japanese ketchup spaghetti

Japanese Ketchup Spaghetti with Heinz Ketchup

This Japanese ketchup spaghetti with Heinz ketchup comes together in just 20 minutes and is surprisingly delicious.

5 min. Prep
15 min. Cook
20 min. Total
4 Servings





Combine Heinz ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Mix until fully combined and set aside.


olive oil

Heat a pan over medium heat with a bit of olive oil and put a pot of salted water on to boil. Once boiling add spaghetti.



Chop onion, peppers, and mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Add to pan.



Once cooked through add bacon and minced garlic. Salt and pepper as you go.



Once the bacon and pepper mixture is cooked add your ketchup mixture to the pan and thoroughly coat. 



Add spaghetti and about ¼ cup of pasta water to the pan. Combine vegetables and pasta completely.



Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

When it comes to trying new food I am typically pretty adventurous, however, the idea of a Japanese ketchup spaghetti threw me for a loop. Why not just use tomatoes? Even though I was very skeptical I decided to give this peculiar dish a try because many seem to enjoy it. What I found wasn’t a strange unsettling flavor, but a weirdly delicious balance of savory with a touch of sweetness.

So where did Japanese ketchup spaghetti come from? Traditionally, this dish is called Naporitan or Napolitan and it rose to popularity around the 1950s. The head chef at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama created this recipe after being inspired by the spaghetti and tomato sauce dish served to the American military. Since tomato sauce was a hard-to-come-by ingredient, ketchup was used as a substitute for pasta sauce. Around 1960, when Japan started to import ketchup from the US, Japanese people began to recreate the dish and it became more and more popular.

Click Here for: Heinz Ketchup online at Target

As weird as this Japanese ketchup spaghetti may be it also has some great nutrients. You’ll find protein in the bacon, great vitamins in the peppers and mushrooms, some carbs for energy in the spaghetti, and a little bit of fat in the cheese.

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Being in college it’s so important to have an arsenal of easy recipes so on a busy day you can still make something that will be delicious and make you feel good. This Japanese ketchup spaghetti only takes 20 minutes and doesn’t miss the mark.

The ketchup has a slight sweetness that I thought would be unsettling in a pasta dish, but with the Worcestershire sauce it works. I also added a bit of red pepper and lemon juice to my pasta while I was enjoying to offset a bit of the sweetness because I am typically very against sugar being in anything savory. The sweetness that still was coming through in the Japanese ketchup spaghetti was nice.

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There are so many great pasta recipes on Student Recipes and I’m glad to be adding another fun one. If you are skeptical about trying japenese ketchup spaghetti because the idea of Heinz ketchup being in a pasta is weird to you I encourage you to just give it a shot. I whole heartedly believed this dish wouldn’t be for me, but I made it, I liked it, and my family ended up having it for dinner.