How to Make Slow-Cooker Ketchup

Next week we’re going to be talking all about canning, but I couldn’t resist getting a head start today with these gorgeous tomatoes and a fuss-free recipe for homemade ketchup.

If you have kids in your house, chances are ketchup is one of your most-used ingredients. And why not? Sweet and tangy, ketchup, like its originator the tomato, goes great on just about everything. These days the big-name ketchup makers have been paying attention to the organic and whole-food movements, and have started offering more natural versions of their product. That’s great, but if you’re like me, you might still want to control what goes into the food your child is obsessed with.

Luckily, ketchup is quite easy to make, especially if you employ a slow cooker. The most work comes from preparing the tomatoes, which can be done ahead of time if you’re like me and not quite as deft at coring and dicing. Ketchup is perfect for the slow cooker because it takes a long time to cook away the excess liquid. Cooking it low and slow, rather than quickly on the stove, will help bring out a depth of flavor that lets the summer tomatoes shine and makes ketchup even more delicious.

Tips and tricks

  • Paste tomatoes, such as roma or San Marzano, are often recommended for recipes like tomato sauce and ketchup. I like to use a mix of heirloom and San Marzanos tomatoes for ultimate flavor. Keep in mind that heirloom or slicing tomatoes are more watery, and will take longer to cook down.
  • Feel free to change up the spices, but don’t change the ratio of vinegar and tomatoes if you decide to preserve using a water-bath canner. Ph levels are an important part of keeping your preserved items safe. When in doubt, store in the fridge or freezer.
  • Leaving the skins on the tomatoes will provide added texture, but if you want a smoother product, gently boil the whole tomatoes in water for about 30 seconds, then place in an ice-water bath. Remove skins once cooled.
  • If you don’t have cheesecloth for the spice bundle, you can use an unbleached tea filter or metal tea ball.

Whether you call it ketchup or catsup, here’s how to make this indispensable condiment.

Slow-Cooker Ketchup
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Recipe type: Condiment
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: Yield approximately 3-4 cups
An easy way to make ketchup at home.
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds tomatoes (paste or mixed variety)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: whole allspice, whole cloves, peppercorns, and celery seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Remove tomato skins (if desired), core, and seeds, and chop tomatoes.
  2. Place tomatoes and onion in slow cooker and set to high. Cook approximately 1 hour, until tomatoes have started to break down and the juices are bubbling.
  3. Puree tomatoes using a stick blender or in batches with a blender. Return to slow cooker.
  4. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  5. Place remaining spices on a square of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with kitchen twine. Add to the mixture.
  6. Cook on low, with the lid removed, for approximately 8 hours. Pour into either prepared glass jars for canning, or freezer jars.
  7. Process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes if canning. If freezing, let cool in freezer jars to room temperature before sealing and moving to freezer.
Notes
Depending on desired consistency, you might need to cook for longer. You may cook on high to reduce to required time, but be sure to keep an eye on the ketchup and stir to prevent sticking or scorching.

 

Have you tried making condiments at home? What’s your favorite?

About Megan

Megan Myers is a copyeditor and spatula-wielding mom seeking out the simpler life in Texas. Her blog, Stetted, focuses on her family’s journey from junk food addiction to a diet of local, organic, and whole foods, while exploring the many options farmers provide.

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Comments

  1. I’ve made homemade dressing before but never ketchup. It sounds so good.
    Steph’s last post: Traveling Gluten Free

  2. Stonewall Kitchens sells ketchup and it is delicious…I never would have thought of making my own until I had tasted some really tasty ketchup. It makes sense, since homemade is better than store bought for some many items. I like the idea of using my slow cooker, thanks.

  3. I am going to pass this along to friends! What a great sounding recipe!
    Mary Miller | A Passionate Plate’s last post: Rosemary Whole-Wheat Lemon Bars

  4. I’ve mixed up my own ketchup from tomato sauce & vinegar, but hadn’t thought of starting with tomatoes! I have some paste tomatoes growing in my garden, so I’ll definitely give this a try!

    My trick for the texture (and easiness) is leaving the skins on, but giving it a whir with my immersion blender to make it all smooth when it’s done. I do it for tomato sauce or berry sauces.

    Do you know if this does freeze well?
    Mystie @ Simple Pantry Cooking’s last post: Homemade Hummus Recipe Without Tahini

  5. This is the year that I’ll make ketchup, so thank you for this easy method. I haven’t bought commercially made jam in three years. This year, I’m making tomatillo sauce and salsa, because I use them all the time. Canning is a blast!

  6. Thanks for the ketchup recipe. I can’t wait for the canning post! It’s a new hobby of mine- I just bought my first canner.

  7. This is great! I’m sure it taste much better then store bought brands too!

  8. This looks like a ketchup I might actually like! Thanks for sharing it.
    I have made relish with my mother-in-law, but since it’s something I don’t really like, I wouldn’t call it a favorite.
    Paula’s last post: Journey to a Healthier Me: Will the Scale Win?

  9. I’ve made homemade mustard before, but have never tried ketchup. Your instructions are so clear, I absolutely must try this now. Thank you for putting the water bath canning info in there, too!
    Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com’s last post: Recipe: Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

  10. looks so yummy- I might start actually eating ketchup!
    priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)’s last post: just because ‘Priest’s Wife’ is curious…take this survey, please!

  11. Homemade ketchup and it’s made in the slow-cooker! I’m sold!
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: 7Up Pound Cake

  12. This sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try it, once our tomatoes come in. The condiments I’ve made the most are things like plum sauce or apricot mustard. Never ketchup, though.

  13. I am so excited! My slow cooker is my favourite kitchen appliance, but I had no idea you could use it to make ketchup. Awesome. NOW if only I can get through the summer without all of my roma tomato crop getting blight!
    Steph@theminddoeswander’s last post: View from the back door

  14. I made this ketchup yesterday, and it turned out great.
    Here are some differences I did: First, I drained off most of the liquid before using the immersion blender. The cooked tomatoes were so watery that I knew it would take forever in the slow cooker to cook down if I left all that liquid in. Second, I left my slow cooker on all day and night. I was using a mini slow cooker, so perhaps this is why it took so much longer to cook down.
    I only got a little over 1/2 pint from this recipe, so there would be no ketchup to freeze or can. I feel it was a good use of tomatoes for me, since I had them on hand, and I really didn’t want to do a big canning project. As far as being able to can enough homemade ketchup to last the year (which is my ultimate goal with all things canning), there would be no way. I only have about 12 pounds of tomatoes per week in the summer, so salsa, sauce and oven roasted tomatoes are more practical goals for me.
    Keep up the great recipes. I appreciate all recipes that include instructions for canning!

  15. I have made condiments – always my own salad dressing and salsa. I have made ketchup, though it didn’t turn out great. As you point out, it can be purchased with whole foods ingredients, but I might try this delish-looking recipe (never heard of slow cooker ketchup until now).
    Rhonda’s last post: I Highly Recommend This Office Away From Home

  16. Love this recipe… I’ve been meaning to try making ketchup at home. And, I love the use of the slow cooker. Can’t wait to give it a try!
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction’s last post: Caramel Stuffed Mexican Chocolate Cookies

  17. I haven’t try making ketchup because I just purchase it in the department store. Since, I don’t know how to make this one and I don’t have a guide so I don’t give a try. It is my first time having read this sort of post so I will make this. It seems so interesting to try.
    Heather Chester’s last post: The Importance of a Healthy Sexual Health

  18. It is my first time meeting a ketchup recipe so I will make this one this weekend. It nice to try I hope it will taste the same or better than the usual ketchup.
    Katleen Quinlan’s last post: Teeth Whitening Made Easy at Home

  19. I have a question. I have tomato puree the freezer from last year’s tomatoes. I’ve been looking for a recipe to use it. Your ketchup sounds wonderful, but I don’t know how much puree to use since I’m not starting with whole tomatoes. Can you tell me how much puree you get when you’ve cooked and pureed the 4 lbs of tomatoes? Thank you! I really want to try this.

  20. This sounds amazing. I must give this a try. Is it ok to double or even triple the recipe?

  21. The American Homemaker says:

    I’ve never tried making my own ketchup… Guess it’s time! :)

  22. Wow, this recipe is amazing! I will be now be trying more condiment recipes after tasting how much better than store bought they can be, thank you.

  23. Can you use frozen tomatoes? I have 3 one gallon bags in my freezer.

  24. i thank you will like thes rec

  25. My mother just dropped off around 8 pounds of tomatoes from her garden and I was debating between this and Salsa. Im thinking ketchup since I have pickled red onions and garden relish and Im craving burgers!
    ourhomesteaddream’s last post: Eggs!

  26. I just made this two days ago. The house smelled so good and the ketchup is excellent. Thank you for posting.
    Carilynnh’s last post: List of Garden Books for Kids

  27. I almost forgot to mention that a tea ball works for the spices too. I ran out of cheesecloth.

  28. A trick I learned this summer while making fruit butters, and one that comes in handy when ‘cooking down’ in a slow cooker is placing wooden spoons or chopsticks between crock and lid to let steam escape, usually done in the last hours. My older crockpot doesn’t have a rubber gasket on the lid so naturally allowed steam to escape; however, the new crocks with that gasket definitely need that small escape. The heat, in my crocks, is still maintained.

  29. This article got my attention by the fact that its a “slow cooker”… will be interesting to see how the cooking time effects the flavor :)
    Lucas’s last post: Supply Chain Solution

  30. I love, love, love this ketchup recipe. Thank you so much for posting it and including instructions to make it using a slow cooker. Saved me from standing all day in front of a hot stove last summer.

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