close up of ketchup showing texture
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
November 28, 2023 ·  3 min read

Commercial Ketchup is Loaded with Added Sugar. Here’s How to Make Your Own

Regardless of where you grew up, most of us grew up eating ketchup. I’d wager a bet that most of you reading this article have at least one bottle of ketchup in your fridge or pantry right now. Though it is a tasty condiment that pairs well with so many dishes, it is unfortunately not the best for you. Its high sugar content, among other things, have led many people to search for healthier alternatives. Thankfully, you can make your own ketchup quite easily at home. This way, you control the ingredients and what goes in the bottle.

Why Choose Homemade Ketchup?

Ketchup is a staple condiment in American households and is globally recognized for its sweet and tangy taste. Unfortunately, most commercial ketchups contain high amounts of added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is a processed sweetener that has no real nutritional value and is linked to several health problems, including diabetes and obesity. Adding HFCS in commercial ketchup also increases the glycemic index, which can cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels upon consumption. (1, 2)

However, tomato products, which are the main ingredient in ketchup, aren’t nutritionally void; they provide valuable nutrients, such as lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant founds in various foods like tomatoes, watermelon, and guava. It has been linked to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.

Read: 25+ Everyday Foods That Are Bad for Your Health and Your Wallet

Homemade Ketchup: The Healthier Alternative

Homemade ketchup is an excellent alternative to commercial ketchup because it can be made with natural ingredients without added preservatives or artificial flavoring. Moreover, you can adjust the amount of sweetener to your preference, making it a healthier option for individuals who want to minimize their sugar intake and/or calorie intake. Here are two ketchup recipes that you can try:

Two Simple Homemade Ketchup Recipes

1. Simple 2-Minute Ketchup


  • 1 cup organic tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon raw organic honey (omit or reduce for less sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  2. Adjust the amount of sweetener to your preference.
  3. Transfer to a jar or container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

While this recipe still contains honey, it provides a healthier version of ketchup than commercial brands. The amount of sweetener can be adjusted to taste, and it also contains apple cider vinegar, which provides beneficial enzymes and helps to balance blood sugar levels.

Read: 3 Italian Secrets That Prove We’ve Been Eating Tomatoes Wrong Our Whole Life

2. Sugar-Free Homemade Ketchup


  • 1 cup organic tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Optional: sweetener of choice (stevia or monk fruit) to taste


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until a smooth, consistent texture is achieved.
  2. Adjust the seasonings and sweetener to taste.
  3. Transfer to a jar or container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

This recipe omits any added sweeteners and provides a perfectly balanced combination of flavors and spices. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can add a natural, non-caloric sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.

The Bottom Line

Homemade ketchup can easily be a healthier alternative to commercial ketchup brands that contain high amounts of added sugar. You can make tailored homemade ketchup recipes that suit your taste preferences while reaping the benefits of tomatoes. With these recipes, you can enjoy ketchup without concerning yourself with excess sugar and added calories.

Keep Reading: The Easiest Way To Make Homemade Vegetable Broth


  1. Do you know how much sugar is in your ketchup?Washington Post. Casey Seidenberg. June 2, 2015.
  2. Ketchup Nutrition: All You Need to Know.” Healthline. Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD. March 28, 2022.