Easy Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker + DIY in the Kitchen

This is a guest post by Melanie Zook, MA, RD, LDN. She is the blogger behind Fresh Start Nutrition where she offers wellness classes, workshops, pantry makeovers, and nutrition consultations. She lives here in the Charlotte, NC area, and I thought you all would enjoy her homemade ketchup recipe from her new DIY Kitchen Cookbook!


Easy Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker + DIY in the Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood
Hi there, I’m Melanie, and I think the kitchen is the perfect place to do it yourself (DIY).

Why DIY in the kitchen?

  • YOU are in control.
    You know exactly what’s going into your food – no preservatives or artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, just whole, clean, healthy foods instead of processed foods that are full of unnecessary additives.
  • You’ll save time and money, as well as space in your pantry and refrigerator.
    Once you stock up on the ingredients you’ll need for a DIY kitchen, you won’t have to buy as many premade staples and you can save yourself the extra errands. Spend some time putting together the make-ahead mixes and you’re done.
  • It’s green.
    You can skip the excess packaging of premade, processed foods.
  • It’s worth it to make some of your meal and snack staples.
    They take a matter of minutes using ingredients you probably already have on hand. (But some DIY recipes out there just aren’t worth the time and hassle if you can already find affordable clean versions in the store.)

These reasons are exactly what inspired me to put together my new DIY Kitchen Cookbook*It covers how to Make Your Own Clean & Healthy Make-Ahead Mixes, Seasoning Blends, Snacks, Breakfasts, Condiments, Dressings & Drinks with copycat recipes that are cleaner, healthier, and more budget-friendly versions of what you’d normally buy in a grocery store. The recipes are designed so you can tweak them to fit your family’s preferences or swap out ingredients to make them allergy friendly.

Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker

 Easy Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker + DIY in the Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFood

Let’s start with ketchup. It’s a kid-friendly kitchen, restaurant, and picnic staple, but the bottled, store-bought version is one of the condiments highest in sodium and sugar (often in the form of high fructose corn syrup). And some of the new reduced sugar varieties are made with artificial sweeteners. By making your own, however, you can control how much salt is added and skip the processed sugar altogether by using honey as the sweetener.

Easy Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker + DIY in the Kitchen on 100 Days of #RealFoodHomemade ketchup makes a perfect summertime hostess gift. Double the recipe, pour into mason jars, and tie on a bow.

It also freezes well (leave headroom if freezing in jars to allow for expansion). Or freeze in an ice cube tray so you can thaw out individual portions when you need them for serving food or when making other recipes, such as barbecue sauce.

Many people are pretty loyal to their ketchup brand, so I knew this recipe would be a tough one to develop. But my Heinz-loving husband from Pittsburgh approves. I hope you do too!

Easy Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker + DIY in the Kitchen 3

Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker

From The DIY Kitchen Cookbook by Melanie Zook, MA, RD of Fresh Start Nutrition
4.5 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 8 hrs 5 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 20 ounces

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to a slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours or until thick.
  • Store in a glass jar or a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator or freeze.

Notes

• We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
• Use the same measuring cup for the honey that you did for the vinegar. Honey slides out of a wet measuring cup much better than out of a dry one.
• Grind whole cloves using a mortar and pestle or with the flat side of a chef’s knife.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker
Amount Per Serving
Calories 122 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 259mg11%
Potassium 1087mg31%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 1255IU25%
Vitamin C 26.2mg32%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 4.4mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

(*FYI – You do not need a Kindle device to download and read this ebook. FREE apps for just about any desktop, smartphone, or tablet are available on Amazon or in your gadget’s app store.)

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134 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Ketchup in the Slow Cooker + DIY in the Kitchen”

  1. 4 stars
    I made faux Alfredo sauce tonight. Garlic, Parmesan cheese, vegetable broth, cooked cauliflower in blender until creamy. Served over spaghetti squash with peas and sautéed mushrooms.

  2. 4 stars
    This looks like a great recipe and I chose it to use as a start up recipe. I made my changes to suit our tastes. I subbed honey for reg corn syrup and added about 1/3 cup sugar. I also added more salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. I decided not to use my slow cooker and added one can of tomato paste and simmered for about 30 minutes. All the other spice measurements were spot on. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe. I personally liked the taste of the ketchup and I’m not one to use it. Now the Heinz lovers didn’t care for it. I do have to mention that you should cook it on low in the Crock-Pot for 8 hours with the lid off. I did the recipe exactly the way it said to and it was still soupy because the steam built up inside the lid and poured back down into the ketchup. I then took off the lid and cooked it on low for 8 hours and it came out to a perfect consistency. I do advise stirring this mixture occasionally so you don’t get a crusty build up around the edges.

    sionally so you don’t have a crusty build up around the edge.

  4. I just made this, and had it in my crockpot on low for 10 hours but it was still pretty thin. It was also darker, had a saucy consistency, and had a very strong tomato sauce + vinegar taste. :(

  5. 5 stars
    Store-bought ketchup tastes like chemicals and sugar to me, so I’ve been on a mission to make my own. I’ve tried several recipes! This is my current favorite. Thank you! I cook it on high for 8 hrs with no top on the CP to get it to the consistency I like. YUMMY! My family loves it.

  6. I have to watch my salt. What could I substitute for tomato paste as it is high in sodium. I would have to leave out the salt also in the recipe and use celery seed not celery salt. I can’t wait to try it. I have only found on version of no salt ketcup and only one store sells it. Can’t wait to have my own. Thanks!

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed.

    1. Hi Hannah–I’m in no way a canning expert, but I don’t see why not? But I have only ever frozen it, not canned it. There have been a lot of other canning comments on this post, so I wonder if anyone else has tried it!

    2. I would be concerned with canning because of the honey in it. I am not an expert but have canned and pressure canned many times, and I believe honey is one ingredient that is not supposed to go in a canning recipe. You could check the USDA website on canning to be sure!

  7. What a good idea! I would think so, but to be extra safe, you could freeze the jars then they’d thaw out by that time, all while keeping it chilled. Hope they love their gift!

    1. Hi Val–I haven’t tested it that way, but it sounds like some readers planned to make it with fresh tomatoes. You can see some of the info in their comments. Overall, it sounds like you would need to skin them as you would for other tomato products, then add more cook time to cook off more liquid (water). Let us know how it goes!

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed.

  8. Is there an actual physical book we can purchase? I can’t seem to find anything on amazon? I can’t do technology in the kitchen :)

    1. I’m wondering the same thing. I just can’t work well with my phone or tablet while cooking, the book just works better for some reason. But on Amazon it looks like it’s only digital right now.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this a week or so ago. I LOVE ketchup on oven fries, and this is really tasty! I put it in my Organic H***z bottle. No one can tell that it’s not the original contents.

    1. Hi Nikki–I’m not a canning expert, but I would think it could be canned as you would other tomato products. One of the commenters above gave some info…I’ll see if I can find it.

    1. Yes, Emily–a few readers were going to try that. It may change the flavor a bit–in a good way, I’m sure–and you may even be able to cut down on the honey a bit. Let us know how it comes out!

    1. Hi Cheryl! I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed. Enjoy!

  10. 5 stars
    Hi there could u replace sumthing with the honey? What would the nutritional info be ? I don’t eat alot of carbs ? Thanx!! :)

    1. You certainly could. The slow cooker I use does not seal, so between some steam escaping that way and the amount of water that condensed (and the fact that the puree is somewhat thick already), it cooked to the consistency of what you see in the photo.

  11. I just took my ketchup out of the slow cooker and it is very thin…a little thicker than tomato soup. Will it thicken up in the fridge? (I hope!)

    1. While it will thicken a bit more, it should be thicker than that when it’s done (the photo shows the exact product). (The puree you started with would typically be thicker than that too.) You could try letting it cook longer to cook some water out, or simmer it longer on the stove?

  12. 5 stars
    Have you tried making it without honey? I used to be able to get unsweetened ketchup at some point, but I haven’t seen it for years. I don’t really like regular ketchup because it’s too sweet.

  13. Earlier I was asking about tomato puree vs strained tomatoes. I see there is some additional information in the comments. Thanks ladies. And I agree using apple cider vinegar would be great! I have also found some tomato products in glass jars (available in the US, sorry I shared products that I found in my Canadian store only and not organic). Bionaturae has Organic Tomato Paste and Strained Tomatoes. They are from Italy. Also Jovial has Organic Diced, Crushed and Whole tomatoes. They are in the US. I found these on a site where I order other organic foods, and health related things.

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed. (The freezing option sounds like it might be a good plan for you.)

    1. I don’t see why not! While I haven’t tested it this way, I would think that you would steam the tomatoes to make them easy to peel, puree well, then add some time to the slow cooker method to allow more water to cook off until it is the consistency of ketchup (fresh tomatoes may be more watery).

      1. Sylvia Charlton

        I was going to ask about fresh tomatoes too – I don’t used canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce etc because of the BPA in the can lining. So I will cook up fresh tomatoes and strain the seeds and skin out and go from there. I might add the skins and seeds to soup. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thanks so much for your interest in the cookbook, Leora. The good thing is, you don’t need a Kindle–you can get an app for any computer or gadget (iPad, etc.) for FREE here http://amzn.to/1ruJBCz or in your gadget’s app store. Then, when you buy the Kindle book, it’ll download to the app and you can read it as an e-book. Hope that helps!

  14. Hi Melanie,
    This recipe sounds delicious. I like to make all my dressings and condiments but I have never tried ketchup. My husband loves ketchup so I’ll have to give this one a try.
    I would also recommend using organic apple cider vinegar. I use it to substitute for white vinegar in all my recipes and it does taste delicious.
    This recipe could be canned with no problem. When canning tomatoes it is recommended to add some citric acid to make sure there is sufficient acid to can safely. Since this recipe has vinegar there should be no problem with insufficient acidity.

    1. Hope you’re able to add this to your list of homemade condiments! Good tips–a reader commented that she was going to use apple cider vinegar too. I think that would add a good flavor and you may even be able to cut down on the honey. Am trying that next time!

    2. Thanks. I was just going to ask if it could be canned for gift giving at the holidays. Ball suggests canning ketchup for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Leave half-inch head space. I’m assuming this can be made in larger quantities?

      1. Thanks, Faith! I haven’t made it in larger quantities, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be. You may need to add more time to the simmer for it to thicken enough.

  15. Yippy! I’ve been wanting to use up my tomato puree but hadn’t taken the time to find a good recipe. I’m excited to make ketchup this weekend! Have you ever made Worcestershire sauce? I have avoided buying it for months because of the extra unwanted ingredients but have some recipes I would love to put it in. I’m sure I can Google it and find a recipe but thought I’d ask the real food expert first. :)

    1. Not sure if Lisa has, but I haven’t made that yet. My parents used to. Maybe it’s a good recipe to include in the next edition of my DIY Kitchen Cookbook! I’ll get on that. :)

  16. I’d love to make this but I have one question that’s frustrating me: is tomato puree the same thing as tomato paste, or the same thing as tomato sauce, or some third tomato product that I never see in the store: Inquiring minds and all that… :)

    1. Tomato puree is one of the canned tomato products in your canned tomato aisle. My “regular” grocery store has it in some of it’s usual brands: Hunt’s, Contadina, Cento, etc. Many recipes out there use tomato paste, and I tried that, but found a much more ketchup-y flavor with puree.

      1. Thank you, Critical Reader and Melanie, for the quick response! I don’t recall ever seeing tomato puree on the local grocers’ shelves, but I don’t think I’ve ever looked for it, either. It would be quite ironic if it isn’t available here in California where we’re up to our waists in tomatoes this time of year! :)

    1. VICKI L MORRIS

      I read a post said to add hot ketchup to warm pint jars 1/2 inch head space boil bath for 15 minutes.

      1. VICKI L MORRIS

        5 stars
        I like reading the recipe for your ketchup. Other homemade recipes have you constantly needing to stay on top of preparation. With the slow cooker you can other items while waiting for the ketchup to make. Love the idea.

  17. No Kindle needed! I’ve received a few messages on my Facebook page asking if the e-cookbook comes in any other formats since you don’t all have a Kindle. The good news is you do NOT need a Kindle device–you can get an free app for your desktop, laptop or most other gadgets (like a smartphone or tablet) here: http://amzn.to/1ruJBCz or in your gadget’s app store. Then, when you buy and download the e-cookbook, you just read it right on the Kindle app. Hope that helps!

  18. Why would you use White Vinegar which is made from coal tar? It is not real food by any stretch of the imagination. Have you tried real Apple Cider Vinegar?

    1. I’m glad you commented–I should have suggested in the recipe to stick with Heinz white vinegar (ironically, it’s a DIY ketchup recipe) or certainly give apple cider vinegar a try (another reader also plans to do this because her son cannot have white vinegar)–that would give it a good flavor AND I would even try decreasing the honey. Let us know if you try it!

    1. I often make a double batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars. Then I’ll thaw out a jar as needed, then transfer to a squeeze bottle in the fridge. While I’m not a canning pro, I would think it would can just like any other tomato product. Hope you like it!

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed.

  19. Ii have been wanting to make my own healthy ketchup for a while. This looks simple and great! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed.

  20. You must have read my mind….I was just thinking about this over the weekend after becoming frustrated with not finding any ketchup in the stores without sugar or artificial sweeteners (even found one that had a salt substitute?) Thank you so much; cannot wait to try this!!

  21. This recipe sounds great – my son thinks ketchup should be the bottom of the food pyramid. What size slow cooker did you use?

  22. Is there any reason you couldn’t can this and make it shelf-stable? (the way you would with bbq sauce or preserves).

  23. Hi Melanie,
    I cannot wait to make this! I’ve pinned ketchup recipes before, but never got around to actually making any of them. When you mentioned the slow cooker, you said my magic words :) My kids eat a ton of ketchup and I love the ingredients you’ve used. Thanks for the great post – it’s pinned and waiting for my prep day!

  24. I’m getting ready to start whole30, (no sugar of any kind) I wonder if dates can be used in place of honey?

  25. If I wanted to use my fresh or my canned tomatoes from my garden, how would I do that instead of the tomato puree?

    1. I would give that a try! Remove the skins and puree well. The slow cooker method really helps to thicken the puree, but you may want to add more time if it’s too liquidy with home canned or fresh tomatoes.

    2. Critical Reader

      My mathematical solution: according to the USDA food database, tomato puree contains 12 % dry matter and fresh tomatoes contain 5 % dry matter. Hence, to mimic the recipe, you might want to start with 67.2 oz fresh tomatoes (= 12/5 * 28 oz tomato puree). However, by law tomato puree can have a dry matter between 8 and 24 %, which adds a huge factor of uncertainty to my calculation. BTW, if my math is not off, the recipe here is actually higher in sugar than commercially available tomato ketchup ;-)

      1. Critical Reader

        Certainly. I am actually not too concerned about sugar in ketchup as it is a condiment and is not eaten by the pound – at least not by adults. Have you ever played around with the sugar-tomato-vinegar ratio? I am wondering how far you can go down with sugar/honey until it affects the taste or consistency too much.

  26. Just a bit of advice for those of you who haven’t made your own condiments before. I have done so for years because of HFCS and food allergies, and the one main thing I have taken away from this is to always *taste* your condiments as you go… especially when adding seasonings. I would also cut way, way back on the cloves in this recipe. I don’t know why, but the taste of clove is very strong in my homemade ketchups if I follow the recipe. After trial and error, I now leave it out almost entirely, and sometimes I just simmer a few whole cloves in the mixture in a cheesecloth bag and take them out before putting the ketchup in a jar. You can always add more, but it’s very hard to subtract… and the taste of cloves is something people either love or hate. If you’re not sure, you might want to leave them out until the end, and taste adding a tiny bit at a time, stirring well in between.

    1. Good tip! Our testers really liked the 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, but definitely tweak the recipe as you go to suit your taste. I like the cheese cloth idea–a nice way to “infuse” the flavor.

  27. How long does it last in the fridge? I would love to make this, but with only me in the house, it might take awhile to go through it all…

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed. (The freezing option sounds like it might be a good plan for you.)

    1. I’ve kept it in my fridge at times for at least a month with no problems. To avoid waste, though, I usually double a batch, then freeze it in pint or quart sized jars (leave headroom), then thaw out a jar to refill a squeeze bottle as needed.

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