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Homemade Ketchup

October 20th, 2009

In our efforts to eat healthier and more locally I’ve been learning to make more and more things here at home instead of buying them at the store. Usually they’re very easy to make and most of the time they taste better than their store-bought counterpart and they’re much cheaper as well. My latest make my own efforts involved ketchup.
Homemade_KetchupMaking ketchup is actually much easier than it sounds. I used the recipe from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects
Of course since I lack the ability to follow a recipe to a T, I changed the recipe a bit. I used roasted tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes and I used olive oil and ground cardamom since I didn’t have whole pods.

Regular ol’ Tomato Ketchup (but better)
from: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects

1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods (crushed) I used 1/2 t. ground cardamom
1 star anise
10 black peppercorns
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes (I used roasted homegrown tomatoes)
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 Tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (I used olive)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used organic evaporated cane juice and organic molasses)
1/2 cup champagne vinegar (I used organic white balsamic)
1 teaspoon hungarian paprika (I used smoked paprika)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Using a piece of cheesecloth (or an empty tea bag), tie the cinnamon, bay, cloves, cardamom, anise, and peppercorns into a bundle. Set aside.

2. Pour tomatoes and their juice into a food processor or blender (or put roasted tomatoes through food mill). Puree until totally smooth, and set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the remainder, add the onion and puree.

3. In a large dutch oven (this will splatter so use a large tall pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion puree and the 2 teaspoons of salt and stir well. Cook for 8-10 minutes, letting the puree reduce and lightly brown. Add the tomato, sugar and vinegar, turn heat to a low simmer, and reduce for about 15 minutes uncovered, with an occasional stir (cooking time is reduced if using roasted tomatoes since they’re already reduced). Add the spice bundle and reduce for 10 minutes more, with an occasional stir (I added the spice packet when I added the tomatoes). When it’s done reducing, it should be a little thinner than commercial ketchup. Stir in paprika, taste for seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

4. Let ketchup cool and remove the spice bundle. Pour into a jar and chill overnight, or at least for 6 hours.

Will store in fridge for up to 2 months.
To can: ladle into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 headspace and process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes (more at higher elevations).

I must admit, this is a great recipe. I’ve had homemade ketchup before and I’ve never really liked it; this is a different story. This ketchup has that perfect sweet tanginess that I love, it might even be better with some heat added (perhaps some of those cayennes I’ve dried). Of course if you’re expecting the texture of the stuff from the grocery you’ll be dissappointed, but in flavor this is by far better than store bought. I’ll still be keeping some regular ketchup in my cabinet, but this will become a regular at our table for sure. I used some of this ketchup to make sloppy joes and they were fantastic! I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone interested in making some homemade ketchup.

Have you ever tried making something at home that you usually buy at the store?

41 Comments to “Homemade Ketchup”
  1. kristin @ going country on October 20, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I made ketchup for the first time last year and was amazed at how many interesting spices were in it. I loved it, and really wanted to make more this year. Then The Blight hit, and there went my ketchup dreams. Maybe next year . . .
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..Oh, How I Love To Clean =-.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on October 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

      So sorry, I can’t imagine what I would do without tomatoes.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Dave on October 20, 2009 at 8:37 am

    This is a great idea for next year. I never really thought about making ketchup at home!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..The Greenhouse Project: Putting Up Posts =-.

    Reply to Dave's comment

  3. KitsapFG on October 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I have made ketchup before, my own mayonnaise, and many other items that are typically only thought of as coming magically from a grocery store shelf! I don’t necessarily do that all the time though, because honestly I work out of the home an average of 12 hours a day five days a week and am doing well to harvest fresh produce and cook our family dinner from scratch on a consistent basis. On weekends (especially during the winter), I do make more interesting things that typically I would not be able to do during the weekdays. Like making pasta from scratch (including grinding the grain), making homemade tortillas, and other baking and cooking adventures.

    Reply to KitsapFG's comment

    • Susy on October 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

      I know what you mean, we both work from home and don’t have much time for these things either, but it sure is fun. I too grind grain and do a lot of my homemade things on one day, usually while working in between.

      Another reason we make a lot from scratch is that we live a good bit from a good grocery store, we have a little one in town, but they don’t carry things we usually would buy. So making 1.5 hour trip to pick up something is not feasible. Making from scratch is a quicker option!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Beegirl on October 20, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Looks great!! I was going to try ketchup this year, but… little hard to do without the tomatoes. : ((
    Next year fur-shur!! Do you like the book? I”ll have to check it out…
    .-= Beegirl´s last blog ..Dreary =-.

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

    • Susy on October 20, 2009 at 10:45 am

      I do like the book, I’m not sure if I’ll buy it or not. I have so many other books that I’d like to buy this will go on the list, but I have others in front of it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. the inadvertent farmer on October 20, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I am like you and have not liked homemade in the past…I will surely try this recipe and see how it goes over with the kids!

    I have tried homemade pasta but must admit with the amount we go through at a sitting it is hard to justify the time that goes into it. I think if I made it and dried it to have on hand I would be more inclined.

    I don’t buy pickles anymore after making my own…no comparison! Kim
    .-= the inadvertent farmer´s last blog ..Not Me…Never =-.

    Reply to the inadvertent farmer's comment

  6. Rhonda on October 20, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I’ve never made ketchup before but every time I hear someone talk about it, I always think about the movie, “Meet Me in St. Louis” They were making ketchup and everyone kept adding their own spices. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  7. Tommy on October 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Sounds great—how much does this recipe make?

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on October 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm

      I doubled the recipe and it made probably 2 pints (perhaps a little more but I used some in sloppy joes before I put it in a jar). I reduced mine a little more so it would be thicker.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Maureen on October 20, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    This has been on my ‘want to make’ list for a year….thanks for the recipe!!!

    Reply to Maureen's comment

  9. Justin on October 20, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I’ve been wanting to try ketchup for a long time and all of the recipes in the canning books are high volume (tens of pounds of tomatoes at a time). I’ve tried to cut them down but the portions are nearly impossible on some of the spices.

    I’ll be trying this one…

    Incidentally, Heinz recently released an Organic ketchup. I was surprised to find that the ingredients list is much shorter than the original and that the first ingredient is tomatoes instead of HF corn syrup. I’m impressed that they were willing and able to develop it.

    Reply to Justin's comment

    • Susy on October 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm

      The Heinz Organic is very good, although I wish it came in a glass bottle.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Jeff on October 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    In step 2, when it indicates:

    “To the remainder, add the onion and puree.”

    I am assuming that the REMAINDER is the 1/4 cup set aside. Is that correct?

    Thank you – [ Jeff ]
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..Garden Sprouts (quick posts from other sites) – October 16, 2009 =-.

    Reply to Jeff's comment

    • Susy on October 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm

      Yes, the remainder of the tomatoes. Since I used roasted tomatoes that I had put through a food mill I used some of those and some water to puree the onions.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. miss m on October 20, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Oh, this looks yummy. The ‘real’ thing ‘cept better. Thx for the recipe !

    Reply to miss m's comment

  12. Helen at Toronto Gardens on October 20, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    This literally made my mouth water. (But I’ll also be keeping my eyes open for the Heinz Organic.) Thanks for the recipe.
    .-= Helen at Toronto Gardens´s last blog ..Yorkville on a Sunday afternoon =-.

    Reply to Helen at Toronto Gardens's comment

  13. Val on October 21, 2009 at 1:23 am

    This is the perfect recipe for those last tomatoes I just pulled out of the garden! Thanks! Did you end up canning any of it? I would love to know if it cans well. I saw the instructions, so I will just have to try it and let you know. ;)


    .-= Val´s last blog ..Leek and Potato Soup with Italian Sausage =-.

    Reply to Val's comment

    • Susy on October 21, 2009 at 9:38 am

      I used a good amount of mine in sloppy joes and the rest of it fit a big jar. Since it lasts for about 2 months I’ll probably leave it in the fridge.

      I’m hoping to make another batch with my green tomatoes when they ripen enough. They’re usually quite tasty roasted so I think they’ll make delicious ketchup. I’ll can my next batch.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Niche Topics on October 21, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Thanks for the recipe. Homemade is always better :)
    .-= Niche Topics´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

    Reply to Niche Topics's comment

  15. annie avery on October 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

    have you ever found a recipe for ketsup without vinegar? allergies to that ingredient really curtail my condiment intake.. the recipe sounds great, what would replace the vinegar?? anyone have any ideas?

    Reply to annie avery's comment

    • Susy on October 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm

      I have heard that you can substitute lemon/lime juice for equal parts vinegar. You could also use 2x as much white wine, or perhaps a mixture of lemon juice and wine would be good as well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • annie avery on October 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

        wonderful!!!! thank you so much! i also have a sensitivity to citrus so the white wine alternative is great!!!! gives me a great reason to go out and purchase that bottle of rieseling i wanted!!!

        to annie avery's comment

  16. Dan on October 22, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Wow, that looks very tempting, especially at 1:30am when your hungry! I think I need to try this recipe, thanks for sharing Susy.
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..Harvest Monday Time! =-.

    Reply to Dan's comment

  17. Deb G on October 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I’ve been making my own ketchup for 15 years or so. Love it so much better than what is available at the store. I make it pretty spicy. Haven’t tried roasting the tomatoes first. Think I’ll try that for my next batch. If a batch ends up on the runny side and I want to serve it for dipping I put it in little bowls.

    Last year I made ketchup with high bush cranberries. It’s interesting but I like tomato ketchup better. :)

    Reply to Deb G's comment

  18. […] oil and ground cardamom since I didn’t have whole pods. If you would like my amended recipe it’s on my blog, I won’t repost it here (the original recipe of course is in the book, which is free from […]

    Reply to Learning to Make Your Own: Ketchup « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  19. Laura on December 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

    How much cardamom? I don’t see it in the ingredients list…

    Reply to Laura's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2009 at 9:45 am

      Sorry, I must have forgotten to add that to the list. I changed it.

      It’s 5 cardamom pods crushed, I used 1/2 t. ground.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  20. NorCalRN on December 17, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Hi Susy,

    Found you through Not dabbling- I’m excited to try this recipe- thanks so much for sharing! I do have a question- I’ll be making this with canned tomatoes for now, but when using fresh or roasted- how do you determine what will equal a 28oz can amount?

    Thanks again!

    Reply to NorCalRN's comment

    • Susy on December 17, 2009 at 9:22 am

      I have a kitchen scale that I use to measure. I just kind of guessed actually, I’m not much of one that likes to measure for recipes. You could always save a 28 oz can to use as reference, fill to measure just like a measuring cup.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  21. Otehlia Cassidy on February 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    This was delicious!! I made it to accompany a favorite grilled cheese recipe (Whisker Sandwiches). My kids even loved it! You can see the full post on my blog.

    Reply to Otehlia Cassidy's comment

  22. […] Your Own: Baking Powder Make Your Own: Ghee Make Your Own: Butter Make Your Own: Preserved Lemons Make Your Own: Ketchup Make Your Own: Sauerkraut Make Your Own: Canned Tomato Soup Make Your Own: Sourdough […]

    Reply to A Few Resources for the Real Food Challenge « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  23. Miranda on July 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I just made this – i like it! For the ‘sugar’ i used mostly molasses and a little Rapadura – i’m thinking i’d like to switch that ratio next time, and reduce the total amount of sweet entirely, maybe adding a little vinegar. I also added some cinnamon and cayenne. It’s good, but a little sweet for my belly. I put some in an old hot sauce bottle and the rest in a wide mouth mason in the freezer. We should be stocked on ketchup (except for those wide pools my husband serves himself with veggie chick’n nuggets, he’ll have to use hte grocery store version) for the rest of the summer! I also used homegrown tomatoes. Yum!

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  24. Slow Roasting Tomatoes | Chiot's Run on August 25, 2010 at 4:48 am

    […] way can I get one or twenty depending on what I’m making. I like to use slow-roasted tomatoes in my homemade ketchup, I find it adds a wonderful rich flavor and reduces the cooking time. I don’t roast them quite as […]

    Reply to Slow Roasting Tomatoes | Chiot’s Run's comment

  25. Crystal on August 16, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    If you use canned tomatoes, do you need to process through a sieve lined with cheese cloth to remove the seeds? My family may not like the homemade version if it has tomato seeds in it.

    Reply to Crystal's comment

    • Susy on August 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

      You can remove the seeds before adding the tomatoes, it’s probably easiest to use tomato paste or to put the tomatoes through a food mill before using.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  26. Debbie on September 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Susy

    I thought I’d give your ketchup recipe a go this year. Last year I made another on and LOVED it but I wanted to be able to can mine this year and since yours has instructions…I thought’d I’d see how it worked out.

    Question – I totally screwed up where it says to reserve 1/4 of a cup of tomatoes and then add onion to the remainder. I (at first) thought the remainder was ALL the other tomatoes…so once they were pureed I couldnt’ exactly get them back out. LOL. Do you think this will affect the canning? I’ve cooked it all down quite a bit so the onions are definitely cooked. And of course I added the olive oil after the fact…which means there is probably more oil than necessary. I’m scooping as much of that off as possible. Thanks for your help. :)

    Reply to Debbie's comment

    • Susy on September 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      That shouldn’t affect the recipe at all, I think I did that too once.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  27. Jana Harris on July 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! I just stumbled across your blog while looking for some recipes on Pinterest. I have seen a few others but all of them use tomato paste, which I can not have on my low FODMAP diet due to my IBS. I have started making my own bbq sauce, salsa, dressings, etc since I can not eat any sold in the stores, even Whole Foods, due to garlic and onions. I have made home made french fries which are pretty good without ketchup but I was definitely missing it!

    Thanks again!
    I look forward to delving into your blog and links!

    Jana Harris

    Reply to Jana Harris's comment

  28. Jenn on January 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I Make my own ketchup as well. Except I use my crock pot, I simply keep the lid off and temp on low and stir every one to two hours until it reduces in half, around 10 ~ 12 hours. Eazy peazy :-)

    Reply to Jenn's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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