Homemade Ketchup

I’ve already posted about homemade ketchup in my most about making my first hamburgers from scratch. I wasn’t completely happy with the ketchup back then, and I’ve been experimenting a bit to find a recipe I liked better based on  a recipe posted by ChgoJohn. That recipe makes a very spicy ketchup, and I’ve made a few changes to suit my own tastes. That is the nice thing about cooking from scratch: you can tune the ketchup just the way you like it. For example, you could leave out many of the spices from this recipe to make a more basic ketchup. Here’s my version, in which I have reduced the amount of spices and changed the cooking times. I’ve used canned tomatoes, as they are better than what is available fresh around here. If you do use fresh tomatoes, make sure they are very ripe. It’s okay if they don’t look perfect — they’re gonna be turned into ketchup after all.


Makes about 1.2 litres (5 cups)

1 big can (2.5 kilograms) peeled tomatoes

2 onions (I used 1 red and 1 white)

1 red bell pepper

1 jalapeño

2 cloves garlic

120 ml (1/2 cup) cider vinegar

6 Tbsp dark brown sugar

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp whole allspice

1 tsp mace

1 tsp celery seeds

1 Tbsp black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

cayenne pepper, to taste

freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

salt, to taste


Roughly chop the bell pepper, onions, jalapeño, and garlic.

Pour the tomatoes with the juices in a casserole or Dutch oven.

Add the chopped vegetables.

Stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft, about 1 hour.

Pass the mixture through a food mill twice.

First with a coarse sieve.

And then with a fine sieve, to get smooth ketchup. (If you were to go straight to the fine sieve, you would have a very hard time getting the ketchup through. That is why you should start with the coarse sieve.)

Return the tomato mixture to the casserole. Add the vinegar…

…the sugar…

…and the mustard and paprika.

Make a spice pouch with the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace, celery seeds, peppercorns and bay leaf.

For this you can use a piece of muslin or a disposable hairnet, a trick I learned from Auldo.

Add the spice pouch to the casserole. The pouch will allow the spices to give off their flavor without the spices ending up in the ketchup.

Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (You can make the ketchup more or less spicy by leaving the spice pouch in for a longer or shorter cooking time.)

After 30 minutes, remove the spice pouch.

Simmer the ketchup until it has the desired strength and thickness. This can take an hour or longer.

To try the ketchup, freeze a small dish for half an hour. Put a teaspoon of the ketchup on the dish to cool it quickly. Then taste the ketchup. As ketchup is eaten at room temperature, it is better to taste it this way instead of when it’s still warm. If the ketchup is still too thin or not strong enough, simmer it longer until it is to your liking.

Finally, season the ketchup to your liking with salt, freshly grated nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.

Put it in clean (sterlized) jars when it is still hot, and turn over the jars to allow the hot ketchup to sterilize the jar from the inside after it has been closed. When handled like this, the ketchup will keep for a very long time in the refrigerator. If you are into canning and such, you could process the jars to be able to store the ketchup at room temperature.


Beef short ribs teriyaki are amazingly tender and juicy when cooked sous-vide. The bag juices can be reduced for a very flavorful sauce that is not just teriyaki but also beefy.


17 thoughts on “Homemade Ketchup

  1. I have never made homemade ketchup, but it looks like that’s about to change. Thanks so much for this recipe! 🙂


  2. I will definitely try this and experiment with alternatives to brown sugar that are lower glycemic options like coconut palm sugar (which tastes a lot like brown sugar). So exciting to have a healthier option to the store bought stuff!


  3. I like your suggestion for tasting the final result. Tasting is so important, so trying the sauce at room temperature before the cooking process is completely finished… so that adjustments can easily be made… is a super idea. Did you reduce the amount of sugar called or in the original recipe? I think I’d likely try to cut down there if I could


  4. Lovely recipe!!! And your resulting ketchup looks so nice and thick! I’ve been making my own for a couple of years now. Don’t know why I waited so long. Next time I’m following this recipe to compare. Thanks!


  5. I wish I could taste your recipe, Stefan. Save me some. I am intrigued by your subtle use of warm spice. The sugar and apple cider vinegar are tried-and-true in catsup. As for the big question: what most amazingly scrumptious catsup-related posts shall follow? Well-done (this coming from an American, so you get extra chef points).


  6. Now I don’t use a great deal of ketchup but always have some in the house. Have always bought it methinks!! But this recipe is fun, fun, fun! And most of the ingredients are naturally already in one’s pantry. So it’s a case of finding time and a sauce making session will be on 🙂 !


  7. Glad to see you’re still making your own ketchup, Stefan. Even if you don’t use it often, homemade is so much better than anything that you can buy. I don’t remember the last time I bought some. Thanks, too, for the shout out, though I’m sorry for the delayed acknowledgment. I’ve been away doing field research. 😉


  8. I really enjoyed making homemade ketchup using Chgojohn’s recipe. It’s pretty darn tasty, too. The barbecue sauce I made with the smoked ribs when you were here was based on John’s ketchup. Now that I’ve made it, I’m sure I will tinker with it, too.


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