Ketchup Leather Is the Food no Backpacker Ever Asked For

Ketchup leather

Ketchup leather has been on the menu in many restaurants since at least 2014, but it took some time before catching on. Some chefs find it the perfect solution for soggy burger buns, but this sheet of spreadable tomato sauce still turns many off. This is a matter of taste, but the real question is, does it compare to fruit leather, and is it a good backpacker food?

What Is Ketchup Leather?

Using ketchup leather
In the most common sense, squares of seasoned and dehydrated ketchup are sliced into pieces, just like cheese slices. The idea is to use those on burgers and sandwiches to avoid sogginess and provide a similar-to-cheese melty effect. When done right, ketchup leather does indeed melt like cheese.

How to Make Ketchup Leather?

Technically, all you need to do is spread the ketchup on a baking sheet, bake it until dehydrated, let cool completely and cut it into square pieces. That’s the very basic at least, but here’s a recipe with more details and a touch of more flavor.

A man making ketchup leather

  • Preheat oven to 180°F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a mixing bowl, add ¾ cup tomato ketchup, 1 teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of chili seeds, and mix.
  • Transfer the mixture to your baking sheet and evenly spread a thin layer.
  • Bake for about 3 hours or until completely dehydrated.
  • After cooling completely, you now know that ketchup leather is ready to be cut into 6 squares.

Is Ketchup Leather Good For Backpacking Food?

Here’s a photo of Adam Ray’s attempt to make ketchup leather and mix it with hashbrowns – a well-desired breakfast among backpackers.

a backpacker's breakfast made of ketchup leather and hashbrowns

It might not look that pleasing, nor does this explain why the leathery ketchup scraps are so famous among gourmet restaurants, but it does the job if you don’t want to carry ketchup in liquid form. However, Adam didn’t like the texture or how it started to melt.

Maybe ketchup leather is one of the things that are best left to master chefs only, maybe we haven’t developed that flavor-and-texture taste just yet, and maybe there is someone that needs convenience over perfect texture and would highly appreciate it.

A backpacker on their way

That being said, ketchup leather seems to have a long way to go before getting into the regular backpacker’s luggage.