Ketchup (Catsup) Recipe





Introduction: 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! 

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Cook

Throw everything in a pot and simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until it reaches ketchup consistency.

Once it starts to bubble, you'll want to cover the pot.  Otherwise, you'll be cleaning up ketchup splotches from your stove, the floor, and possibly your own forehead.  That's right.

Step 3: Bottle

I found this uber-cute bottle at a tiny shop in SF.  It's not too practical for getting the ketchup out, but it serves its iconic purpose. 

You can jar the ketchup as you would anything else, and the heat creates a good seal.  I'm not sure how long this will stand up against the bad things that can invade canned goods.  I'm sure my educated audience will have some answers to this!

I keep in the fridge, and frankly, it's never around long enough for me to find out how long it lasts.  Seriously, this recipe is SO GOOD and SO EASY, that you'll never even think about going back to store bought.  

Have fun, and let me know what wacky creations you come up with!



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    103 Discussions

    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.

    Another reason that high fructose corn syrup is a problem is that its made from GMO corn. Agave is non gmo, although high fructose still isn't good for you. I tried it for a few months to sweeten my tea and found I developed an addiction to it. I wouldn't go near gmo corn with a ten foot pole. Studies indicate that it causes tumors in rats and this study has been replicated. Cane sugar as opposed to beet sugar is non gmo so it is my first choice for the little amounts of sugar I use.

    What do you suggest to use instead of agave in this recipe?

    1 reply

    You do know that all of our food crops are GMO, don't you?????? Genetic modification for crop improvements has been going on for thousands of years.


    2 years ago

    I made this recipe today. I did not turn out well. It tasted like a vinegar BBQ sauce.

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this tonight with a few changes. I followed the recipe almost to the letter except I changed the half cup of white vinegar to 1/4 cup, added 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, changed allspice to just a pinch, used regular sugar in place of brown (I make my own brown sugar by using white mixed with molasses), and changed the molasses amount to 1 tablespoon, left out the agave and added these items: couple dashes Worcestershire, 1/8 teaspoon celery salt in place of the regular salt, a pinch of ginger and ground mustard. I also didn't read the recipe where it said to cook it, so instead of adding 2 1/2 cups of water, I added 1 cup and whisked everything together and poured it into our container. This recipe was AWESOME!!! I have tried many different ones, hoping to find the "one" that was what our family would like and this is it!! Im canning a HUGE batch of this tomorrow!

     Is that 2 3 ounce cans (resulting in 6 ounces) or 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste?

    Also - in Germany we got 2 or 3 times concentrated paste. You are using the "normal" one?

    3 replies

    I'm kindof wondering the same thing, but for the moment I will assume they are calling for 2 x 6oz cans, for a total of 12oz tomato paste.

    I will have to try this recipe out for sure. I admit though, I am tempted to add in a couple dashes Worcestershire, or maybe some rooster sauce just to spice things up a bit.

    I love rooster sauce, that is what we call the hot sauce with the rooster on the label, none of us can remember the real name even though we have used it for years.

    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.

    1 reply

    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.

    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!

    1 reply

    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. :-)

    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.

    oops, mad bad, i didnt read your comment under the recipe. sorry

    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.