Making Ketchup from Scratch

Let me start by saying that making ketchup takes a lot of tomatoes. I mean A LOT of tomatoes and I only make it when I have tons of tomatoes at the end of the season that I need to use up. Most of my tomatoes go to make salsa and spaghetti sauce.

I will admit that it does taste much better than ketchup you purchase at the store and you can customize it to your taste so if you want to give it a try, check out the recipe below.


  • Tomatoes – about 10 cups ripe plum or paste tomatoes, chopped (Around 25 lbs)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced or amount to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Optional – For a little kick, add jalapenos or other hot peppers


Start by prepping your tomatoes. I used tomatoes I had growing in the garden which consisted mostly of Romas but also a few other varieties such as Paul Robinson and Beefsteaks. The weight of the tomatoes in a basket was around 23 pounds and measured 10-12 cups. Different tomatoes have different weights so the weight will vary.

 Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores.

Quarter tomatoes into a large pot. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper.

Cook and simmer the tomatoes over medium heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once the tomatoes have cooked, it’s time to strain and puree the ketchup for the first time.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer tomatoes to your blender. The more juices you remove in this step, the more quickly your ketchup will cook down.

Blend on high speed for a few minutes until very smooth.

Transfer the ketchup mixture to a bowl while you finish the rest of the tomatoes.

I had around 8 cups of pureed tomato ketchup once the tomatoes were pureed.

Once everything is pureed, I put everything through a sieve which removes a ton of seeds and any peels that may have escaped me.

Next….take all of the tomato goodness that is left in the bowl after being strained and pour the pureed mixture through cheesecloth or a tea towel. The goal is to get out as much liquid as possible.

I let the batch drip for about 15 minutes and it should look similar to the photo below.

Return ketchup mixture to saucepan. Add rest of ingredients (cinnamon, allspice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.) This is also the time you would add hot peppers if desired.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and continue to stir frequently, until volume is reduced by half and mixture is almost the consistency of commercial ketchup.

My ketchup only took about 25 minutes to reduce down but it may take as long as 45 minutes depending on the thickness of your paste. Taking the time to let the paste drip before returning it to the saucepan will decrease your cook time.

Once the paste is done to your satisfaction, you can refrigerate your ketchup or preserve it.


  1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Set lids and bands aside.
  2. Ladle hot ketchup into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. 
  3. Process jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat; remove lid and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
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