How to Make Homemade Ketchup (with unrefined sweeteners, antioxidant-rich)

How to make homemade ketchup
Sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup, this simple homemade ketchup is flavorful, gently sweetened, and a beautiful condiment to be served to kids and adults alike. Unlike most ketchup on the grocery store shelf, healthy, homemade versions of this popular condiment can actually be a beautiful part of your diet!

How much sugar we consume in a year (on average)

As part of our 21 steps to a nourishing diet, I’d love to challenge you to ditch highly sweetened ketchup (and other similar processed foods) and enjoy  healthy versions instead. While sugars in their natural forms can definitely be part of a traditional diet in moderation, many don’t realize how bombarded they are with sugar everyday. We’ve gone from consuming an average of 2 pounds of sugar a year, 200 years ago, to 152 pounds of sugar a year. That’s equal to 3 pounds per person every week!

One highly sweetened and popular condiment in the U.S. is tomato ketchup. It is delicious, but unfortunately is full of excess sugar, and most often, corn syrup as well. Thankfully, it’s very easy to make your own ketchup at home. The grand thing about making your own ketchup is that you can make it as sweet as you like! We feel this recipe is pretty sweet with only 4 tablespoons of unrefined sugar for the whole recipe. It’s also fun to make as you can vary the spices and the amounts of spices to taste with great results. It’s easily adaptable and forgiving to change.

My kids have been asking for ketchup to dip their homemade French fries and hamburgers in, and I was glad to whip this up for them.

Health Benefits of Tomato Paste

I make this using really high quality tomato paste, which actually has many health benefits (sources listed below).

  • It’s a concentrated source of the powerful antioxidant lycopene.
  • Tomato paste has been shown to have cardio health benefits
  • It helps prevent sunburn and is anti-aging. It’s a skin booster! (Antioxidants are amazing for preventing sunburn!).
  • It has multiple anticancer properties- especially against prostate cancer

All in all, I find this simple condiment a beautiful addition to a healthy diet, and just another example of how making your own versions of popular food items can turn unhealthy choices, into healthy ones!

Just a quick note about brands: I use Bionaturae’s organic tomato paste. It’s delicious and I appreciate that it’s in glass jars (no “tinny” taste). If you can’t find it locally, you can find it here at my affiliates Amazon and Vitacost. Truthfully, I’ve found it cheaper to buy online most of the time.

How to Make Homemade Ketchup (unrefined sweeteners, antioxidant-rich)
Prep time:
Total time:
This is delicious as is, however, if you are missing a spice or two, don’t worry! Just play around with the ones you have on hand until it’s spiced to taste. You can also thin to desire. The ½ cup called for produces thick ketchup, so feel free to thin a little more, if you’d like. Makes 2 cups.
  • 2 tomato paste jars (7 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons each of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon unrefined salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch or two of each of ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and put through a garlic press
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 teaspoons yellow mustard (prepared or powder)
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Scrap into a jar, and cover tightly, Should keep 10-21 days refrigerated (based on other recipe recommendations). If you’d like to keep it for longer, freeze it!


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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. jeanine says

    Thanks for this post. I just recently made homemade mayo for the first time and wanted to try out ketchup next. Perfect timing. 🙂

    • says


      So glad it was good timing. 🙂 We happen to love this recipe, so I hope you enjoy it too. (And feel free to adapt it! I find it fun to play around with).

  2. Anna says

    I’ve seen other recipes that include whey and setting it out on the counter for a period of time to make it a fermented food, and increasing it’s shelf life. What are your thoughts on this?

    • says


      I think it’s great! We personally can’t use whey, but I’m all for lacto-fermenting whenever possible. I’m sure it’s possible to do it completely dairy-free with a starter culture as well. I think I am a little more cautious towards lacto-fermenting certain sauces just because it’s harder to tell if they are fermenting correctly (with vegetable ferments it is quite easy). But I’ve never heard of anyone having problems. 🙂

  3. Sarah L says

    Funny story; my father grew up during the depression in Pennsylvania, where he worked for extra money picking tomatoes during the summer. When a truck was loaded full, they would head for the juice factory. If the tomatoes were too ripe for juice, they would take the load to the soup factory, and if the tomatoes were deemed to be too ripe (or rotten) for soup, they went on and sold them to the ketchup factory. So once upon a time much of the sweetness in ketchup probably came from the natural sugars found in tomatoes.

    A tip for better tomato salsa flavor (since so many greenhouse tomatoes have little natural sweetness or juiciness), is to add a touch of sweetener.

  4. Kim says

    Can this be made with coconut sugar and not maple syrup? We watch our sugar intake and 2 TB of maple syrup is about 50 grams

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