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How to Make Ketchup


ketchup2Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your ketchup bottle? It’s not pretty. Even the organic brands have hidden “natural flavors” in there to mimic major brands. It’s a shame because you really only need a handful of ingredients to make ketchup taste like the ketchup we grew up with: tomato paste, salt, sugar, vinegar, and if you’re daring, a little garlic. That’s it.

The neat thing about making your own ketchup is that you control the flavor with those simple ingredients. If you like your ketchup with more tang, or a little sweeter, add more vinegar or sugar. If you like a thinner ketchup, drizzle in a bit of filtered water.

The type of vinegar you use can alter the flavor as well. Red wine vinegar will give your ketchup a nice bite, while balsamic will deepen the color and add a mellow brine. Below is a base recipe that you can easily adapt, on the spot, until your ketchup is exactly how you like it:

Homemade Ketchup

Yields: 1/4 cup (4 servings)
Allergy info: soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free

3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon crushed garlic (about 1/2 small clove)
Water to thin
Salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, sugar, balsamic vinegar and garlic. Add water, 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the ketchup is the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning, adding salt to taste, and additional sugar or vinegar. Set aside for 15 minutes and serve. Store covered, in the fridge, for up to 7 days.

Try our other favorite condiment recipes:
Homemade Mustard with Coriander and Ale
Kosher-Style Dill Pickles, Without Pickling
Summer Picnic Relish


  1. joyefulart says:

    >Love this recipe, glad I found you through twitter!!
    Love to make homemade things instead of the processed junk:)

  2. Wicked Good Dinner says:

    >@joyefulart – thanks so much! Glad you found us, too. Will return the follow :-)

  3. Foodessa says:

    >Hello…this is my first visit.
    Glad to have found your recipe. My store bought Ketchup bottle is soon coming to an end.
    Maybe time to try out a recipe like yours ;o)
    Thanks for sharing and flavourful wishes, Claudia

  4. >Dawn, I love the Ketchup recipe! So east too!
    I saw some small cucumbers at Costco and almost bought them for the pickle relish. I cant wait to try both of these condiments at our next burger BBQ.
    Have a great day!

  5. >I have never thought to make ketchup at home but what a great recipe!! Love the idea of homemade!!

  6. >Any ideas on what to use if I can't have vinegar? I've been trying to find a vinegar-free ketchup recipe that I can have.

  7. Wicked Good Dinner says:

    >Hi Manda,

    Wow, that's a GREAT question. My first instinct is lemon or lime juice, which is often a sub for vinegar. Try lime juice first, since it's more often used with tomato products. I'll think about this one as well and maybe do some experimenting over the weekend to see what else I can try. Beer might also do the trick (if you can have wheat). It's not briny, but it will have that malty flavor that vinegar has.

    Anyone else have any ideas?

    I'll post the question on Twitter and Facebook, too.

  8. Wicked Good Dinner says:

    >Manda – what in the vinegar are you allergic to? This will help me figure out a good alternative for you.

    Can you have wine?

  9. >I would never have thought to make my own ketchup, but you are so right pretty scary when you start to read the labels. I will have to give it a go. Thank you for sharing!

  10. >Happy SITS Saurday Sharefest!

    This is a really awesome post, I can't wait to show my husband-making our own ketchup sounds so fun!

    I'm following you now!

  11. Chefs By Night says:

    >This is a really good basic recipe. I made it today, but couldn't resist adding onion powder and a little more white vinegar. This will surely be a hit at the next barbecue!

    • Love the homemade ketchup recipe and many of the gluten-free,soy-free recipes. Do you have a gluten-free, soy-free soy sauce recipe?

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