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How To Make Fermented Ketchup

Ketchup is just one of those things…. kids just love it. For years I avoided ketchup, considering it just a dousing of salt and sugar. But then I discovered how to ferment food. Homemade fermented ketchup is now a staple in my kitchen.

The process of fermentation transforms a “junk” food into a delicious and healthy condiment you can feel good about offering to your kids. The sugar (in this case maple syrup) is eaten up by the bacteria (from the whey) and it is transformed into a probiotic food.  

Eating probiotic food with your meal enhances digestion thereby making everything else you’re eating more nutritious.

Here’s a simple recipe.  It takes about 30 seconds to make and it’s down right delicious.

You can also make regular ketchup with this recipe.  If you don’t want to ferment it, just replace the whey with water and don’t let it sit.  It’s a great recipe whether you ferment it or not. 

To Make Fermented Ketchup


  • 1 1/2 c organic tomato paste (2 small cans)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c spring water (not chlorinated)
  • 2 tbsp whey (here's how to make it)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp molasses


  1. Mix everything together in a 500 ml mason jar.
  2. Cover tightly and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for about 4 days.
  3. The longer you let it sit the more of a "zing" it gets
  4. Transfer to the fridge where it will store for a long time
  5. NOTE: make sure the sides and lip of the jar are clear of wayward tomato paste. What is not mixed in to the ferment will mould more quickly than the rest

A couple of notes to set you up for success:

  1. Organic tomato paste seems to ferment better than non organic – my speculation is that perhaps pesticide residue from the non-organic tomatoes kills bacteria?  I don’t know.  It’s just been my experience.
  2. Be absolutely sure to use non-chlorinated tap water in this recipe. If you use chlorinated water the bacteria will be killed and it will not ferment
  3. This is a basic recipe and you can feel free to play around with the spices! Leave us a comment if you come up with another good concoction.
  4. The whey in this recipe is NOT the same thing as powdered whey that you would find in protein powder. You can not buy this kind of whey. You get it from straining yogurt.  Here’s a video that shows you how.
  5. QUICK TIP FOR BUSY PEOPLE….I keep a small mason jar of the dry spices (except the salt) in my spice drawer.  To make the ketchup I put the tomato paste in a 500ml mason jar, and add 1 tsp spice mix, 1 tsp salt and the rest of the wet ingredients.  Stir well  (I have a recipe label on my dry spice jar with the recipe to jog my memory when I make it)

To pre make the spice blend combine:

  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp ground allspice

Use 1 tsp blend per batch (500ml), add 1 tsp salt and the rest of the wet ingredients listed above

Looking for more ferment recipes? Click Here for The Beginner's Guide To Fermentation e-guide

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About Jess Sherman, M.Ed, R.H.N

Jess is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ and Family Health Expert, specializing in brain health & resilience for kids. She is the author of Raising Resilience: Take the stress out of feeding your family & love your life, a mother and an advocate for children’s health. Her book and online resources have helped families all over the world improve the lives of their children with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD, autism and mood disorders by fitting the food and feeding piece into their health puzzles. She is the 2019 recipient of the CSNNAA award for Clinical Excellence for her work helping families get healthier, and she continues to work at bringing an understanding of the power of good nutrition to the mainstream conversation about children’s mental health, learning, and overall resilience through her blog, courses and as a  contributor to print and online magazines. You can reach Jess at www.jesssherman.com 


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