I tried mayo-ketchup for the first time in Puerto Rico in March 2019. When I returned home to Pennsylvania, I discovered Heinz released their own version months prior.
Although the mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup is popular across the United States, it’s also a beloved condiment in Latin American and Caribbean countries. The dipping sauce is called everything from “fry sauce” to “salsa golf” around the world, but the base ingredients are usually the same.
While visiting Puerto Rico, where my mom is from, I tried mayo-ketchup on everything from fried plantains to sandwiches to chicken. I don’t like ketchup or mayonnaise on their own, so I was surprised by how much I liked them mixed together.
While some Puerto Ricans use Goya’s Mayo-Ketchup, others make their own — there are countless variations and recipes available online.
After moving into a new space in Philadelphia, I bought Heinz’s $4 Mayochup, which hit shelves in September 2018, to keep on hand. With the US Department of Agriculture predicting food prices will increase 7.1 percent in 2023, I decided to see if a homemade batch of mayo-ketchup was tastier or cheaper than Heinz’s take.
I started with the main ingredients — mayo and ketchup — and chose seasonings based on personal preference.
Almost all of the ingredients I used for my recipe were already in my pantry. Because I don’t eat ketchup on its own and don’t use it for cooking, I borrowed some from a loved one.
I loosely based my proportions on a recipe from lifestyle blog My Stay at Home Adventures because I wanted to use more mayo than ketchup. I also swapped out the Worcestershire sauce for lemon juice, hoping it would complement chicken better:
- 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup of ketchup
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- A few dashes of Goya Sazón seasoning to taste
I started by combining the mayonnaise and the ketchup in a small glass container. Once I mixed them, I saw mayo-ketchup’s signature pale orange color come to life.
I mixed the first two ingredients together with a spoon, folding the mixture and scraping the sides to ensure everything was combined thoroughly.
After mixing, I tasted the sauce for the first time and immediately knew it needed more flavor and acidity to cut through the creaminess.
Next up was the lemon juice. I didn’t want to overwhelm the mayo-ketchup too much, so I added it a bit at a time, mixing and tasting in between.
I was happy with just one teaspoon of lemon juice in the sauce — I thought it added just enough tartness without overpowering the taste.
Next time I make mayo-ketchup, I would consider using freshly squeezed lemon juice to enhance the flavor even more.
I added the garlic powder slowly as well. My biggest concern was that it would make the smooth sauce too grainy.
I knew that garlic powder would add a great taste, but I wondered if it would alter the texture.
After combining thoroughly again, I was relieved that the mayo-ketchup was still velvety and rich. Since garlic is so prominent in Puerto Rican cooking, I would even add more for my next attempt.
Finally, I finished with a couple of dashes of Goya Sazón, sampling the sauce until it tasted the way I wanted it to.
My mom uses Sazón to add flavor to many Puerto Rican dishes, from arroz con pollo, or chicken with rice, to habichuelas guisadas, a dish made of stewed beans. The version we always use features coriander and annatto, but Goya sells several kinds of seasoning packets.
The Sazón added a bright orange color to my mayo-ketchup — and to my hands. I realized while I was cleaning up that the seasoning stained my palms, and it didn’t come off until I scrubbed them in the shower.
Once the mayo-ketchup was prepared, I decided to do a side-by-side test of the two sauces on the same meal.
I eat mayo-ketchup as both a spread and a dipping sauce, so I used one of my favorite quick and easy meals — pan-fried chicken and french fries — as a vehicle for the taste test.
The first thing I noticed was how much runnier my mayo-ketchup was than Heinz Mayochup. I chalked up the difference in consistency to how cold the Mayochup was and the way it was dispensed from the bottle.
I placed some on each plate next to my fries and swiped it on a toasted bun for the chicken. Both condiments sunk in quickly, so I wasn’t too concerned about one bun getting soggier than the other.
When it came to taste, there was a clear winner for me.
As I tried my recipe, I could instantly taste that it had a depth the Mayochup didn’t. I first got a bit of the garlic, followed by the tang from the ketchup and lemon juice. The mayonnaise provided a rich texture, making it a delicious experience with the crunchy chicken and fries.
I still really enjoyed the Mayochup, but I noticed the flavors fused together much more from start to finish. Still, I liked its fluffier texture a bit more than the texture of my sauce.
Ultimately, I want to use both sauces again. While the homemade version had a better flavor, the shelf stability and price of the Heinz Mayochup are unbeatable.
Based on prices from Amazon, the five-ingredient mayo-ketchup would cost a total of $17.75.
Although a bottle of Heinz Mayochup costs less than a quarter of the price, many of the ingredients for mayo-ketchup are pantry staples for some people. For anyone deciding between the two, it depends on what you already have at home.
According to My Stay at Home Adventures, the at-home mayo-ketchup will last up to five days in the refrigerator, while the Mayochup can last for months in the same place.
As food prices continue to inflate, I definitely won’t rule out Mayochup. I plan on using it for daily use, but I’ll save the homemade recipe for when I cook Puerto Rican food from scratch or take it to a dinner party. I know my friends and loved ones will enjoy it any way I serve it.