Ketchup (Catsup) Recipe

Picture of Ketchup (Catsup) Recipe
This super-easy ketchup (catsup) recipe with no HFCS is not only delicious, it puts you in control of how much sugar and sodium goes in.

With the ongoing battle against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), people are beginning to realize just how ubiquitous it is - and recently the focus is on ketchup.  Kids (and adults) can eat a lot of ketchup!  And with that comes a surprising amount of HFCS.  It's time to take action.   This recipe kicks all corn syrup to the curb!

Use this recipe as a backdrop to create your own custom ketchup.  You can use substitutes in place of all of the sugar sources for a diabetic-friendly version.  Leave out the salt (and check the sodium content of your spices!) to keep down the sodium levels.  Add cayenne or hot sauce to kick it up! 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
While fresh tomatoes stewing for hours may give you the ketchupy goodness you prefer, using tomato paste both speeds up the process, and gives you an option when tomatoes aren't in season.  Of course, if you've still got loads of tomatoes that you canned last season, then you're all set!

My own personal recipe goes a little something like this:
(ok, it goes exactly like this)

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
I used agave and molasses because I had them in my cupboard.  You could leave them out altogether, or swap one for the other.  Turns out agave nectar isn't all it's cracked up to be! (see comments below)  Just try out what you have in store.  Taste and adjust as you go along!

I would guess this recipe makes about 16oz.  Enough to fill the two vessels pictures in the intro.

1-40 of 98Next »
kill-a-watt4 years ago
Everything seems to say "refrigerate after opening" nowadays, but if it's actually acidic enough to water-bath can, than it should be OK. (The  Hunts HFCS ketchup i have does not say "refrigerate after opening" but the Tate's generic I have does.)

The government tightly regulates what is allowed to be called ketchup, and it must match a certain formula (for your own good of course), so they both should be high enough in acid, but keep your stuff in the fridge anyway unless you water-bath can the stuff by the proper method.

BTW, the ever reaching goverment made it impossible to market "walnut catsup" or "mushroom catsup" (or my fave, "bannana catsup")  in these here united states. Very popular condments at one time.

Tomatoes are sweeter nowadays and borderline acidic enough, but the 1/2 cup of white vinegar pushed you over the edge to safe.

google the following for lots of canning safe recipes: state extension ketchup

Most all of them start with raw tomatos, but you should be able to adapt one to suit. Changing around the spices should not matter.
You should probably boil the containers before putting anything into them. Look up how to jar things like preserves or really just how to jar food. It will run you through how to make this last long enough for the standard family.
boiling is okay - but this is better and faster: put the empty jars in a microwave safe bowl large enough to hold them all. add 1/4 to 1/2 c (depending how big the bowl is) water, then cover tightly. microwave for three minutes.

for small items, you can buy microwave sanitizer bags from the drug store - they're used for killing bacteria on breast pumps and components so you know they're effective!

saves beaucoup hydro.
nkliedel2 years ago
Because you have white vinegar in there, it should last quite a while. Bad things (bacteria) do not like vinegar. Unopened, a year at least. This sounds great and I will try it!
tn. nkliedel1 year ago
i can attest to that: my hubbie makes hot sauce using habaneros, onion, garlic, shadow bennie, and i don't know what-all else mixed with a whack of salt and topped up with vinegar. he purées it all, then leaves it (jarred and capped) in the sunshine for about a week and that's it - 7 years and no food poisoning.

he also does a pickle the same way: finely diced carrot, garlic, and other veggies (bitter melon, i remember, but not much else); simmered lime peel (cut into chunks), juice reserved; coarse salt. he layers the veggies, salt, and garlic, then pours a mix of the lime juice and vinegar to the top of the jar. again, a week in direct sunshine and that's about it.
I am definitely going to try this, I'm on a gluten free 30 day detox from my doctor. I have diabetes and will be going on Dr Furhmans End Diabetes diet after this one. Has anyone tried using stevia for the sweetener in stead of sugar, agave, or coconut sugar? I've been using stevia for years and when I bake I use stevia in the raw and coconut oil and my baked goods mostly cookies come out great. I miss not eating catsup on certain foods, of course I miss not eating a lot of foods these days, I really miss my coffee more than anything, no caffeine on this diet detox...
We want to eliminate HFCS from our diet, but most ketchup recipes make too large a batch for the two of us. I made your version this week, with only a few changes, and cooked it in my small crockpot. We tried it on burgers tonight. It is VERY GOOD! It doesn't taste like homemade ketchup, it tastes like good ketchup - which is exactly what we wanted! Thanks for a great recipe. :-)
AlDuran1 year ago
Hello Everyone, this recipe looks great.
I am however surprised as to all the atention Dr. Mercolla is getting (besides all the money) for atacking agave syrup. If you do your math youll find that you end up taking the same amount of fructose when using agave compared to using sugar, the only diference is that you practically eliminate glucose contents (this is what makes it healthy).
I will try your recipe from scratch using only agave syrup as sweetener making it true diabetic and diet friendly.
prutt1 year ago
oops, mad bad, i didnt read your comment under the recipe. sorry
prutt1 year ago
thx for recipe are right about the HFCS however you have been tricked into thinking Agave Necture is good alternative(i was too!). Its sounds so healthy lol so read this
turns out it far worse than HFCS. Go for coconut sugar .
I forgot to make my point, make it as sweet as you want, with as much salt as you want, just eat less of it. One more interesting variation, use tomatillos, instead of tomatoes.
I will try this recipe. As for the health benefits of "palm sugar", its main ingredient is sucrose. aka table sugar. There are other ingredients that seem to enhance the flavor, but I seriously doubt this is some miracle sweetener diabetics can consume with no side effects.
sthomas22164 years ago
are you saying that you don't can the finished product but just pour it into a bottle?  Does it stay in your fridge for a week or two?
 Good question, how long does this last?
Read the first comment. The vinegar helps fight bacteria.
rockyman2 years ago
I failed to allow 1/8 in in top space on catsup. Can I reheat ingreadents and rebottle with correct amount. Cleaning bottles and new lids of course. Going through All the Steps. I've got about 3/4 inch of top space. Thanks.
triumphman2 years ago
Made this today, but wife won't eat any sugar, except honey or maple syrup, so I made her a batch, she is happy! Also made two cups a mayonaise from scratch! No corn syrup or sugar either. Very easy and yummy! Happy 4th of July America!
heastman2 years ago
Agave nectar has nothing to do with high fructose corn syrup. It is from the Agave plant. It is better than sugar and corn syrup BUT... COCONUT SUGAR is even better and the lowest on the glycemic index. In measurements you can use it equal to sugar. There is also coconut nectar, coconut vinegar.

High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The switch to corn syrup from cane sugar came about at the same time as three other significant events.

1. TV's - THE KING of passive activies.

2. Pres. Kennedy embargoing Cuba for Castro's nationalizing everything, including Hershey's cane sugar plantations (and Castro's own rather rich family's planation) and many others owned by US interests.  Obviously the loss of Cuban cane sugar left a huge hole in the sugar supply to the US.

3. Electronic ignitions in cars.  Why?  Gas stations needed to regain the revenue lost when cars no longer needed to have the plugs and points changed, i.e. tune ups and the other maintenance issues that were found during those tune ups.  Also, the tune up mechanic that filled up the tank and checked the oil became redundant, so no more full service.  The replacement revenue was in the form of conveniently placed snacks at the cash counter.  Convenience stores were born.  A Coke and a Snickers while you're there vice staying in your car, far from temptation.

So the question is:  Is it a correlation between obesity and  High Fructose Corn Syrup, or is it just coincidence?  Could it be that the obesity correlation actually involves these three events and not HFCS?

I do like killing two birds with two stones by using fruit juices (fructose? hmm, wiki it), honey, etc. as a substitute for whichever sugar and water sources one uses when home-making ketchup.  I'm sure it'll taste far better to boot. 



4. Monsanto, DuPont, and the subsequent government subsidies for corn. Sugar would be FAR cheaper today if corn wasn't so heavily subsidized, especially the GMO variety. Frankly, no one asked me if I want my tax dollars to subsidize crops let alone what crops I do want subsidized. I don't.
HFCS was invented in 1965 (post Kennedy). Most of the ills came during the Nixon Administration. Here's a great video that explains why all fructose is bad (including fruit juices):
Sorry, but what does Nixon have to do with anything? I don't think he mandated the use of corn syrup, did he?

If any Presidential decision was critical in the use of Corn Syrup, it would have more likely been the embargo of Cuban Sugar by Kennedy. Huge hole in our sugar supply to fill.

'Bad for you' is relative. It's the quantities that are the dangers. By his charts, when we ate/drank less of it, we has less problems. But some of his charts are wrong as he presents them.

Your Doctor's second chart in the video proves that he is actually wrong about his own premise. You cannot have a balancing of weight gain + calories out = to calories intake, AND, have calories out = calories intake. His Coke example shows an excess of intake of calories and a cycle of getting you to drink more Coke, thus more calories. An excess intake of calories to calories out = weight gain. He doesn't show that the intake and output of calories are equal in his examples, thus he'd have proven weight gain from Fructose with a zero sum calorie equation. Which he hasn't.

Calories matter. Just because he's a Doctor, doesn't mean he's right. I can't speak about the chemistry, but I do doubt his physics relative to calories in v. calories out. Simply impossible. If your body turns the stuff into fat, your body burns off the fat when you go calorie deficit. If you don't eat enough calories for how many you're using, you lose weight. Yes, your metabolism may have slowed down, but that doesn't matter because it's about how many calories you used, not the rate of usage. You could be dead still all day, but if you ate less than the subsistence amount of calories, you'd lose weight.

As he has the physics wrong, it calls into question his chemistry. He may be dead right on that matter, but because of the physics, he's not 'academically rigorous'. Not a good way to present a scientific argument.
I didn't say that Nixon caused it, I only said it came during and after his administration. Pointing to the embargo makes logical sense, but we were not eating differently until the 70s. and HFCS was not introduced in the US until 1975. Heck it wasn't invented until 1966. Last time I checked, Kennedy died in 1963.

And I don't think you actually watched the vid. His issue is not with thermodynamics. And say all you want about physics, what cals you eat are important. And the part about academically rigorous is bs. He actually demonstrated that the way the liver metabolizes fructose. What is not "rigorous" about it? Did you not understand it? He's an expert on child obesity.

He's also an endocrinologist. He deals with hormones and the way they regulate the body. So metabolism is a huge deal. You say "your metabolism may have slowed down" but that's not the whole story. His story is how your liver turns fructose into some very bad chemicals in your body that you are not physically set up to deal with. He connects a number of studies together.
In the late 70's (notice Carter has nothing to do with this), cholestrol was being noticed as a health factor. So to raise awareness, cholestrol test were given to participants at an agricultural event at Vets Auditorium in Des Moines, IA. The only non-health information on the data cards was occupation. When the results came back the data was grouped into farmers and non-farmers. They had intended to show that a farmer's diet, meat and potatoes, bread and butter, were high in cholestrol and it would show on your blood tests. The data showed the opposite, the group with the highest cholestrol numbers were the non-farmers. The farmers burnt off the cholestrol (calories) and the non-farmers didn't (exercise).

We didn't have these problems until after the 60's because until then, we worked. We didn't have riding mowers, or lawn services. We didn't have Segways. We didn't have cable, and if you heard the National Anthem you definitely needed to go to bed. We ate in the lunch room and not at our desks. We didn't have conveniences that allow us to sit on our duffs all day. (We had phone booths, and boy do I miss those!) We actually had to go outside. The wonder of it.

His video is a bit of a yawner for me, but I'll try again (he lost me early with his misrepresenting thermo 101). As I am a lazy American, it's easier to ask the rhetorical question than watch the video "So what happens if I do exercise and 'burn it off'?" Do those 'very bad chemicals' get converted into energy by our bodies, or do they just accumulate, or ?????

No, I didn't feed our son juice in the bottle when he was in diapers, but he did manage to weight 27lbs. at six months with Mom's Best and Her on a very healthy diet. He's still 99%ile for weight and height for his age (a Lake Wobegon'er as well). A curve buster for health studies.

I DO advocate a healthy diet. Eating right and exercising is the cornerstone of good health. A goal of mine is to drive away immediately after filling the car with gas. Coke is the biggest selling item in all major grocery stores. Finding protein in a convenience store is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Carbs keep, proteins don't. That's the core of the problem, isn't it?
Alright, so we have a really non-scientific study to say calories in = calories burned + calories stored. I'd like to see what was controlled in that "study". You need to have controls to make it really useful. Was it really the exercise? Or maybe it was all the heavily processed vs. natural foods and not the exercise that was the difference. You have to really exercise a lot to burn calories. What exercise does better is allow your bodies other mechanisms to work better.
One other, the PC. Sitting sedentary in front of that monitor would, in my opinion, be the worst thing to ever happen to mankind.
I am believing that much of the obesity has to do with (at least in the USA),

1. lack of physical activity (I am guilty)

2. eating to much (portion sizes in the USA are HUGE compared to most of the world),

3. eating to much sugar of any kind (we eat many more pounds of sugar each year per person than most countries, even affluent ones).

I say all this, pointing fingers at myself at the same time.
dlewisa4 years ago
Sorry to bring it up, but agave nectar is essentially high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is a combo of glucose and fructose in whatever ratio is desired (HFCS 90, HFCS 55, HFCS 42---the number being the percent of fructose). Agave nectar is anywhere from 92% to 56% fructose to glucose. Sorry to burst any bubbles. I'm all for using regular old cane sugar!
It's high-fructose, for sure, but it's not corn-based. The issue with HFCS is the fact that it's derived from corn. Agave nectar is not a corn-based product, obviously. Yes, they're both HF and they're both syrup, but only one is made from corn...

This is an issue for those with corn allergies. It's also an issue for those who believe that corn-based products are way more ubiquitous than they should be. Although HFCS and cane sugar have roughly the same fructose/glucose ratio, we mammals seem to metabolize the HFCS differently than we do cane sugar. Some studies show more weight gain when metabolizing HFCS over cane sugar.

[Insert additional discussion/diatribe about corn subsidies and propping up the corn industry here]
The issue is not that it is a corn based product. The fact that HFCS is made of corn is not the problem; the problem is that it contains large quantities of fructose, and that fructose metabolism results in much more fat production than the metabolism of other sugars, along with causing other health detriments like insulin resistance.

See this for why fructose is the problem:

Agave is much worse than HFCS on account of this:

I'm no fan of the massive corn agribusiness industry, but from a health perspective, substituting agave nectar for HFCS doesn't do any good, because you're only increasing the fructose content--the primary obesity culprit you're supposed to reduce your intake of. It would be better to use plain sugar, or a blend of sugar and some natural sugar substitute that doesn't contain fructose, since sugar (sucrose) breaks down into one part glucose and one part fructose.

jluster Berkana4 years ago
The only issue is, that there's no peer reviewed study with significant academic rigidity to support those claims. Google "Melanson fructose" or read the paper at for the only actual rigid study on this. There are many, many, reasons to abstain from using HFCS or buying products with added HFCS. The biggest one being the gradual erosion of U.S. agriculture to a two-crop (soy and corn) industry. But just as the "milk gives you cancer" and "tofu gives you Alzheimers" campaigns, the "HFCS kills you" statements are more an attempt to play on the fears of consumers who might otherwise not care about the true reasons to abstain from HFCS. I am trying to phrase this as well as possible inside the "be nice" policy - knee-jerk and semi-academic reactions to a trigger word like "fructose" are as dangerous as it gets. There's no reason to not apply the same academic rigor to this as to anything else and move from populism, catch-phrasing, sloganeering, and information gathering via amateur sources to actually learning about the chemical and nutritional properties of saccharides from science, not popular literature.
Berkana jluster4 years ago
I agree that there hasn't been a peer reviewed study done on humans, but the metabolism of rats is very similar to the metabolism of humans, and a rigorous study done on rats at Princeton does in fact suggest that there is something fundamentally fat-oriented about the way their metabolisms deal with fructose vs. when they deal with sucrose in the same caloric loads. See this: I do believe this study is sufficiently academically rigorous to warrant taking its conclusions seriously. Princeton is hardly an amateur source.
jluster Berkana4 years ago
I agree, Princeton is known for high academic standards. The conclusions drawn by the Hoebel study are certainly cause for re-evaluation, and - along with Melanson and others - will, hopefully soon, give us a "big picture" understanding of how the human body reacts to certain caloric stimuli. This isn't just important for obesity related research, it's also the cornerstone of managing and fighting Diabetes, for example.

I'm not a paid HFCS shill. In the contrary, I fight that stuff wherever I can. But I am slowly getting really unhappy about the sloganeering and populist argumentations when it comes to things such as HFCS, MSG, soy based products, and more. Our diet is way too important to be governed by semi-informed slogans.

Of course the corn lobby does whatever they can to cloud the whole thing in their favor (n.b. the "you know what they say about HFCS" ads), as do interests and zealots in the inverse. We need to counter both, with science, with research, and with an active dismissal of anyone and everyone using slogans and talking points to try to influence our diets.
Science and research by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology:

Fructose bad. HCFS bad.
I completely agree with you, fructose is a serious issue. I wanted to respond to the statement that HFCS and agave nectar were similar. They are, and they both contain varying amounts of fructose. The big issue is that HFCS is artificially inexpensive compared with other sweeteners like cane sugar, beet sugar, agave, etc. There is a direct correlation among corn subsidies, the price drop of corn-based sweeteners, and the skyrocketing use of those corn-based sweeteners over other more expensive options. There is a similar correlation between that increase in HFCS use and weight gain & obesity in the current American population.

Fructose is a big problem, and agave may indeed be "worse" than HFCS, but the cost difference between agave and HFCS (or any of the other options and subsidized corn-based sweeteners) means that the corporate food producers will always choose HFCS, the cheapest choice. That choice is kept artificially low-cost because of US government subsidies. That means we're all paying farmers to produce a product that would otherwise be a more costly and therefore inferior choice.

A great way to reduce intake of fructose is to allow the production costs be more realistic; let HFCS compete on an equal footing with other sweeteners. As long as HFCS remains as ridiculously cheap as it is, agribusiness will continue to raise corn over other less-subsidized crops. I'm not against subsidies, per se, I'm just frustrated by the "unintended consequences" of a subsidy program gone amok.

If corn and its by-products were more realistically priced, maybe another less fructose-laden sweetener would be more appealing to producers. Maybe if sweeteners were more expensive across the board the food industry would consider saving some money by reducing the quantities they use.

Fructose = bad, subsidized fructose = worse.
Very well said, Berkana. Fructose is the problem. The liver doesn't have the filtering mechanisms for it, because man is designed to eat one or two pieces of fruit for energy, not a gallon of it's juice(or the equivalent).
 I agree with this. I use either all dark brown sugar or a combo of "white" and blackstrap molasses to taste, depending on how strongly flavored i want my catsup. Or who I'm making it for - my kids like it with less of a bitter note, and a little lighter on the spices, but we like it with more spices and a darker/bitter note. Sometimes I even use coffee for the additive liquid.

erichb14 years ago
Agave is worse than HFCS. While HFCS contains about 55% Fructose, the Agave is almost 100% fructose.

as I am sure you know, it is the fructose that makes HFCS so bad for you. I would use Plain White Sugar or just up the Brown sugar and eliminate the Agave altogether.

jluster erichb14 years ago
No, I don't know. Explain it to me. What part of fructose are you referring to? The fructopyranose or fructofuranose state? What about honey? Can you cite one single peer reviewed study on GLUT5 absorption aside from Melanson? Is honey as problematic, then? Is fructose in disaccharide formation with glucose bad? Should we stop eating fruits with higher levels of fructose than glucose? What about lactose? Should we just replace milk and milk products with pure galactose to remove fructose from our diets? What about nectar? Or, maybe, is the issue with HFCS and fructose not the fact that it exists and is being eaten, but that it's so ubiquitous and in everything that we get our high caloric intakes without noticing? Could it be it's more about the fact that we rapidly turn into a two-crop agriculture than the fact that the evil fructose is in HFCS?
Actually, I just saw an older YouTube clip from 2009 that identifies all fructose as bad for you. Bottom line: One can of Coke does the same internal damage as one can of beer. Along with the fact that it does not signal your brain that you've eaten anything, so you consume more
1-40 of 98Next »