Easy Homemade Ketchup (Naturally Sweetened)

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Bowl and jar of our naturally sweetened ketchup recipe

Could you tell by now that we’re sauce people? It’s a full-on obsession. And one of our most favorite sauces is ketchup, because fries exist and they can’t be eaten dry — that’s just a fact. That and burgers + ketchup = match made in heaven.

However, we hadn’t perfected a homemade ketchup yet, so we got to work. We tested so many variations: tomato purée vs. tomato paste, fresh onion vs. dried onion, dates vs. maple syrup, and more. And amazing news: We cracked the code!

This 1-pot homemade ketchup is so easy to make, fresh and bright with tomato flavor, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. The result is a perfectly balanced tomato ketchup with tanginess, sweetness, and saltiness. Swoon! Perfect for all your burger and fry needs and beyond! Let us show you how it’s done!

Tomato purée, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, vinegar, maple syrup, and allspice

Who Invented Ketchup?

It’s believed that the word ketchup originated from the Chinese word kê-tsiap. But the Ancient Chinese condiment was much different than the tomato-based product we’re familiar with today. It was a salty, fish-based condiment, and it spread from China through British trade routes and evolved greatly along the way. Versions included a wide range of ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, lemons, plums, oysters, and even anchovies.

So when did tomatoes come in? A Philadelphia scientist, James Mease, is credited with the invention of a tomato-based ketchup recipe in 1812. Soon after, in 1876, the famous Heinz brand introduced its version, adding vinegar for preservation. And today, ketchup is in 97 percent of US households, and Heinz sells over 650 million bottles each year! You can take a deeper dive into the history of this popular condiment here.

Pot of tomato purée, maple syrup, vinegar, salt, and spices

How to Make Ketchup

Our homemade, naturally sweetened (no high fructose corn syrup!) version involves simmering tomato purée (or crushed tomatoes) with vinegar, maple syrup, and spices. We prefer using a tomato product that contains just tomatoes because added citric acid can detract from the bright tomato flavor.

For vinegars, we used white vinegar for its classic, pungent flavor but also included apple cider vinegar for its natural sweetness. Onion and garlic powders, salt, and allspice infuse the ketchup with even more flavor.

Wooden spoon in a pot of our homemade ketchup recipe

Once thickened and cooled, it’s ready to use right away or store for later! It will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks but can also be frozen in an ice cube tray so it’s quick and easy to defrost a serving whenever you want one.

Stirring a pot of easy homemade ketchup

We hope you LOVE this homemade ketchup! It’s:

Tangy
Sweet
Bright
Fresh
Versatile
& Classic!

Keep it on hand for all your favorite ketchup-slathering needs. It’s perfect with French fries, vegan burgers, breakfast sausage, and beyond!

Holding the top of a bottle of homemade ketchup

More Homemade Condiment Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of homemade ketchup next to a bowl of French fries

Easy Homemade Ketchup (Naturally Sweetened!)

Easy, homemade ketchup made in 1 pot with simple ingredients! Naturally sweetened, tangy, and bright with tomato flavor! Perfect for burgers, fries, and beyond!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Small bowl and jar of homemade ketchup
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Condiment
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 2 Months
Does it keep? 2 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato purée or crushed tomatoes (make sure the only ingredient is tomatoes!)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pinch allspice

Instructions

  • If using crushed tomatoes and you want very smooth ketchup, place all ingredients in a small blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.
  • Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir until well combined, then turn the heat on medium low. Stir gently until everything comes to a light simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until slightly reduced and darkened in color, stirring every 10-15 minutes to prevent sticking.
  • Once reduced, use a teaspoon to remove a spoonful from the saucepan, and let it cool on the counter — you want to taste it cooled for accurate adjustment! Taste and adjust if desired, adding salt to taste, more vinegar (1 Tbsp at a time) for tang, more maple syrup for sweetness, or more onion powder for more savory notes.
  • Enjoy with French fries, vegan burgers, breakfast sausage, and beyond! Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months (frozen into ice cube molds).

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 tablespoon Calories: 27 Carbohydrates: 6.7 g Protein: 0.4 g Fat: 0.1 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 161 mg Potassium: 125 mg Fiber: 0.5 g Sugar: 5.1 g Vitamin A: 127 IU Vitamin C: 2.6 mg Calcium: 11.7 mg Iron: 0.5 mg

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  1. Husnaa says

    Hi there

    I absolutely love all your recipes! Just found out I’m gluten intolerant so I’m loving browsing through all your recipes

    Just wanted to find out if onion powder is necessary or if we can leave it out?
    Also can I substitute maple syrup for honey?

    Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Husnaa, we haven’t tried without the onion powder, but it would probably be okay. We think the flavor of honey would be too strong, but we aren’t certain! Another option would be agave. Hope that helps!

  2. Anne says

    My whole family is allergic to maize-corn and sensitive to everything made from it from sweeteners, alchohol, vinegar, as flour or binding agent/ thickener can make us sick. So imagine my joy at finding minimal fuss recipes for food other people might even eat I didn’t have to create myself from trial and error !_! (Yay & joy)

    I have your cookbook on my wish list.

  3. Samantha says

    I fancy making this but wondered if there is any way to preserve it without freezing so that it lasts longer as I would never eat it all in 2 weeks. Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Samantha, we don’t have much experience with canning, but it could probably be canned! You might need to look up a recipe specific to canning though if going that route (for food safety). Hope that helps!

  4. Sabrina says

    Yum! This tastes just like ketchup but way healthier. I bought whole tomatoes instead of crushed by accident but it ended up working out well, I just had to blend more. I am going to make your new veggie burger recipe today so I can’t wait to eat it with the ketchup. Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! Sounds like the perfect combo to us. Thanks for the lovely review, Sabrina, we’re so glad you enjoyed! xo

  5. Anna says

    This recipe is a hit! Delicious, the whole family loved it. Shared it with others and rave reviews all around. Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad to hear everyone enjoyed it, Anna. Thank you so much for sharing! xo

  6. Marie Feeley says

    This seems like just another of your wonderful, yummy, creative and artistic recipes.

    Would it be possible to make this in the INstant Pot.

    I wouldnt be able to stand over the pot for so long.

    Thank you a million times for all of your great recipes.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you for your kindness, Marie! We aren’t sure about using an Instant Pot because it wouldn’t allow the liquid to evaporate and thicken the ketchup. But as long as the heat is low enough and you’re nearby to stir every 10-15 minutes, there’s no need to stand over the pot!

    • June says

      Just made it and it tastes great. Cannot wait to try this on a burger. Thanks for all the delicious recipes you come up with!

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Thank you so much for the lovely review, June! We’re thrilled you enjoy our recipes! xo

  7. Sahara says

    I make an ‘instant’ ketchup with just 4 ingredients:
    Tomato paste (Italian is best)
    Apple cider vinegar
    Honey
    Sea salt

    The balance of salt, sweet, and tart depends on your taste

  8. Caitríona O'Leary says

    Thank you so much for your work! Your missives in my inbox always make me happy – and the recipes are so good!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mrinal! Unfortunately vinegar is pretty important for this recipe, it’s a big part of what gives ketchup its classic taste! That said, it’s possible that lemon juice could work in place of vinegar, though it won’t be as tart and we haven’t tried it. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bev! We haven’t tried this with fresh tomatoes, but we think it would work! We’d suggest cutting them, placing them in a colander to drain excess liquid, and then blending them in a high speed blender before starting the recipe. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo

    • Andrea says

      The homemade ketchup is OUTSTANDING! When I made the ketchup and when I make any of your recipes I follow your directions down to a T! Your recipes are your masterpieces and someone always asks can I sub this or that….it’s like asking if you can make the Mona Lisa a blonde. Get another recipe that is more to your liking. It seems that people forget how much sweat and tears goes in to food preparation. Coming up with ideas videos recipes…Minimalist Baker is tops in my kitchen! Thank you for the delicious recipes and hard work!

  9. Jennifer says

    I know this is going to sound a bit crazy but do you think I could sub roasted red peppers for the tomatoes? Do you think this would work? I am allergic to tomatoes and have made your Romanesco sauce several times and it tastes bright and acidic like tomato sauce. Which makes me wonder if this would work with roasted red peppers. Thank you so much! Your site, insta, and cookbook are a wonderful and cherished part of my everyday life as a GF/Vegan!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for the lovely compliments – we’re so happy you enjoy everything so much! We haven’t tried this with roasted red peppers, but it might work! We’d recommended blending them to a saucy consistency before adding them to the other ingredients. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo

      • Suzanne says

        Is there a suitable alternative to the white vinegar? Would using all apple cider vinegar spoil the flavor?
        Thank you!
        (I love your recipes!)

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Aw, thanks Suzanne! White vinegar will give it that more classic ketchup taste without adding sweetness, while apple cider vinegar is naturally a little sweet. If you want to use all apple cider vinegar, we’d suggest reducing the maple syrup and adding to taste. Let us know if you try it!

        • Guggu says

          I tired using fresh tomatoes instead and it turned out to be chunky and thick. I wonder if there are any tips if using fresh tomatoes instead of canned.

          • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

            Hi there! So sorry this didn’t work out for you, it’s possible it could help to blend the finished ketchup in a high speed blender to remove any chunks! xo

      • Jennifer Friedmann says

        I used the recipe for ketchup and subbed fire roasted red peppers (grilled red peppers over open flame, seal in bowl with cling wrap, peel skin, remove seeds, retain all water to add to vitamix). Added a 3rd Tbsp ACV, about 2 Tbsp more maple syrup, and went with a full tsp of sea salt. Cooked it an extra 15 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes) I added the extra ingredients after the first 1 hour after tasting, adjusted and added 15 minutes. I will probably just simmer for 1 hour next time as I have the right amounts. Then cooled to room temp, the pepper flavor mellowed brilliantly over night and it is perfect this morning. Will be my 100% go to “Pep-tchup”. My only big question is, will this still be fridge friendly for 2 months, or did the peppers reduce that? Thank you!! I posted a photo on my insta and tagged MB!

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          AMAZING! We’re so glad it turned out well, Jennifer! Thank you for letting us know. The peppers are less acidic than the tomatoes, so we don’t think it will keep quite as long in the refrigerator. But if you freeze it in an ice cube tray, it shouldn’t have any trouble keeping for 2 months. Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Aishah! We haven’t tried this without maple syrup, but we suspect agave nectar would work best as an alternative. Even if you aren’t vegan, we wouldn’t recommended honey because it might be too flavorful, and cane sugar might work but could change the consistency. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo