Homemade Ketchup


1 salad dressing

I would not go so far as to say that I am offended by ketchup, but it is not my favorite condiment. I don’t care for the smell or flavor, generally speaking, but every once in a great while, I squeeze a little bit onto home-grilled burgers in the summer. My daughter will inevitably say something like, “Who are you, and what have done with my mom??” It’s a bit of a household joke.

So while cleaning the fridge recently, I pulled out our bottle of ketchup to see if it had expired. Of course it does not expire until my daughter will be in college or some such nonsense, and after looking at the list of ingredients, it was easy to see why. Isn’t ketchup really just a spiced and sweetened tomato sauce? It probably started out that way, but that is not exactly what you are squeezing out of that bottle in your fridge. With a big bag of ripe tomatoes on my counter, staring me down, I decided to give this a shot. What did I have to lose?

First, making this recipe requires some time and attention. It is not difficult or tedious, but the process of boiling the tomatoes down enough to create a thick ketchup-y sauce will require a bit of patience. The good news is that the payoff is abundant. For your trouble you will get about 4 cups of super satisfying ketchup. I refrigerated mine in four 8-ounce mason jars, where it will keep for up to two weeks. If you are a canner, go ahead and process your jars for longer storage in your pantry.

Second, because this recipe has some sugar and liquid aminos in it, you have to use it in place of your salad dressing for the day. Before you make a sad face, the recipe is made primarily from on-plan ingredients, so you can use about a 1/4 cup as your serving (depending on your final yield, which will depend on the size of your tomatoes). A ¼-cup serving is twice what you would enjoy in a salad dressing portion and more than enough to top your on-plan hamburger and homemade oven-baked French fries. Proceed with happy face.

Third, the recipe that I tested, using cayenne, had a nice little kick to it, which might be described by some as being spicy. When you make your own ketchup, you have complete control over the flavors you put into it. If you don’t like the heat, leave out the cayenne. If you like smoky ketchup, try replacing the cayenne with smoked paprika. Like it sweeter? A little regular chili powder ought to do the trick. Just think of all the cool flavor variations you can enjoy by making your own ketchup!

Here’s the best part: as a non-ketchup-eater, I really love this stuff. It tastes like ketchup…only better! Fresher! Lighter! More flavorful! None of that cloying corn syrup sweetness! Hooray!

Prepare to be forever changed.


  • 4 lbs. tomatoes (7-8 large tomatoes)
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped into half-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or alternate spice, see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 C. Splenda® brown sugar blend
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses

Heat a large stockpot filled halfway with water to boiling. Lightly score tomatoes with an “X” on the bottom and drop into the water. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Remove skins and cores. Coarsely chop tomatoes. Add to a bowl and set aside.

Return empty stockpot to high heat and coat generously with cooking spray. Add green onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.

Add reserved tomatoes with accumulated juices along with vinegar, liquid aminos, salt, pepper, allspice, cayenne or chili powder, ginger, and allspice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down.

Working in two or three batches, puree tomato mixture in food processor or blender until very smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a large saucepan, stirring with a spoon and pressing to push all liquid through sieve. You should be left with about 2 tablespoons of seeds and pulp, which can be discarded.

Add Splenda brown sugar and molasses to ketchup in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for an additional 30 minutes to thicken. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to 8 ounce mason jars and refrigerate. Will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Can also be canned for longer storage.

Makes about 4 cups – 1 serving = about 1/4 cup