Homemade {Low-Sugar} Ketchup

If you read my recent recipe post for Chipotle Meatloaf, you know I have some serious love for ketchup. Too bad most bottled ketchup contains high fructose corn syrup or, at the very least, an ungodly amount of sugar. 

"A tablespoon-size serving has four grams of sugar, which is more sugar than a typical chocolate chip cookie. And how many kids actually limit their serving size to one tablespoon? My boys manage to squeeze two or three tablespoons onto their burgers before I even sit down, which means they are consuming up to 12 grams of sugar — an entire day’s worth for a child — through their condiment alone." - Cassidy Seidenburg, "Do You Know How Much Sugar Is In Your Ketchup?" WashingtonPost.com

Hey kids - I'm a mid-30s fitness and nutrition professional and I know I use more than a tablespoon of ketchup, too! 

Since I've recently started ferreting out foods that have added sugar, I set out on a little experiment: to see if I could make my own ketchup at home that tasted good and had less sugar. I used this recipe as a guideline and made a few small changes, namely, cutting the amount of sugar in half. This whole batch only has two tablespoons of honey in it! WINNING! 

To take the healthier ketchup experiment one step further, I added a couple tablespoons of liquid whey to ferment the ketchup. Do not freak out. This just means that after a couple days, good bacteria will start taking this ketchup to the next level, giving it a bit of a tang AND making it good for your gut. 

This Homemade Lacto-Fermented Ketchup definitely fits the bill for us. I was surprised how good it was and ate a couple spoonfuls as I was pouring into the jar! My husband and I both give it the thumbs up and are definitely going to be dipping some sweet potato oven fries in this very soon. It makes a small mason jar's worth of ketchup, which is a good sized batch to determine whether or not you're ready to give up store-bought ketchup.


1 cup tomato sauce (no sugar, no salt added)

2 Tbs. whey

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. mustard powder

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbs. honey


1. In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your preferences!

2. Pour sauce into a glass jar. Cover and leave at room temperature for 2 days before moving to the fridge.