How to Make Homemade Zero Waste Ketchup

How to Make Homemade Zero Waste Ketchup

I’ve always wanted to make homemade, zero waste ketchup. And summer is the perfect time to do it! Why? Because you can get SO many fresh, in-season, plastic-free tomatoes at the market. My little eco heart just can’t resist. So I decided to go for it one week and bought some extra cherry tomatoes to make homemade ketchup with. I’ll be honest here: While I absolutely NAILED the flavor and thickness of traditional ketchup, I did make one little error. I didn’t correctly remove the seeds/bits of skin, and that changed up the texture a bit. More on this later – but at the least, I know what NOT to do for next time, and can advise you too. Regardless, it came out delicious and I had a lot of fun experimenting and going along with the process. It’s time consuming, but worth it! Here’s how to make zero waste ketchup.

How to Make Homemade Zero Waste Ketchup

Why make your own ketchup?

You might have noticed I like to share a lot of homemade, from scratch DIYs and recipes on here. I truly believe when we take the time to make things from home, we can reduce so much waste (and that includes excessive packaging, but also goes way beyond it).

Ketchup usually comes in plastic packaging, with a little plastic film wrapped around the top for a “freshness seal.” You can sometimes find ketchup packaged in glass, which is great.

Plastic is everywhere, and only 5-6% of it gets recycled, which is down from 9% in 2017. We’re not getting better at recycling plastic, we’re getting worse. So any attempt you make to reduce your plastic consumption is a win in my eyes.

That, and we’re literally ingesting a credit cards worth of plastic every week. Plastic has been found in our lungs, feces, blood, brain and placentas. Who knows what health effects this could pose in the long run, but I cannot imagine it being good.

Homemade ketchup is one fun way to try and reduce our reliance on plastic. But, as always, there are many other ways to do this too. Don’t feel bad if you have to buy ketchup in a plastic container. I just think it’s nice to offer options and making things homemade is a great way to participate in slow living.

Fun Fact: The jar I used to house my homemade ketchup is from Dry Goods Refillery, where you can go get plastic-free goods! This particular jar can be brought back and refilled with ketchup as many times as I’d like. How cool is that? See if your local refillery offers this too, if making your own isn’t an option.

zero waste ketchup


  • 6 cups cherry tomatoes (about three cartons worth)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder

Note on packaging: You can probably find most of these ingredients at your local bulk food store. If not, search your local grocery store’s spices section and see if they have them packaged in glass. You can reuse the glass bottles when they’re empty to store trinkets, mini flower bouquets, DIYs, leaf cuttings and more.

zero waste ketchup


  1. Wash off the tomatoes and remove their stems. Compost them please!
  2. Blend up the tomatoes using a food processor, or a hand immersion blender in a large bowl.
  3. Pass them through a sieve to remove the seeds and chunks of the skin – you can use a wooden spoon to make this process go smoother. Compost the remains. Straining the skins/seeds is VERY important – I tried to do this but wasn’t patient enough and skipped to the next step. DON’T. Take the time to really sieve out the seeds and chunks of skin – it’ll make your ketchup a lot smoother and more like the puree we all know and love.
  4. Add the remaining tomato juice into a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Keep over medium heat for another 8-10 minutes and cook, stirring occasionally. When you achieve a consistency you like, remove from the heat.
  6. Leave it to cool down, then transfer to an airtight container or bottle and keep refrigerated. Even better, use an upcycled container to store it. It should last up to a month!

So, will you be giving this homemade zero waste ketchup a try? Let me know in the comments!

Want to make more things from scratch? Here’s how to make homemade bread, and jam without pectin.

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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