all that spicy anymore.

  6. eva says

    oh man, what do I miss? the other day I got organic lacto-fermented carrot juice, thinking that would be healthy and maybe also help my digestion, since lacto acids should be fine for someone like me who is lactose intolerant. and after a few sips a got an awful headache almost like a migraine attack so strong that I had to lie down. and then I actually remembered that I had already figured out at some point that I’m probably also histamine intolerant, I would get the same reaction from eating sauerkraut (although I love sauerkraut!!) or salami (salami I don’t care). often things that are fermented or stored a longer time build up high level of histamine. histamine intolerance seems very rare. I don’t have a problem with kimchi though (is kimchi fermented? I’m getting confused). not sure what to make of all of this, does anyone of you guys have some more information on that problem?

    • Tracy says

      Hi Eva – yes you could be histamine intolerant, as yes, fermented foods do build up histamines. So do leftovers, and a bunch of other things – you’re right though, histamine intolerance is pretty rare.

      What’s most likely happening is that you are having a detox or die off reaction, as it’s very normal to feel worse for a while after you start probiotic foods. Although I don’t know why you would react to salami in this case, and not kimchi. One of life’s little mysteries…

      Here’s some reading for you:

      • eva says

        hey tracy, thank you so much for the link, I will look into it!
        the thing with the detox reaction is also interesting.

  7. says

    Hey Tracey

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I have had some issues with my diet over the last few years but thankfully it is getting better now, but I wont’t get into that here.

    Anyway I will definitely be trying this later on as I do miss the foods above as I have not eaten any of them for years.

    I have to say though I am not a fan of ketchup and never have been, but the rest I am really looking forward to tasting again.

    Thanks Tracey

    Bobby Thomas

  8. Melanie says

    Oh I can’t wait until GAPS intro is finished so I can start making these! Fermentation is such a remarkable thing. You must be getting ready to start your own GAPS intro soon? You’re certainly off to a good start! Will you be having a GAPS friendly birthday menu too? It seems we were born the same day, April 5th. It would be great fun to make a dessert, but it seems like chicken soup will take the cake this year. Lots o’ love.

    • Tracy says

      Yay, birthday twin 😀
      I’m going to start GAPS probably after Easter. I have ordered half a cow and it won’t be ready till mid May, but I sourced a bunch of good bones and I’m impatient, so I’ll probably start early

  9. says

    Great article! It was really helpfull for me because I’m trying to avoid commercial condiments for a while now but I just never thought that making my own could be so easy! I’ve already try ketchup and mayonnaise and It taste wonderfull, particularly the ketchup… I found it really versatile because with it I made also my own bbq sauce for chicken (boyfriend apporved 😉 ) About that, I wanted to know if it’s hard for you to make your boyfriend follow the same diet as you… Actually I love to cook meals for us, and I know my man really appreciate what I’m doing, but sometimes I think He’s just missing eating mashed potatoes, white pastas and rice… So sometimes I make a small portion of it just for him, but the fact is that as I “white stuff” lover, it’s tempting to do some for me too… And I prefere stay away completely from it because I’m effraid to go back to my old habits. Have you any advice to make the dinner prep easier?

    • Tracy says

      Luckily my boyfriend’s pretty easy, although I don’t make him follow my exact diet. I cook him dinner and he always really likes it. He eats whatever he wants the rest of the time. It works for us. Basically he’s open to everything healthy, he just doesn’t follow it as closely as me. (like, he eats toast, which is fine because I nagged him to eat brown bread, and he seems okay with that). I understand though that it is a really difficult thing to accomodate the preferences of someone else, and hope that they will accommodate yours with no problems. Not sure what to advise though… it already sounds like you have come to a compromise?

      • says

        Fortunatly my boyfriends his really easy too, but he really love to eat things like plain white pastas, potatoes, white bread, pizza and french fries sometimes (not to often luckily)… He’s not a great cook ( I’m happy that he doesn’t speak english 😉 ) So he never complain about what I’m cooking, but ya I think I’m going to continue to compromise like I did, I just need to be stronger and not be so tempted to take a bite on his pizza 😛 Damn why bad stuff taste often delicious???

    • eva says

      Interesting boyfriend always leaves chocolate and ice cream around. Although I usually never eat ice cream, because I can’t take it at all I found myself emptying half a pint of Häagen Dazs the other day..My general ideas about health work out okay when I do the cooking and I do the shopping, he loves what I cook for us. but as we try to share the work I’m often not so happy with what he is buying or how he is cooking for me and sometimes I cannot really appreciate his cooking which is often a big disappointment for him (and for me). we had several disputes about oils..he already has adjusted a lot to me, which I appreciate, but he also still thinks that I’m too dogmatic about food. And he cooks pasta all the time and eats a lot of low quality bread. Can’t do anything about it, and the stuff is always around, available for me at any time..At the beginning of our relationship I had a lot of belly aches and I put on some kilos.. 😉 I find in the end that of course it would be much easier if he would think about food the same as I do, but at the same time we all gotta take responsibility for ourselves and just have to learn say ‘no thank you’. I have similar issues when I’m invited for dinners. I get a lot of dinner invitation and it’s most of the time not exactly what I wanna eat..

      • Tracy says

        Yes, now that you mention it – I suppose our kitchen stuff works out so smoothly because I am a total control freak in the kitchen (and he seems fine with that)… even though he can cook, I always cook dinner because I know exactly how I want it and with what ingredients, and often what I will eat from day to day will change (depending on how strict I am being at that time)….. it’s a confusing matter for a poor boy to figure out!

        Our compromise in order to make chores fair is that he always does the dishes after I cook dinner. And while I usually grocery shop, he will grocery shop too, as long as I tell him exactly what we need.

        As for lunch and breakfast, we just make our own (unless I’m feeling especially generous!), that way he can eat stuff that I don’t (although he’d probably like it I’m sure if I made him all his meals, but I ain’t doing that). All in all, I realize I’m very lucky that he’s so patient and understanding about all my “food” stuff.

        • eva says

          Ha, that is so interesting. I was always wondering how other people do this. I really should take over the whole cooking if I wanna be in control of everything. But my boyfriend really loves cooking and loves being “creative” in his own way..and he is much taller than me and is always hungry and would never wanna cut down his carb intake for instance, it would just be too much work for me.. We often even cook seperate meals at the same time in our little kitchen because it’s sometimes too difficult to please both of compromises is not so easy sometimes

  10. Tristan says

    Hey this looks yummy and worth trying! just wondering- how long can these spreads/condiments keep since they’re naturally fermented?

  11. Ali says

    Tracy, I’m new to this fermenting thing and kinda confused about is there anyway I can buy fermented ketchup, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc at the store such as Trader Joes or Whole Foods (not sure what you’re organic stores are called in Canada?) lol
    I really want to try them! I’ve also seen kefir at the store, any recommendations or precautions you advise me to take before choosing one to buy?

    • Tracy says

      It’s kind of intimidating before you do it, but it’s actually really not hard at all. No, I don’t think you can get fermented condiments anywhere… if you could, they’d probably be pasteurized afterward and not have any of the benefits. And they’d surely have processed ingredients in them! Give fermenting a try… refer to my sauerkraut tutorial for help:

      Oh yeah… and kefir…. well…. I’d encourage you to make your own, but just make sure that whatever you buy at the store doesn’t have any added sugar in it at all. And go for goat’s kefir if it’s available. If not, it’s okay

  12. Ali says

    Or better yet..if you could send me a few links further explaining the process, concept, benefits, that’d be awesome. I’ve read your take on it…but when I research new things, I RESEARCH extensively 😉 I guess that’s my perfectionistic, OCD part of me…lol

  13. Ali says

    So for the ketchup, I can use the salty brine from the sauerkraut instead of the whey and it will ferment?
    Also with my sauerkraut in the fridge when it gets low, I just mix a couple tablespoons of pure sea salt with purified water and top it off, is this fine?

    • Tracy says

      Hi Ali, yes apparently that will work to help ferment the ketchup. And as for the sauerkraut… I don’t know… I’ve heard you’re supposed to keep it submerged even in the fridge, but I got way too lazy to keep topping it up with salt water and nothing has ever happened to mine… no mould or anything, so Id say not to bother

    • Tracy says

      Hm.. I don’t know a lot about whey powder, but from the weston a price website, they said:

      “Q: I would like to use a whey powder for my recipes, is that okay? It includes: Whey protein concentrate (milk), whey protein isolate (milk).

      A: Whey proteins are very fragile and easily messed up by processing. You should make your own whey, it is not difficult especially from a good quality store-bought yogurt. There is a recipe in Nourishing Traditions.”

    • Tracy says

      Thanks Ali, he did make that look easy… I’ll have to try his beet-basil-dill-carrot-garlic combo, it sounds delish

  14. diane says

    Very new to fermenting, so excited to try everything. We just made the ketchup, it smells wonderful ! But i have a stupid question. How do I know if its safe to eat, other than by an off smell? If I where to leave plain old tomato paste out on the counter for 3 days [the same organic tomato paste I used for the ketchup] Id probably discard it thinking it was no good or spoiled. So why is the ketchup safe to eat ? Dont want to get sick,any other ways to test if fermented food are ok to eat! thanks for your time:]

    • Tracy says

      Hi Diane,
      Well, it’s because you introduced bacteria that you know is good to the mix, it will take over. Also, I bet it is unlikely that if you were to just leave ketchup on the counter for a few days that it would go bad, unless you could actually smell that it went bad. Then you would know that it went bad. And also, you just have to trust me :p I usually just gauge whether food has gone bad by the way it smells or if there’s mould, and only use sell by dates as general guidelines.. so far…. no food poisoning. I often think that used by dates are .. well, they’re useful, but I think food can often be eaten for a lot longer than they say, and in many cases, can probably be left on the counter for a little while even though they say “refrigerate after opening”

  15. TIm says

    These recipes look really interesting. I make and strain yogurt about twice a week and the leftover whey is getting the best of my fridge. One question, you refer to “fresh whey”, how “fresh does it have to be to get the fermentation going? Mine will sometimes rest in the fridge for several days or even a week before I get around to using it. Thanks for your thoughts.


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