Homemade Ketchup is bursting with fresh tomato flavor and spices. It’s easy to make and totally worth it! You’ve never REALLY tasted ketchup until you’ve made it yourself.
Originally published October 2012; updated August 2018
A quick walk around your local grocery store or Farmer’s Market reminds the peak of tomato season is on its way. Every imagineable variety and shape is available, boasting a natural sweetness only found with in-season tomatoes.
I have a recipe that has been a long-time summer favorite you MUST MAKE before summer ends: the Best Homemade Ketchup!
Like many things, once you make it from scratch with fresh tomatoes you’ll realize how fantastic ketchup can be AND will want to use it with many recipes.
Why Make Homemade Ketchup?
Like many homemade recipes for items that are mass produced, the flavor of homemade ketchup is better in my opinion.
Most homemade ketchup recipes are made with canned tomatoes. That’s fine but nothing beats fresh tomatoes, am I right?
This recipe uses fresh tomatoes and aromatic spices to make a sauce like none you’ve tried!
What Type of Tomatoes are Used in Homemade Ketchup?
Most tomato sauces are made with Roma style tomatoes due to their lower moisture content and high flavor.
I made my homemade ketchup with a mix of Roma hybrids and heirloom cherry tomatoes and it was delicious. Experiment with the tomatoes you have on hand for varied flavor in every batch!
Is it Hard to Make Homemade Ketchup?
No! It’s very easy and takes less than an hour with most of the time being inactive time of yours.
How Long will Homemade Ketchup Last?
It should be kept in a glass container, sealed, for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
NOTE: since tomatoes are acidic they can react with plastics which is why glass containers are recommended.
Does Homemade Ketchup Thicken as It Cooks?
It does! It will simmer for about 30 minutes during which time it does thicken.
How to Make Homemade Ketchup – Step by Step:
A spice packet is made with a square of double layered cheesecloth, to which the cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice are added and tied shut with kitchen twine.
The tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, onion, chile, garlic and spice packet are added to a 4-quart pot and allowed to simmer for about 30 minutes.
The spice packet is removed and discarded. The ketchup is pureed, strained to remove any seeds and put back in the pot to simmer longer and thicken (about 30 more minutes).
When thickened to a desired texture (will thicken more when cool), the homemade ketchup is put in a glass container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Suggested Supplies for Making Homemade Ketchup
- Kitchen Knife
- 4-quart pot (avoid cast iron, unless well-seasoned, or aluminum)
- Immersion Blender, traditional Blender OR Food Mill
- Fine mesh Strainer
- Glass containers with lids
- Kitchen Twine
Like the idea of making your own condiments from scratch? Here are some more recipes ideas!
- How to Make Mustard (Wonky Wonderful)
- Homemade Mayonnaise (15 Spatulas)
- Chipotle Mayonnaise
- Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish (Saving Room for Dessert)
- Homemade Sriracha (White on Rice)
- Quick Pickled Red Onions
If you’ve tried this Homemade Ketchup recipe please RATE THE RECIPE below!
The Best Homemade Ketchup
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
- 2 pounds Roma tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 yellow onion peeled and chopped
- 1 Anaheim chile deseeded and chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove diced
- Kitchen twine
Prepare a square single layer of cheesecloth that will fit all the spices with room to fold and secure the contents.
Place the cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice in the middle of the cheesecloth. Fold closed and secure with a length of kitchen twine.
In a medium stock pot 4-quarts or larger (enough to house the tomatoes with some extra room) place tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, onion, chile, garlic and spice packet. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes and chiles are soft and onions are translucent and limp (about 30 minutes).
Remove and discard spice packet. Puree the sauce using an immersion blender, traditional blender or food mill.
Strain the ketchup through a fine mesh strainer back into the cooking pot. NOTE: this step removes any seeds.
- Cook over medium-low heat for an additional 20-30 minutes until thickened to your preference.
Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Adapted from Saveur Magazine