Ketchup - from Fresh Garden Tomatoes

"We all know Ketchup or Catsup. But this is your kicked up, homemade, garden-grown version. An absolutely delicious way to use up your extra garden tomatoes."
photo by CelticBrewer photo by CelticBrewer
photo by CelticBrewer
photo by CelticBrewer photo by CelticBrewer
photo by CelticBrewer photo by CelticBrewer
Ready In:
2 Pints




  • Depending on size, halve or quarter your tomatoes. Sauce tomatoes (Roma) are ideal, but any will work. I used a combo of Roma, Beefsteak, and (mostly) Cherry.
  • OPTIONAL: Smoke a tray's worth of the tomatoes. I cold smoked mine for a few hours over hickory. It gave it a subtle but delicious smoke flavor. Again, this is totally optional.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt, garlic, sugar, and onions to a pot and boil for 30 minutes.
  • Cool the mixture until you can send it safely through your food mill. I used the mixer attachment and it worked beautifully. If you don't have a food mill, you can peel and squeeze the tomatoes using the boiling water / ice bath method.
  • Return the now de-seeded and de-skinned tomato sauce to the pot and back onto the stove.
  • Continue to boil the sauce to reduce and thicken.
  • Meanwhile, in another non-reactive pot; heat the apple cider vinegar with all the remaining spice additions. Heat until the spices have infused into the vinegar.
  • Using a fine strainer to leave behind the whole spices, pour the vinegar into the tomato mix. If you don't have a strainer or tea-ball, you can wrap the spices in a cheesecloth satchel.
  • Continue to reduce until you reach the desired ketchup texture. This can take 4-6 hours. I've heard of people using a crock pot for this process.
  • Follow standard canning procedure if you want a shelf-stable product. Otherwise, cool and keep in the fridge.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Wayne D.
    "Add the tomatoes, salt, garlic, sugar, and onions to a pot and boil for 30 minutes."... am I putting them in water to boil? I don't understand this part? Do I just throw all those ingredients in and boil??
  2. Wayne D.
    can i roast the tomatoes instead?


  1. Chef Smig52
    I was very surprised how this recipe turned out! It doesn't taste like heinze... IT'S BETTER! For smoking the tomatoes, I sauteed them over a wood fire in a 12" skillet in batches for an hour. It added a slight smoky flavor which was perfect. Not too smoky, but subtly detectable. I doubled the onion and garlic, and then followed the recipe. It's a keeper if you have too many tomatoes from your garden. I used brown sugar. Much better alternative than GMO high fructose corn syrup that is in almost EVERYTHING today. I am very pleased. Thanks for posting this recipe.
  2. Mary K.
    Wellllllll....I kinda sorta followed this recipe. I didn't have peppercorns-actually I did, but THAT is way too much work. Also, no mustard seed, bay leaf, cloves, and pepper flakes. I also used Roma tomatoes for a thickness of the sauce. Finally, I'm too lazy to take the skins off, it's not like they're gonna kill ya. It came out perfect, the family L-O-V-E-D it. Here's to keeping it simple! Oh, I forgot, 6 lbs??? 2 pints??? I'm dealing with CRATES of tomatoes from the garden. I laugh in the face of 2 pints. Try 13 and that just for the catsup. (or Ketchup) :)
  3. bmatch27
    I also found this recipe excellent. The only changes I made were to add molasses during the reduction and to use an immersion blender halfway through the reduction process. I also smoked 1/2 of the tomatoes with a combo of hickory,cherry and apple Woods.
  4. Sherman F.
    Hi, I love everything about this recipe except for the vagueness about canning. Boiling water Bath? Pressure can? Thanks for any information.
  5. Dianne C.
    I like that this recipe isn't over the top on spices - resulting in a product that tastes like BBQ sauce. I threw 7 lbs of tomatoes, 1/2 onion, 2 cloves o garlic in my vitamix and did not need to strain out seeds or skin for fiber. At the same time, I brought the vinegar to a low boil with the spices and then turned off the burner so the spices steeped like tea to preserve the oils in the spices. Then I added the vinegar to the tomato sauce with the sugar and salt. Brought it down to a paste consistency and got 3 pints. I have tried many different recipes for canning over the years and I like this one for the color of the sauce and the not off the top vinegar taste. It meets the acid level for safe canning of tomatoes. I give this a 5 and will tinker with it. We used our own organic romas and stupice tomatoes.


  1. Mary K.
    Took out some ingredients, only used Roma's


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