Video: Make Your Own Healthy Ketchup

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist Fermented Foods, VideosComments: 38

homemade ketchupThe king of condiments in the Western world is undoubtedly ketchup. In America alone, over a half billion bottles of ketchup are sold every year. Unfortunately, this ketchup is usually full of high fructose corn syrup — definitely not part of a healthy diet!

Ketchup comes to us from China and was originally a fermented fish sauce. Americans added tomatoes to make the world famous tomato ketchup.

The recipe used in this videoblog is “lactofermented” which means that beneficial bacteria from liquid whey transform the ingredients into an enzyme rich, probiotic filled condiment that greatly assists digestion when used in conjunction with a meal of cooked foods.

Lacto-Fermented Ketchup
3 cups organic tomato paste (I used Bionaturae brand in glass jars)
1/4 cup liquid whey
¼- ½ cup Grade B maple syrup
Pinch of cayenne pepper (use 1/4 Tsp for a more powerful taste)
1 Tbs sea salt (I recommend Celtic sea salt for the best flavor)
3 cloves organic garlic, mashed
1/2 cup fish sauce (from Asian supermarket — make sure to get one with only anchovies and salt as the listed ingredients)
Mix all ingredients together in a clean, glass one quart mason jar. Leave at least one inch at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the fermentation. Leave on the counter for 2 days and then refrigerate. The ketchup is well preserved for about 6 months.
Serve this amazing ketchup with other healthy homemade dishes like these no guilt french fries!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Comments (38)

  • Anonymous


    A friend had sent me a link to your Blog. I have been reading it for a couple of days now. For many years I have been confused on what I should and should not be eating. I have tried so many different eating plans/diets and products (supplements and alternative holistic approach) try the plan and then switch to sometime else. I still eat and serve processed foods and want to make the switch but need help on how to do this. It can be so overwhelming. In my heart… I am ready but don’t know how or where to start. Also, I have been confused with all the information out in our media on whether it is good or not good to eat meat. I was pleasantly surprised to read on the WAPF website and find out that it is OK to eat meat and that animal products provide vital nutrients not found in plant foods. But where do you buy healthy meat in Tampa??

    On the WAPF your name was listed as the Tampa Charter for the local WAPF. How does the local charter work? I am looking for help and support on how to slowly switch over to a healthy plan for myself and my family.

    Any suggestions you can provide would be fantastic. Do you have local meetings or a support group?

    Thanks for your time,

    August 5th, 2010 1:57 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Does the whey need to come from raw milk? Can whey from kefir be used for this?

    August 5th, 2010 3:10 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Yes, whey from clabbered milk, yogurt, and kefir are all fine.

    August 5th, 2010 3:29 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Sherry, please email me at The Healthy Home Economist (one word) AT gmail DOT com and I would be happy to answer all your questions about my local WAPF Chapter.

    August 5th, 2010 3:30 pm Reply
  • Andrea

    Hi Sarah, I tried making the NT ketchup recently and it didn't get all bubbly and fermented- does yours? There was nothing wrong with my whey- used the same batch as I did for ginger carrots and it fermented great with that. My fish sauce was just cured anchovies and salt, and I think all my other ingredients were fine. Any insight?

    September 21st, 2010 1:53 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Andrea, I just made a batch that was finished fermenting yesterday and no, mine does not get bubbly. I've not ever noticed my ketchup get bubbly as a matter of fact. It does taste fermented though which adds a lot of flavor to it. How does yours taste?

    September 21st, 2010 2:01 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    Sarah – this recipe is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. Mmmm.

    September 30th, 2010 8:01 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi Sarah,
    I have been following your blog,for some time now,must say u are doing a wonderful job.I would like to know, how long this home-made ketchup would last in fridge?

    October 27th, 2010 4:18 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Anonymous, it would last a few months. I've always used it up long before this point.

    October 30th, 2010 8:12 pm Reply
  • Chanelle

    I have a question: does the lacto fermentation process change the taste? Would this taste different if you ate it before letting it sit out? Or is that not a good idea?

    January 10th, 2011 3:49 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Yes, fermenting it does improve the flavor. You can use it right away of course, but letting it sit will both improve flavor and nutrition by adding much needed enzymes.

      January 10th, 2011 4:31 pm Reply
  • Chanelle

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    January 10th, 2011 6:22 pm Reply
  • RachelK

    Hi Sarah,
    2 questions for you: The fish sauce that I bought is cloudy, not clear like yours. All that the ingredient list says is “Anchovies, Salt, Water” Is that still okay? My other question is, all I had at home was a 1 and a half quart jar, is more headspace okay? Or should there only be 1 inch to ferment properly? Thanks!

    February 3rd, 2011 12:02 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      More space if fine – it just has to be 1 inch or more. Your fish sauce if fine. It was probably filtered.

      February 3rd, 2011 12:11 pm Reply
  • chanelle

    I’ve made this recipe twice now, and am trying to get my family used to it (with some success). My big problem is that it keeps molding! Both batches have molded after 1-2 weeks in the fridge. I followed the directions (with the exception of reducing the fish sauce and adding a little extra water in its place). Any idea what may be going wrong? Does it matter if the whey comes from cheese or yogurt? I may have used cheese whey, not sure if it would make a difference though!

    February 13th, 2011 1:00 pm Reply
  • Chanelle

    Sarah, hi! Wondering if you know about why my ketchup would mold (see previous comment)? Thanks!

    February 21st, 2011 4:15 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Chanelle, you cannot use cheese whey! That is probably the problem. I’ve been making this ketchup for 10 years and have never had mold even here in hot, humid FL.

    February 21st, 2011 7:16 pm Reply
  • Chanelle

    Thanks! I will try this again with my yogurt whey!

    February 21st, 2011 8:25 pm Reply
  • peggy

    Thank you for all your informative posts! I have enjoyed learning so much just from subscribing to your site. I have a question regarding the whey . . . we have severe allergies to dairy. Could I substitute kefir water instead for the whey portion?

    April 30th, 2011 7:17 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Just use a probiotic capsule.

      April 30th, 2011 8:42 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    Hi Sarah!

    I forgot to check the ingredients of the fish sauce while at the store and realized when I got home that it has sugar in it. Should I go back and get some without sugar or will this kind be okay to use in a pinch? I’m leaning towards going back if only for the fact that I dont want the unnecessary sugar.


    November 29th, 2011 6:05 pm Reply
  • Paula

    I want to make this ketchup, my problem is we are dairy free most of the time out of necessity.. My family can handle raw dairy and we do have part in a herd share -however I’ve not been able to get milk from my supplier in several months and raw milk is not available there anything I could use instead of whey?.. Kombucha or acidophilus for example.

    March 12th, 2012 1:15 pm Reply
  • Paula

    Oh sorry ,I didn’t see the previous comment about the probiotic capsule.. another question is the fish sauce added just for flavor?

    March 12th, 2012 1:41 pm Reply
  • Amanda

    I really wanted to like this. I really did. But 1 TB of salt + fish sauce? I only added 1/2 a TB and it was way way WAY too salty. Is the salt really necessary?

    May 12th, 2012 1:59 pm Reply
  • AA

    Hi, I know this as been addressed before but could you confirm again that instead of adding whey we can actually add a probiotic capsule? Just want to be sure that I am doing the right thing.
    I am so excited when I read this as I have no excess to raw milk and organic yoghurt where I live is very expensive.
    Can we also use priobiotic capsules in place of all that calls for whey in your recipes.

    June 10th, 2012 10:49 am Reply
  • Erin

    I’m wondering if the fish sauce is just for added flavor as well. Can I make it without the fish sauce? I have a feeling it will go over better with my family at first that way.

    July 6th, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    I have fish allergies, Can I omit the fish sauce or use something else?

    August 5th, 2012 5:16 pm Reply
  • Kristina Campbell

    I found this recipe to be way too salty for my family’s taste. Can the salt be reduced and still ferment properly? I am not an expert on fermenting, but was also wondering if it was to be left out fermenting longer, would the salt taste be reduced? Very interested in this recipe and am hoping for a response! Thank you.

    October 15th, 2012 3:14 pm Reply
  • Shelli

    Can I omit the fish sauce and if so, will it still work. Is the fish sauce just for flavor? I have all the other ingredients ready to go!

    February 2nd, 2013 8:46 pm Reply
  • Pingback: Does Anyone have a good Homemade Ketchup recipe? | Modern Alternative Kitchen

  • Karen

    Is there a method to make this lower in sodium? My mother is on a sodium-restricted diet and she constantly looking for home-made alternatives. I think this one would be a much healthier alternative that her reduced-sodium heinz ketchup.

    March 31st, 2013 1:10 am Reply
  • Hadia

    Hey!!! :)
    I just started fermenting veggies, I made a lacto fermented Salsa, and it came out amazing! 😀 I was soo happy,
    I have a question, can I substitute the fish sauce with something? or can i skip it? will it still taste good or not?
    Thanks!!! :)

    April 3rd, 2013 12:48 pm Reply
  • glenda

    well several ones have already asked my question, but you still have not answered their question.


    thanks. please answer us.

    May 11th, 2013 1:55 pm Reply
  • glenda

    never mind went to another ferment site and found a better recipe for homebounders. or those who can’t find fish sauce. it uses apple cider vinegar and cloves cinnamon etc. google it

    May 11th, 2013 2:08 pm Reply
  • berlynn

    Is there a recipe without the fish oil?

    June 30th, 2013 5:34 pm Reply
  • fumofu

    Hi Sarah, thank you for the recipe. My family and I are on GAPS. Is it OK to substitute the maple syrup with honey? Or would honey’s antibacterial properties offsets the lacto-fermentation process? Or perhaps I can omit the sweetener until after the fermenting is finished? Thank you! I hope to make this once my fish sauce is ready.

    October 3rd, 2013 4:06 am Reply
  • Cathy

    Hi Sarah,

    I just made your lacto fermented ketchup recipe yesterday and it’s now sitting on a shelf doing it’s thing one thing. I noticed as I was putting it in the jar that it was really thick. Does yours turn out that way? or have I done something wrong? your site is a blessing. Thank you


    March 25th, 2014 10:36 pm Reply
  • Tess

    My ketchup turned out extremely runny. The fermenting process didn’t thicken it at all. I used apple cider vinegar instead of whey, could that be why? I tried thickening it up by adding arrowroot powder-quite a bit, but not sure if it’s really made a difference. Maybe next time I could use collagen as a thickener? Thanks.

    December 19th, 2014 10:21 pm Reply

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