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Homemade Ketchup

If you can’t get enough of this delicious sauce, you might as well skip store-bought and make your own homemade ketchup!

Ketchup is America’s most beloved condiment, and for good reason.

The sweet and tangy sauce is the perfect accompaniment to every fried dish imaginable. It tastes great on just about anything!

The only downside is that store-bought ketchup is loaded with fructose and preservatives, which can’t be good for the body. The solution is simple: just make your own.

Waffle French Fries Dipped in a Homemade Ketchup
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Using natural ingredients, this DIY ketchup is not only a lot more healthful, it’s cheaper, too. And yes, it tastes just as good as any brand of ketchup.

Move over Heinz: homemade ketchup is here, and it’s here to stay.

Homemade Ketchup

Ketchup is a thick sauce made from a blend of tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

The unique combination of flavors creates a sweet, tangy, and smoky condiment that’s perfect for a variety of dishes.

I know what you’re thinking: why should I make homemade ketchup when I can easily buy a bottle? Well, there are several reasons!

First up, did you know that bottled ketchup contains a ton of sugar and preservatives?

Check the label and you’ll see! If you love ketchup but don’t want all of those artificial ingredients in your body, homemade ketchup is the key.

Also, it’s not as difficult as you think. Sure, it takes hours to cook, but your participation is barely required.

This recipe is so simple, all it requires is 5 minutes of hands-on preparation. The slow cooker takes care of everything else. 

Last but not least, it’s fun and fulfilling! Believe me, making ketchup from scratch brings a different kind of satisfaction you won’t get from buying it at the store.


  • Canned Tomatoes – Every ketchup has tomatoes as its base. We’re using ground tomatoes in this recipe, but crushed works too. As it is the primary flavor source of ketchup, use a good-quality brand you really like. 
  • Sugar – The sweet element that balances out the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar.
  • Vinegar – For tanginess.
  • Clove, Onion, Garlic, and Mustard Powders – To spice things up!
  • Salt, Celery Salt, and Pepper – To taste.

How to Make Ketchup

1. Add the tomatoes.

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Add the canned tomatoes to a slow cooker. Then, add 1/4 cup of water to every empty tomato can. Shake the can to get as much residue off the sides as possible.

Then, pour the tomato-infused water into the slow cooker with the tomatoes.

2. Add the other ingredients.

Next, add the sugar, vinegar, and all of the seasonings. Stir until everything is fully incorporated.

3. Cook.

Let the ketchup mixture cook uncovered in the slow cooker for 10 to 12 hours on high. Remember to stop in and stir the mixture about once an hour to prevent sticking.

4. Blend.

Once the ketchup is fully cooked, use an immersion blender to blend it. It shouldn’t need more than 20 seconds or so.

5. Strain.

Finally, pour the ketchup into a very fine strainer. Use a spoon or spatula to press the condiment and remove the seeds and tomato skins.

6. Store.

Transfer the finished product to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then, season a final time with salt and pepper to taste.

Then, pour it into an air-tight container for storage.

Tips for the Best Ketchup

  • Make the ketchup chunky. Don’t puree and strain the mixture. The seeds and tomato skins will add plenty of texture.
  • Add water to thin the ketchup. Simply add water and stir. It’ll thin the ketchup and help tone down the acidity from the tomatoes and vinegar.
  • Make it spicy. Add cayenne pepper, black pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.
  • Use fresh flavor add-ins when possible. Instead of powders, use freshly minced onion, garlic, and celery.
  • Swap out the sweetener. Instead of sugar and water, use 1/3 cup of honey. Brown sugar works, too. Just add a little less since it’s much sweeter than granulated sugar. 
  • Skip the sweetener entirely. If you don’t want any fructose at all, skip the sugar and honey and throw in a large peeled carrot instead. This will cut the acidity from the tomatoes and vinegar, yielding perfectly flavored ketchup. Just remove the carrot once cooked. 
  • Swap the vinegar. You can use apple cider instead of white vinegar if you prefer.
  • Use fresh tomatoes. You’ll need 2 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes to go that route. Cherry, San Marzano, and heirloom tomatoes are all great options.
Homemade Ketchup with Waffle French Fries in a Plate

Where Does the Name Come From?

Ketchup may be the quintessential American condiment, but it actually originated in Asia. Bet you didn’t know that! I was surprised, too.

The word “ketchup” was derived from the Chinese term, “kê-tsiap,” a type of fermented fish sauce.

While uncertain, the condiment was most likely introduced by Vietnamese seafarers to China. 

It was later on introduced in Malaysia and Indonesia, where its name was changed to ketchap and ketjap, respectively.

Upon discovery of the sauce during an Asian expedition, English sailors tried to replicate it back home.

Numerous attempts included ingredients such as walnuts, anchovies, and mushrooms.

The Brits then took their mushroom-infused condiment to America, where it went through even more changes.

Eventually, tomatoes were thrown into the mix, transforming the condiment into the ketchup we know and love today. 

Can I Make No-Cook Ketchup?

Absolutely. It won’t be as flavorful as cooked ketchup, but it’s still tasty and comes together in no time. It’s ready for dipping in just 5 minutes. 

This simplified version calls for tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes, which is why there’s no cooking required.

All you need are a few simple ingredients. Then combine in a blender and blend until smooth.

What to Eat with Ketchup

You can eat ketchup with just about anything! But here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

How Long Will Homemade Ketchup Last?

When stored properly, homemade ketchup will last up to 2 weeks. Simply place it in an airtight container, and pop it in the fridge.

If you have an old store-bought ketchup bottle, that’ll do just fine. Just remember to thoroughly wash it first.

Homemade Ketchup


  • 2 (28-oz) cans peeled ground tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup water, divided

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

  • 1 whole clove


  • Place the canned tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add ¼ cup water in each emptied can, shake, and pour into the slow cooker. This will get all the contents in the cans out.
  • Stir in the sugar, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and clove until combined.
  • Cook the mixture on high, uncovered, for 10 to 12 hours, stirring every hour. Ketchup should be very thick, about half its original volume.
  • Blend the mixture with an immersion blender for 20 seconds, or until smooth.
  • Pour the ketchup into a fine strainer and press with a spoon or spatula to filter out tomato skins and seeds.
  • Transfer the ketchup into a bowl and let cool completely. Season with salt, pepper, and/or cayenne pepper as needed.


  • Store cooled ketchup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to 2 weeks.
Homemade Ketchup

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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