How to Make Tomato Jam, the Best Ketchup Substitute

Homemade condiments: ketchup, mayo, and hot sauce. FOOD STYLING BY MICHELLE GATTON FOR HELLO ARTISTS; PROP STYLING BY CARLA GONZALEZ-HART.
Homemade ketchup. Food styling by Michelle Gatton for Hello Artists; Prop Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart Christopher Testani

Even the fussiest chefs sing the praises of Heinz 57 ketchup. So instead of trying to improve on the classic, Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth of New York’s Root & Bone make tomato jam.

The ingredients are pretty much what you find in ketchup, but the chutney-like texture and sharp sweet-sour balance make it a powerful complement to roasted chicken, breakfast scrambles, and seared swordfish steaks. It’s not bad on burgers, either.

Learn how to master the condiment. You’ll use it all summer long.

Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Total Time: 45 minutes

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Prep time

5 min.

Cook time

45 min.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup shallots, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 lb tomatoes, peeled and diced, with their juices
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until shallots are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid evaporates and mixture is reduced to about 2¼ cups, stirring often, about 30 to 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cool before using.