How to Can Homemade Ketchup: A
Safe Recipe for a Water Bath Canner

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Learn how to make homemade ketchup from canned tomatoes.

How to Can Homemade Ketchup

Avoid artificial ingredients. Take a look at your store-bought ketchup ingredients. High-fructose corn syrup was the second ingredient on the brand I was using. That is when I decided to investigate canning my own, homemade ketchup. 

I tried several times before I came up with this recipe that finally met with the approval of my crew.

Remember to use a tested recipe. You can adapt the seasonings, but don't mess with the ratio of vinegar and tomatoes and any other vegetables. It is the acidity of the recipe that makes it safe for a water bath.  

This is a pickled item. Even though you may not think of homemade ketchup as a pickled item, it falls in that category in home canning. The vinegar added makes the acidity of this recipe. I adapted the recipe from the Ball Blue Book for this version. (I adapted the seasonings.) 

Ketchup can be processed safely in a Water Bath Canner.

This makes about 3 pints, which is a small batch. It can be processed in a water bath canner if you want to store it on the shelf. Or you can refill your ketchup bottle and store in the fridge. 

If you like it, double it the next time. That way you can process 6 pints. I don't like running a half full canner. Seems so inefficient.

Preparation Instructions for Homemade Ketchup 

Gather your canning supplies:


  • 4 quarts tomato puree
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 1 T celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Start by preparing jars, and get water in your canner heating. (See Water Bath Canning for full directions.)

Procedure for Homemade Ketchup 

Combine 1 quart tomatoes, onion, sweet pepper. Simmer until vegetables are soft. 

Press all tomatoes, and tomatoes with onion and sweet pepper mix, through a food mill to remove seeds and/or skins. 

Bring to a boil in a stock pot. Boil rapidly until thickened, stirring often. It will reduce quantity by half. This may take an hour or so. 

Add vinegar, salt, sugar and other seasonings. Add cinnamon stick. 

Place sauce in a slow cooker on high with the cover removed. Cook until thickened to your desired consistency, again stirring often. This may take another hour or even several hours. 

Remove cinnamon stick. 

You can then put into a jar and refrigerate for use, or you may process in pint jars. I saved my last ketchup bottle from the store and refilled it from this recipe. 

If you want to process for storage on the shelf, use the following directions. 

Pour hot ketchup into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. 

Remove air bubbles with a plastic knife or other small tool. I like to use an orange peeler. Wipe rims clean and process according to water bath canning directions. 

Process for Homemade Ketchup 

Quarts - not recommended.

Pints - process for 10 minutes.

Altitude Adjustments

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner

Altitude in Feet - increase processing time

1,001-3,000 - increase 5 minutes

3,001-6,000 - increase 10 minutes

6,001-8,000 - increase 15 minutes

8,001-10,000 - increase 20 minutes

For more information on why this is important, see this altitude adjustments page.

  1. Simply Canning Home
  2. Canning Tomatoes and tomato products
  3. Homemade Ketchup Recipe

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Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You are encouraged to verify all canning and food preservation advice on the USDA food preservation website. 

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