tomato Ketchup

Classic Tomato Ketchup

A fun and delicious homemade ketchup
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade, ketchup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 5 pints
Author Adapted from The Joy of Cooking


  • 7 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes peeled* and coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium yellow onions sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ tablespoon whole allspice
  • ½ tablespoon whole cloves
  • ½ tablespoon ground mace
  • ½ tablespoon ground celery seeds
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • salt to taste


  1. Combine the chopped tomatoes, onions, and bell pepper in a large 8-10 quart nonreactive pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until very soft, about 35-40 minutes.
  2. Puree the tomato mixture through a food mill or process in a blender in manageable batches, about 5 seconds each batch. Return to the large pot, or place the puree in a new large nonreactive pot. Stir in the brown sugar and the dry mustard.
  3. Tie the 8 spices (cinnamon stick through garlic clove) in a spice bag, a bit of cheesecloth, or a coffee filter tied with kitchen twine, and add the spice bag to the tomato mixture.
  4. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the ketchup is thickened and mounds up on a spoon. Remove and discard the spice bag.
  5. Stir in the vinegar. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 10 minutes. Taste for salt, adding any if necessary. Can while hot, or let cool and store in a tightly covered jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Recipe Notes

Makes about 5 pints *Cook’s note: I didn’t peel my tomatoes before cooking. As the tomatoes cook, the skins will peel away. Using a pair of tongs, pick out the skins as they come to the top. Most of the skins will be removed by the time you go to puree them.