Homemade Lacto-Fermented Ketchup

Published by emilyatspecklefarm on


Homemade lacto-fermented ketchup is one of the easiest things to make!
If you can taste and stir, you can make this.

I’ve always had a lackluster relationship with ketchup. I liked it, sometimes, but it was always so sweet and one dimensional that I could never really get excited about it. One day we were at a restaurant and they had a bottle of Portland Ketchup Company Ketchup. I wasn’t expecting anything from that bottle. I looked at it only to notice the conventional red goo inside and shake some on my fries. When I tasted it though, I had to check the bottle to make sure that I was even eating ketchup.

Lacto-fermented Ketchup
It had a rich tomato flavor that reminded me of dehydrated tomatoes (you see them sold under the fancy “sun dried tomato” name), it wasn’t rampantly sweet and it was all kinds of spicy, savory deliciousness.
It took me a long time and many homemade ketchup recipes on pinterest before I started making my own. I couldn’t find a recipe that had the right spiciness and savory notes so I created this based on the flavor of the Portland ketchup. Trust me, you won’t miss that store bought ketchup when you’re eating your homemade lacto-fermented ketchup with your homemade tator-tots or fried potatoes. This is a thick, barely sweet ketchup with a rich savory spicy -but not hot- thing going on.   

~Lacto-Fermented Ketchup~

 I encourage you to adjust this recipe to your own taste. Ingredients are linked to Amazon in case you want to buy any or see what they are.      
Lacto-fermented Ketchup

48 oz tomato paste
½ cup fermented veggie juice
½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs fish sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ tsp mustard powder
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp all spice
1 ½ tsp Cayenne powder
1 ½ tsp salt
3 tsp ground pepper
3 tsp garlic granules
1 ½ tsp onion granules

You Will also Need:
Rubber spatula
Canning funnel
2 quart & 1 pint canning jars or other nonreactive storage containers
canning lids and rings

Lacto-fermented Ketchup

Notes on the recipe:

The total amount of fermented veggie juice and vinegar can be increased but probably shouldn’t be decreased. You want enough acid to change the pH to encourage beneficial fermentation bacteria. Decreasing the amount of acid can change the pH enough to allow bacteria to grow that could make you very sick.
If you don’t have any fermented veggies to collect juice from you can simply replace that with the same amount of raw apple cider vinegar. If you use fermented veggie juice make sure it is raw. If it’s been canned it won’t work since the bacteria will have been killing in the canning process.
Unlike the vinegar, the fish sauce is there to gives the ketchup a more savory flavor. The ketchup just wasn’t right until it had that extra little bit of flavor. If you aren’t sure fish sauce is for you, add it last. Taste the ketchup and only add fish sauce if you think the ketchup is missing something. You could also try adding soy sauce, Worcestershire, or some other savory something to give it an extra kick.

Lacto-fermented Ketchup

If you like my measuring spoon you can buy your own set HERE


This is much thicker than typical commercial ketchup. You may want to add more vinegar to thin it. Taste as you go to make sure it doesn’t lose any of it’s awesomeness by being diluted. Some recipes I looked at said theirs expanded a lot during fermentation. We’ve yet to have that happen but I leave some head space and air exchange just in case.
It’s important to note, there wasn’t salt in the tomato paste or seasonings we used. Check your ingredients. If you’re seeing salt don’t add additional until you’ve tasted the ketchup.
As for the actual making it part?


Whisk or blend ingredients together, taste to make sure you like it, adjust the seasoning if not. Portion into jars with an inch and a half of head space and leave it in a room temperature place, out of direct sun for three days. Refrigerate and enjoy the most delicious ketchup ever!

Lacto-fermented Ketchup


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Karen White · March 6, 2015 at 11:22 am

What is fermented vegetable juice? Is it something I make or buy?

    noahkids@hotmail.com · March 6, 2015 at 11:32 am

    That’s a very good question! I’ll update the post to include this. The liquid from home fermented or bought fermented veggies will both work. It just needs to be raw and actually cultured. For example, the liquid from raw (not canned) sauerkraut or sour pickles (true fermented pickled that haven’t been canned) would be perfect. If you don’t have that on hand you can substitute with the same amount of raw apple cider vinegar in addition to what’s already in the recipe. Having two different culture sources just gives you a more robust microbial population. Let me know if you still have any questions!

Kristine Robatzek-Gieck · November 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Great recipe.
I love fermenting all different veggies. My favourite is drinking the juice in an espresso cup or small champagne flute with a meal to aid digestion.
Our family doesn’t consume added sugar so I will substitute with Laconta monk fruit sweetener and stevia.
Will make extra for Christmas gifts!!

Miquela Faure · August 24, 2018 at 5:00 am

I grew up hating ketchup, but some years ago I read about being able to make one’s own lacto-fermented variety and vowed to do so whenever I got a garden and grew some of my own tomatoes. The time has come! I have a batch fermenting now, and for lunch we ate the little bit that wouldn’t fit in the jar. Even before fermentation it is delicious. Thank you for this recipe. It looks a bit daunting compared to some others online with shorter ingredient lists, but the complexity of the spices is what drew me in. The only change I made was using raw cane sugar with an additional tablespoon of molasses in place of the white and brown sugar, and I dialed back on the cayenne just a tad so do my kids would eat it.

John Bianchini · October 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

I tried this and not sure if fermentation worked because it is thick and cannot bubble?

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