Ketchup for Canning

by Becky
Published: Updated:

This is my first canning recipe, ever. I don’t make up recipes for canning in general because I don’t have a lab to test for safety. But this recipe of ketchup for canning is adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation and the vegetable to acid ratio is the exact same- so I am positive it is safe! The only adjustments made were to dried spices and sugar.

The original went a little overboard on spices and this version is SO MUCH BETTER!

It also has a super smooth finished product and a different method for getting the finished result. I hope you like it.

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Ketchup for Canning

Course: condiment, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning, ketchup, preserving
Servings: 18 half pints
Calories: 204kcal


  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 4 individual whole cloves no teaspoons or tablespoons just count them out
  • 5 individual whole allspice
  • 3 cups vinegar half white and half cider (5% acidity)
  • 24 lbs tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canning or pickling salt
  • 1 tsp dried garlic


  • Turn oven to 425ºF
  • Make a spice bag by taking cheesecloth and cutting out a square. Add celery seeds, cloves, and all spice on top of the cheese cloth, then tie in a knot or use twine to tie it together. (Some of the celery seeds may fall out, that’s ok!)
  • In a stainless steel saucepan, add the vinegar and the spice bag. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and let it sit for a half hour with the spice bag in it. Then discard the spice bag.
  • Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half and core. (For Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, no need to core, just cut in half.) Place tomatoes skin down, with one layer on baking trays and roast tomatoes for 1 hour at 425ºF.
  • While the tomatoes cook, sauté the onions for 5-10 minutes on medium low heat until soft and translucent.
  • After the tomatoes finish, use a food mill or sauce maker (you can find my favorite HERE) to remove skins and seeds. *Include all the released tomato juices on the tray as well as roasted tomatoes to food mill ensure proper acidity. Discard the seeds and skins.
  • Place tomato sauce in a very large stainless steel saucepan.
  • Add onions, sugar, salt, vinegar, peppers, and dried garlic to the saucepan with the tomatoes.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, stirring frequently, until it becomes the desired thickness.
  • While reducing the liquid, prepare a water bath canner and half pint jars.
  • Working in small batches, transfer the mixture to the blender and puree until very smooth. Return all the pureed ketchup to the pot.
  • Ladle hot ketchup into half pint jars leaving a 1/2 inch of head space. Wipe rim. Center lid on the jar. Screw on the band with until it is finger tip-tight.
  • Place jars in canner and ensure the jars have at least one inch of water above the tops of the jars.
  • Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove lid, turn off heat, wait 5-10 minutes then remove jars. Let cool and store.


Do not change the ratios in the recipe. It has a specific amount of acid to keep it safe for water bath canning. I can only fit 14 half pints in my water bath canner at a time. For me, it’s not really worth the time to do a whole different batch to get the last 4 jars canned. I ended up setting it aside and using the extra ketchup to make a homemade BBQ sauce, then I froze the result.


Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 1442mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 5061IU | Vitamin C: 83mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

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Katie C. September 22, 2022 - 1:31 pm

There is one thing that should be noted: include all the juices from the roasting pan. It is necessary to maintain the acidity. The same thing goes if you are using tomatoes from the freezer. I learned that one from the canning group I belong to on Facebook which insists on tested recipes. 👍

theseasonalhomestead September 22, 2022 - 3:01 pm

Thank you! I’ll make sure to add that to the notes!

Laurel M. September 23, 2022 - 6:54 pm

I’m so excited! I’m going to try your first recipe ever! All my plants this year are paste tomatoes because sauce making takes so long with others. I’m picky about my BBQ sauce, too. The only one I like is Quick and Easy BBQ sauce by Our Best Bites. I just make up a jar once a month or so, but I’m sure you could freeze it.

theseasonalhomestead September 24, 2022 - 2:08 am

Yay! Hope you like it. Also thank you for telling me about another good BBQ sauce recipe! I’ll have to look that up!

Laurel M. September 28, 2022 - 4:30 am

It’s great!! I’ve tried the Ball recipe and I felt it was too spiced, but yours is just right. I cut the recipe in half and air fried some potatoes for taste testing. It’s a hit!
(My kids called the other recipe “pumpkin-spice ketchup” because it was so heavy on the cloves. 🤣 I never made it again. )

michelle Forry September 28, 2022 - 12:53 pm

Hi Becky! I made this recipe last evening. It took me 4 hours of stirring to get the consistency that I desired, did you take this long? I have to say this is by far the best Ketchup recipe I have ever made. My adult son (35) said mom I think you just made Heinz Ketchup lol. Anyhow, thank you for sharing your recipe with us. I am looking forward to making more ketchup and my next to do is the peach BBQ.

Jamie January 10, 2024 - 7:35 pm

Can these be canned in larger jars? I serve a high quantity of people and need to use more efficient (for our use) sized jars if possible.

theseasonalhomestead January 18, 2024 - 8:58 pm

Yes. Pint jars use the same processing time.


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