Review: Rao's New Ketchup Line Will Level Up Your Condiment Game

Known for its higher-end homemade pasta sauces, Rao's is a company that we're very familiar with. So when we heard the company was coming out with a line of different ketchups, we knew we had to jump on trying them to let you know if they're worth your while. Debuting in three creative flavors, Roma Tomato, Truffle, and Arrabbiata, Rao's comes on to the ketchup scene swinging.

The company was actually purchased in August 2023 by Campbell's Soup, which is definitely something to note. Rao's pasta sauce jars can typically be found in grocery store aisles for anywhere between $8 to $10 — much more than your typical pasta sauce. But despite the lofty price tag, Rao's has found much success and garnered the love of home chefs through its tasty sauces and flavorful products. Let's take a look (and taste test) at the three brand new Rao's ketchup flavors, and see how they match up to your typical Heinz tomato ketchup.

Rao's ketchup samples were given to us for free from the company to try, but all opinions are our own.

Where to find Rao's ketchup

If you're interested in trying the new product, you may have to do a little bit of research to find it (at least right now). If you live near a Whole Foods Market location, are willing to drive a little bit to get to one, or want to use the power of Instacart to your advantage, you will be able to try out Rao's ketchup for yourself.

According to the company, the Rao's brand plans to expand its ketchup reach to more stores in the future, including HEB, The Fresh Market, and Wakefern. But for now, to try the condiment, you'll have to pop on over to your local Whole Foods Market. If you're not sure whether or not you're going to like Rao's ketchup, or if you're willing to shell out the money for one of the bottles (more on that in a minute), keep on reading to see our thoughts about the ketchup bottles, including what flavor we liked best and ways we think you'd be able to creatively make the most of your ketchup bottles outside of as dipping sauces for french fries.

How much does Rao's ketchup cost?

While prices per bottle of ketchup will obviously vary greatly depending on your state and location, the official statement from our contact at Rao's states that the 12-ounce bottles of ketchup will be priced starting at $5.49. If you're unsure where that stands within the general market of grocery store ketchup bottles, we'll give you the rundown. First, for a litmus test at the only store Rao's ketchup is currently available at, other ketchup bottles at Whole Foods Market range from $3.49 to $9.99.

Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup (32 ounces of it) costs $8.69, Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Ketchup (18.5 ounces) is priced at $9.99, and the lower-cost end of the spectrum is 365 by Whole Foods Market Tomato Ketchup (32 ounces) at $3.49. While over $5 a ketchup bottle may seem ludicrous to most people who are used to shopping for condiments priced closer to $2 to $3, it actually fits right in within the higher-end condiment space. Just like the soups and pasta sauces that Rao's offers, the ketchup product from the company also sits in the same space within its niche.

Taste test: Roma Tomato

The first flavor we decided to taste test was Roma Tomato, the most standard of Rao's ketchup flavors. But before we get super into that, we wanted to note that for taste-testing these flavors, we didn't refrigerate them first, and instead wanted to try them at their shelf-stable, room-temperature states first. We also sampled each ketchup flavor with lightly salted french fries in order to give each flavor the same chance at ketchup glory.

Roma Tomato was a delightful flavor of ketchup. We were expecting it to taste just like your standard Heinz, so we were excited that the marked-up price did warrant some extra flavor and pizzaz. Right off the bat, just whiffing the Roma Tomato ketchup, it smelled more flavorful than standard Heinz. The flavors, when tasted, ended up being memorable and delicious, bringing those Italian herbs and seasonings to the ketchup game without feeling like you're eating a different form of pasta sauce. It was ketchup through and through, with just the right amount of oomph.

Taste test: Truffle

Next on the lineup was the Truffle flavor, and we were very curious to see what this tasted like, given that we'd never tried truffle-flavored ketchup before, and were eager to see how the flavors mingled. This was to be a very delicate balance — the harshness of the vinegar in ketchup combined with the potency of truffle had to be executed in a certain way to be enjoyable rather than abrasive.

Luckily, Rao's nailed it. Upon the first sniff, you can immediately smell the truffle in the condiment, which worried us about the taste a bit. But the truffle ended up balancing beautifully with the tomato-y ketchup flavor, and we loved it. The truffle doesn't overpower your tastebuds like so many truffle-flavor products tend to do, and we think there are a few ways you could implement this flavor into your life. Obviously, you can use it as a dipping side with french fries or on a hot dog, but we think it'd be fun to take it to a new level and use it on a smoky burger with sharp cheese, as a side for truffle Parmesan fries to enhance the truffle flavor, or even in baked beans to take them to a new level.

Taste test: Arrabbiata

Our last bottle to sample was Arrabbiata, which based on our knowledge of the Arrabbiata pepper and the image on the front of the bottle, was bound to have some kind of kick to it. And boy, oh boy, did it have a kick. But this spicy ketchup fooled us initially. When first smelling it, it smells incredibly rich and spicy. But at the first taste test, it's actually quite sweet on the palate, and we enjoyed that a lot.

After about 20 seconds, the spice really started to kick in and build, and we were immensely glad we gave things a second to kick in before going in for a second taste right away. The spice crescendos in a delayed way, so definitely be aware of that before purchasing this flavor. But if you're a fan of all things spicy, you will absolutely enjoy this ketchup. It's not unbearably spicy, but if you can't hold your spice, perhaps skip this flavor for one of the others.

Is Rao's ketchup worth it?

At over $5 a bottle (closer to $6 at our own Whole Foods Market location), is this fancy ketchup from Rao's worth it? We think it depends on what you're looking for. If you're the shopper who lives and breathes all things Whole Foods Market and is always looking to level up your ingredients, this is the ketchup for you. It's far more flavorful (for all three varieties) than any other ketchup we've previously had, and the price is in the middle range for the niche, making it well worth your penny.

But if you're just looking for any old ketchup, perhaps saving a buck or two and sticking to your classic grocery store label or Heinz ketchup will suffice. This new Rao's ketchup is a luxury that will make your life better if you choose to invest in it, but if ketchup isn't your condiment of choice, or you're perfectly happy with your generic ketchup, then you'll live.