How to Say “Ketchup” in Spanish: Formal and Informal Ways

Are you craving some french fries or a hotdog with a side of ketchup while traveling in a Spanish-speaking country? Knowing how to say “ketchup” in Spanish will surely come in handy! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the formal and informal ways to express this popular condiment, providing regional variations only when necessary. So, let’s delve into the world of ketchup in Spanish!

Formal Ways to Say “Ketchup” in Spanish

When speaking formally or in professional settings, it’s important to use proper language and consider cultural norms. Here are some formal ways to refer to “ketchup” in Spanish:

1. Salsa de tomate

A common formal term for ketchup in Spanish is “salsa de tomate.” This translation, which directly means “tomato sauce,” is widely recognized and used in various Spanish-speaking countries. It is the safest and most polite choice when referring to ketchup in a formal context. For example:

El restaurante ofrece salsa de tomate para acompañar las papas fritas. (The restaurant offers tomato sauce to accompany the french fries.)

2. Pasta de tomate

Another formal term is “pasta de tomate,” which translates to “tomato paste.” While it might not be as widely used as “salsa de tomate,” it is still an acceptable and formal way to express ketchup in some regions. For instance:

Me gustaría un poco de pasta de tomate para poner en mi hamburguesa. (I would like some tomato paste to put on my hamburger.)

Informal Ways to Say “Ketchup” in Spanish

Informal situations often call for a more relaxed and casual manner of speech. Here are some common informal ways to refer to “ketchup” in Spanish:

1. Ketchup

In less formal contexts, the English term “ketchup” is widely understood and used among Spanish speakers. It has become a loanword in many Spanish-speaking countries, particularly in urban areas where international influence is significant. For example:

¿Puedes pasarme el ketchup, por favor? (Can you pass me the ketchup, please?)

2. Catsup

Similar to “ketchup,” the term “catsup” is also occasionally used in informal situations, although it is less common than “ketchup.” “Catsup” is an alternative spelling of “ketchup,” and its pronunciation in Spanish follows a phonetic adaptation to the language. Here’s an example:

Si te gusta, puedo traerte un poco de catsup para tus papas. (If you like, I can bring you some catsup for your fries.)

Regional Variations for “Ketchup” in Spanish

Language is diverse, and regional variations are an integral part of linguistic evolution. While the previously mentioned terms are widely understood and used, there are some regional variations to be aware of:

1. Salsa golf

Used predominantly in Argentina and Uruguay, “salsa golf” refers to a slightly modified version of ketchup. It is a condiment that combines ketchup with mayonnaise, often used to accompany seafood or served with french fries. When in these countries, you may come across the term “salsa golf” rather than “ketchup.” For instance:

¿Me pasas la salsa golf para las papas, por favor? (Could you pass me the salsa golf for the fries, please?)

2. Cátchup

In some regions of Spain, you might encounter the term “cátchup” as a variation of “ketchup.” This adaptation reflects the regional accent and pronunciation patterns found in parts of Spain. Here’s an example:

Voy a agregar un poco de cátchup a mi hamburguesa. (I’m going to add some cátchup to my hamburger.)

Tips for Ordering Ketchup in Spanish

If you find yourself at a restaurant and want to ensure your ketchup needs are met, here are a few useful tips:

1. Politeness Goes a Long Way

When requesting ketchup, always remember to use polite expressions such as “por favor” (please) and “gracias” (thank you). Being courteous will certainly enhance your dining experience.

2. Observe Local Customs

While “salsa de tomate” and “ketchup” are understood in most Spanish-speaking countries, it’s important to be aware of regional preferences. Observing local customs and adopting the commonly used term will help you integrate better into the local culture.

3. Non-Verbal Communication

If you’re unsure about the specific word for ketchup in a particular country or region, consider using non-verbal communication. Pointing at nearby condiments or showing a picture can help bridge any language gaps you may encounter.


Now you’re well-equipped with a variety of ways to express “ketchup” in Spanish. Remember, in formal settings, opting for “salsa de tomate” or “pasta de tomate” is recommended. In informal situations, using “ketchup” or “catsup” is widely understood and accepted. Regional variations, such as “salsa golf” or “cátchup,” may come up in specific contexts or locations. With these tips and examples, you’ll be able to confidently order ketchup in Spanish, ensuring a delightful dining experience!

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