Classic Homemade Ketchup Recipe

You'll find no store-bought flavor—just old-fashioned goodness—in this Classic Homemade Ketchup recipe.

ketchup in a bowl

Skip the hidden sugar in store-bought condiments by learning to make your own ketchup at home!

Photo By Jiri Hera/Courtesy Fotolia

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In The Pickled Pantry (Storey, 2012), author Andrea Chesman offers a guide to pickling that features recipes for everything from crisp cucumbers to carrots, rhubarb, cabbage and pineapple. In this excerpt from chapter 5, “Salsas, Relishes and Chutneys,” Chesman shares a homemade ketchup recipe for a classic ketchup that will remind your palate of what this condiment used to taste like before Heinz came along. 

Classic Homemade Tomato Ketchup Recipe

makes 5 half-pints

No store-bought flavor here, just old-fashioned goodness. This is what ketchup used to taste like, before Heinz stepped in and retrained our palates.


12 cups chopped ripe plum tomatoes (6 pounds)
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-1/4 cups cider vinegar
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup honey or firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon pickling or fine sea salt

1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and cider vinegar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, until soft.

2. Transfer the mixture to a blender in batches and purée until smooth. Return to the saucepan.

3. Tie together the celery seeds, mustard seeds, and cinnamon sticks in a spice bag (see How to Make a Spice Bag, page 20). Add the spice bag to the saucepan, along with the honey and salt. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the ketchup has the desired consistency, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Remove and discard the spice bag.

4. Ladle the hot ketchup into clean hot half-pint canning jars, leaving ⅛ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and seal.

5. Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes, according to the directions on page 31. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place.

Excerpted from The Pickled Pantry © by Andrea Chesman; used with permission from Storey Publishing. 

More recipes from The Pickled Pantry: 

Homemade Mustard
Classic Sweet Pickle Relish