If you've ever wanted to make homemade ketchup, but found it a little too fussy for your taste, the slow cooker is about to change that. Short of measuring the ingredients for you, it takes care of all the heavy lifting, slowly producing you a deep, vibrant sauce that's like nothing you'll ever taste from the grocery store.
Homemade Ketchup, the Easy Way
I understand if homemade condiments feel a little fussy to you. I used to feel the very same way. Plus, that squeeze bottle is pretty darn convenient. But let me assure you, when the slow cooker is involved, homemade ketchup really couldn't be any easier to make.
If you're expecting this to be a set-it-and-forget-it recipe, this will not let you down. You'll do the measuring and scooping, and a little bit of blending at the end, but really, the slow cooker manages the real work. The hours of low, slow cooking blend and concentrate the ingredients, ultimately rewarding you with an impressive sauce full of robust flavor.
How It's Different from Store-Bought Ketchup
Not only is the ingredient list relatively short and sweet, but it's also made up entirely of items you'll find in your pantry and spice cabinet. Canned crushed tomatoes; apple cider vinegar; a touch of brown sugar; and a blend of paprika, celery seed, and allspice all make the list.
When it comes to appearance and taste, you'll quickly notice a difference between homemade ketchup and the stuff you squeeze out of the bottle. Homemade ketchup has a slightly thicker, heartier texture, along with a much richer color. After hours of low, slow cooking, the ingredients cook down and concentrate to produce a deep tomatoey flavor that's subtly sweet and savory.
Blending the Ketchup
The only thing the slow cooker doesn't do is purée the ketchup into a silky-smooth spread. That part is up to you. Use an immersion blender to process it directly in the slow cooker bowl, or transfer the ketchup to a blender or food processor. And as for how long to blend, it all depends on your preference: Do you like a ketchup that's thick, and maybe a little chunky? Or do you believe that ketchup is meant to be smooth as can be?
Flavor It How You Like
Of course, part of the beauty of opting for homemade versus store-bought is your ability to customize the flavor any way you like. There's nothing wrong with sticking with the classic tomatoey flavor that makes ketchup so wonderful, but should you want something more, your options are many.
Optional Add-Ins for More Flavor
- Curry powder
- Chipotle chili powder
- Grated fresh ginger
- Sriracha + honey
How To Make Ketchup in the Slow Cooker
What You Need
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Pinch ground allspice
1.5-quart or larger slow cooker
Regular blender, immersion blender, or food processor
- Fill the slow cooker: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a 1.5-quart or larger slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook the ketchup: Set the slow cooker to LOW and cook uncovered until the ketchup has reduced and thickened, 6 to 7 hours.
- Purée the ketchup: Using an immersion blender or transferring the ketchup to a food processor or stand blender, purée the ketchup to your desired consistency.
- Cool the ketchup: Transfer the ketchup to resealable jars or other containers. Cool completely, then seal and refrigerate.
- Storage: Store ketchup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Food styling by Ayda Robana