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Add your own Flavors to Homemade Ketchup

If you’ve run out of ketchup and need it for tonight’s dinner, you can make your own. If you have a can of tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar and salt, you can whip up a batch of this sweet/tart sauce in a short time. Add a few herbs and seasonings and you’ll have a ketchup sauce that is suited to your specific tastes.

Make the sauce

Commercially made ketchup starts with tomato paste, a concentrated form of tomato sauce. For your homemade recipe, though, tomato sauce works quite well.

For every cup of ketchup, you’ll need 8 ounces of tomato sauce, two to three tablespoons of white or red wine vinegar, one to two tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Start with the lower amount of vinegar, sugar and salt, and stir them into the tomato sauce. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes and then taste. Add more vinegar for more tartness, or sugar for more sweetness, or more of both to intensify the flavor.

Add heat and seasonings

One of the characteristics of ketchup is its thickness. Your tomato sauce mixture may be more runny than you would like. A little heat not only thickens the sauce, but also solidifies the flavorings.

Put the tomato sauce mixture into a small pan over medium low heat, and slowly bring it to a bubble, but don’t boil it. Turn the heat down to low. While the tomato sauce is simmering on the burner, add your seasonings. This is where you can create the flavor you want for your homemade ketchup.

For a familiar ketchup flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and another pinch of salt. Allow the ketchup to simmer for a few minutes more and then taste to test. If the ketchup tastes the way you want it to, remove it from the heat and pour into a heat safe bowl to cool.

After allowing the ketchup to cool for a few minutes, transfer to another bowl and place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve, at which time your ketchup will be thick and rich with flavor.


Try experimenting with different herbs and seasonings for your homemade ketchup. For example, use allspice and a pinch of cinnamon for a Caribbean flavor or oregano and onion for Mediterranean flavor. Cloves and cinnamon make for sweet ketchup, while cumin and chili powder makes for a distinctly spicy sauce.

Once you’ve started making ketchup at home, you can tailor the sauce to suit different dishes. While you may not forego purchasing bottled ketchup, you’ll always have the option of creating your own.