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Homemade Ketchup

I say ketchup/You say catsup…Ready to call the whole thing off? You can end the debate with a special homemade ketchup that’s sure to charm even the pickiest eater.

Ketchup is a favorite condiment for many kids; for some it might even be its own food group. But one of the concerns about many store-bought brands of ketchup is the high-fructose corn syrup. If you’re turned off by the HCFS and any of the other ingredients you might find in your ketchup, there’s always one appealing end-of-summer option: Make homemade ketchup. We did, and we found it just about as simple as making a tomato sauce.

Having a bumper crop of home-grown tomatoes helps, of course (our cherry tomato plant has gone bonkers this year). We also added to our stock by picking fresh tomatoes at a local farm. With these fresh tomatoes in hand, we set out to make a recipe that was easy, and not too spicy for kids’ palates. We liked this version from Serious Eats, but we modified it to use with fresh tomatoes rather than tomato puree.

Homemade Ketchup

A delicious homemade ketchup, adapted from Joshua Bousel on Serious Eats

Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword ketchup, tomatoes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 quarts fresh tomatoes (8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • Dash red pepper flakes


  1. Wash the tomatoes and coarsely chop them; place them in a pot on the stove, and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes until they are cooked down. Strain the cooked tomatoes through a Foley food mill or a fine strainer. The result should be a smooth tomato-y paste.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the tomato mixture, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, salt, and remaining spices. Stir thoroughly, bring to a boil, and simmer on very low heat for an additional 1/2 hour.

  3. Remove the ketchup from the stove and process it in a blender or food processor until smooth. If the texture is still lumpy (or if seeds remain), strain it one more time through a fine-mesh strainer. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of ketchup; enough for a large dinner party or several kid lunches.


As noted, this recipe makes enough for a large dinner party or for several rounds of lunches and snacks. Store your homemade ketchup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Homemade ketchup – So good you won’t go back to store-bought.

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9 Responses to Homemade Ketchup

  1. Valentina August 30, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I love it! Great photos, too!

    • Jeanne August 30, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Thanks, Valentina! Now I’m looking for excuses to put ketchup on just about everything. ; )

      • Valentina August 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

        also, so fun to see this on Tastespotting! Woot!

      • Jeanne August 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

        Yay! Thanks – I didn’t know it was up there until you told me!! : )

  2. Laura @ Family Spice August 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    You have definitely gone where I have never gone before: homemade ketchup. Serious envy over here!

    • Jeanne August 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      I’ll make some next time I see you! : )

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