Easy Homemade Ketchup

Ketchup is surprisingly easy to make at home! This version is tangy and sweet and is naturally sweetened with balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey. If you make this, your whole family will be looking for things to dunk.

An overhead view of a jar of homemade ketchup with baked potato wedges and a spoon on a cutting board.

I have a thing for making my own condiments. From homemade beer mustard to barbecue sauce or even fermented sauerkraut, there’s something that’s really fun and satisfying about making these staple ingredients at home.

That’s why I chose the theme “Homemade Condiments” for this month’s Progressive Eats blog party. I’m sharing how to make homemade ketchup, but be sure to scroll down to see what everyone else came up with!

One thing I love about making my own homemade sauces is that I can control exactly what goes into them.

Have you ever looked at the ingredient label on a ketchup bottle? High fructose corn syrup is the third ingredient. Corn syrup is the fourth. That’s a lot of processed sugar!

No-sugar-added versions are more readily available these days than they used to be, but they can still be hard to find. When you do come across them they tend to be expensive. Plus, well, a lot of them taste funny.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to make ketchup at home. It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally perfected a paleo ketchup recipe that’s sweetened with balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey.

It has that classic ketchup flavor you know and love, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

A small glass jar filled with homemade paleo ketchup.

Ingredients for Homemade Ketchup

When you break down the ingredients for ketchup, they’re really pretty simple.

When it comes down to it, ketchup is just a thick, sweetened tomato sauce with mild seasoning.

To make it, you’ll need:

  • Tomato paste
  • Vinegar
  • Onion
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Celery Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Allspice

I tried making this recipe with crushed tomatoes as well as with fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste is definitely the way to go. It’s already reduced, so there’s less than can go wrong with the flavor balance. When I tried using other types of tomato, it was hard to get the flavor right and they came out too vinegary and sour.

I also experimented with a few different types of vinegar. My favorite variation uses a combination of apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Together, the provided the right balance of bright, tart flavor and rich sweetness. Using balsamic vinegar also meant I could use less honey.

Different types of vinegar have different levels of acidity, so be aware that you might need to adjust the amount and/or add more sweetener if you use a different combination than I did.

Homemade Ketchup Variations

As written, this is a standard ketchup recipe. But if you’re into gourmet ketchup, or just want to play around, it’s so easy to jazz it up!

You can try:

  • Adding a teaspoon of curry powder to make curry ketchup
  • Spicing it up with some sriracha
  • Using pure maple syrup instead of honey
  • Splashing in some fish sauce for a deeper savory flavor

Can you freeze ketchup?

Homemade ketchup will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

For longer-term storage, you can also freeze it. Give it a good stir after thawing to recombine any ingredients that might have separated.

Progressive Eats

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is about making homemade condiments, and our host is Lauren who blogs at Healthy Delicious.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. The host for the month chooses the theme and members share recipes on that theme suitable for a delicious meal or party (or, in this case, the condiments that make those meals special!). Then you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. So come along and see all of the delicious and inspired dishes!

Homemade Condiments

A tall jar of homemade ketchup on a wooden cutting board next to baked fries.
Easy Homemade Ketchup

Easy Homemade Ketchup

Yield: Approx. 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 6 ounces canned tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch allspice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the onion into quarters.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until thick and reduced by about 1/3.
  3. Remove and discard the onion.
  4. Scrape the ketchup into a container and refrigerate for a least an hour, until chilled.

Notes

I love the extra layer of flavor that celery salt adds to this recipe. If you don't have it, that's ok. Leave it out and add an extra pinch of Kosher salt.

Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving Calories 10Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 100mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 0g

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By on February 25th, 2021

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook.

More posts by this author.

8 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Ketchup”

  1. I noticed that you said you used less honey if you use balsamic vinegar but your recipe isn’t calling for using honey was wondering how much honey should be used as it sweetens it up without using much honey

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the great theme! I got to make something I’ve been wanting to make forever. This ketchup recipe is a great way to control the sugar for sure!

    Reply
  3. I am excited to make homemade ketchup. I love that I know every ingredient!

    Reply
  4. What a great theme this month, thanks for hosting!! I am surprised to admit I’ve never made my own ketchup and your recipe is so easy I need to make this immediately!

    Reply
  5. You’ve totally motivated me to make my own ketchup now! I actually hadn’t noticed the high fructose corn syrup in it!

    Reply
  6. I can’t wait to try this Lauren; I actually hate commercial ketchup and only keep it on hand for the occasional recipe that calls for it or the daughter who shows up and acts like the world is ending if I have none on hand! I bet she’ll like this better too; sounds great.

    Reply
  7. Thanks for hosting, Lauren!! We got a case of ketchup for a wedding present—my husband loves the stuff. So glad I have a tried and true homemade version to try!!!

    Reply

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