Right now, most of us have a bottle of ketchup chilling in the fridge, waiting to be enjoyed with everything from fries to nuggets to (vegan) eggs. In fact, each American eats about three bottles of ketchup per year. That’s a heck of a lot of the sweet red sauce, in fact, it works out at about 10 billion ounces in total. But while the ketchup on the shelves is undeniably delicious (for most, the go-to brand is Heinz), it’s also possible to make your own version from scratch. It’s just as tasty, and it’s healthier, too.

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What is in ketchup?

Ketchup is a simple condiment, made from just a handful of ingredients, all of which are vegan-friendly. These are, of course, tomatoes (either fresh or from concentrate), vinegar (for that signature tang), salt, seasonings (like onion powder and garlic powder), sugar, and often, additives, too. Around the world, the most popular brand is Heinz—it sells more than 650 million bottles of ketchup every year. The company makes its sauce with most of the ingredients listed previously, as well as high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener made from corn starch.


Is ketchup good for you?

The key ingredient in ketchup is tomatoes. When eaten fresh, the fruit is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K, as well as the antioxidant lycopene. Research suggests that some of these nutrients are still present, even when the fruit has been processed into ketchup. Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD, wrote for Healthline, “When you eat ketchup, you may reap some of lycopene’s health benefits.” She does also add, however, that fresh or canned whole tomatoes will likely provide you with more of the antioxidants.

However, it’s important to note that ketchup is not a health food. Snyder adds that while “the condiment can easily be included in your well-balanced diet,” it does have some downsides. For one, it’s high in salt and sugar. “If you love ketchup and have 4 to 5 tablespoons with a single meal, you could consume 35 percent or more of the DV for sugar from the ketchup alone,” explains Snyder.

Many store-bought options, like Heinz, also contain high-fructose corn syrup, which research suggests may lead to health problems if consumed in high amounts. Excessive intake of high-fructose corn syrup—which is present in many processed foods, not just ketchup—is linked with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome.

How to make your own ketchup: 7 vegan recipes to try

If you love ketchup, you can reduce your intake of sugar, salt, and high-fructose corn syrup by making your own every once in a while. It’s not just healthier, but it’s arguably more rewarding and tastier, too. To help you out, find seven of our favorite vegan ketchup recipes below.

VegNews.homemadeketchup.biancazapatkaBianca Zapatka

1 Homemade Ketchup in 5 Minutes

Making ketchup from scratch doesn’t have to be a long-winded operation. In fact, this recipe from Bianca Zapatka proves that it can all come together in just five minutes. Plus, the tasty sauce requires just a handful of ingredients to make, including tomato paste, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
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VegNews.homemadeketchup.simpleveganblogSimple Vegan Blog

2 2-Minute Healthy Ketchup

Five minutes too long for you? Okay, how about two? This recipe from Simple Vegan Blog maintains that by mixing tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, oregano, and sea salt in a bowl, you can have a tasty, zingy dip ready in the blink of an eye.
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VegNews.homemadeketchupandfries.wildveganflowerWild Vegan Flower

3 Smokey Maple Balsamic Ketchup

If you prefer your ketchup to have a smokier flavor, you’ll love this quick and easy recipe from Wild Vegan Flower, which comes together in less than 10 minutes with the help of a little dark maple syrup and some balsamic vinegar. “To help make the maple flavor really come through you are going to want to use a dark maple syrup,” Jess Flowers, the recipe developer who runs the vegan blog, notes. “The lighter variations of maple syrup add sweetness but lack the strong maple flavor, otherwise the balsamic flavor will overpower the ketchup.”
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VegNews.homemadeketchupandfries.spicysaucyveganSpicy Saucy Vegan

4 Spicy Maple Syrup Ketchup

Spice lovers, this one’s for you. This recipe is very similar to many of the others on this list, as it requires tomato paste, maple syrup, and vinegar, for example. However, it also calls for a splash of hot sauce and cayenne pepper for a delicious kick of heat.
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VegNews.homemaderosehipketchup.veryveganvalVery Vegan Val

5 Foraged Rosehip Ketchup

Why not add a little extra fun to your sauce-making afternoon by adding in a foraging trip? This unique take on vegan ketchup from Very Vegan Val calls for rosehip, which, according to founder Valerie Zemba is easy for most people to forage in the wild (but you can also buy it from the store if you prefer!).
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VegNews.cherrytomatoketchup.liveandtasteLive and Taste

6 Vegan Cherry Tomato Ketchup

Most ketchup recipes call for tomato paste, but you can also make it with fresh tomatoes, just like this recipe from Live and Taste demonstrates. The sauce, which is made with cherry tomatoes, takes a little longer than some of the others on this list to make, but it’ll be worth it for all of that extra fresh flavor.
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VegNews.homemadeketchup.saladtherapySalad Therapy

7 Date-Sweetened Refined-Sugar-Free Ketchup

Aside from maple syrup, Medjool dates are another natural sweetener you can use in your homemade ketchup. Plus, they bring extra nutrition to the recipe, too, as they’re a good source of nutrients like fiber, copper, vitamin B6, and antioxidants. 
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