Grocery Guide

Screw Heinz! How to Make Homemade Ketchup

I've looked countless ketchup lovers dead in the eye, proudly exclaiming "I don't like ketchup, I just don't get the hype," and smiling sinisterly as their jaws dropped. I know you Texas bunch would agree with me (at least on the burger front). But the truth is, I actually do enjoy ketchup - just the fancy kind. Because, I, my friends, am a fancy bitch!

Forget Heinz, I want my ketchup homemade with love, care, and brown sugar. I like to serve the ketchup warm, boosting the plain red stuff up to a whole new level. The difference in taste is so incredible; you may even want to try it on a burger.

Here's how I make it:


Ingredients yield 4 cups

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes in Puree
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Celery salt
  • Dry mustard
  • Ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ fresh, deseeded red chile optional for heat
  • Water if needed


    Heat saucepan over medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add in chopped yellow onion, garlic, and ½ tsp fresh grated ginger. If using chile for heat, add in now.

    Cook until softened, then transfer mixture to blender along with a squeeze of tomato paste and one can of tomatoes, blending until smooth.

    Return mixture to saucepan and add brown sugar, cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne, celery salt, dry mustard, ground cloves, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, thinning the mixture out with a bit of water if needed.

    Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmering until sauce has thickened and reduces by half, about 25-30 minutes.

    Re-season with salt and pepper to taste, let cool slightly and serve. Leftovers can be jarred and stored for up to one month in the fridge.

    So easy. Take that, Heinz! This recipe can be changed to your tastes. Sweeten it up with a touch more sugar. Add more heat with a habanero. Kick up the spice with a pinch of cinnamon. The world ketchup is your oyster!

    Have you ever tried homemade ketchup? Think it's worth it? What other condiments or sauces would you like to see recipes for?

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    Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
    Contact: Brooke Viggiano