Kosher Mainstream Sauces

The Lazy Knitter is traveling again this week, so I, Mr. Lazy Knitter, will be providing this week’s article on a topic near to my heart, or at least my stomach: mainstream sauces that happen to be kosher. If you’re a foodie who began keeping kosher as an adult, I bet you miss some of these flavors.

One of the biggest challenges of keeping Kosher is finding appropriate ingredients that are “hechshered” (marked as Kosher by a specific supervising group). This is most challenging when it comes to sauces, because most of the sauces in the actual Kosher aisle tend to be light on the flavor and heavy on the sugar.

There are a few exceptions to this, like when I picked up two jars of s’chug (a Yemeni hot sauce) at a Kosher grocery store for some slow-cooker chicken and ended up making it inedibly spicy, but for the most part, you are better off seeking sauces outside of the Kosher aisle, even if it means having to play “find the hechsher” on every single bottle.

Lucky for you, I’ve spent a lot of time playing “find the hechsher” in grocery store condiment aisles and taste-testing the best ones. So if you don’t have time to take a magnifying glass with you to the grocery store, you can use my tried and true suggestions.

Frank’s

Hechsher: Orthodox Union (OU)

Frank’s Red Hot is, hands-down, one of the best hot sauces on the market. If you’ve ever had buffalo wings at a restaurant, odds are they’re either using Frank’s or the sauce tastes off.

And all of their flavors happen to be hechshered Kosher.

The basic cayenne pepper sauce can’t be beat for an all-purpose hot sauce – it doesn’t have too much sugar, has a nice note of garlic, and a good balance of vinegar and salt with a solid kick. Their buffalo wing flavor sacrifices a little heat to get a bit more buttery flavor in there (without any actual butter, so it’s still pareve). There’s also an extra hot buffalo for those that like the buttery flavor and want a little extra kick above the basic sauce. There’s an extra hot regular as well for those that are truly adventurous in their spice tastes, though it sacrifices a bit of flavor, so it isn’t my favorite. Finally, they have a few other flavors like chili lime, sweet chili, and stinging honey garlic, but those lean back into the “too much sweetness” realm.

Nando’s

Hechsher: London Beit Din (KLBD)

Nando’s Peri Peri is a Portuguese-South African chicken restaurant chain featuring a spicy sauce. Interestingly, all of their sauces are available as hechshered Kosher, despite the fact that the restaurant isn’t Kosher at all. The sauce has a unique taste, being a little bit thicker than a traditional hot sauce, with heavy notes of garlic and rosemary extract.

The sauce comes in a range of spice levels, from medium to extra hot, as well as some interesting extra flavors like garlic, chili mango, and lemon & herb. The extra hot is my personal favorite, though the garlic is also very good for when you want something less in-your-face. I’ve made excellent chicken wings as a Shabbat dinner appetizer with the garlic sauce. For first-timers, I’d recommend the sampler pack, with 1 bottle each of the garlic, medium, hot, and extra hot flavors.

Just

Hechsher: Orthodox Union (OU)

Just makes vegan dressings and mayo. Unfortunately, they’re currently not stocked on any shelves due to the company having just resolved a lawsuit from the egg industry, who objected to the use of the word “mayo” on an egg-free product. However, they should be returning soon.

Dairy-free, but still maintaining solid taste, Just Ranch has been my go-to pareve ranch dressing since they got a hechsher last year. Just also makes a variety of other dressings, like Caesar and Thousand Island, as well as a number of mayo flavors, including garlic, truffle, and Sriracha.

Brianna’s

Hechsher: Orthodox Union (OU)

Brianna’s salad dressings are another brand of hechshered dressings, all with no added sugar. Their French vinaigrette is a good fallback for any salad that calls for a vinegar-based dressing. It’s our go-to salad dressing for everyday salads and is also a staple on our Shabbat table.

Amusingly, it has a sticker saying “Does not contain artichokes”, which was clearly added after someone complained about the artichoke in the picture on the label.

78

Hechsher: Orthodox Union (OU)

78 is a brand that makes ketchup and mustard. They make one of the few kosher spicy yellow mustards I’ve found, and a rather tasty one at that. They also make a regular yellow mustard, as well as both spicy and regular ketchup..

Black Garlic

Hechsher: Kosher Supervisors of Wisconsin

Not strictly a sauce, but black garlic is a specialty Korean ingredient that’s incredibly hard to find hechshered. It’s fermented garlic that is literally black and is often used in Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes.

I have found one hechshered brand: Peeled Black Garlic (5 oz.)- Kosher Certifed

I hope this helps any aspiring Kosher chefs next time you’re trying to put together a restaurant-quality dish at home.

Bon appetit -Mr. Lazy Knitter

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