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Homemade Ketchup Recipe {Family Favorite}

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Ketchup.  Catsup.  Red Sauce.

Call it what you want and pronounce it how you like, this condiment has universal appeal.  Except to me!

I am not a fan of ketchup.  I never have been a fan of ketchup.  I don’t like to eat it.  I don’t like to smell it.  I won’t lick my fingers if they get in my kids’ ketchup.  The only thing I ate ketchup on as a kid was . . . fish sticks! YUK!  I wouldn’t even do that now.   Even the memory is disgusting.  My only use for ketchup is as an ingredient in meatloaf or barbecue sauce.

The rest of my family, however, does enjoy their ketchup!  On hamburgers.  On french fries.  On eggs.  That’s the grossest one; just thinking about it almost turns my stomach.

But, I make my own (their own!) ketchup.


This super simple homemade ketchup recipe uses unrefined sweeteners and simple pantry ingredients.


Ketchup is not expensive and it is possible to find some brands that don’t contain high fructose corn syrup, but my husband knows that I like to experiment in the kitchen, so one day he brought me a Heinz clone recipe he found on Top Secret Recipes.  I tried it as written and he wasn’t thrilled.  I tried a couple other recipes, but they were all deemed too “flavorful” (more gourmet than everyday) and too fussy or time consuming.

I came back to the clone recipe and adjusted it several times.  Less water, less sugar and vinegar, different sugars and vinegar, larger quantity all together.

Finally, I created a homemade ketchup recipe my husband and kids approve. I’ve been making it for a couple years now.  Try it and see what you think.  Adjust it to your family’s preferences.

This amount lasts my family a couple months (unless I make both meatloaf and barbecue sauce too often – not possible in H.’s opinion.)  We do however, use it sparingly as a condiment rather than a serving of vegetables!



Homemade Ketchup Recipe

Homemade Ketchup
Serves: 2½ - 3 cups
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 6-12 ounces water (don't get too fussy; just fill up one or two tomato paste cans)
  • 6 tablespoons each apple cider vinegar and honey (basically, this is 3 ounces of each, so fill your tomato paste can half full of vinegar and then top off with honey to avoid extra dirty dishes and trying to measure tablespoons of sticky honey!)
  • 1 tablespoon rapadura or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth. The easiest way to incorporate the water into the thick tomato paste is to add it just one or two tablespoons at a time and mix well before adding any more. (Use 6 ounces for very thick ketchup and more if you prefer it thinner.) Once that is done, the rest of the ingredients will whisk in easily.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 10- 20 minutes, stirring often. It will splatter all over your stove no matter how low you simmer it and it will make your kitchen smell like ketchup!
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Cool and store in the refrigerator.
  5. For a fermented version, cool so it is just warm to the touch and stir in a tablespoon or two of whey. Allow to culture at room temperature for 12-24 hours before refrigerating.
A note about storing and serving . . . keeping homemade ketchup in a glass jar works great. I've made this long enough now that ketchup served with a spoon doesn't phase my kids. However, trying to serve it to visiting neighbors and friends is another story. Apparently making your own ketchup is suspect and its not really ketchup unless you squeeze it out of a bottle! For that reason, I usually keep mine in a re-used squeeze bottle I scavenged from somewhere. No one even questions the fact the the label is missing!


Print it out and give it a try!

If you want to add pro-biotics to the mix, stir in a tablespoon or two of whey. I strain mine from homemade yogurt – instructions in the Slightly Cinnamon Yogurt Dip recipe. Allow to culture at room temperature for 12-24 hours before refrigerating.


Need summer side dishes?

Seven NO-Mayo Summer Salads

Or a sweet treat?

Summer Berry Cheesecake Salad

Red, white & blue berry cheesecake salad makes a delicious summer side dish, snack or light dessert that is quick and simple to make. Kid approved!


Shared at Nourishing Joy.
Shared and featured at Raia’s Recipes.

Do you make your own ketchup or other condiments?


  1. Could I add a cultured veggie starter powder instead, to make it dairy free; and reduce salt?

    • I’ve never used a culture powder, Kristine, but feel free to experiment; I assume the package would have usage instructions. Absolutely, reduce the salt to your family’s taste. Enjoy.

  2. Making this right now. I can’t wait for hubby to taste it.
    Thank you!

  3. Where do you get rapadura or coconut sugar? I’ve never heard of it!

    • Sometimes large grocery stores have them or a health food store; otherwise, you can order them from Amazon a place like Vitacost. Sucanat is another option similar to rapadura – both are unrefined, dehydrated sugar cane juice; none of the molasses and vitamins have been removed. The recipe uses so little that you could use brown sugar in place of it if you’re not opposed.

  4. I use a recipe pretty much like this (Taste for adjustments), but the best part about it, not only being simple, but there is no point in heating it up, it mixes well cold 🙂 No reason to spend money and energy if you don’t need to, right!? 🙂

    • That’s great. I think the flavors blend better with a little heat, but now I know I don’t have to take the time if I’m in a hurry!

  5. My husband likes spicy ketchup. What would you suggest adding for that?

    • Hmmm . . . I’ve never had spicy ketchup. You could try adding some cayenne pepper, maybe 1/8 -1/2 teaspoon depending on how spicy he likes it. Or add some of your/his favorite hot sauce – maybe 1-3 teaspoons; I use Frank’s brand in our buffalo chicken recipe. Hope that helps, Devon. Enjoy. 🙂

  6. How long does the regular recipe last in the fridge? And how long does the fermented version last in the fridge?

    • Good question – I’ve never had a batch go “bad.” In the summer we go through it pretty fast, but during the winter I’m sure I’ve had some in the fridge for a month or more. It does get thicker, almost gelled the longer it is stored. And I really don’t know how fermentation might increase storage ability. Hope that helps; sorry I can’t be more specific.

  7. My 3 year old niece is staying the night and she loves ketchup, so I just whipped this up. It is amazing!! I left out the sugar since I figured the honey would make it sweet enough, and it still has enough sweetness to it.

    I added about 3oz more water than needed l, forgetting how thick ketchup is. Hopefully it will thicken up while simmering! Thanks for the recipe! So easy and tasty!

    • That’s great, Linsey. It should thicken up some while simmering. I’ve also noticed that mine seems to thicken more in the fridge too. Thanks for taking time to let me know how much you like the recipe.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    If I ate more ketchup, I’d try this. A user at Affimity shared this blog post so others could check out the recipe – http://affimity.com/#/sharedPost/1/10222. I have to say, I never thought about doing something like this, and I prefer homemade recipes as often as possible. Thanks for the great post!

  9. Stephanie says:

    This is an amazing idea! When I found at http://affimity.com/#/sharedPost/1/10222, I was curious. Store-bought ketchup is gross, and it is just so sweet and there are too many artificial and icky ingredients. I have a three year old son who loves mustard and ketchup more than food, and it grosses me out as well! So, of course, I am now going to make it myself. Thanks so much!

  10. I love the simplicity of this recipe! No unnecessary ingredients, and it sounds easy to whip up! My kids are going to love this. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing it at Savoring Saturdays, I’m going to feature it at this weekend’s party – hope you’ll come by again! 🙂

    • Thanks for the honor, Raia. Sorry I don’t have a better picture for you – such is life! Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

  11. Normita Cañas McB says:

    Next time I come to your home and get served ketchup, I will be sure to notice the missing label! Recipe sounds delicious! =)

    • Just tell me when you’re coming and we’ll be ready! TJs is too far away not to be able to make my own when necessary.


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