Homemade ketchup seems somehow mysterious, but once you find a good recipe, it's not complicated to make. My youngest loves ketchup, so I tried out several homemade ketchup recipes until we found some he liked. The first ketchup recipe uses fresh tomatoes, and is suitable for canning or freezing for long term storage. The second ketchup recipe is lacto-fermented, so you get some probiotics with your burger and fries. It starts with tomato paste, so it's a cinch to whip up.
Homemade Ketchup Canning Recipe
The key ingredient to this homemade ketchup recipe is patience. To get a nice, thick ketchup from fresh tomatoes without adding any thickeners, you need to cook it down slowly. Early on, you can keep the heat a little higher and simply stir frequently, but as the sauce gets thicker, you need to keep the heat lower, as it will be more prone to scorching and bubbling all over the place. Because I save my paste tomatoes for salsa, I usually use juicier tomatoes for this recipe and more of them. Paste tomatoes will cut cooking time and you can use less of them.
When I make homemade ketchup for canning, I generally use it as a means to use up all the odds and ends of tomatoes rolling around, such as excess cherry tomatoes or slicing tomatoes that have split. I'll put a pot on the back of the stove and keep measuring tomatoes into it over a day or two, slowly cooking them down while I'm working on other projects in the kitchen. (You could also use a slow cooker or InstaPot.)
The taste of this homemade ketchup recipe is similar to a popular national brand – no big range of added spices – but like most home processed products, the flavor is richer and deeper. You can really taste the fresh tomatoes, onions and garlic. Because there is added vinegar, this ketchup is safe to can in a water bath canner.
Tomatoes – about 25 lbs paste tomatoes or 30 pounds mixed tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are fine)
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup cane sugar (white or brown)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Core and quarter tomatoes and place them in a heavy bottom pot (or pots) or slow cooker on low/medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until soft and run through a food strainer, food mill or chinois to remove seeds and skins, or cook down until volume is roughly half of original volume and then run through food strainer, food mill or chinois. As I mentioned, I usually make this while working on other things, so I do my straining when time allows.
Continue cooking tomato puree until volume is roughly 1/4 of original volume. Add remaining ingredients, cook until onion and garlic are soft. Puree with hand blender or food strainer, or leave lumpy – your choice. Cook on low until desired consistency is reached.
While the homemade ketchup recipe is cooking down, prepare your canner, jars and lids. The water bath canner should be filled enough to cover your jars with two inches of water. Jars should be sterilized and kept hot. I run mine through the dishwasher. Some people heat them in their canning water or in a warm oven.
Ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands until finger tight. (Air exits from above the food during processing to leave a vacuum behind, and the vacuum creates the final seal, not you. Just FYI to those who are new to this.)
Process for 15 minutes in a water bath canner. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, let sit five minutes. Remove from canner and place on kitchen towel on counter top. After jars are cool, check seals. Refrigerate jars (if any) that did not seal and use them first. Makes around 9 cups for me when I cook it to the thickness we like.
Print Friendly Homemade Ketchup Canning RecipePrint
Homemade Tomato Ketchup for Canning
Easy homemade ketchup recipe, slow cooked with fresh tomatoes, garlic and onions.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 hours
- Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 9 cups
- Category: condiment
- Method: canning
- Cuisine: American
- Tomatoes – about 25 lbs paste tomatoes or 30 pounds mixed tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are fine)
- 1 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup cane sugar (white or brown)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- Core and quarter tomatoes and place them in a heavy bottom pot (or pots) or slow cooker on low/medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Cook until soft and run through a food strainer, food mill or chinois to remove seeds and skins. Return puree to pot and continue cooking tomato puree until volume is roughly 1/4 of original volume.
- Add remaining ingredients, cook until onion and garlic are soft. Puree with hand blender or food strainer, or leave lumpy – your choice.
- Cook on low until desired consistency is reached.
- While the homemade ketchup is cooking down, prepare your canner, jars and lids. Water bath canner should be filled enough to cover your jars with two inches of water. Jars should be sterilized and kept hot.
- Ladle ketchup into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands until finger tight. Process for 15 minutes in a water bath canner.
- Turn off heat, remove canner lid, let sit five minutes. Remove from canner and place on kitchen towel on counter top.
- After jars are cool, check seals. Refrigerate jars (if any) that did not seal and use them first.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Keywords: ketchup, canning
If you need more tomato canning recipes, check out:
- Home Canned Salsa Recipe – Plus 10 Tips for Safe Salsa Canning
- Spaghetti Sauce for Canning
- Home Canned Tomato Soup – Tastes Like a National Brand, Except Better
- Pickled Cherry Tomatoes for Canning, Plus More Cherry Tomato Ideas
- How to Can Tomatoes in a Canner or Large Pot
Probiotic Homemade Ketchup Recipe
If you'd like a smaller, quicker recipe that also packs a probiotic punch, check out this easy lacto-fermented homemade ketchup recipe from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS. Wardee said she kept an unopened jar in the back of her fridge for 6 months. An opened container would have a shorter shelf life.
If you use water instead of whey, double the salt or use a non-whey culture (not both). The whey referred to in the recipe would be obtained by straining live culture yogurt or milk kefir. If you don't have whey, you can substitute sauerkraut juice from live kraut or other cultured vegetable juice, or kombucha. This will change the flavor, so feel free to experiment and see which flavor you like best.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.Print
Probiotic Homemade Ketchup
Simple fermented homemade ketchup recipe for a probiotic punch.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups
- Category: condiment
- Method: Fermenting
- Cuisine: American
- 12 ounces organic tomato paste (no salt added)
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1/8 cup whey (or water)
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Pour sauce into a storage container (such as a pint mason jar). Cover and leave at room temperature for two days. Move to the refrigerator for longer storage.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Keywords: ketchup, fermenting
Why Make Probiotic Homemade Ketchup?
Did you know that our gut is often referred to as “our second brain”, and is a major part of our immune systems? Instead of popping a probiotic pill, how about incorporating live culture (probiotic) foods into what we eat every day? As you can see from the recipe above, it doesn't have to be complicated.
In her book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods and her e-books and e-courses, Wardeh and the Traditional Cooking School crew make fermenting easy and delicious. I have yet to try a recipe of hers and have it taste nasty – honest! She's my go-to person when I have questions about this sort of thing. If you'd like to learn more about her Lacto-Fermentation E-book, click here or on the image below. If you purchase through my site, I receive a commission and you get a great product from people I trust. Thank you!
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For those who are new to canning (or would like a refresher) check out, “How to Can Food at Home – Quick Guide to Safe Home Canning“.
You may also enjoy:
- Pickle Relish Sweetened With Honey
- No Canning Required Dill Pickles
- Easy Horseradish Sauce with Fresh Horseradish Root – Hot or Cream Style
Originally published September 2013, updated in 2016, 2018.