This homemade tomato ketchup will make you wonder why you ever bought a ketchup bottle from the store! Made with fresh tomatoes, and without any preservatives, it is delicious, healthy, and super easy to make.
Tomato ketchup is quite a staple in most kitchen pantries. In our home, every snack needs to be served with green chutney and/or tomato sauce and no ketchup is better than mom’s homemade tomato ketchup made with fresh tomatoes.
Fun Food Trivia: Did you know the word KETCHUP comes from Chinese?
The origins of the word ketchup are in the Chinese (Cantonese dialect) word – K’ē chap [茄汁]. “K’ē” means tomato and “chap” means juice.
I find such pieces of information so interesting :-). Adds to the fun of cooking!
In India, we often use the term ketchup and sauce interchangeably. When we say tomato sauce, 90% of the time it means tomato ketchup, while in a more Continental region, tomato sauce will mostly mean pasta sauce. This is the Indian style tomato ketchup recipe without preservatives. I call it Indian style, because I season it with a little homemade garam masala that really adds a kick to the ketchup. We we love to spread it in our sandwiches, dunk our parathas or samosas in, and I also add it to my tawa pulao! In fact, no kids menu is complete without tomato ketchup.
But the sad part is that most kids think that ketchup comes out of the bottle we buy at the supermarket. “But ketchup comes from the shop!” is what my 10-year-old niece had said when I was asking my mom for her tomato ketchup recipe. The idea that ketchup can be made with fresh tomatoes at home, is very alien. And it’s not their fault because this is what mostly happens. Everything is so readily available in the market now that it is easy to just put that bottle of tomato ketchup in the shopping basket.
How to make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes?
This homemade tomato ketchup recipe is simple and while it takes an hour to cook it, most of the cooking is passive. You just have to let the tomatoes do their work on heat :-).
This recipe comes from my mother’s home science notebook, almost a 50 years old recipe (maybe even more) but it makes the tastiest and freshest tomato ketchup even today, without any harmful chemicals or preservatives. It is from scratch with just 7 ingredients. I always use fresh tomatoes. This tomato ketchup recipe is vegan and without any onion or garlic, though you can add them. In fact, it is fun to try out different veggie additions to the ketchup for different flavors. Try switching some red tomatoes with green ones or instead of garam masala, add some dried oregano or Mexican seasoning. Cooking has to fun 🙂
The sugar and vinegar act as preservatives. The sugar also cuts the acidity of the tomato sauce. If you want to create a sugar-free tomato ketchup, try using coconut sugar instead or any other sugar-free sweetener of your choice.
How to make tomato ketchup with fresh tomatoes
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 1 kg tomatoes (fresh*)
- 2 green chilies , optional
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp black salt
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Wash and cut the tomatoes into big chunks and put in a big pot along with the whole chilies**. Cook covered over medium heat until the tomatoes become soft. You don’t need to add any water. Occasionally stir the tomatoes in between. Takes about 25-30 mins.
- Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Discard the whole chilies and then grind the boiled tomatoes to a paste in a mixer.
- Sieve the tomato paste to remove the skin and seeds. If you feel the need, sieve twice. This will make the sauce very smooth. You could skip the steps till here if you are using tomato puree.
- Return the tomato paste into the pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. After one boil, add sugar, salt, ginger powder, and garam masala.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer the tomato sauce till is very thick. Takes about 15 minutes. The sauce will start to spurt in the center when ready. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Remove from heat, mix in the vinegar, and leave it to cool before storing in sterilized jars or bottles.
- *I always use fresh tomatoes but to make things faster, you can use tomato puree or canned tomatoes but then you are again adding those preservatives in your sauce.
- **Whole chilies impart just a slightly spicy flavor to the sauce. Add them chopped if you like it hot or omit them completely.
- Nutritional Info is for 100 g ketchup.
How long does the homemade ketchup last
The homemade ketchup will stay good in sterilized airtight jars in the refrigerator for 3-4 months. For longer life, you may want to add a little sodium benzoate to the ketchup but I prefer making a fresh batch every 3 months or so.
How to sterilize ketchup jars:
Make sure the jars you use are sterilized and completely dry. To sterilize, you can either wash them in the dishwasher or place them in a pot of boiling water. Boil for a minute, remove and let air dry.
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Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.
Love the taste of home made ketchup Ashima. This is a fabulous share!
Thank you so much, Sandhya! Homemade ketchup is the best and I love how I can change the taste by simple seasoning changes 🙂
I hate ready made ketchup as I believe they don’t really have any tomatoes in them and are loaded with chemicals. I use make it at home for my kids when they were growing up. Haven’t made a batch in a long time. Adding chilis is a good suggestion.
So true, Mayuri! I was shocked to see that tomato concentrate was only 35% in the bottle that I had bought and so many chemicals that I didn’t even know there purpose 😮 Homemade ketchup really allows to make it to suit individual tastes 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your feedback!
Lovely share.. How nice to make your own ketchup at home. healthy and hygenic without the preservatives.
Thank you, Shobha!
Wowwing here, what a neat and good job, homemade tomato ketchup rocks, am sure none will go and get those storebought ones if they go through your post. Well done.
Thank you, Priya. Homemade ketchup truly rocks 🙂
Aww. Nice photography. The tomatoes and the ketchup looks so fresh. Home made is always better than store bought. Very useful post, bookmarking this page, Thanks for the share!
Thank you, Malini! I hope you make it soon too and give it your own twist. 🙂
Homemade is always the best, the ketchup looks so fresh and aromatic.
Totally agree, Renu! Thank you so much for dropping by.
Oh my! Just look at the texture of the sauce…simply loved it. Addition of coconut sugar is a great idea. Shall definitely be trying this out in coming winters….
Thank you, Anshu!
Yes, the texture of the sauce is very thick and very delicious :-). Look forward to your feedback when you try it!
My sauce is not thickening! What can I do?
simply simmer it more till the water of the tomatoes evaporates. I don’t use any thickening agent and the homemade sauce i not as thick as the shop bought ones which stick to the jarred don’t come out unless they are taped hard at the bottom. If you want that thick consistency, you can also use a thickening agent like cornflour.But I haven’t tried with that, I simply coo the sauce to the desired consistency.
Ketchup looks so perfect. Homemade is always best. Loved your make it without any preservative. Beautiful presentation. Awesome share.
Thank you, Sujata.
Ever since I making homemade ketchup almost a couple of years ago, I haven’t turned to bottled ketchup. I just wish there wasn’t so much processed food in the market. 😮 Thank you very much for your feedback!
I never knew homemade ketchup is so easy to prepare with few ingredients. I am saving this recipe to try sometime soon. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe Ashima.
It was a surprise even for me when I first made it. My mom always used to make ketchup at home when we were kids but I never really followed her in the kitchen during then. Now that I make it myself, I am thinking of all those years when I had bottled ketchup!
Thank you so much for your feedback. It really encourages me to continue exploring, learning, and sharing new recipes.
Homemade anything is better than store bought ones in both taste and nutrition. I love the idea of adding whole chilies . Bookmarking the recipe. Wonderful share and awesome photography !
Thank you, Poonam.
We all take condiments like ketchup so much for granted at the supermarket aisle. I didn’t look behind their labels carefully ever and when I did I was aghast! They hardly had any real tomatoes 😮
Thank you so much for your feedback and encouragement!
beautiful clicks.. I love taste of Homemade tomato sauce. beautiful share dear.
Thank you, Ruchi! 🙂 Trying my hand at experimenting and learning more about Food Photography.
Helen at the Lazy Gastronome
I’m not a fan of bottled ketchup, but your’s sounds like a ketchup I would eat! I would be so honored if you would share it (and some of your other recipes too) at our What’s for Dinner party!
Thanks, Helen! I am so glad that you find this helpful and thank you for the invite. I leave tomorrow for 10 days Vipassana meditation camp where I will be completely disconnected from all communications so will have a look at it once I return.
Looking forward to following your list!
Seema Doraiswamy Sriram
This is such a useful post. with tons of chemicals that you see on the ketchup bottle this is a welcome note. yummm
I am glad you found it helpful. We all use so much ketchup, especially in kids meals and the list of chemicals is really alarming.
Lovely share Aashima. You are right If we can make something at home easily why to go for chemical laden store bought things.
Love that bunch of tomatoes. They look so fresh…a treat to the eyes
Thank you so much, Ritu for your encouraging feedback! 🙂 I am a novice in Food Photography… trying my hand with both the camera and the presentation of food.
Homemade things are always the best than the preservative loaded bottled products, you have nailed the texture of the sauce lovely recipe , bookmarking it for trying out soon thanks for the lovely share.
Thank you, Soma! Would love to know how it turned out for you 🙂
Its always good to make at home, they are tastier and much healthier. I had made long time back, I think I should make a batch. Lovely share Ashima.
Thank you, Jayashree! Would love to know how it turned out 🙂
homemade tomato ketchup is perfect actually. In India Rujuta Divekar also says, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient name why to eat the, and how they can be useful. Looking forward to make it. Generally, no one loves ketchup at home so we don’t buy. Bookmarking as of now.
Very true… And these days with so many packaged and processed foods available everywhere, one really needs to be mindful of what we are buying and putting in our meals!
Thank you so much for your feedback!
Home made is the best period! It is such a wonderful feeling when we make everything from scratch. 🙂 The ketchup looks amazing!
Thank you so much, Nisha! Making from scratch really makes a difference .. both in taste and nutrition :-). Glad you liked it.
Your post reminds me of that day when my mum made tomato ketchup almost 40 years back, but after a few months, it started going bad. So I never tried making it for myself. But after seeing your post feel like preparing it, adding chilli sounds so interesting.
You do need to add some preservative like Sodium Benzoate for it to last beyond a couple of minutes. Also it is important that the jars you store the ketchup in are sterilised properly else the ketchup will go bad..
I am glad you like the recipe. I like the fact how making the ketchup from scratch allows to add different flavors :-). Thank you so much for your feedback.
Is vinegar important in the ketchup?
Where I am? I can’t get vinegar?
Onijanla, vinegar acts as a preservative for the ketchup. Substitute for vinegar in the ketchup is 2tbsp lemon juice or ½ tsp citric acid per quarter (250ml) of the ketchup.
You can also skip it completely but then the ketchup can be kept for only up to 2 weeks if you keep it refrigerated in an air tight bottle. Without vinegar, I would suggest, make small quantity which you can finish without 2 weeks.
Hope this helps.
You are absolutely right Ashima.The sauces we buy has a huge concentrate of chemicals .Home made sauces or ketchup is always healthy and best for our family.Loved your detailed explaination.Fantastic share.
Thank you, Preethi.
Traditionally in India, we have all always made our own chutneys and sauces. While tomato ketchup has been in the market since very very long, I think in the last 10 years or so many chutneys have also started coming in the market with tons of preservatives. I just wish we don’t lose our healthy traditions and recipes 😮
This recipe is perfect, and it turned out just great! It’s easy, tasty and healthy.❤️Thank you for sharing!
I am so glad to read your experience of trying the recipe! And your name is just so beautiful 🙂
Mary o Rourke
Have just made your recipe it’s delicious I am making another batch but I’m adding garlic 2 cloves I’m sure it will be just as tasty.
Thank you for your recipe
I’m so happy Mary that you loved the recipe. I feel people have stopped making ketchup at home and it is just store-bought bottles that I see in all homes. As kids we always had homemade ketchup at home. Not being able to afford buying has its own advantages 🙂 But I only started making them myself a few years ago and I haven’t gone back to shop ketchup except when traveling.
A lot of people do add garlic in ketchup and I’m sure it will come out tasty as well. Do let me know how it turns out! Thank you again for your encouragement!
Hey, this recipe is exactly what I was looking for. Is there any substitute for apple cider vinegar. Would it work if I use lime juice instead?
I am so glad you found the recipe and that you are planning to make ketchup at home 🙂 There are so few people who still do it! The vinegar acts as a preservative too in this recipe. You can use regular white vinegar as well.
Hope that helps
I’m not sure what black salt is or if there is a substitute I can use. Can you advise same?
Black salt is Himalayan rock salt. You can use pink salt or regular salt as well in its place.
Hope that helps
Thanks a lot it was helpful
I am so thrilled that you are making your own tomato ketchup and that this recipe was helpful!!! 🙂
Thanks for sharing such beautiful information with us. I hope you will share some more information about home made tomato ketchup.
I will try to add more information later on!