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.
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!)
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
- Celery Salt
- Garlic powder
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
- Kasundi – Fermented Mustard Paste – Spiceroots
- New Mexican Green Chile Sauce – The Heritage Cook
- Skordalia (Greek Garlic and Potato Dip) – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Onion Marmalade – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Roasted Garlic Aioli – Creative Culinary
- Gribiche – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Homemade Clotted Cream – The Redhead Baker
- Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – Shockingly Delicious
- 1 onion
- 6 ounces canned tomato paste
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch ground allspice optional
- 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.