How to Make Ketchup (If You Hate Ketchup)

From one ketchup hater to another, this one’s for you.

Published June 17, 2022.

If you’re a person with ketchup in your refrigerator, shove that bottle of Heinz to the way back, if only so it doesn’t hear this: I hate ketchup.

It feels slanderous to say that, given its wild popularity in the United States, and on the ATK Kids team—Editor in Chief Molly Birnbaum herself is an ardent ketchup lover. Ketchup just isn’t my jam.

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I understand that it hits all five of the basic tastes (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami) and that it’s almost universally adored for its complex flavor profile. But I still stand firmly in anti-ketchup camp, a fact which has—if only for a moment—made me question my job security on Molly’s team.

Happily, it turns out that I don’t hate all ketchups. This specific recipe developed by Associate Editor Andrea Wawrzyn Rivera for The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs will always have a spot on my plate. 


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This ketchup makes tomatoes the star. Over 2 pounds of grape tomatoes simmer in a skillet, combined with a bit of garlic, red wine vinegar, dark brown sugar, salt, pepper, and just a pinch of allspice for a balanced flavor profile.

The ingredients have plenty of time to meld together and reduce before you blend them in a blender. And finally, to keep things supersmooth, the blended mixture gets poured through a fine-mesh strainer.

After this ketchup has time to thicken and chill, it’s ready for all your dipping, dunking, and slathering needs. If I have a batch on-hand when I’m making fries, I’m even willing to forgo malt vinegar. 


This recipe takes everything you love about store-bought ketchup and packs in even more tomato flavor—get your burgers and fries ready!

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