Simple Homemade Ketchup

It’s a snow day. We don’t get much snow here in the Pacific Northwest, but when we do, it incites a mixture of widespread panic and delight.

Put me in the delight column. I love snow. It immediately puts me in a better mood, a more relaxed one. When it snows,  I’ll be more likely to make you a cup of cocoa and go for a walk in the snow than be in my normal state of frantic espresso-drinking while huddled over my computer, working.

It’s also a Sunday, which is my main cooking day of the week. Typically, I make a couple of large meals like a big pot of soup or a roast to last us through the week without having to cook on weeknights. Tonight, I’m making meatloaf, a favorite meal of Casey’s.

While checking the cabinets and fridge for all the ingredients, I had a minor spat of panic, even in my snow-lulled state.

We have no ketchup.

Meatloaf is nothing without ketchup. It’s not even a debate, in my mind. With no ketchup, there would be no meatloaf.

Alas, I remembered something. Adrienne, you can make ketchup.  Duh.  I checked my pantry to see if all the ketchup-making essentials were there. They were.

It’s a miracle. There will be ketchup. And meatloaf.

Now, it will be extra special meatloaf. Homemade ketchup is seriously revolutionary, if you’ve never had it. The flavors are brighter, more complex, but still familiar.

I’m not going to say I’ll never buy ketchup again. I probably will. But I’m so impressed with the homemade version, I’m going to give it the old college try to make it. The less we rely on processed foods, the better, for so many reasons.

The best thing about making ketchup is that you don’t need to follow a recipe to the T. If you don’t have certain ingredients or don’t want to use certain things, then leave them out. Want to add a different spice? Then add it. The key is to taste it as it simmers and modify it to your taste.

Give it a try and impress all your friends (and even yourself!)

Homemade Ketchup
Adapted from Epicurious

1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 dried bay leaf
2 dashes hot sauce (or more if you like it spicier)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce*
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 pinch each of cinnamon, allspice and cumin

Purée tomatoes (with purée from can) in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Cook onion in oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, garlic cloves, bay leaf, spices, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour (stir more frequently toward end of cooking to prevent scorching).

Remove bay leaf. Purée ketchup ina blender or food processor until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Chill, covered, at least 2 hours (for flavors to develop).

Makes about 1 quart.

*To make this recipe vegan, leave out the Worcestershire sauce


Author: Adrienne | Categories: Home Cooking + Recipes | Comments: 8


  1. Posted January 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    what a wonderful idea! I’ve made homemade mayo and homemade mustard, but never thought to do ketchup. The jar label is super cute too!

  2. Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    It’s funny you mention meatloaf and ketchup. Growing up I only was able to eat meatloaf with ketchup, mostly because it just tasted like hamburger.
    As an adult, one of my goals for making meatloaf was to make it tasty enough to not need ketchup. My kids don’t even know that people use it on meatloaf. Hopefully I’ve reached that goal!

    However, I am excited to try making ketchup – thanks for the recipe.

  3. Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    Hi Adrienne, I’ve been meaning to make my own ketchup for the last couple of years, but I never have all the ingredients in my kitchen to do it. I’m printing this off and finally going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. Rhonda Cruz
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

    Hey Adrienne,
    This is your cousin Rhonda Sue. I say a picture of some taco’s you made your Dad on his Facebook. Someone said something about an Eggplant lasagna. Did you make it. If you did can I get the receipe from you. That sounds good.

    Oh by the way when did you start doing this?

  5. Posted April 29, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Hi Aunt Rhonda,
    I’ve been doing this since about 2009. I don’t have the recipe for my mom’s eggplant lasagna, unfortunately! It is very good, though!

  6. Christine
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    This was a little bit too sweet but had a nice flavor. I’ll make it again with less sugar and might omit the cinnamon and all spice. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Posted February 12, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Amazing recipe. I love it and most important so did hubby! Thank you! I eat fries for ketchup. Now I don’t have to feel bad about that any ore.

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  1. By Fabulous 4 | eventful existence on April 18, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    […] Homemade ketchup eliminates all of the sodium and sugar in the store bought stuff. I need to try this during the […]

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