How to Make Tomato Ketchup – Easy Homemade Ketchup
Learn how to make your own easy homemade tomato ketchup with this how-to guide! This delicious ketchup is the perfect balance between sweet, and tart. Plus it super easy to make – you’ll never go back to store-bought! Homemade tomato ketchup is a great way to use your tomatoes and when bottled the tomato ketchup can last from up to a year.
My tomato plants have gone absolutely wild this year! I have far too many – I’ve been able to harvest about 1kg a day for the last few weeks. As I have so many, I was trying hard not to waste them so I thought that the best option was to whip up a batch of homemade tomato ketchup!
It looks complicated on the surface, but trust me – you can make it too! This fresh tomato ketchup is easier (and quicker) than you think!
My latest haul of tomatoes from the veg patch this week were perfectly ready to be turned into something delicious. When you pick them yourself fresh from the vine, the green earthy smell is just out of this world. It’s overwhelming and a feast for the senses.
What ingredients are in homemade tomato ketchup?
You don’t need anything too unusual, and although it looks like a long list of ingredients on the surface, everything does come together perfectly to create sweet, sticky fresh tomato ketchup.
- Onions – after all, no recipe is complete without them!
- Plenty of celery for flavour
- Oil – ideally vegetable or olive oil
- Sliced garlic cloves because, again, nothing would be complete without it!
- Ground coriander to give it an almost slightly smoky flavour
- A cinnamon stick for a deep, warming sweet flavour
- Cayenne pepper for a hint of spice
- Salt and pepper to season to taste
- Tomato puree which helps add sweetness and depth of flavour
- A ton (well, 2 kg) ripe tomatoes
- Caster sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes
- Tabasco sauce – I used ½ teaspoon but if you like it spicy then you may want to add extra
- White wine vinegar to balance the flavours
- Lemons for a citrusy touch
How to Make Tomato Ketchup?
The method is super simple – you only need one pot! You just need to:
- Chop the onions and celery and add them to a large pan over low heat with some olive oil and let them soften for 5 minutes.
- Peel and chop the garlic and add it to the pan. Let it soften for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon stick and spices and stir them in.
- Stir in the tomato puree.
- Chop the larger tomatoes and leave the smaller ones whole and add them to the saucepan. Add the sugar and stir it in.
- Add the tabasco sauce and vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Simmer for an hour until tomatoes are mushy and liquid has reduced by a few inches. Keep stirring every few minutes.
- Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and use a stick blender to blend the mix in the pan until smooth (with a few bits, if you prefer). You can sieve the liquid into another bowl at this stage and then add it back to the pan.
- When it starts to thicken up, taste it and if it is too sweet, add fresh lemon juice until it’s perfect for your tastes.
- If it’s still too thin, leave it on the hob until it reduces and thickens even more. Keep it simmering and stir regularly to stop the mix from sticking.
- Sterilise a few jars – I do this by popping them in the dishwasher while the ketchup is cooking.
- Spoon the ketchup into the jars and add the lid to seal them. Let them cool (this may take a few hours) and enjoy at your liberty!
I leave my ketchup still a bit chunky after using the hand mixer. I love the texture and being able to see the bits of the ingredients left in. It’s thick and gloopy (in the best way) and perfect for the last-minute Indian summer BBQ.
I’ve also added a few tablespoons into pasta sauces as the range of spices and flavours can really boost the finished ketchup.
How long does homemade ketchup last?
Homemade ketchup is a staple preserve that can last for a long time in a cool dark place. This recipe for me usually lasts on average 6 months. (It can last longer but we eat our way through it). I’ve also had one jar lasting a year. It was lost in the back of the cupboard but it was great to find it and still be edible.
What sort of glasses or bottles should I use for my homemade ketchup?
There are a lot of different styles of jars and bottles you could use for your easy homemade ketchup.
I personally recommend glass ones with a metal screw lid. They are easy to find and you can use old jam jars. I used milk style tall glass bottles and regular jam jars to store my ketchup in.
Either way, make sure the jars or bottles you use have a large enough opening so you can spoon the ketchup in to.
How to sterilise your glass jars using a dishwasher
Make sure that when you sterilise your jars that you are careful as they should still be warm/hot when you decant the ketchup from the pan into them.
This will stop the glass from breaking from the heat difference. I pop my glass jars in the dishwasher while I’m making the ketchup so they are clean and hot. Make sure the glasses and lids are dry before decanting.
How to sterilise your glass jars using an oven in my How to Make Tomato Ketchup guide.
When sterilising your glass jars you can use your oven to help. Wash the jam jars in hot soapy water before rinsing out thoroughly. Pop the jars on to a baking tray and into a preheated oven – 180ºC/ Gas mark 4/ 356ºF. You will only need to leave them in for about 15 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the jars inside. I also add the lids in to the oven too to make sure they are clean too.
It is best to add the ketchup into the jars when the jars are still warm/hot. This will help prevent the glass from cracking or breaking.
How are tomatoes turned into ketchup?
Ketchup is turned into ketchup by cooking and boiling down the tomatoes with other vegetables and spices. The addition of vinegar and sugar helps preserve the tomatoes as they mush down to make ketchup.
I love making this easy homemade tomato ketchup. It is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes and keep it lasting for longer at home. We have had a few jars that we forgot about which were still delicious after 6 months of being in the cupboard!
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How to Make Tomato Ketchup
- Large saucepan or jam pan
- chopping board
- Kitchen Scales
- 4 onions (medium sized)
- 250 g Celery (very roughly chopped – leaves too)
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil (or olive oil)
- 4 garlic cloves (sliced)
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 kg ripe tomatoes
- 200 g caster sugar
- 0.5 tsp Tabasco sauce Add extra if you like it extra spicy.
- 200 ml white wine vinegar
- 2 lemons
- Chop the onions and celery and add them to a large saucepan on a low heat with a little olive oil for about 5 minutes until they area starting to soften.
- Peel and chop the garlic and add it to the saucepan. Soften for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon and the spices and stir in.
- Stir in the tomato puree.
- Chop up larger tomatoes. You can leave the smaller ones whole. They will mush down. Add them all to the saucepan.
- Add the sugar and stir in.
- Add the Tobasco and white wine vinegar. Bring to the boil.
- Keep on a light bubble, for 1 hour until the tomatoes are mushy and the liquid has reduced by a few inches. Keep stiring every few minutes.
- Discard the cinnamon stick and use a stick blender to whizz the mix until smooth with a few bits. If you want it smoother sieve the liquid into another bowl, disgard the bits and add the liquid back to the sauce to keep cooking. My preference is to keep it lumpy or country style as I call it.
- When it starts to thicken up have a taste. If it is too sweet gradually add the freshly squeezed lemon juice until the sweetness reduces. I like adding a little extra lemon so it's a bit more tart than sweet.
- If it still too thin leave it on the hob for even longer until it starts to thicken and reduce even more. Keep it bubbling and give it a stir every now and again to stop it sticking to the bottom.
- Sterilise a few jars. I pop them in the dishwasher while the ketchup is cooking and while they are still hot (make sure they are dry) then spoon the ketchup in and adding the lid to make a seal. Allow to cool, it will take a few hours. They should last up to 6-12 months.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.