Homemade Ketchup

Recipe originally from America’s Test Kitchen


  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (broken in half)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 56 oz tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar


  1. In a square of cheesecloth, make a bundle containing peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and allspice berries, and tie firmly shut with twine
  2. In large saucepan over medium-low flame, heat oil with cloves until bubbling and continue to cook for another 5 minutes beyond that time. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain/discard cloves from oil, and move pan back to heat.
  3. Add onion to pan and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper, cooking about 1 minute
  4. Remove again from heat, add the canned tomatoes, and puree with stick blender until smooth. Stir in brown sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 tsp salt. Place cheesecloth bag of spices to tomato puree and submerge.
  5. Bring mixture back to boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom to prevent burning. Cook until mixture thickens and reduces, turning a deep red color (about 2 hours)
  6. Remove spice bag. Strain through mesh strainer if a smoother consistency is desired. Should keep in refrigerator for over 1 month.
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