This homemade ketchup recipe is easy to make with tomatoes and spicy, and so much better than store bought, plus I'll show you how to make a spicy version!
I am a sauce and condiment freak. If you've perused this web site, you'll probably pick up on that pretty quickly. I love cooking foods of all sorts, but when it comes to flavors, condiments are where it's at. A good condiment adds the final touch to many a great meal.
We're talking hot sauces, sauces, relish, pickles, as well as some of the most popular condiments we've known since we were kids - Mustard and Ketchup. I've been making homemade mustard for years, so it's time we made our own Homemade Ketchup to go along with it, right?
Of course I'm going to make a spicy ketchup as well, but you can very easily adjust that to your own preferred level.
Once you make your own ketchup at home, you'll never want to buy store bought ketchup again.
What is Ketchup?
Ketchup is the star of American condiments. At its core it is a seasoned and pureed tomato sauce with a somewhat thick consistency made for squeezing over burgers, sausages, hot dogs and sandwiches.
It's a versatile condiment and can be mixed with other ingredients to form new blends, like homemade bbq sauce. The pureed tomato sauce is typically flavored with vinegar, brown sugar, and a mixture of seasonings.
Why is it Called Ketchup?
The name "ketchup" is derived from the Chinese word, kê-tsiap, which is the name of a fermented fish sauce. It is likely that Vietnamese seafarers introduced this sauce to China.
The British discovered the sauce there and attempted to recreate this dark, fermented, flavorful sauce back home. Early failed attempts included ingredients like anchovies, walnuts and mushrooms, but eventually became the saucy condiment we know today when it was made with tomato.
Tomato ketchup is certainly popular in America and around the world. It's practically everywhere with mass market production, but like anything, it's so much better when you can make it at home and control the recipe.
So what do you think?
Let's talk about how to make homemade ketchup, shall we?
Ingredients Needed to Make Homemade Ketchup
- Onion. You can use onion powder.
- Peppers. Optional, for spicy ketchup. I enjoy a fairly mild jalapeno ketchup, but you can make habanero ketchup, ghost pepper ketchup, or as hot as you want.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic, though you can use garlic powder.
- Tomatoes. You can use fresh or canned tomatoes. Use the best quality for the best ketchup.
- Brown Sugar. Honey or maple syrup are interesting swaps, for a nice touch of sweetness.
- Vinegar. I use apple cider vinegar, though white vinegar is good, too.
- Tomato Paste. As a thickener and flavor builder.
- Worcestershire Sauce. This, along with the tomato and seasonings, gives ketchup its characteristic flavor.
- Seasonings. Chili Powder (or use cayenne powder for a spicier kick), ground mustard, ground cloves, allspice, black pepper, salt.
How to Make Homemade Ketchup
Cook the Peppers and Onions. First, heat the oil to medium heat in a medium sized pot and add the onion and peppers (if using). Cook them down about 5 minutes to soften them up.
Garlic. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, stirring a bit, until you can smell that gorgeous garlic.
Tomatoes and Remaining Ingredients. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, cider vinegar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground mustard, cloves, allspice, black pepper and salt to taste. Give it a nice stir.
NOTE: If you're using fresh tomatoes, chop about 2-1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, add them to the pot, and proceed with the recipe.
Simmer the Ketchup Ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes (or up to 1 hour/60 minutes) to let the flavors meld and develop.
Process Until Smooth. Puree the ketchup with an immersion blender, or transfer it to a blender or food processor and process it in batches until nice and smooth.
Strain the Ketchup to Thin. Strain the ketchup through a fine mesh strainer to give it a nice, smooth texture. Discard the remaining solids, or save them for another use.
You can swirl it into soups for added flavor, or dehydrate it to make a seasoning.
Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator and use as needed.
If you'd like to preserve the ketchup for longer term, process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes and store in a cool, dry place.
This recipe will make you about 3+ cups of homemade ketchup. Enjoy it however you'd like! Throw a ketchup party! Who's bringing the French fries? Such a great recipe.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Straining. Store bought ketchup is very smooth and that is what most people are used to. You don't have to strain it if you don't want to. Enjoy it as it is if you'd like. However, if your resulting ketchup is too grainy for your liking, strain it through a fine meshed sieve again after the initial strain, until you achieve your preferred consistency.
- Thickness. If you're ketchup is too thick, thin it out easily with a bit of water. It will help it flow more easily from a squeeze bottle.
- Tomatoes. I have made homemade ketchup with both canned and fresh tomatoes. I love both versions. Fresh tomatoes are great when you can pick them straight from your garden. I have used sweet cherry tomatoes as well as San Marzano tomatoes and thick, steaky heirlooms. If using canned, choose a good quality brand you love. Canned tomatoes are great because they are usually picked and preserved at the peak of ripeness.
Spicy Ketchup Recipe
Make that ketchup spicy! I like my ketchup to have a KICK to it. Give me a spicy ketchup any day of the week. I've found a few spicy ketchup products in artisan shops, but not very often in grocery stores, so I make them at home myself.
Here are some ideas.
- Spicy Ketchup. Swirl in a tablespoon or more of spicy red pepper flakes and or a tablespoon of cayenne pepper or spicier chili powder when cooking.
- Jalapeno Ketchup. Incorporate jalapeno peppers at the beginning when cooking down the onion, like I did for this recipe.
- Habanero Ketchup. Instead of jalapenos, use habanero peppers, which are much hotter, for a very hot ketchup.
- Ghost Pepper Ketchup. Bring your spicy ketchup to a new level with the original superhot chili pepper, the ghost pepper.
- Gochujang. Try using gochujang (spicy Korean chili paste) in place of the tomato paste for a spicy variation.
Of course you can go even hotter by using a collection of superhot peppers! Go for it, my crazy chilihead friends! I know you want to! It's not just about the heat, but the ketchup taste.
How to Use Ketchup
I'm sure you have your favorite ways to enjoy ketchup! Try it with some of these recipes:
Homemade ketchup should be stored in the refrigerator in sealed containers or bottles. It will last 3-4 weeks or longer.
You can freeze homemade ketchup in freezer bags or containers, where it will last 6 months.
That's it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your homemade ketchup! Are you making a spicy version, like me? Or do you prefer a more traditional ketchup? Let's hear it!
Try Some of My Other Popular Condiments and Sauces
- Homemade Chili Sauce
- Ranchero Sauce
- Peri Peri Sauce
- Homemade Cocktail Sauce
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Hot Honey
- Homemade Buffalo Sauce
- Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water
- Homemade Sriracha
- How to Make Mustard
- Homemade Mumbo Sauce
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Homemade Ketchup Recipe (+ Spicy Ketchup!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped (optional for a spicy ketchup - or use a hotter pepper for a spicier ketchup!)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28- oz can tomato diced tomatoes with juices, or use equivalent fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or use cayenne pepper, or both!
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Salt to taste I use about 1/2 teaspoon
- First, heat the oil in a medium sized pot and add the onion and peppers (if using). Cook them down about 5 minutes to soften them up.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute, stirring a bit, until you can smell that gorgeous garlic.
- Add the diced tomatoes, brown sugar, cider vinegar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground mustard, cloves, allspice, black pepper and salt to taste. Give it a nice stir.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes (or up to 1 hour/60 minutes) to let the flavors meld and develop.
- Puree the mixture with a stick blender, or transfer it to a blender or food processor and process it in batches until nice and smooth.
- Strain the ketchup through a fine mesh sieve to give it a nice, smooth texture. Discard the remaining solids.
- Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator and use as needed.
PRESERVING: Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes and store in a cool, dry place.
Note: This recipe was updated on 5/26/22 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 9/18/19.