Smoky spiced ketchup

BBQ season is here, but before you reach for that bottle of Heinz to add to your burger or hot dog let me offer this alternative, homemade ketchup. And to those who want to call me a condiment snob, hear me out; most things are better homemade and ketchup is no exception. Smoky flavors and a little bit of spice give this ketchup depth and transform it from boring to sublime. This might even turn ketchup haters into ketchup lovers, as it did for me. Like most of my recipes, this is adaptable for your taste preferences, in case you like your ketchup spicier, milder, more onion-y, etc. Also, if your mouth is watering looking at these photos of sweet potato fries, check back in a day or two for a recipe coming very soon, just in time for your 4th of July snacking this upcoming weekend.

makes approximately 5 cups ketchup

2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 cup diced yellow onion (approximately half a large onion)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon mustard powder
tiny pinch each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet paprika will work if you can’t find smoked)
6 oz tomato paste
28 ounces canned, diced, peeled tomatoes in juice (I use these)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 bay leaves


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed pot. Add the onions and a pinch of sea salt. Saute the onions until translucent and soft, approximately 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, mustard powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne, and paprika. Saute for another minute or two.
  3. Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, sugar, worcestershire, molasses, apple cider vinegar, pepper, and celery salt. Stir until combined.
  4. Blend the ketchup together with an immersion blender. Alternatively, transfer to a heat proof blender, blend, and return ketchup to the pot.
  5. Add the bay leaves and bring ketchup to a low simmer on low heat, for roughly 30 min. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. I recommend partially covering the pot to prevent splatters from making a mess of your stove, but not fully covering so as to let steam out.
  6. After 30 min, remove from heat and let cool. To store, refrigerate ketchup in an airtight container. It should keep well for several weeks.

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