Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Ketchup Because You’re Crazy Like That

I want to be very clear that I’m posting this copycat recipe for ketchup only because I’ve received countless food wishes for it, and not because I think it’s a great idea. It’s not even a good idea.  

This tweet I posted yesterday sums things up nicely,  “Making some homemade ketchup. Sure it costs more, and doesn't taste as good as store bought, but at least it takes a really long time to do.”

Of course, we’ve made lots of things that are generally better not homemade, like French fries and fried chicken, but this is much different. For most Americans, ketchup is one of our first taste memories, and if the flavor profile is even the slightest bit off, our brain computes this as “ketchup fail.”

Having said that, I’m very proud of how close this ketchup does come to those name brands in terms of taste, texture and color. I’ve never had a tomato paste-based ketchup that I liked, so I decided to cook down crushed tomatoes instead. This would require many hours of stirring on the stove, but by using the slow cooker, we take most of the labor out of the process. Sure it'll still take many hours to reduce down to a ketchup, but it will only require giving it a quick stir every hour or two.

As I joke about in the video (not really a joke), you’d have to be crazy to make your own ketchup, but despite my warnings, I know in my heart that many of you will give this a try nonetheless, and that makes me happy. Enjoy!


Ingredients to make 3 cups of Ketchup:
2 cans (28-oz) ground tomatoes (you can also used crushed, or just crush whole plum tomatoes)
2/3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder (not salt!)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt!)
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 whole clove
* Cook on the high setting in an uncovered slow cooker until the mixture is reduced by about half and very thick. By the way, my “high” setting isn’t very high, so it took like 10 hours, but don’t rely on a time. Simply cook until it looks like mine did before I strained it.

View the complete recipe

38 comments:

kathdedon said...

Haha! Love your comment about why it's a bad idea! There's a restaurant near me that is proud of the fact that they make their own ketchup. Everyone raves. I went and thought it was horrible. It wasn't nearly as good (or as sweet) as my favorite, Heinz.

Having said all that, yours looks really good.

Aunt Betsy said...

Hi Chef John,

I don't think I'd ever make my own ketchup, I don't think...

But just curious, how much does this recipe make and do you think it could be canned for gift giving? Just in case I was crazy enough to make it, which I'm not. So, just hypothetically...

Dawn's Recipes said...

Hahaha! I have actually made ketchup for my 3-year-old who'd eat it straight out of the bottle if I let her. I'm not even a big ketchup fan. It was one of those tomato paste recipes and, yeah, not so great. She likes it, but then again she's 3. She eats peanut butter on pumpernickel, so what does she know? I wasn't planning on bothering making it from scratch again, but I just *might* be crazy enough to try it your way. We'll see...

Tabitha said...

Actually I like the idea and will definitely try it. I hate that they have to add high fructose corn syrup and crap to our food. So Im taking out the sugar.

asian-malaysian said...

You are so right, Chef John. Theres a burger place that insists on serving their own home made ketchup so I make it a point to bring along my own bottle of Heinz.

MJ said...

In Germany we have a ketchup called curry ketchup (unrelated to indian curry) and it is flavour wise very different and for many things, much better, in my opinion. Like currywurst ;) If you have a German store in your area, go buy some! It is great and has a few different spice levels. I like the regular delikat (mild) best. Doesnt work well with burgers, but hot dogs (beef) it does. Try it with your favourite ketchup dish and be amazed.

Michelle Brown said...

By far, the funniest recipe video to date!

Gloria - The Internet GADabout said...

Used to make homemade ketchup every year growing up on the farm in Iowa. Love making things from scratch cause you know what's in it and can make it taste the way you want. Disappointed that you're so negative about it!

Monica said...

I pass on making this.

Judy said...

hahaha I love you for doing this Chef! And for warning people away ;) I am sad that it takes so long and still is not 100% the taste we are used to, so yea--I probably won't like it as much and so won't bother. It is nice to be able to control the sugar content--but who has 12 hours to worry over ketchup? lol

I WILL be making your version of steak sauce soon, tho, as I go thru way too much of that stuff and it is EXPENSIVE! I use A-1 sauce instead of ketchup when I make meatloaf (OMG Soooooo tasty in meatloaf!). Can't wait to see how that sauce comes out! Got my raisins at the ready!!

Thank you!

Sapana Behl said...

Lovely ! I would try it or sure..

philogaia said...

Thanks for the shout out to all us crazies out here. My reasoning for making my own ketchup is to have control over the ingredients. It helps that I have managed to cure my palate of the store-bought-childhood-comfort taste. I do use tomato paste but only buy the jarred kind. From the can the ketchup seems to taste like the can. I also use raw local honey and part apple cider vinegar and part live cultures whey drained off of yogurt. So my ketchup is lightly fermented and has a fantastic flavor.

So, I'm happy to be crazy.

Daniel Bottoms said...

Hey John,

Really enjoyed this video! Did you not say about making cheese.... one would be on their death bed's croaking... "i never made cheese...." i'm curious why in your opnion making mayo at home is way better than this? Other than the obvious the time it takes for mayo is almost nothing and this takes... hours :d

question: did you remove the clove before you purree'd it??

thanks for a nice idea to do with my daughter and greets from Austria,
Daniel

Chef John said...

I did remove the clove becasue I saw it, but wouldn't matter since after that much time it would be basically flavorless, and would strain out anyway.

Thom said...

I will take you at your word Chef, and take note that the recipe exists then promptly forget it. The value here is for those of us who might consider a twist on traditional ketchup by swapping out different ingredients for the sugar, vinegar and spice blend. You gave us the blueprint to build something different and the common sense to tell us to buy ketchup if all we want is ketchup. Thanks Chef!

Daniel Bottoms said...

oh yeah one other question if i may, dear sir, celery salt is very difficult/impossible to get here, could you imagine putting in a chopped celery rib for that earthy-touch to simulate the same effect? or should i just keep hoping to get some from amazon.at? what size could you imagine to 2 tins of tomato? half a rib? thanks for your thoughts.

Chef John said...

Yes, some fresh celery would work, but just not sure how much!

Jim said...

Haha, love your honesty. Even if I used ketchup more often, I doubt I would bother either. Too funny. I'm going to watch again!...haha

Blue Arc said...

two words...del monte

PhillyBear said...

Chef John, you are the best! I love that you would spend (waste) so much of your time to accommodate our wishes! And that you know damn well that some of us are going to waste our own time on this too!
Keep on keeping on and thanks!

Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

I am one of those crazy people. Thank you, and I love you too.

noytheya said...

A little off topic but any idea where to get the best domestic Wagyu ribeye and how about a video grilling one to perfection!

Joe Six Pack said...

I'm curious why you didn't use a shake or two of allspice. Just driver's choice? Did you consider it at all?

Chef John said...

Just went with the clove, and was going to adjust with spices at the end, but didn't see to need anything else. Most homemade ketchup recipes overdue the spice IMO.

dz.m.ziv said...

seems like the type of thing that i will probably make at some point out of boredom... just to say i did it!

♥Leilani♥ said...

I'll try anything once, and then probably again because I'm a masochist. :)

Lo said...

Doing this!!

rain.drop said...

Dear Chef John, you're a genius! I bet you already know it but I shall say this anyway :). I've been looking for "my" ketchup recipe for years. It was a challenge and I've decided not to give up (a ketchup can't beat me, can it?). With all previous methods all I came up with was some kind of tomato sauce or a relish, but not a real ketchup. Until now. I did try being as crazy as possible doing this, I swear I tried. Since I do not have a slow cooker, I simply cooked my tomatoes in an ordinary pot, which took me only 30 minutes. I'm sorry, that took out a lot of craziness of my ketchup ;), I've spoiled the crazy part ;), but the ketchup is SO great that I shall definitely continue being as crazy as I can with it. From the bottom of my home-cooking-passionate heart - Thank you!

Dan and Hilary said...

Clark: "Real tomato ketchup, Eddie?"
Cousin Eddie: "Oh, nothing but the best."

; D

Unknown said...

How long will this keep?

StephanieJ said...

Processed ketchup is great unless you want to control your sugar... I can't justify wasting my few allowed grams of carbohydrate on ketchup. If it was savory rather than sweet? Why so much sugar? And replacing with honey or agave is still sugar... Any suggestions?

Steve Kennedy said...

Heinz makes a 1 carb ketchup. Some supermarkets carry it, but is only available in the small plastic bottle. You can also get it at http://www.low-carb.com/heonecake.html

Steve Kennedy said...

Heinz makes a 1 carb ketchup. It has a blue label called reduced sugar. It is not at my usual supermarket, so you may have to look around for it. I have to go to the supermarket I like the least to get it. You can also do a web search, many places will sell it on line.

Edna without Onions said...

Thank you for this recipe, My husband is allergic to onion, and I try to make ketchup so he can have it when he wants. Also I have had a hard time finding barbecue sauce that doesn't require ketchup as a main ingredient

urbanlollygagger said...

I ain't gonna lie. I was one of the crazy ones to make this red stuff and verdict is...... I love this ketchup amd so did my family! It really is fantastic, I'll be making again, that's how crazy I am!

Leela Gupta said...

I tried making homemade ketchup years ago to eliminate the high fructose corn syrup. Then, it became easier to find ketchup without that in stores. So, never again.

Marcy said...

I tried this ketchup and thought it was totally delicious once I served it with some "fierce" fries. The ketchup's a component in a mystery meal I am making: http://www.tootimidandsqueamish.com/2013/11/ketchup-with-me-guess-the-mystery-meal-part-2/

Made from Scratch said...

It sounds to me that I'm crazy for wanting to make homemade ketchup. There are sounds reasons for doing it yourself, no BPA from plastic bottles or the inside of the cans, (check labels of cans to be sure), using canning jars, being able to choose the ingredients,(like anything made from scratch). And then, the crazy side of it, to say you did it. Thanks Chef John!