Homemade Ketchup

This month, we’re featuring dips and sauces. With summer barbecues just around the corner, there’s one sauce that always makes an appearance: ketchup! This homemade version tastes much fresher than the bottled kind, and you can customize it with garlic, jalapeño, whatever you’d like. Here, Jacquelyn of Lark & Linen shows us how…

Homemade Ketchup
By Jacquelyn Clark of Lark & Linen

I get the sense that the general population can be divided into two categories: ketchup lovers and those who are impartial. I, for one, am totally and completely on Team Ketchup, to the point that if we don’t have it stocked, I panic for a brief moment. (I wish I were joking.)

It only recently occurred to me that I could make ketchup myself, with items already found in my pantry! And the best part? It’s so damn easy you could do it blindfolded. Plus? It’s customizable. Extra garlic? Sure! A jalapeño? Why not! The following is my go-to version (which tastes even better than my beloved Heinz). But feel free to alter as you see fit. It’s impossible to mess up.

Recipe: Easy Homemade Ketchup

You’ll need:

4 small bay leaves
4 or 5 whole cloves
A small square of cheesecloth (can be found at any grocery store)
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (if you want it to really taste like Heinz, double it!)
1 clove of garlic, squished with the back of your knife
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tbsp. all spice

Place your bay leaves and cloves in the small square of cheesecloth, wrap and tie in a knot. Pour all the other ingredients (including your little cheesecloth bundle) into a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a simmer.

Once simmering, turn heat to medium and let bubble until mixture reduces by half (this should take 30 minutes). Stir every once in a while making sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Dig around until you find your cheesecloth bundle and throw it out. Purée the rest in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Store in an airtight bottle or container in your fridge.

Thank you so much, Jacquelyn!

P.S. More best recipes, including french fries and three-ingredient salsa.

(Photos and recipe by Jacquelyn Clark of Lark & Linen. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. Chris says...

    I love this post! I have never thought of making my own dip before. Time to knock that off the ‘bucket list’ as it were. :)

  2. My favorite photo is the one with cheesecloth + newspaper- makes the ketchup look romantic + intellectual. I personally love ketchup – thanks for sharing.

  3. Guten Tag from an American living in Germany! Here they have a wonderful invention of curry ketchup. They take it seriously and the curry ketchup takes up as much space on the store shelves as the regular ketchup. Add curry powder added to this recipe and whisk yourself off to Deutschland!

  4. Hey guys! Thanks for your sweet words :) The recipe is seriously ridiculously easy and totally worth it. I’ve made it in the past and it’s definitely kept for 3-4 months no problem. It’s usually gone before then though, I won’t lie!

    @Susan – 1 Tbsp. all spice isn’t a typo – it’s packed full of flavour and deliciousness.

    @Georgia – totally worth a shot! I imagine honey would add a nice twist!

  5. I also make sometimes DIY ketchup. With caramellized onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, a bit fishsauce, a bit tomate paste, some chillis, and canned tomates. For making it more thick I use honey and cornstarch. sometimes I add a bit cinnamon. I love it and I cant wait to try this recipe too. Nice greets from sunny Vienna :)

  6. I also make sometimes DIY ketchup. With caramellized onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, a bit fishsauce, a bit tomate paste, some chillis, and canned tomates. For making it more thick I use honey and cornstarch. sometimes I add a bit cinnamon. I love it and I cant wait to try this recipe too. Nice greets from sunny Vienna :)

  7. I live in Dominican Republic, and even if we have many American products available, I’d rather get the Dominican stuff, because is more natural. Dominican ketchup’s ingredient lists tomato, water, vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar. No corn syrup, no weird ingredients I can’t even pronounce. Heinz, I believe, has a “natural” version of their ketchup, which I use every once in a while.

  8. My daughter and I are ketchup freaks! (French fries are nothing but a vehicle for ketchup.) And I’m obsessed with making things from scratch, because fake ingredients like “E505″ and ” stabilizers” just freak me out. I’ll have to give ketchup a try!

  9. Is that 1 Tablespoon allspice a typo? That sounds like a huge amount for 1 can of tomatoes.

  10. Thanks Amy P! Definitely going to do that! xo

  11. Kinda amazed by all the comments on how people want to cut bad stuff out of their diets. Do you people eat so much ketchup that having *gasp* processed ketchup on occasion really makes any kind of difference?? I’d understand if you ate it daily. I only eat ketchup on occasion and so I go with the ketchups of ketchups.. Heinz (see my above post lol). And no, I do not work for them :P Everything in moderation, folks. Life would suck if I didn’t eat “bad” foods every now and then…

  12. You do NOT MESS WITH HEINZ lol. To me, Heinz IS ketchup. No other tomato sauce is ketchup. It would just be weird. I make my own mayo and pretty much everything else… but ketchup? NEVER.

  13. um, I’d prefer to talk about those delicious looking french fries.

    When I was a kid, I put ketchup on literally everything. It wasn’t edible unless it could be dipped or covered in the sugary red crack. But as I’ve gotten older, I like going condiment-less to really taste the food I am eating, or I really prefer Siracha, because TBH, everything is better with Siracha.

  14. Awesome recipe! Homemade ketchup with extra Jalapeno sounds so delicious right about now :)

  15. Thanks!! I just hate ketchup (from ALL brands) but some time ago I ate homemade ketchup at a restaurant and oh my it was so good but I didn’t ask for the recipe so I never eat ketchup again. Now I can do it again! :) (in fact, I hate every kind of bottled sauces…)

  16. I love the idea of making my own ketchup, but how long do you think it lasts in the fridge? We don’t use ketchup all that often…

  17. Looks so good. And the recipe looks easy too.

  18. JW says...

    My toddler and I made fries at 9:30am – all because of this post!

  19. I just had homemade (or house-made) ketchup in a local restaurant here in St. Louis and it seriously stole the show. I have been wanting to make my own ever since. Great post!

  20. I’m on team Ketchup Indifferent. I love tomatoes, but ketchup is just way to sweet for me.

  21. Love it! Question: do you think subbing the sugar with honey would be totally weird? I try to avoid processed sugar but I kind of miss ketchup. A bit lot…

  22. I just love this whole post: the photos, the content, everything! My family go through a ridiculous amount of ketchup so I can’t wait to try this recipe out later on them.

    Thank you for the idea

    Ellie xox

  23. YESSSS. I love ketchup. And we are basically OUT, except for a few packets that we’ve collected. I also really like how you’ve got the fries wrapped in newspaper. And you have a pretty little ketchup holder like you’d see in a restaurant. I think I need one of those, too.

  24. This is great! My husband refuses to eat any ketchup but Heinz. I’ll use this to break his snobbery!

  25. I love adding truffle oil and sea salt to it.


  26. Can’t wait to try…but how long before it spoils? Any idea?

  27. I’d love to try this! About how long would this stay fresh in the refrigerator?

  28. Those french fries are giving me a serious case of ‘hearts in your eyes’ emoji

  29. It’s weird, but I don’t like ketchup very much. I love all other tomato products though. Maybe I just don’t like processed ketchup and would like it homemade?

    (I eat fries with ranch dressing).

  30. Now I want to try to make my own ketchup! :)

  31. This is genius! I’ve been searching for ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup for ages. Thanks J! XOXO

  32. I need to get some french fries, now!

  33. Ketchup is my favorite condiment by far. So glad I can make it on my own now!