How To Make Ketchup

A reader recently asked how to make ketchup.  Great question!

Despite the fact that my two youngest like to dip pickles in ketchup, we don’t generally use a lot of it here.  Nevertheless, I was on a recent meatloaf and hamburger kick, so we went through quite a bit of the red gooey goodness.  In fact, we ran out often, and there was no way I was dragging myself to the store just for ketchup, so I made some.  It takes less time and effort for me to make ketchup than to go to the store and buy it.

There is another reason to make your own ketchup.
  If you read the back of a ketchup bottle, you will notice corn syrup in almost every brand.  Brands that do not have corn syrup have quite a bit of sugar.  And some have both!  We only buy ketchup without corn syrup, but that doesn’t negate the quantity of sugar.  I like to control the amount of sugar my family consumes…although I don’t think they necessarily like that aspect of me.

Here is how to make ketchup with our quick(ish) and simple homemade ketchup recipe, adapted from an overly sweet find.  Linda, this one’s for you!

How To Make Ketchup
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: Christy, The Simple Homemaker
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
This homemade ketchup recipe is an easy and healthier alternative to store-bought ketchup.
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or rapidura, muscovado, or your sweetener of choice—I use a little less than 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar (I’m an apple girl)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons molasses (I sometimes use more—hey, it contains iron)
  • 1 cup water
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and simmer on the stove for up to an hour or until it reaches your desired thickness. Cool, and adjust seasonings and sweeteners to your taste. Makes about a cup of ketchup, depending on how thick you want it.

The issue I have with simmering for an hour is that I usually notice at the very last minute that there is no ketchup, you know, when I reach in the frig to grab and use the ketchup.  That means I don’t have time to simmer…so I sometimes don’t.  If I’m not going to simmer, I only add enough water to get it as thick as I want it.  Nevertheless, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s best to simmer so the flavors can mesh.

I double this recipe and store it in a pint-sized mason jar, but you could put it in an empty ketchup bottle.  (I say “I,” but my girls usually make this cool condiment.)

Lacto-Fermented Ketchup Recipe

A better approach is to plan ahead and make a healthier ketchup.  Gnowfglins, a fantastic site for painless education in wholesome food prep, has an excellent recipe for lacto-fermented ketchup.  This is a very simple method of adding healthy probiotics to your homemade condiment selection.  Once Upon A Plate has a slight variation of this same simple fermented ketchup recipe, and a bit of an explanation for extracting whey from yogurt.

These lacto-fermented ketchup recipes are my first choice for a healthy ketchup recipe.  Fermented ketchup is not difficult to make, and you don’t need special equipment, so don’t be intimidated by the term “lacto-fermented” or the two-day fermentation period.

One More Ketchup Recipe

If you have a hearty tomato harvest and want to go completely from scratch
, you can either make your own paste or try this ketchup recipe from  Read the reviews first.  This is not a simple recipe, and has some strong flavors you may wish to adjust or leave out entirely according to your family’s preferences.

So there you go, Linda and friends!  Now you know how simple it is to make ketchup.  Thank you for sharing your questions.  Please submit any other questions you may have, and I’ll answer them as quickly as possible.

If you try this ketchup recipe, let us know how it goes! Come back and leave a comment and rate this recipe.

This post is linked up to:

Teach Me Tuesdays, Raising Homemakers’ Homemaking Link-up, Works For Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Full Plate ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayTurning The Table ThursdayPennywise PlatterThings I Love Thursday,  It’s a Keeper Thursday,  Frugal Food ThursdayFrugal FridayFood Trip Friday, Weekend Whatever

40 thoughts on “How To Make Ketchup”

  1. I had to start making our own ketchup and most everything else about a year ago when my daughter was diagnosed with a corn allergy on top of her Celiac and other food allergies. Recently, she has been diagnose with allergy to tomato. So, we are working on a ‘no tomato’ tomato sauce base. It works well with BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce, but I haven’t been able to get the ketchup just right yet. Thanks for sharing. I may try molasses.

    1. Wow, Mary, that’s a lot of allergies! We went through that with my daughter as well who has Crohn’s. It is a challenge, and I feel for you. So…out of curiosity, what do you use instead of a tomato base? I’ve honestly never heard of a replacement.

      I think everybody’s idea of just right for ketchup is different. Even within the family, some say it’s too sweet, others, too garlicky, etc. I think if I put it in a Hunt’s bottle, they would all be content. 😉

      Your daughter is very blessed to have you as a parent, working hard for her health. Blessings to all of you!

        1. You can use any food group to make ketchup, from pumpkin, banana, potatoes, yams… whatever. Just keep in mind your making colloidal and you’ll do great.

    2. Mary you should try “tomatillo” it’s grown in South America. I grow it my self on my farm here in Ecuador. Locally we call it “Tree Tomato”. If you go to a Spanish store they sell the pulp, frozen of corse. it’s not in the same family so its a great sub for tomatoes.

  2. Oh yeah…nice and simple. I LOVE recipes that call for ingredients I already keep in the house anyway. We go through a lot of ketchup in our family and finding any without HFCS and/or “natural” flavor is a challenge.

  3. Hi Christy,
    Your Ketchup looks so good. I just love a homemade Ketchup, I really think you can tell the difference, it is so much better. I love your recipe and will give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen
    I liked you on Face Book

  4. Pingback: SocialSave
    1. We really like it, especially how easy it is to adjust to your schedule and tastes. I think my son thinks this new ketchup is a food group all its own. We need to make more!

  5. I too am allergic to corn, eggs and preservatives. I am an adult and find it very difficult to buy store brands. I am so happy to find this recipe. During the Jewish passover it’s easier to find corn free products, Unfortunately I ran out. I use ketchup to make salad dressings. Thanks.
    I only wish I could find a great and tasty recipe for egg free mayo.


    1. Judy, I found this recipe for egg free mayo. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s worth looking into.

      Potato Mayonnaise (no eggs)

      Very small baked potato
      1 teaspoon powdered sugar
      1 teaspoon mustard
      2 tablespoons vinegar
      1 teaspoon salt
      3/4 cup olive oil

      Remove and mash the inside of potato. Add mustard, salt, and powdered sugar; add one tablespoon vinegar, and rub mixture through a fine sieve. Add slowly oil and remaining vinegar. By the taste one would hardly realize eggs were not used in the making.

    2. For egg free mayo, sub the eggs with a tablespoon or two of the liquid from a can of chickpeas. I don’t have an exact recipe, but I’m sure if you look up egg free mayo you’ll find at least a few to try out.

  6. I just made it and it tastes like I just bought it at the store!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!! And I know exactly what’s in it so I don’t have to worry about anything! Thank you!!!

  7. Found this recipe as I am trying to make more items from scratch for my family. 7 year old didn’t care for it. 5 yr. old liked it, but asked for me to try a new recipe next time. It think it was more smokey than they are use to due to the allspice and maybe the molasses too. The adults liked it, even one of our friends enjoyed this. I want to try this recipe again, just use less allspice and maybe use some honey in place of some of the molasses. Kids might like it better then. I put it in jelly jars and froze the jars until we needed them. Tasted great, even after freezing. Thanks for sharing your ketchup recipe!

  8. Just made the ketchup recipe I am not a ketchup person but this is so good and easy. How long will it last in the fridge? Will making this when. Ten thumbs up

    1. Thank you for letting me know!

      I make it as I need it and use it up within a week, treating it like any other leftovers. I’ve heard others say they use it over several weeks, but my husband is positive I’m trying to poison him, so I err on the side of caution and stick with a week. 😉

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