This Canned Ketchup Recipe tastes like Heinz ketchup! Homemade ketchup is made from ripe tomatoes, spices, and vinegar. Achieve that perfectly tart and sweet ketchup that is not runny! It gets highly raved and is surprisingly easy! I share all the tips and secrets on how to make creamy ketchup at home easily! Now you can make unlimited ketchup to dip with French Fries or spread over Feather-Light Hamburger Buns!

how to make ketchup that tastes like Heinz Ketchup

We love canning! I’ve been doing it for years and have a small collection of my must-have pantry staples! For us, these Polish Dill Pickles and Canned Marinara Sauce are remade every year! If you love a good copycat recipe my Mango Peach Salsa is a Costco Copycat with rave reviews!

Ketchup

My ketchup journey began when I made catsup with a Mennonite lady for the first time. It was a good tomato sauce recipe but was missing the ingredients you’d get from Heinz ketchup–you know the sour and tangy flavor with “secret spices.” Well, I’m excited to share those ingredients that make ketchup taste like Heinz!

After batches of canned tomato ketchup recipes–I’ve come to the winner! I knew I wanted spices like cinnamon and cloves because those are the ingredients to that distinct ketchup flavor, along with allspice from my experience. After I got the profile flavors I knew that I wanted to stick to them, but that can be a challenge when you have lots of garden tomatoes–a little of that, this, and your eyeballing ingredients which are hard to pass over a legit recipe.

However, when a Mennonite lady shared her recipe for homemade ketchup I knew it was going to be good–some of her spices were along the right lane as mine. But I wanted to use what worked from my homemade ketchup too. So, I took the best of the two recipes to only perfect the ketchup recipe!

how to use a food mill for canned tomato sauce

 

Catsup vs Ketchup

Catsup is a tomato condiment similar to ketchup except the flavors have a different profile. From my experience, the Catsup recipe I made was sweeter and not as tangy and sweet as the ketchup condiment Heinz Ketchup is known for. Catsup was just different, but that is because the flavors and spices vary depending on how you want to flavor your tomato sauce.

The secret to tart ketchup is vinegar. I’ve learned that the spices I didn’t want to use do indeed give that Heinz flavor. When I first made catsup I was honestly turned off by ingredients like cinnamon in a tomato sauce, which is why I made catsup to avoid those spices!  But, little did I know ground cloves, cinnamon, and allspice are the key flavor factors to Heinz ketchup!

How To Make Ketchup:

This homemade ketchup recipe is ideal for using up garden tomatoes. Although, canned tomato products will work too if you can buy them in bulk. Heinz makes ketchup from concentrated red ripe tomatoes, which is just what we’re doing–taking fresh ripe tomatoes and boiling it down to a thicker concentrate. With the help of some tomato paste and a canning thickener called Thermflo, you’ll have thicker ketchup!

Simmering time will depend on the sort of tomatoes–bigger tomatoes will yield more pulp and smaller paste tomatoes (Roma tomatoes) will have more flesh and less pulp. Less pulp makes thicker tomato juice. I used a variety of huge tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and a few paste ones. My simmering time was about 3 hours to get it reduced in size, although that can be cut, depending on how high you simmer.

A trick the Mennonite ladies have taught me was to freeze tomatoes for recipes like ketchup. Then you drain off the liquid and make a huge shortcut to simmering down the pulp. One lady even blends the thawed tomatoes right in their skins and pulp which is a huge time saver too. I personally don’t go through the tidy process of blanching or using a small household food strainer–too much hassle and not ideal for the busy homemaker.

I either puree my tomatoes after they’re soft enough to blend with a hand blender right in the pot or run them through this commercial food mill. This is what works best for me and I do this for my canned marinara sauce, BBQ sauce, salsa, and ketchup! Homemade Ketchup has become a staple pantry item for us and lasts us throughout all winter! I absolutely love this ketchup recipe and am so excited to share this recipe with you!

how to seal jars for canning ketchup

 

Q&A

What is Ketchup?

Ketchup or Catsup is a tomato sauce product popular in American cuisine, mainly as a sauce or condiment.

The main ingredients found in Heinz Ketchup recipes include tomato concentrate of red ripe tomatoes (aka tomato paste), vinegar, corn syrup, salt, spices, onion powder, and natural flavorings. Some recipes call for a tomato paste base and spices that you can make in under 5 minutes! 

This recipe has no corn syrup and uses fresh ripe garden tomatoes that you boil down to make a tomato concentrate. I absolutely love this canned Ketchup recipe because I can have ketchup any time of the year that I preserved from ripe tomatoes!

Ingredients Needed?

This Ketchup recipe uses real tomatoes! Here are the ingredients for homemade ketchup that tastes like Heinz ketchup!

 

  • Ripe tomatoes- collect 1/2 bushel of tomatoes or about 22 pounds of raw tomatoes.
  • Vinegar- white distilled vinegar is what gives ketchup that sour taste.
  • Sugar- I used 2 cups of white granulated sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. The Mennonite lady used 2 cups of honey and 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix and match any variation.
  • Salt- essential.
  • Onion Powder- flavoring.
  • cinnamon- distinct Heinz flavoring.
  • ground cloves- distinct Heinz flavoring.
  • all-spice- distinct Heinz flavoring.
  • Cayenne pepper- not detected or spicy.
  • tomato paste- helps thicken the tomato sauce.
  • Thermflo- a thickener similar to cornstarch only doesn’t leave an aftertaste. It’s used in many canned recipes that Mennonites use. If you have a local Mennonite store they are likely to carry it.

Storing Homemade Ketchup?

This Homemade Ketchup recipe is preserved by canning for longer shelf life. Once you open a jar of homemade canned ketchup it can last for months in the refrigerator (or at least mine can.)

Canned Shelf-Life: Canned Ketchup can keep for years in a dark cool area if it has been sealed correctly.

Storing Ketchup in the refrigerator once opened: transfer ketchup into a squeezable plastic bottle. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 months. Keep water away and avoid ketchup sitting out all night.

For the most recent food preservation facts on canned Ketchup visit this Preparing and Canning Tomatoes article.

What is Thermflo?

Thermflo is similiar to cook-type clear jel. Both look like white powder in resemblance to cornstarch. However, you do not want to substitute cornstarch for Thermflo in canned foods. You could substitute cornstarch with Thermflo but in canned recipes, cornstarch can leave an after taste which is not suitable for canning.

I typically buy Clearjel or Thermflo at local Mennonite bakeries. You can find Thermflo on Amazon too.

What is Thermflo? A canning thickener

How to Make Canned Ketchup Step-By-Step:

 

  1. Collect 1/2 bushel of tomatoes (22 pounds of ripe tomatoes.) Trim, quarter, and throw into a large pot. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
  2. When tomatoes have softened, either blend with a hand blender or run through a food mill. If using a food mill the skins and seeds can be discarded. Reserve 1 cup of tomato juice (for thickening later.) Simmer down to about half the liquid* (2-3 hours.)
  3. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, and spices; bring to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, place 1/3 cup of Thermflo into a bowl. Slowly whisk in the reserved tomato juice and whisk into the simmering tomato ketchup.
  5. Pour ketchup into jars and place lids and bands on, (don’t screw tightly shut.) Place jars into a large stockpot. Pour hot tap water in at least halfway up. Boil 10 minutes covered from the time the water boils.
  6. Remove jars with a jar lifter and screw each jar tightly shut using a kitchen towel. Check if the lids are sealed after 24 hours.

Notes:

*To sterilize jars I wash them under very hot tap water and place them upside down on towels to drain. They don’t have to be dry to hot pack (fill.)

*Simmering time will vary depending on the tomatoes and the temperature of simmering. I simmered over low and used a variety of mostly large tomatoes.

*Lids have sealed correctly if you press down the center of the lid and you hear no popping or clicking. It will just feel like the lid vacuumed shut. You can unscrew the bands before placing them on the shelf to re-use them for other recipes.

Can I Use Honey?

Yes! The Mennonite lady’s recipe was originally 2 cups honey and 1 cup brown sugar. I do eventually want to give honey a try since she did have successful results. Keep in mind honey does vary, go for a mild clover kind of honey. Some honey is stronger than others so decrease by 1/4 cup if using raw home honey.

What is Hot Packing?

Cold packing is when you fill the jars with cold food. Hot packing is when you add hot brine or boiled food into the jars (simmered sauces, etc..)

How To Sterilize Canning Jars?

There are a few ways to have ready-to-use jars for canning. Sterilizing jars is just a matter of getting the jars hot to prevent them from bursting when you add hot food. Plus you’re cleaning them at the same time.

  • Run jars through a dishwasher before you begin canning. The dishwasher does the washing and heats them hot.
  • Wash or rinse jars with hot tap water. (My method.)
  • Place clean jars on a sheet pan and heat in the oven.

Home Canning Tools:

With the right knowledge, some kitchen equipment, canning can become an easy task! Here is what you’ll need:

How Many Tomatoes is a Bushel?

Have you ever bought a woven basket of peaches? Well the larger woven baskets are 1/2 bushel (equivalent to 22 lbs of tomatoes.)

Can you reuse Canning Lids?

If the lids are not damaged, you can reuse the lids. I like to place my used lids into a saucepan and bring it to a boil to ensure they sterilize properly and heat back into shape. Avoid dented, bulged, or damaged lids. If lids fail to seal always toss them.

How To Know if My Canning Lids Sealed?

To Check if lids are sealed: when you push in the middle of the lid, it should not pop up and down. If you hear a pop or a clicking sound the seal did not form and the jar needs to be used up or refrigerated. Properly sealed pickles can last years!

For the most current canning guideline on pickles from the National Center For Home Food Preservation check out these resources for canning in this canning guideline article.

 

Tips for Canning Ketchup:

  1. Invest in a squeezable bottle! Make homemade sauces convenient by buying a few squirt bottles to keep all your homemade sauces in. And it’s easier to use than reaching for a spoon.
  2. When making ketchup with ripe tomatoes, reduce the liquid by about half for a thicker consistency.
  3. Thermflo is a Canning/Freezing thickener sold in many Mennonite stores. Recipes like BBQ sauce and ketchup can call for it since it thickens sauces nicely. Cook-type Clearjel would be a substitute. Do not substitute cornstarch.
  4. If you don’t have Thermflo just add more tomato paste and cook down to desired consistency.

More Canning Recipes to Try:

How To Make Ketchup:

Canned Ketchup Recipe (Heinz Copycat)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Water Bath: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 quarts
This Canned Ketchup Recipe tastes like Heinz ketchup! Homemade ketchup is made from ripe tomatoes, spices, and vinegar. Achieve that perfectly tart and sweet ketchup that is not runny! It gets highly raved and is surprisingly easy! I share all the tips and secrets on how to make creamy ketchup at home easily! 

Equipment

  •  42-quart stockpot for a water bath.  
  •  24-quart stockpot for cooking tomato sauce.
  • 8 quart-sized mason jars regular mouth.
  • food mill or hand blender

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 22 lbs tomatoes (1/2 bushel)
  • 4 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 46 oz tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup Thermflo

Instructions

Instructions:

  • how to trim tomatoes for canned tomato ketchup
    Trim, quarter, and place tomatoes into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
  • how to use a food mill for canned tomato sauce
    When tomatoes have softened, either blend with a hand blender or run through a food mill. If using a food mill the skins and seeds can be discarded. Reserve 1 cup of tomato juice (for thickening later.) Simmer down to about half the liquid* (2-3 hours.)
  • homemade ketchup simmering on the stove
    Add the vinegar, tomato paste, and spices; bring to a simmer.
  • how to thicken ketchup with Thermflo
    Meanwhile, place 1/3 cup of Thermflo into a bowl. Slowly whisk in the reserved tomato juice and whisk into the simmering tomato ketchup.
  • pouring tomato ketchup in a canning jar through a funnel
    Pour ketchup into jars and place lids and bands on, (don't screw tightly shut.) Place jars into a large stockpot. Pour hot tap water in at least halfway up. Boil 10 minutes covered from the time the water boils.
  • how to make canned ketchup step by step
    Remove jars with a jar lifter and screw each jar tightly shut using a kitchen towel. Check if the lids are sealed AFTER 24 hours (they need to seal on their own first.)

Notes

  • Thermflo is a Canning/Freezing thickener sold in many Mennonite stores. Recipes like BBQ sauce and ketchup can call for it since it thickens sauces nicely. Cook-type Clearjel would be a substitute. Do not substitute cornstarch.
  • I own these exact two pots and highly recommend them! 42-quart stockpot for a water bath. And 24-quart stockpot for cooking tomato sauce and other large batches of sauces! They are high-quality pots thanks to my Mennonite friends! 
  • Notes:
    *To sterilize jars I wash them under very hot tap water and place them upside down on towels to drain. They don't have to be dry to hot pack (fill.)
    *Simmering time will vary depending on the tomatoes and the temperature of simmering. I simmered over low and used a variety of mostly large tomatoes.
    *Lids have sealed correctly if you press down the center of the lid and you hear no popping or clicking. It will just feel like the lid vacuumed shut. You can unscrew the bands before placing them on the shelf to re-use them for other recipes.  
  • *I used 2 cups white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. Can also do 2 cups honey and 1 cup brown sugar. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1quartCalories: 676kcalCarbohydrates: 156gProtein: 18gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 5715mgPotassium: 4630mgFiber: 22gSugar: 128gVitamin A: 12931IUVitamin C: 207mgCalcium: 202mgIron: 8mg

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Recipe Rating




26 comments

    • Jay

    Hi. If I omit the tomato paste will it still be safe for canning?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      The tomato paste works as a thickener here, it should seal without it.

    • Terri Steinbecker

    I like the looks of the recipe, but why the additional tomato paste? If you’re already processing 1/2 bushel of Romas, is it necessary?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi, I used a variety of mostly large tomatoes so 46 oz of paste worked perfectly. Feel free to adjust the paste per consistency.

    • Larry Schmittou

    This is by far the best Ketchup recipe ever. Thanks for sharing. You have a new follower.👍👍

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      So glad to hear!

    • Terry McAuley

    We tried a small batch and turned out very tasty, did not use the thermflo could not find any put extra tomatoe paste .
    Very easy to make and very tasty.

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Oh wonderful, Terry!

    • Patrick

    I tried making ketchup two years ago. It still is sitting in the jars on the pantry because it only came out in an act of desperation when the store bought was gone. Not this recipe. It came out really good. I did have a problem with purchasing the thermflo. It is just not in any stores in central Nebraska, and I did not want to pay $25 for a lb bag of it. online. I just boiled down the mixture about five hours and got the perfect consistency. Thanks for the recipe.

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      That’s a very helpful tip to thicken ketchup, thank you for that!

    • Karen

    I made your ketchup recipe and it was really good. Love it. Thank you. Question. I put it in freezer zip lock baggies. But it does not want to freeze. It’s kind of spongy but not at all frozen. Everything else in my freezer is frozen solid. Do you think I should boil it up again and seal it in jars? What would you do?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi, Karen, it should solidify, try putting it in the back of the freezer and check in a day.

    • Karen

    I have cook clear jel. How much would I need to make the right thickness in your recipe? Would I use the same amount as the thermflo?
    Thanks

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Karen, yes use the same amount as thermflo!

    • Diane

    One more question….could you share your BBQ sauce recipe, especially if you use it for canning too! Thank you!

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Good question, Diane! I followed a recipe but then ended up adding more ingredients and spices, so I have yet another batch to make and write down exact measurements with my side notes. I do have an idea of how much coriander I used from a spice jar and etc… but I don’t think that would be helpful so perhaps I can make an accurate recipe before publishing the bbq recipe if you can wait:)

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