Screw Heinz! How to Make Homemade Ketchup

Photo by tanakawho
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I've looked countless ketchup lovers dead in the eye, proudly exclaiming "I don't like ketchup, I just don't get the hype," and smiling sinisterly as their jaws dropped. I know you Texas bunch would agree with me (at least on the burger front). But the truth is, I actually do enjoy ketchup - just the fancy kind. Because, I, my friends, am a fancy bitch!

Forget Heinz, I want my ketchup homemade with love, care, and brown sugar. I like to serve the ketchup warm, boosting the plain red stuff up to a whole new level. The difference in taste is so incredible; you may even want to try it on a burger.

Here's how I make it:

Ingredients yield 4 cups

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes in Puree
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Celery salt
  • Dry mustard
  • Ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ fresh, deseeded red chile optional for heat
  • Water if needed


    Heat saucepan over medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add in chopped yellow onion, garlic, and ½ tsp fresh grated ginger. If using chile for heat, add in now.

    Cook until softened, then transfer mixture to blender along with a squeeze of tomato paste and one can of tomatoes, blending until smooth.

    Return mixture to saucepan and add brown sugar, cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne, celery salt, dry mustard, ground cloves, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, thinning the mixture out with a bit of water if needed.

    Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmering until sauce has thickened and reduces by half, about 25-30 minutes.

    Re-season with salt and pepper to taste, let cool slightly and serve. Leftovers can be jarred and stored for up to one month in the fridge.

    Photo by Rachel Tayse
    Ketchup looking adorable in a cute little jar.

    So easy. Take that, Heinz! This recipe can be changed to your tastes. Sweeten it up with a touch more sugar. Add more heat with a habanero. Kick up the spice with a pinch of cinnamon. The world ketchup is your oyster!

    Have you ever tried homemade ketchup? Think it's worth it? What other condiments or sauces would you like to see recipes for?

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  • My Voice Nation Help

    Homemade or not, ketchup AND mustard must be served at room temperature.Wanna know why it tastes so good at a restaurant?  It sits on the table for hours and hours.  The spices and the vinegar flavors explode when they're warm.  I keep mine in the cabinet, because most ketchup and mustard does NOT say "keep refrigerated".

    Cold ketchup and mustard are like drinking ice cold kills the favor and makes them slop.


    If you didn't make the brown sugar for the ketchup, you weren't really trying.


    "REAL tomato ketchup Eddie? ...Nuthin but the best!"

    Urgh. I have had homemade ketchup exactly once in my life, and that was one time too many. Go get yerself a smoov 40oz. of Heinz. Plenty fancy, and not disgusting at all. (like homemade ketchup - BLECHHHHH!)

    (this is coming from a guy who always pinches pennies and buys most everything generic! There are only a few things I will go "real deal" on. Heinz ketchup, Nathan's hot dogs, Hell on the red salsa, etc.)


    If you want to screw ketchup, screw HUNT'S - it sucks. At least Heinz tastes better than Hunt's.


    That sounds fairly quick and easy, and certainly tasty.  Could you be more specific about how much tomato paste you use?  One person's "squeeze" can be quite different from another's.  Thanks.


    The chipotle ketchup recipe in Robb Walsh's BBQ cookbook is money.

    Brittanie Shey
    Brittanie Shey

    Okay, that jar looks delish, and I don't like ketchup. Also, most name-brand ketchups have HFCS in them! Another reason to home-make your own.


    I make Shiner Bock ketchup.   MMMM good :-)

    Eric Henao
    Eric Henao

    Country style Mustard.Horseradish.


    i'd rather buy a bottle of bernie's burger bus ketchup


    Do you have a recipe for whatburger ketchup?


    Trade you some of my garden grown spicy garlic dill pickles for a jar? :)

    Da Wiz
    Da Wiz


    4 Lg smoked tomatoes  #

    * 2 TBS white vinegar


     1/2 chopped white onion

    * 1-1/2 TBS light corn syrup


    2 cloves chopped garlic

    * 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


    2 diced ancho chiles

    * 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


    1 TBS brown sugar

    * 1/2 tsp allspice


    1 cup tomato paste

    * 1/2 tsp nutmeg


    1 bottle Shiner bock

    * 1/4 tsp ground cloves


    1 canned chipolte, minced

     **  Prepare smoked tomatoes and set aside.

     **  Saute onion and garlic over medium heat until transparent. 

     **  Add tomatoes, anchos, brown sugar and tomato paste.  Cook 5 minutes.

     **  Stir in vinegar, corn syrup, beer and all the spices.

     **  Reduce heat to low and simmer one hour.

     **  Puree in blender.  Strain, bottle and chill.

     #  To smoke tomatoes indoors, preheat oven to 275.  Place whole tomatoes on rack

         with pan beneath to catch drippings.  Smoke tomatoes until skin is charred.









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