Farm To Table | Sauces / Dips / Dressings

Canning Ketchup

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Canning ketchup is a great way to preserve summer flavors and enjoy them throughout the year.

Jars of ketchup with fresh tomatoes.Pin
Canning Tomato Ketchup

Homemade ketchup is also healthier than store-bought varieties, as you can control the ingredients and avoid unnecessary additives.

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We’ll provide a step-by-step guide to canning ketchup, from selecting the right tomatoes to processing the finished product. We’ll also share some tips for adjusting the recipe to suit your taste preferences and ensuring that your canned ketchup stays shelf stable for months.

Whether you’re an experienced canner or a newbie, we hope this guide will inspire you to make your delicious ketchup and savor the taste of summer all year round.

Why can ketchup at home?

Canning ketchup at home has several benefits. First and foremost is taste. It allows you to preserve the flavors of fresh, ripe tomatoes when they’re in season and enjoy them throughout the year.

Homemade ketchup also gives you greater control over the ingredients. It allows you to customize the recipe to suit your tastes.


Canning also has economic benefits, as it can be more cost-effective than buying store-bought ketchup, especially if you have access to a garden or farmers’ market to buy tomatoes in bulk.

It is also a great way to reduce food waste by using excess tomatoes that might otherwise go bad. Similarly, canning your own can be better for our planet since you are reducing plastic waste and eliminating the pollution caused by shipping


Finally, home canning is a fun project where you can use your own creativity. It can also be a great way to share your homemade ketchup with family and friends or to give as a hostess or holiday gift.

What types of tomatoes are best?

Whatever tomato you have on hand will work. But, when making ketchup, the best tomatoes are meaty, low in water content, and high in natural sweetness and acidity. Here are a few types of tomatoes that are well-suited for making ketchup:

  1. Roma Tomatoes: They are a popular choice for making ketchup because they’re meaty, have low water content, and are naturally sweet. They also have fewer seeds than other varieties, making them easier to work with.
  2. San Marzano Tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes are another excellent choice for making ketchup. They have a dense, meaty texture and a high sugar content, which makes them perfect for creating rich, flavorful ketchup.
  3. Heirloom Tomatoes: Heirloom tomatoes come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and can be an excellent option for making ketchup if you want to experiment with different flavors and textures. Some heirloom varieties, such as Cherokee Purple or Brandywine, have a dense, meaty texture and a rich, complex flavor that can make delicious ketchup.

Ultimately, the best type of tomato for making ketchup depends on your preference and what’s available in your area. Regardless of which variety you choose, look for ripe, flavorful tomatoes that are in season for the best results.

What you need

  • Tomatoes: Fresh, ripe tomatoes are the star ingredient in ketchup. You can use any meaty tomato that is low in water content and high in natural sweetness and acidity. Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, and heirloom tomatoes are all good options.
  • Onion: Onion adds a savory depth of flavor to ketchup. Yellow onions are the most commonly used, but you could also use red or white onions.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent, aromatic flavor to ketchup.
  • Vinegar: Add vinegar to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes and add tanginess to the ketchup. White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar are all good options.
  • Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to the ketchup and helps balance the acidity. Depending on your preference, you can use granulated sugar, brown sugar, or honey.
  • Salt: Use as a flavor enhancer for the ketchup.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cayenne, celery seed, and black pepper can add depth and complexity to the ketchup. Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, and paprika are also popular additions.
Ingredients for canning tomatoes. See details in recipe below.Pin
Ingredients for Tomato Ketchup

How to make it

Step One

Chop the onion and mince the garlic.

Chopped onion and garlic on cutting board.Pin
Chop onion and mince garlic.

Step Two

Break up cinnamon into pieces. Use a hammer or meat mallet to crush it.

Crushed cinnamon on cutting board.Pin
Crush cinnamon stick.

Step Three

Add spices to a spice bag.

Use a reusable produce bag or make one out of a few layers of cheesecloth.

Some of the celery seeds may fall out, which is fine.

Spices added to a spice bag.Pin
Add spices to a spice bag.

Step Four

Add ingredients to the tomato juice.

Ingredients added to juice.Pin
Add all ingredients to the tomato juice.

Step Five

Mix it well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook the sauce or 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to a high simmer and cook until it is thick.

Remove the spice bag after 15-30 minutes. Taste it before you remove it to see if you can taste these spices. Remove it when you like the taste.

Spice bag made from a produce bag.Pin
Make a spice bag from a produce bag or cheesecloth.

Step Six

Use an immersion blender to puree the onions and garlic until smooth.

You can also do this with a stand blender in batches.

Immersion blender blending ketchup.Pin
Blend the onions and garlic with an immersion blender to make the ketchup smooth.

Step Seven

Fill the hot jars with hot ketchup with a canning funnel leaving a ½-inch headspace.

Adding ketchup to jar with canning funnel.Pin
Fill jars using an ½-inch headspace.

Step Eight

Remove the bubbles with a bubble tool or a plastic or wooden chopstick.

Removing bubbles with a wooden chopstick.Pin
Remove bubbles.

Step Nine

Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel to remove debris.

Center lid on jar. Screw bands fingertip tight.

Wiping the rims of the jar to clean it.Pin
Wipe the rims of the jar with a damp paper towel.

Step Ten

Place jars in your canning pot. Be sure the water covers them by about 2 inches.

Notice we have a clean kitchen towel in the pot. We didn’t use our canning pot, just a tall pot, and added the towel to keep the jars off of the bottom of the pot.

This is convenient when small batch canning so that you don’t have to drag out your canning pot.

Jars added to the canning pot.Pin
Add jars to the canning pot.

Get the canner water hot, and add the filled jars. Once the water is boiling, set the timer.

Once processing time is done, remove the pot from the heat, carefully open the lid, and move it partially off the top of the canning pot. Let it rest like that for 5 minutes.

Then, remove the lid and allow the jars to rest in the canning pot for another 5 to 10 minutes.

After resting, remove the jars onto a kitchen towel placed on your counter and let them thoroughly cool for 12-24 hours, undisturbed. You may hear the lids pinging sometime in the next hour. This is music to a canner’s ears. It is due to the reaction of the lids being sealed to the jar.

Check the seals. Press down in the middle of the lid. If it flexes up or down, the jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated and used first.

Then, remove the bands. Gently pick the jar up by the lid to further check the seal. Again, if it is not sealed, use it first.

Label jars with contents and the date. Store in a cool, dark space.

Pint jar with tomato ketchup with fresh tomatoes and a green towel.Pin

Pro- Tip: When canning, choose a reputable source for your recipe. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is one and the other is the USDA Complete Guide to Canning.

All of the recipes on this site are based on one or both of these trusted sources. We just do a more thorough job showing you how to do it, step by step.

New to canning? Start with our comprehensive article on “How to Can Everything“. It will walk you through all of the dos and don’ts related to canning.

Uses for ketchup

Ketchup is a versatile condiment to use in a variety of ways. Here are some common uses for ketchup:

  1. Topping for hamburgers and hot dogs: Ketchup is a classic topping for grilled burgers and hot dogs and adds a sweet and tangy flavor.
  2. As a dipping sauce for fries and onion rings: Ketchup is a famous dipping sauce for crispy, salty snacks like french fries, onion rings, and chicken nuggets.
  3. As an ingredient in meatloaf and meatballs: Ketchup is often used as a critical ingredient in meatloaf and meatball recipes, adding moisture and flavor to the dish.
  4. As a base for barbecue sauce: Ketchup is a common ingredient in barbecue sauce recipes. It provides a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with grilled meats.
  5. As a marinade: Ketchup can be used as a marinade for chicken or beef, where it adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat.
  6. As a pizza sauce: Ketchup can be used as a base for pizza sauce, providing a sweet and tangy flavor that complements savory toppings like cheese, pepperoni, and vegetables.
  7. As a condiment for breakfast dishes: Ketchup can be used for breakfast dishes like eggs, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches.

Helpful tools

More pantry staples

Pint jar of tomato ketchup on a white board.Pin
Tomato Ketchup

Canning ketchup can be a fun and rewarding way to preserve and enjoy summer flavors throughout the year. By using fresh, ripe tomatoes and carefully selecting your ingredients, you can create a delicious and healthy condiment to use in various ways.


Whether you’re using ketchup as a topping for burgers and hot dogs, a dipping sauce for fries and onion rings, or as an ingredient in meatloaf and barbecue sauce, homemade ketchup adds a sweet and tangy flavor that can elevate your favorite dishes.

With the right recipe and a little patience, you can create a delicious and unique ketchup that will impress your family and friends. So why not try canning ketchup and see how it can enhance your meals and your culinary skills?

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Many jars of tomato ketchup with fresh tomatoesPin

Canning Ketchup

Canning ketchup is a great way to preserve summer flavors and enjoy them throughout the year. Easy recipe for beginners
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: canning, sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 128 tablespoons
Calories: 15kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Instructions

Blanching and Food mill to skin and remove seeds

  • Start a large pot of water over high heat boiling. Set up another large bowl with ice water.
    13 pounds tomatoes
  • Once water is boiling, remove cores from tomatoes.
  • With a slotted spoon, add small batches of tomatoes to the boiling water. Boil for about 2 minutes. Using the same spoon, pull tomatoes out of the boiling water and add to bowl with ice water.
  • Working one at a time, slip skins off of tomatoes.
  • Use the food mill to remove the seeds.

Juicer strainer attachment for Kitchenaid mixer

  • Wash and core tomatoes. Cut into chunks large enough to fit through the hopper. Process the chunks of tomatoes with another large bowl or pot to collect the juices.

For both methods

  • Add collected juice to large pot. Bring to boil.
  • Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Add them to the tomato juice.
    1½ cups onion, 2 cloves garlic
  • Add the cloves, allspice, celery seed, and crushed cinnamon stick to a spice bag, or make a spice bag from cheesecloth. Add the spice bag, vinegar, cayenne, sugar, and salt to the juice. Bring it to a boil.
    1½ cups cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons whole cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon whole allspice, 1½ tablespoons celery seed, ¾ cups sugar, 2 tablespoons salt
  • Once boiling, reduce heat. At a low boil, cook down ketchup by about half, to desired consistency, stirring it occasionally, usually at least 40 minutes.
  • Once the ketchup is cooked down, and rounds up on a spoon without separation, ladle sauce into your hot jars, using a canning funnel to avoid spills. Leave ½ inch headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles with bubble tool or knife.
  • Wipe rim of the jar with damp paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Place hot lids on jars. Screw on the bands until fingertip tight.
  • Process pint jars 15 minutes, depending on elevation. Remove from heat. (See adjustment for altitudate in the notes below) Allowjars to sit in hot water an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove jars from canning pot using a jar lifter to avoid burns. Allow to rest on counter for 24 hours. Test lids for seal. (press lids in center, if they flex up and down, store that jar in the refrigerator.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for at least 1 year.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

Yield 4 pints.
 
Jars do not need to be sterilized due to the long processing time of ketchup.
Altitude adjustments: Water Bath canning pot
Pint or half-pint jars
  • 0-1000 feet above sea level – 15 minutes.
  • 1000-6000 feet above sea level – 20 minutes
  • above 6000 feet – 250 minutes
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 15kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 386IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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Originally published March 30, 2023.

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14 Comments

  1. Hi do you know how many cups of the tomato juice it is and not pounds? I have already processed my tomatoes and have a huge pot to make stuff.
    Thank you

  2. Is it safe to lower the amount of sugar asked for in this recipe and things like BBQ sauce? I tend to like my condiments a little less sweet.
    Are you able to use this homemade ketchup in other canning recipes that call for ketchup?
    Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    I like to avoid processed bottled condiments and this recipe
    Is the perfect alternative! Can’t wait to put it to use this upcoming tomato season!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to make homemade ketchup for awhile now, so I’m glad I came across this recipe! Thank you for the clear step by step directions.

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