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Brown Sauce Vs. Ketchup (What’s the Difference?)

When you ask someone which is their favorite sauce, either brown sauce or ketchup, they’ll generally tell you straight away that it’s either one or the other.

Brown sauce is a bit like marmite, in that you either love it or you hate it, and those who love it really love it!

It occurred to me that I have no idea what brown sauce is actually made of, so I’ve put together this article to find out the difference between the two sauces when it comes to ingredients and nutrition.

Read on to find out much more about brown sauce and ketchup, and vote in our poll to give us your opinion on which sauce is best.

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Brown Sauce & Ketchup Ingredients Comparision

The best way to find out the actual difference between two food products is by comparing the ingredients and especially the main ingredients.

I’m using top sauce brands HP Brown Sauce and Heinz Original Tomato Ketchup for this comparison.

Surprisingly, the main ingredient of brown sauce (like tomato ketchup) is tomatoes, and they share many of the same ingredients, including malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices.

The main difference between brown sauce and tomato ketchup is the ingredients used in brown sauce to give it a distinctive flavor, including; molasses, dates, and tamarind.

HP Brown Sauce IngredientsHeinz Tomato Ketchup Ingredients
Tomatoes, Malt Vinegar (from Barley), Molasses, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Dates, Modified Cornflour, Rye Flour, Salt, Spices, Flavourings, TamarindTomatoes (148g per 100g Tomato Ketchup), Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Spice and Herb Extracts (contain Celery), Spice
brown sauce in a small bowl on the left and ketchup on the right to show the difference between the two sauces

Brown Sauce Vs. Ketchup Nutritional Comparison

Now let’s take a look at the nutritional comparison between brown sauce and tomato ketchup, and to keep things fair, this will be compared weight-for-weight.

A recommended serving of both brown sauce and tomato ketchup is 15g, equal to a tablespoon of sauce.

The brands I’m comparing for nutrition are HP Brown Sauce and Heinz Original Tomato Ketchup.

Calorie Content

There’s not much difference between the calorie content of brown sauce and tomato ketchup, but of the two, tomato ketchup is 3kcal lower per 15g when compared to brown sauce.

Brown sauce is higher in calories than tomato ketchup because it contains more sugary ingredients, including molasses and dates, which contribute to the sauce’s rich flavor and brown color.

Sauce TypeCalories Per 100gCalories Per Serving
HP Brown Sauce122kcal18kcal
Heinz Tomato Ketchup102kcal15kcal

Nutritional Comparison

Looking at the other nutritional categories, the two sauces are fairly nutritionally similar, as you can see from the table below.

Brown sauce is slightly higher in carbs and sugars, whereas tomato ketchup is slightly higher in protein and salt.

Both brown sauce and tomato ketchup are very low in fat and saturated fat, with only a trace of both per serving.

Nutritional CategoryHP Brown Sauce (per 15g Serving)Heinz Tomato Ketchup (per 15g Serving)
of Which Are Sugars3.5g3.4g
of Which are SaturatesTraceTrace

Best for Flavor/Texture

Brown sauce and tomato ketchup are very different when it comes to taste. Generally, most people like either one or the other, so it’s not something that can be judged without a poll over a broad demographic of voters.

We’d really appreciate it if you could vote in our poll to tell our future readers (and us) which is your favorite, and once you vote, the results so far will be revealed. (No personal information is required to vote).

Which do you prefer?

Best for Price

I’ve been comparing HP Brown Sauce and Heinz Tomato Ketchup brands throughout this article, so I’ll use them again to compare prices.

Each sauce is sold in different-sized bottles and squeezy bottles, so I’ve compared per 100g of sauce rather than per pack to keep things fair.

Below are the average current (at the time of writing) prices for each kind of sauce:

  • HP Brown Sauce £0.44-£0.55 per 100g (depending on pack size).
  • Heinz Tomato Ketchup £0.33-£0.51 per 100g (depending on pack size).

Based on this information, you get slightly more Heinz Tomato Ketchup for your money on average than HP Brown Sauce.

Please note that prices will fluctuate over time and vary depending on brands, promotional offers, and where you shop.


So we’ve now compared brown sauce and tomato ketchup in various categories, and here’s a summary of what we’ve found out about the two sauces.

  • The base ingredients of brown sauce and ketchup are very similar, with brown sauce having added ingredients to create its unique flavor and rich brown color.
  • Brown sauce and tomato ketchup are nutritionally similar, with brown sauce being a little higher in calories and sugar.
  • You get more tomato ketchup for your money than brown sauce (with the brands I compared).

So it really comes down to which sauce you like the best – brown or red!

More Brown Sauce Vs. Tomato Ketchup FAQs

Is brown sauce just ketchup?

The base ingredients of brown sauce and tomato ketchup are the same, with brown sauce having extra ingredients including molasses, dates, and tamarind which create its unique flavor. So effectively brown sauce is a kind of ketchup with a few added ingredients.

Is HP Sauce brown sauce?

Brown sauce is often known as HP sauce because HP was the original brand, although there are now other brands of brown sauce available on the market.

Related Articles

I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:

Nutella Vs. Peanut Butter (Which is Better?)

Aldi Ketchup Vs. Heinz (Which is Best?)

M&M’s Vs. Skittles (Which is the Best?)

Golden Grahams Vs. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Baked Beans Vs. Kidney Beans (Which are Best?)

References Used for this Article

To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the sauce manufacturers; the links below contain the source information:

HP Brown Sauce Manufacturer Nutritional Information

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Manufacturer Nutritional Information