Easy Homemade Ketchup

5

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Homemade ketchup is surprisingly easy to make! This version is tangy and sweet and is naturally sweetened with balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey. If you make this, be sure to stock up on French fries, because 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.

One thing I love about making my own homemade sauces is that I can control exactly what goes into them. Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments around, but I hadn’t attempted a classic tomato ketchup yet so I knew I needed to try making my own homemade version.

Have you ever looked at the ingredient label of the bottled stuff? High-fructose corn syrup is the third ingredient. Corn syrup is the fourth. That’s so much 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, a lot of them taste kind of 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 simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen (if not, you can easily find them at any grocery store!)

A small glass jar filled with homemade paleo ketchup.

Ingredients for Easy 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.

  • 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 product, like tomato puree, 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. You can definitely swap the cider vinegar for white vinegar though!

With just a little effort, you can have your very own homemade ketchup!

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 tomato 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 or a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Using pure maple syrup, dark brown sugar, or your favorite natural sweetener 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.

More Homemade Condiments

A tall jar of homemade ketchup on a wooden cutting board next to baked fries.
Easy Homemade Ketchup 1

Easy Homemade Ketchup

5
Print Pin Rate
Course: Gluten-Free
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Calories: 10kcal
Author: Lauren Keating

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 6 ounces canned tomato paste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground allspice optional

Instructions

  • Cut the onion into quarters.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent burning, for 10 minutes or until thick and reduced by about 1/3.
  • Remove and discard the onion. For a smoother sauce, you can blend the ketchup with an immersion blender or food mill, but it isn't necessary.
  • Scrape the ketchup into an airtight container and let cool at room temperature, then 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 Facts
Easy Homemade Ketchup
Amount Per Serving (1 tablespoon)
Calories 10
% Daily Value*
Sodium 100mg4%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Sugar 1g1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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. I also blog at The Busy Foodie.

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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