A Real Food Ketchup Recipe with Probiotics

A Real Food Ketchup Recipe (with lacto-fermented option)

Ketchup is often one of the last foods to make the transition to a REAL FOOD diet but is so simple to make at home.

How can we recreate the flavors that pair so well with our favorite foods and reminds us of childhood? This simple real food ketchup recipe does just that but adds a richness that only comes with fresh ingredients.

We used readily available foods, made sure it created almost no mess, and created an option that was easy to whip up when you needed a new batch.

Making Your Own Awesomesauce

The beauty of making your own is that many of the ingredients can be changed up to fit to your tastes. This recipe is so simple that you can use it to create your perfect ketchup.

By replacing the garlic with shallots or switching out vinegar flavors, the recipe can have a whole new flavor profile. It also allows for substitutions when food allergies are an issue.

Lacto-fermented Version

The lacto-fermented option* is for those looking to include more fermented foods and probiotics into their diet. This one is our perfect ketchup. The sauerkraut juice is tangy but subtle and oh so delicious.

Throughout history, condiments were traditionally fermented and impart wonderful flavor and health benefits.

These nutrient-rich foods aid in digestion by increasing enzyme activity and boosting the friendly bacteria in our digestive tracts, both of which help break down food and make nutrients more accessible.

*This is a reflection of Nourished Kitchen’s fermentation method for homemade ketchup.

A Real Food Ketchup Recipe with Probiotics

A Real Food Ketchup Recipe (with lacto-fermented option)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

This ketchup is the result of trying countless real food recipes that fell short of our expectations. I combined the classic flavors of store-bought ketchup with the deep, rich flavors of fresh ingredients. The extra step of fermentation deepens the flavor complexity and adds the gut healing properties of probiotics.


  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons 100% maple syrup (honey or unrefined sugar can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw fermented sauerkraut brine (other raw fermented vegetable brine or an equal amount of vinegar can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and stir thoroughly to combine. Note: If making lacto-fermented version, reserve 3 Tablespoons of brine to add during last step. This version cannot be made without some type of fermenting culture, so a recipe consisting only of vinegar will not ferment properly.
  2. Simmer on medium low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Note: I prefer to leave a lid partially covering the ketchup to keep splatters contained.
  3. Allow to cool completely. Blend ingredients in food processor if a smoother texture is desired.
  4. Place in desired glass storage container and refrigerate.
    Note: For lacto-fermented ketchup, use a mason jar (or similar container) and stir in 1 Tablespoon sauerkraut or vegetable brine.
    Spoon remaining 2 tablespoons over top of the ketchup to cover it with a thin layer of brine that will assist in fermentation.
    Cover and leave in a warm place for 3-5 days. The bubbles that result are a sign that fermentation is taking place. If it smells or tastes bad or begins to grow any yeast or mold, throw it out and start over.
    When the ketchup has finished fermenting, stir thoroughly and refrigerate.
    Non-fermented version will last at least a week in the fridge and fermented should last at least 1-3 months in the refrigerator. This will vary depending on many conditions like all perishable foods, so inhale it like we do or keep an eye on it.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, GAPS Legal Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Prudent Projects and Smart Solutions, GAPS Friendly Fridays, Make Your Own Mondays, Teach Me Tuesday, Fat Tuesday


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

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