Easy Tomato Ketchup Recipe

Tomato sauce in a wooden spoon
Stepan Popov/E+/Getty Images
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2 half pints (serves up to 32)
Ratings (9)

Usually, I'm all for cooking from scratch, but if you really want to duplicate the taste of bottled ketchup from the store at home, do not start with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

Instead, this recipe uses tomato paste and powdered onions and garlic. You can use homemade versions of these already-preserved foods, but substituting their fresh counterparts will yield a totally different taste that is nothing like the familiar commercial product.

This delicious homemade tomato ketchup is ready in half an hour (45 min. if you take the extra step of canning it).

What You'll Need

  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar OR light corn syrup
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or medium grain sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 very small pinch or less of ground cloves (optional)
  • 1 small pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)​

How to Make It

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot, using just half a cup of the water to start out with.
  2. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the ketchup for 15 minutes. Stir every few minutes, scraping the mixture away from the sides of the pot and making sure that it isn't sticking to the bottom. Do not let it burn. Add more water if necessary to keep it from thickening too much.
  1. If after 15 minutes you find that you added a little too much water and the ketchup is too thin, raise the heat to medium-high and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, to boil off the excess liquid. The ketchup should be thick enough that when you drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot it leaves an empty trail that does not fill in right away.
  2. Turn off the heat and let the ketchup cool for 5 minutes. Transfer it to clean glass jars (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe). Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a month, or follow the canning instructions below.
  3. For long term (up to a year) storage at room temperature, be sure to leave 1/2-inch head space between the surface of the ketchup and the rims of the jars. Screw on canning lids and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude).
  4. Once you open a jar, store it in the fridge just as you would ketchup from the store. Note that the unopened, sealed jars are still safe to eat beyond a year, but the quality will decline after 12 months.