Healthy Homemade Ketchup (finally!)

I think I’ve been working on a homemade ketchup recipe for about forty years. (I have actually not reached the age of forty yet, but I am rather fond of exaggerating and I feel like I’ve been experimenting with ketchup for like totally forever.)

It’s taken quite a bit of trial and error to find a recipe that we think tastes good.  So many recipes just don’t quite taste ketchupy enough for me.  This recipe I’ve finally settled on is one I found and adapted from Happy in Dole Valley.  I’m happy to say that this is a very easy recipe to make.  Tastes good…healthy…and easy.  Yes, this is the kind of recipe I like to share with you.

During my experiments, one of the toughest challenges was to sweeten the ketchup in a way we liked.  I didn’t want it too sweet, but it did need to be a little bit sweet - and not too tomato-ee.  (I’d like to see the words ketchupy and tomato-ee become a part of the dictionary someday, wouldn’t you?)

I tried making ketchup with raw honey to sweeten it, and found that the taste was too strong.  Regular ol’ sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar juice) is a little crunchy in this recipe, so I finally figured out a great way to sweeten our homemade ketchup:  Grind the sucanat in the blender like you’re making this healthier, unprocessed powdered sugar…then add it to your ketchup ingredients.  Easy and perfect!

Healthy Homemade Ketchup

7 ounces of tomato paste
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used distilled coconut vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup sucanat (ground in the blender to make it less “crunchy”)

Whisk ingredients together until mixed well and smooth.  Make french fries, get them nice and crunchy, salt them well with sea salt and give me a call.

Defining “a pinch”: When a recipe calls for “a pinch” of something, I usually put in about 1/8 teaspoon – an amount you could “pinch” between your fingers if you were to reach into the spice jar and pull some out.  I don’t really like putting my fingers in to pinch my spices.  But you go right ahead if you want to.

The true test with our Homemade Ketchup Experiment:  Did the kids like it?

All of my kids love ketchup, but one particular son of mine eats ketchup on everything:  eggs, green beans, broccoli…  He’s also my pickiest kid (which is why he eats ketchup to get his veggies down).  I  hesitantly put this homemade ketchup on his plate with a nice helping of homemade fries.  He ate it.  He loved it.  He said, “Is this the homemade ketchup?” and I said, “Yep” and he said, “Wow it’s really good!”

Score!  We have a winner!

Now that I’ve conquered ketchup, I’ll move on to some of the other recipes on the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge list.  I’ve gotta say, I’ve been working on mayonnaise and it is about to kill me.  I can not get a homemade mayonnaise to thicken even a little bit and it’s beginning to make me mad.  Those of you who make mayo…what in the world is the secret to getting the ingredients to actually thicken into mayo?  Ketchup took me forever to figure out, and now the mayo.  I apparently have condiment issues.

Well anyway, what’s your favorite use for ketchup?  Please tell me it isn’t green beans, like my son.

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Comments

  1. says

    Laura: this was a success recipe in my house last night even tough I did not have two ingredients!!!!!!!! My picky son loved it and my husband too!!! It was a total success! We use it with homemade french fries and it is really good. Thank you! I never buy commercial ketchup at all, now my son is sooooooo happy that he started thinking on all the food he will use it: chicken, chicken sandwiches, french fries, etc.

    You’re

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  2. Rebecca B says

    Woohoo! Made this tonight and it was a hit with all 4 kiddos, hubby & me. It was about a thousand times better than the homemade ketchup my mom & grandma made once when I was a kid. :) I love that I can make homemade organic ketchup for so cheap! I plan to just reuse my storebought bottle for my homemade ketchup–a double batch almost filled it.

    Thank you SO much, Laura! :)

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  3. Taryn says

    I have been making mayo- and it was painful until I decided to use bacon grease as the oil base rather than olive oil. It smells great (like bacon) but doesn’t really taste like it. It is thick in the fridge after it cools and the fat thickens. Or you could make fermented mayonnaise. I found that to be about regular consistency. Nourishing Traditions should have a recipe, no?

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  4. Sjondi says

    OK, so do you have a brand of tomato paste that is 7 oz, because all of the ones I’ve seen are 6 oz. Do I need to open a second can for one ounce? I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks for all of your hard work! We sure do appreciate it!

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    Laura Reply:

    Oh, I’m sure a 6 ounce can would work just fine!

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    lydia Reply:

    Hi!!
    How long can I keep this ketchup in the fridge???
    Thank you, Lydia

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    Laura Reply:

    I’m guessing it will last up to two months in the fridge.

    Sarah Reply:

    Laura,
    When it comes to mayo, I use whole eggs instead of only the yolk & I blend it in a food processor.
    From the first try, it’s always been perfect & i’ve NEVER had a problem.
    Google: “The best homemade mayo recipe – the recipe is on food.com
    Just use whatever oil you like in place of the cruddy soybean oil,
    I use olive & sometimes coconut aslong with it – it’s a great recipe.
    I put 1/4 tsp onion powder while i’m blending it, and it almost tastes
    buttery..it’s delicious!! In fact, here’s the link:
    http://www.food.com/recipe/best-ever-homemade-mayonnaise-207860

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    Also, you may want to ease up a bit on the vinegar and salt in the recipe,
    some people think it’s a bit much. I usually cut it back a bit

  5. says

    THe few times I successfully made mayonnaise that thickened I think the secret was to pour in the majority of the oil so very slowly, almost drop by drop, but a little faster. But it takes great patience and your arm gets tired holding up the cup of oil to pour in the top of your whirling blender.

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    Kayla Reply:

    She’s right you have to pour it in painstakingly slow, into a blender that is already running. Hope things are going better! :D

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  6. Ashley M says

    Do you think you could can this ketchup? Shelf-stable?

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    Laura Reply:

    Yikes, I would imagine you could can it, but I’m not sure how to go about it!

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    Jamie Reply:

    water bath 30-40 min…love this website, its a wealth of preserving info!!
    http://www.pickyourown.org/ketchup.htm

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  7. Becky says

    If you want thicker mayo, use 1/2 or more coconut oil. I’m currently experimenting with all coconut oil and cream (or something?) to make it soft enough so we don’t have to chip it out of the jar! : ) The all coconut oil one was great fresh, but not surprisingly, too hard later. I want more coconut oil in our lives, but I also am not fond of the taste of olive oil.

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  8. Penny says

    Does one brand of sucanat or distilled coconut vinegar or another change the taste of this recipe?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think any sucanat would work, and I would imagine that the coconut vinegar would be fine as well!

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  9. Pat in TX says

    I see this is an older post, but if you want perfect mayo EVERY time use a stick blender. You just dump the stuff in there and whirr it up. No more dropping oil in with an eyedropper, no more failed mayonnaise. All of my kids make it with no problems either. In the case of a failed batch – exceedingly rare – just drop an additional egg in there and its fixed! Plenty of videos and recipes online for stick blender mayo. Do use farm fresh eggs from a trusted source tho!!

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  10. says

    I got very excited, and made a 3x batch of this, intending to refill my ketchup containers and everything.

    Oh my.

    I’ve checked and double-checked my amounts and everything, but it did NOT come out well for me.

    I used:
    S&W Organic tomato paste
    raw organic apple cider vinegar

    Any ideas on what the problem could be? It tasted too ‘tomatoey’ by far. I diluted it down (a small portion, in a bowl). It got a little better but was still weird. I adjusted all the other flavors I could think of until it warranted ‘chicken food’ status and I gave up. I’m hesitant to try again and waste more expensive tomato paste!

    Do you think using ACV was a bad idea? It’s the only vinegar my husband is ‘allowed’ to have on his diet, so I wanted to make a ketchup he could enjoy.

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    Laura Reply:

    Shucks, I don’t know what went wrong. I can’t imagine that apple cider vinegar would make that much difference. What a bummer!!!

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  11. Margaret Potter says

    I just made this, and it is terrific! I used a 6 oz can of tomato paste and 1T each of apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar. It tasted really good, but finished a little weak, so I added 1/4 tsp more salt, and that did the trick! Also made it in the Magic Bullet, adding the water, vinegars and sugar first, blended, then added everything else and blended again. No crunchies :-) Thanks, Laura, for a great recipe.

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  12. Courtney says

    So how long does this ketchup last? How do you know if it has gone bad?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    As far as I can guess (since ours gets eaten before it goes bad!) is that this would last about two months in the fridge.

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  13. Sarah says

    We just made this and we have a winner! Thank you so much for all your hard work Laura. I use your site every single day and I love that I’m serving my family whole, natural foods.

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  14. says

    I just made this and it was awesome! I doubled the salt (used kosher), onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, and added some tumeric. I also used powdered sugar instead of putting the regular sugar in the blender. It is INCREDIBLE!!

    Thank you so much!!!

    [Reply]

  15. says

    This looks great! Does it double or triple well? I’m wondering if I could make large batches and can it?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you could make larger batches and be just fine!

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  16. Mandy says

    Mayo tips from the queen of mayo (Julia Child)
    1.)All ingredients room temperature & Warm bowl.
    2.)Always beat the yolks for a minute or two before adding anything to them. When they are thick and sticky, they are ready to absorb the oil.
    3.)The oil must be added very slowly at first, in droplets, until the emulsion process begins and the sauce thickens into a heavy cream.
    4.)The maximum amount of oil one large egg yolk can absorb is six ounces, or 3/4 cup. When this maximum is exceeded, the binding properties of the egg yolks break down, and the sauce thins out or curdles. If you have never made mayonnaise before, it is safest not to exceed 1/2 cup of oil per egg yolk.

    Good luck and Happy Home-making:)

    Mandy

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  17. Katherine says

    What about using something like truvia???

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure I trust Truvia to be healthy – I’ll have to do a little research on it.

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  18. Suzy Q says

    Can’t wait to go try this Ketchup! I make my own mayo Laura and I’ve never had a problem getting it to thicken. I just use my blender and put a really small funnel at the top in the lid hole, I’m talking like the little funnel that sit inside the medicine holder of a nebulizer apparatus. Just look for something that has a really small hole so the oil just drizzles in. Works great for me, plus I add a little whey, let it sit on the counter for 7 hours after making it and then I refrigerate. It firms up nicely and packs a probiotic punch. The exact recipe is in the Nourishing Traditions CookBook. Good Luck.

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  19. says

    A friend (Paula M.) recently shared a link to this page, as my mom and I too have been trying to find a good ketchup recipe for quite some time. This looks like a yummy one, but I was wondering if you have a recipe for making tomato paste, as I really want to use our own home-grown tomatoes to make ketchup with. :)

    Also, we’ve made mayonnaise a few times and have had great success adding the oil (we use rice oil from Azure Standard) by the Tbsps. full when using our VitaMix. You add the oil last though, after everything else is mixed together…

    Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Lu Ann Reply:

    Cora:

    This response is too late for the 2012 harvest, but perhaps you can
    make use of it for the 2013 tomato harvest!

    Use a food dehydrator to dry your tomatoes. Place dried tomato slices
    into a blender, food processor or coffee/spice grinder and make a
    powder out of them. You can rehydrate as much as you need for tomato
    paste. This way you have ‘fresh’ tomato paste without having to cook
    them to death. You also control how thick or thin the paste will be.

    Dried tomato slices can be rehydrated in hot tap water or placed
    directly into soups and other dishes with plenty of liquids for
    rehydration.

    An alternative (if you really want to can) is to, first of all, wash
    and core your tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet. FREEZE solid.
    Move tomatoes to bags and keep frozen until ready to use. (I hate
    having all that heat and humidity in the kitchen in August/Sept., but
    it is really welcome in Dec-March!)

    When the tomatoes start to defrost, they will slip right out of their
    skins – no more blanching necessary! Once tomatoes have been frozen,
    they give up the water in the cells very easily. Simmer them on low
    skimming the water that rises to the top. (Save this ‘juice’ and can
    it for ‘broth’ when you make soups, etc.). Once you can no longer
    skim water from the top, cook the tomatoes on very low temperature
    (uncovered) until it is of paste consistency. You can then freeze or
    can the paste. A standard plastic ice cube try is 2 TBS or 2 ounces
    or 1/8 C. Freeze the portions then bag them up for future use.

    Hope this helps! :)

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  20. Tonya Skillman says

    I have allergies to spices so I used freshly diced onion and fresh pressed garlic instead of the spice. I also used organic cane sugar instead of sucanat so I wouldn’t have to buy more sweetner at the time. Also, I can’t used the cayenne unless I make it homeade from scratch, so I skipped it. All that being said, and after using nothing but organic ingredients, this was the best, actually the only, top notch ketchup recipe ever!!! It was so good, now I make the ketchup and plan my meals around it.

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  21. Jenny C. says

    I made my first batch of homemade ketchup this weekend and we are loving it! To make sure it was nice and smooth, I sweetened it with grade B maple syrup and molasses. To make it last longer I lacto-fermented it with a little whey I had sitting in the fridge. Yum!

    [Reply]

    Barbara S Reply:

    Thanks for that info. How much maple syrup and whey? Did you have to leave it sit out on the counter? Thanks.

    [Reply]

  22. Emily B says

    I think I’m going to try out your ketchup!
    This is the ONLY way I make mayo: in my food processor! It’s the easiest thing ever! I use olive oil. It always come out nice and thick, something my husband has actually commented on!

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  23. Cathy Warren says

    I just made this and it taste good. I ground the sucanat in my coffee grinder(which I only use for spices). I think next time I might try 1 tablespoon of the sucanat as it has such a strong molasses flavor. Can you use Rapadura instead? Thanks for the recipe.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes you can!

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  24. Susan says

    Laura, love the idea of homemade ketsup. Do you can yours?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t can mine, I just make enough to keep in the fridge. I think to can it you’d need to use a pressure cooker.

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  25. Erika says

    Oh my was this good. My son who eats ketchup with his fingers said it was the best he ever had, great price too:)

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  26. Rachele says

    My husband prefers ketchup to be stored in the cupboard not that refrigerator. Store bought ketchup does just fine but I’m guessing homemade wouldn’t. What do you think? We use a large bottle in about a week, we have seven ketchup loving boys!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    To be safe I think I would store it in the fridge. It doesn’t have any preservatives so it could go bad quickly.

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  27. says

    So I finally made your ketchup today. I’ve been meaning to make it for a while now but… so I was a little concerned that since we were just finishing off a bottle of commercially made ketchup my kids would not like the difference. They totally loved it! Thank you, thank you. Ketchup has been a hard one for me since my kids will eat a lot of foods with it that they won’t eat if they don’t have it.

    Also, I’m sure you have your mayo recipe perfected by now but, have you ever tried putting whey in it? If you put in whey (just the run of from yogurt, not the powdered stuff), let it sit on the counter and ferment for a day, then refrigerate it, it turns out perfect even if you don’t pour the oil in super slow. (Also the recipe I use calls for one whole egg and one egg yolk which also might help thicken it.)

    [Reply]

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