Seriously Good Homemade Ketchup

Homemade ketchup is a must make. It’s so simple, flavorful and easy to spice up or change up based on what you love. Jump to the Homemade Ketchup Recipe

Seriously Good Homemade Ketchup Recipe

How to Make Seriously Good Ketchup from Scratch

If you’re up for cooking an onion until sweet, adding tomatoes and some spices then simmering until thick and shiny, then you’re up for making your very own version of homemade ketchup. You’re looking at just over half an hour from start to finish and the ketchup will last about 1 month — although, we’ve never been able to stay away from it that long. Sure grabbing the store-bought bottle is easier, but we wouldn’t be telling you to make your own ketchup if the taste wasn’t worth it.

How to Make Seriously Good Ketchup from Scratch

This tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Plus, you get to tell your friends that you made it — all by yourself. They’ll think you are awesome (because you are!).

Ketchup starts with an onion that’s been cooked in a little oil over medium heat until soft, sweet and lightly browned. Then we add a generous amount of garlic, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes and allspice.

Since the spices are added before any liquid, they toast and become even more flavorful than they were to begin with. Think about the difference of toasted almonds and blanched almonds. Both are almonds, but they taste different. The toasted nuts are nuttier, buttery and more flavorful. Same thing goes with spices.

Tomato paste goes in next — that’s to make the ketchup taste extra rich. We like to cook it a bit before adding anything else. It should transform from bright red to a burnt orange color.

Making Seriously Good Ketchup

Then comes the rest — a big can of tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and some salt. We let everything cook at a low simmer until thickened and shiny. This is a great time to grab a spoon! I know it’s ketchup, but we happily eat this stuff by the spoonful. Once it’s done, blend it up. You can blend as much or as little as you like — we like it pretty smooth so we break out our blender, but an immersion blender works perfectly well.

Blending hot liquids can be a little tricky. If you plan to use a blender, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Fill the blender less than halfway when what you are blending is hot — so you’ll probably need to do this in a couple batches.
  • Before hitting any buttons, remove the center insert in the lid, grab a kitchen towel and cover the hole then blend away. This helps release some of the steam generated by the hot liquid and prevents any chance of hot liquid flying all over you and your kitchen.

Once you’re happy with the consistency, throw it into a container or jar and keep in the fridge up to one month.

What To Serve With Ketchup

Perfect Baked Sweet Potato Fries that are caramelized and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. No fryer needed here.

Rosemary Roasted Potato Wedges  are so simple to make! Try substituting other herbs and spices for the rosemary, there are so many options.

Crispy Baked Portobello Fries that are juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. We lightly bread them in breadcrumbs. They are so easy to make and truly delicious.

Homemade Baked Tater Tots are easier than you might think. Say goodbye to that store-bought bag.

Crispy Baked Fish Sticks that are flaky and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Ridiculously Easy Homemade Chicken Nuggets made with crushed potato chips as the crunchy breading.

Recipe updated, originally posted June 2015. Since posting this in 2015, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Seriously Good Homemade Ketchup

  • PREP
  • COOK

Ketchup is very simple to make and is so much more flavorful than anything you can buy at the store. We don’t like it to be too sweet and like to add only 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar to the pot, but if you prefer, add a little more to make the ketchup sweeter. The sweetness of tomatoes can range, too, so it really is best to taste the ketchup and add the sugar to taste.

You can also play around with flavors, this version has a kick of spice from crushed red pepper flakes, but you could add fresh jalapeño, chipotle or hot sauce to transform it into spicy ketchup. Other spices are nice, too — try curry powder or garam masala for an Indian-spiced version.

Makes approximately 3 cups

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced into half moons

2 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional for spicy ketchup

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice

2 to 5 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on how sweet you like your ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    Heat oil over medium heat then add onions and cook until they are softened, sweet and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and allspice then cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

    Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it turns from red to a burnt orange color, about 2 minutes.

    Add the can of tomatoes with juice, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cider vinegar, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir, and then taste to check and see if you need to add more sugar (we usually end up adding a total of 3 to 4 tablespoons).

    Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat slightly and cook at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and shiny, about 20 minutes. Taste then adjust with more sugar, salt or pepper.

    Blend until smooth, let cool to room temperature then refrigerate up to one month.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Use fresh tomatoes: 1 large can of tomatoes is about 3 cups of fresh tomatoes. Use about 3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes as a substitute.
  • A note about blending: You can use an immersion blender or regular blender. If you use a regular blender, it is best to blend in batches and not fill the blender as much as you usually would since the ketchup is so hot. We like to remove the center insert of the lid and cover it with a kitchen towel while blending — this helps some of the steam release and prevents the lid from popping off (which can be a big, hot mess).
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/4 cup of the brown sugar.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 2 tablespoons / Calories 23 / Protein 0 g / Carbohydrate 4 g / Dietary Fiber 1 g / Total Sugars 3 g / Total Fat 1 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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57 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Freya December 1, 2019, 3:01 pm

    Tried this recipe with great anticipation. I am sad to say that I added the smaller 1/4 cup of brown sugar and it is far too sweet! Its completely ruined! Disgusting recipe despite the good reviews and lovely appearance! Very disappointing.

    • Joanne January 17, 2020, 1:48 pm

      Hi Freya, We are sorry that the ketchup was too sweet for you. The expectation for how sweet ketchup should be ranges from person to person — we’ve had some commenters say they felt they needed more sugar than 1/4 cup. To accommodate more preferences, I’ve added a larger range of sugar to the recipe and suggested to start with 2 tablespoons, taste and go from there. We usually end up with 4 tablespoons, but now the recipe is written so you can add to your own taste. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Jeffrey Wong November 15, 2019, 3:35 pm

    I love ketchup on potatoes, eggs, tempeh, everything. I don’t mind paying for ketchup, but the plastic bottles, oh the bottles, just too many. I doubled the recipe, trusting that I’d like it. I like it, though I’d like it with a bit more bite (vinegar), which I’ll add a teaspoon at a time to each pint Mason jar. Thanks!

  • Peggi October 25, 2019, 7:21 pm

    I LOVE this stuff! And I don’t like ketchup, it’s usually too sweet for my taste. This is awesome and I haven’t even finished cooking it, it’s still simmering but the taste is outstanding! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Mrs.S October 16, 2019, 9:56 pm

    Hello, I’m thoroughly enjoying your site. I have made your three ingredient tomato soup, it’s awesome! I am wondering if you can make this ketchup sugar/sweetener free?

    • Joanne October 31, 2019, 2:29 pm

      Hi there, the amount of sugar you add is up to you. We like the balance of flavor some sugar provides. You can always add to your own tastes to try and get the recipe lower in sugar.

  • Sharie September 25, 2019, 3:11 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. I just made this and followed your recipe exactly. I used 1/4 cup brown sugar and for my taste, it is too sweet. I really like making my own sauces/dressing etc. and knowing exactly what’s in it. I will definitely try this again and reduce sugar and I’m sure it will become my “perfect” ketchup! Thanks again!

  • Jill September 10, 2019, 8:16 am

    This looks great can’t wait to try!

  • mr dan September 9, 2019, 5:32 am

    if using FRESH tomatoes, make a point of peeling the skin first, and plan on simmering at least an hour to thicken it up. otherwise, pretty tasty stuff!

  • Paul August 28, 2019, 2:25 pm

    Replace the sugar with monk fruit and you will have a nice keto friendly ketchup.

  • Deborah L. June 8, 2019, 1:16 pm

    I love your site and your recipes are amazing! I can’t wait to start trying them all.

  • Kathy Bender-Jones April 15, 2019, 11:47 am

    We do like ketchup but don’t use as much as this makes. Do you think it is freezeable? That would be Awesome!

    • Joanne January 17, 2020, 1:46 pm

      Hi there, We have never tried freezing ketchup. Technically, I don’t see why you could not freeze it, but it might separate on you when thawing. You might find that you need to place it back into the blender to get it back to the right consistency.

  • Judy Krause March 12, 2019, 11:41 am

    It came out amazing!!! My 4 year old grandson is a ketchup hound, and he helped make it and loves it! I am not a ketchup fan, but found this fresher tasting…bright and slightly tomatoey..which I love

    • Judy Krause March 12, 2019, 11:43 am

      oops…it was the Quick Homemade keychup recipe…not this one, tho this looks amazing, too. Was going for easy and easy won out and it came out great.

  • Connie February 12, 2019, 8:52 am

    Very happy with the results! I used about 1/3 cup maple syrup, added about two tbsp of tomatoes paste and omitted the brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Was easy and quick to make. Will most likely not be buying ketchup again.

  • Stacy B. January 1, 2019, 4:42 pm

    Absolutely delicious! Hands down better than bottled ketchup. I will probably add a bit less red pepper flakes next time, but otherwise, perfect!

  • Pat November 3, 2018, 3:59 pm

    I love hearing people ask me. “where did you uy this ketchup? I wanna get some!” by far the best thing ever!

  • Henri May 15, 2018, 10:16 am

    Just made this the second day in a row. It’s a full pot this time too. A permanent addition which I’m looking forward to tweaking with chili.


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