Homemade Ketchup

Prep Time:
Total Time:

Last year I improved my ketchup method by cooking the sauce down in a slow cooker. This prevents the bottom from scorching and makes it easy to leave the house or do other chores during the lengthy, oh so lengthy, cooking period.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 0.5 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • sachet of whole aromatic spices (your choice of bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice berries, juniper berries, celery seeds – I use a little of each)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.25 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar or honey
  • 2 Quart tomato pulp
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 0.5 tsp lemon juice, per pint


1. Heat a medium sized pot over low heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook until translucent, approximately 10 minutes.
2. Add onions and remaining ingredients except for lemon juice to a slow cooker*. Turn slow cooker on high and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours.
3. Remove spice sachet and set aside. Puree mixture with an immersion blender.
4. Replace spice sachet and continue to cook for 3-4 hours. Taste (don’t burn your tongue!) and adjust salt, pepper, vinegar, or sugar as you see fit.
5. Continue cooking and tasting until tomato is of ketchup consistency. This may take an additional 3-4 hours.
6. Ladle hot ketchup into sterile jars with one half teaspoon lemon juice per pint. Wipe rims, place on two part lids, and process in a water bath for 35 minutes/pints, 40 minutes/quarts. Remove from water bath, cool, and store properly.

*Don’t have a slow cooker? Use a medium pot on low heat, uncovered, and stir frequently to be sure the bottom does not burn.

This post, with much respect for the A Prairie Home Companion, is brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board.

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