This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
Homemade Ketchup takes just minutes to stir together and is made with only a few basic pantry ingredients. You can tweak the seasonings and sweetness to suit your tastebuds. But when you see how to make ketchup with no added sugar or other funky ingredients, you’ll forget all about the bottled stuff. Let your kids dip to their hearts’ content or slather it all over your burgers because this DIY catsup recipe practically counts as a serving of veggies.
Originally published in 2013. Republished on May 24, 2016 with the addition of a video.
Easy Homemade Ketchup
Today I am bringing you a recipe for homemade ketchup. No fancy flavors, no unique twists. Just plain old ketchup.
Yes, you can make your favorite condiment at home. No cooking, only basic pantry ingredients, and ready in minutes. And without added sugar (unless you want to sweeten it up a bit) or preservatives, it’s a healthier option than that stuff in the bottle. It practically counts as another serving of veggies! Naturally gluten free and vegan too.
Because if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll eat anything when it is dunked in or covered with it. But when you read the labels and see all the sugar and preservatives and other stuff in there, well, let’s just say that I was starting to feel like I should just let them skip the veggies versus getting them to eat them covered with all that stuff.
So I set out to make my own ketchup. But many recipes called for simmering and straining and spice packets. I just wanted a quick and easy dip I could stir up in no time. I finally found one on a blog called Fix Me a Snack which doesn’t exist anymore, so I’m glad I saved that recipe. Since it starts with tomato paste, which is essentially a can of simmered and reduced tomatoes, there really is no need to go through all of that extra work.
Just stir in all of the other ingredients that give it its characteristic tangy, smoky, savory flavor that you can adjust exactly how you like. Then eat it right away, let it sit in the fridge to all blend together for a bit, or make a double batch to keep in a bottle for weeks so you always have some on hand.
On a serious note, what I said about it counting as a veggie is totally true. I mean, it’s tomato paste with spices and some vinegar. Pure, concentrated tomato. And plenty of zing, which is totally essential for ketchup, from apple cider vinegar. It brings so much flavor to this simple recipe. And all you have to do is stir everything together. Here’s what you need…
- Tomato paste
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dry mustard powder
- Dried oregano
- Black pepper
- Water – if needed to replace some of the vinegar and/or to thin out the consistency.
- Sugar, molasses, brown sugar, honey, or a combination – only if needed and you don’t want to keep this a no sugar ketchup recipe. See tips below.
How to make ketchup
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Serve it right away or let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors fully develop.
Tips for Success
It’s super easy to adjust this ketchup recipe exactly the way you like it!
Too vinegary? Some people have commented that they find this homemade ketchup recipe too sharp or vinegary. The instructions have always said, but I will mention it again here, that you may want to use half the amount of vinegar the first time, and then add water for the balance of the liquid.
Too thick? If you want it thinner or more pourable, you can also as more water, about a tablespoon at a time to reach your preferred consistency.
Too smoky? You can omit or lessen the amount of cumin. Cumin is a typical ingredient in ketchup to give it a bit of smokiness, but some people (typically those who also don’t like cilantro) find it too strong. A few drops of liquid smoke is an alternative for that flavor.
Not sweet enough? I still prefer making this ketchup recipe with no sugar or other sweetener. If you want it sweeter, you can add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, molasses, brown sugar, honey, or some combination of those to suit your taste. To keep the carbs lower, you can even use Swerve Erythritol Sweetener or Swerve Brown Sugar Replacement.
Make ahead and storage
You can use it right away, but it is also good to let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors fully blend. And if you put it in a jar, bottle, or another airtight container, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
What to eat with ketchup
The most classic thing for dipping in ketchup. Of course, you can just make some frozen or simple air fryer French fries. But you can also get creative and try these.
Just like the fries, there is nothing wrong with getting a bag of tater tots out of the freezer. But you can also sneak some veggies into the mix.
Hot dogs and hamburgers
Just toss some burgers and dogs on the grill and put out some ketchup. Or get creative.
Little kids, little food, and some ketchup go hand in hand.
This is a controversial take, but many people love ketchup on their eggs. Make some breakfast sandwiches or try these.
- Pineapple and tomato cheesy scrambled eggs
- Broccoli ham and cheese egg muffins
- Bacon cheeseburger crustless quiche
Variations of Homemade Ketchup
Once you’ve tried this traditional ketchup recipe, you can swap the liquids, herbs, and spices to make all kinds of gourmet variations of ketchup!
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
More homemade condiments and sauces
- Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Thai Peanut Sauce
- Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
- Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Homemade Peach Barbecue Sauce from Kiss My Smoke