How to Make Homemade Ketchup

By Mr Negroni  •   4 minute read

How to Make Homemade Ketchup

How to Make Homemade Ketchup: A Flavorful DIY Recipe

Homemade ketchup is a delicious and customizable alternative to store-bought versions. It allows you to control the ingredients, flavor, and sweetness, resulting in a condiment that is fresher and tastier. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making homemade ketchup, providing tips for achieving the best results and variations to suit your taste preferences.

Why You’ll Love Homemade Ketchup


  1. Healthier: Control the ingredients to avoid preservatives and excess sugar.
  2. Customizable: Adjust the sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness to your liking.
  3. Fresh Flavor: Enjoy the vibrant, fresh taste of homemade ketchup.
  4. Satisfying: Experience the joy of making a classic condiment from scratch.


Basic Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 large can of whole tomatoes, drained)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)

Optional Ingredients for Flavor Variations:

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (for a smoky flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (for a hint of warmth)
  • 1/4 cup molasses (for a deeper sweetness)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (for umami richness)


Step 1: Prepare the Tomatoes

  1. Blanch and Peel: If using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to an ice bath. Peel off the skins and chop the tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, simply drain and chop them.
  2. Cook Tomatoes: In a large pot, combine the chopped tomatoes with the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and broken down, about 20-30 minutes.

Step 2: Blend the Mixture

  1. Blend Smooth: Use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend the mixture until smooth. Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, then return it to the pot.

Step 3: Simmer and Season

  1. Add Vinegar and Sugar: Add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to the pot. Stir to combine.
  2. Season: Add the salt, ground mustard, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir well.
  3. Simmer: Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your desired consistency.

Step 4: Adjust Seasoning and Consistency

  1. Taste and Adjust: Taste the ketchup and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more sugar for sweetness, vinegar for tanginess, or spices for depth of flavor.
  2. Strain (Optional): For a smoother ketchup, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible.

Step 5: Store and Serve

  1. Cool and Store: Allow the ketchup to cool to room temperature. Transfer to sterilized glass jars or bottles and refrigerate. Homemade ketchup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
  2. Serve: Enjoy your homemade ketchup with fries, burgers, hot dogs, or any dish that calls for a tasty condiment.

Tips for Perfect Homemade Ketchup

1. Use Ripe Tomatoes

  • Best Flavor: Ripe, in-season tomatoes provide the best flavor for your ketchup. If using canned tomatoes, choose high-quality whole tomatoes.

2. Control the Consistency

  • Thickness: Simmer the ketchup longer for a thicker consistency. For a thinner ketchup, reduce the simmering time.

3. Customize the Flavor

  • Adjust Seasoning: Feel free to adjust the spices and seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Add more or less sugar, vinegar, or spices as desired.

4. Strain for Smoothness

  • Smooth Texture: Straining the ketchup results in a smoother texture, similar to store-bought versions. This step is optional but recommended for a silky finish.

Customizing Your Homemade Ketchup

Flavor Variations:

  • Spicy Ketchup: Add more cayenne pepper, chili powder, or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
  • Smoky Ketchup: Incorporate smoked paprika or a touch of liquid smoke for a smoky flavor.
  • Sweet and Tangy: Add a bit of honey or maple syrup for added sweetness and depth.

Dietary Modifications:

  • Sugar-Free: Use a sugar substitute like stevia or monk fruit sweetener to make a sugar-free ketchup.
  • Low-Sodium: Reduce the amount of salt or use a salt substitute for a lower-sodium version.

Serving Suggestions


  • Fries and Chips: Serve with crispy French fries, sweet potato fries, or potato chips.
  • Burgers and Sandwiches: Use as a condiment for burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
  • Eggs: Drizzle over scrambled eggs, omelets, or breakfast sandwiches.
  • Meatloaf: Use as a glaze for meatloaf or a dipping sauce for meatloaf slices.

Storage Tips:

  • Refrigerate: Store homemade ketchup in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, freeze ketchup in ice cube trays or small freezer-safe containers. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.


Making homemade ketchup is a fun and rewarding process that allows you to create a condiment tailored to your taste. With fresh ingredients, customizable flavors, and the satisfaction of making it yourself, homemade ketchup is a delicious addition to your kitchen. Whether you prefer it sweet, tangy, spicy, or smoky, this guide provides all the tips and techniques you need to achieve the perfect homemade ketchup. Enjoy!

Did you try this recipe? Share your experience and any customizations you made in the comments below!

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