How To Freeze Tomatoes: When you have a great crop of tomatoes, be sure to freeze extras. Prepping fresh tomatoes for freezing is super easy! Don’t waste those juicy red morsels that have spent the summer growing in your garden. Learn the best way to freeze tomatoes so you can use them in the coming winter months for delicious meals!
Original post: September 2013 | Updated: August 2021
Why This Recipe Works
It’s tomato season! We sadly do not have a garden, but I have heard many people over the past few weeks express tomato concern. “What am I going to do with all of these tomatoes?!” As if a bumper crop is a bad thing!
A good friend unloaded some of her harvest on me, and I was happy to receive them. We tomatoed burgers, salads and sandwiches. I still had a bunch left over so I decided to freeze them. This is a very easy task, and it will provide you with delicious and easy winter dinner options.
Tomatoes – Any variety can be frozen, but must be at prime ripeness. Ripe tomatoes are soft to the touch (but not squishy) and are dark red in color.
How To Freeze Tomatoes and Prepare Them For Freezing
Make sure to prepare some freezer space, because these delicious red fruits will be perfect for winter soups, stews and meals!
Step 1 – Prepare The Tomatoes
Using a sharp knife, remove the stem/core from the tops of the ripe tomatoes in a cone shape. Using a sharp knife, score a line into each tomato just enough to break the skin, going from one side of the cored circle all the way down and up to the opposite side of the circle.
This will make removing the skins a piece of cake (when we get to that point – don’t do it yet).
Step 2 – Flash Prep The Tomatoes
Prepare a large saucepan of boiling water, as well as a large bowl filled with ice water.
In batches, add the tomatoes to the boiling water in 2-minute intervals.
Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit for 1 minute.
Step 3 – Peel The Tomatoes
Using the slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes from the ice water to a flat work surface. Remove the tomato skins, they will just slip off because you scored them ahead then discard. They will peel off the tomatoes like butter.
Step 4 – Package For Freezing
Place the tomatoes into large resealable freezer bags in a single layer and be sure to remove as much air out of the bag as possible. Seal the bag. Now they are ready to freeze!
To help avoid freezer burn, double pack them into airtight containers.
FAQ About Tomatoes
Tomatoes will continue to ripen after they have been picked off their plants. They produce ethylene, which is a gas that promotes ripening.
It is possible to freeze tomatoes straight from the garden, but with mushy consequences. In order to have the best possible outcome, put just a little bit of time and effort in up front.
Tomatoes contain a good deal of antioxidants, which are linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of potassium and vitamin C and are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy food to consume regularly.
Botanically, tomatoes are considered fruits because they form from a flower and contain seeds. However, they are considered to be a vegetable by most people, due to the way they are used in recipes and cooking.
Ripened tomatoes are nontoxic for dogs and can be consumed safely. Unripened tomatoes (as well as tomato plants), however, are not safe for dog consumption.
Low in fat and carbs, tomatoes are keto-friendly, with a mere 2.4 grams of carbs per half-cup serving.
Bags of fresh tomatoes can remain in your deep freeze for up to a year – just in time for next year’s harvest! And just like that, you are more prepared for winter meals than most folks. When ready, use your frozen tomatoes for all kinds of incredible tomato sauce dishes including soups and stews.
Any type of tomato is perfect for freezing. Roma, cherry, grape, San Marzano, beefsteak.. the sky is the limit! Each variety will offer a different amount of juice and sweetness and this will carry over into the sauce or other end product.
What To Make With Frozen (Thawed) Tomatoes
In the winter, we love to have Best EVER Spaghetti Sauce and Roasted Tomato Soup. I recently found that I love using my Instant Pot to make a Homemade Tomato Sauce perfect for a comforting bowl of pasta or to dip bread sticks into!
Recipes To Make Using Pasta Sauce
Aside from the obvious reason (the amazing FLAVOR!), my favorite thing about pasta sauce is that it is so versatile. Here are a few ideas for ways to enjoy it!
- Pour it over the top of cooked noodles of any kind.
- Use it in place of store-bought sauce in your next pan of Baked Spaghetti or Baked Ziti!
- Check out my Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Lasagna and Cheesy Manicotti are both sooo good when made with Instant Pot spaghetti sauce!
- Use it as an ingredient to stuff spaghetti squash with!
- Add it to your morning eggs because everything tastes great with eggs.
Delicious Comfort Food Recipes
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole – Creamy vegetables and chicken baked into a buttery crispy crust that is comfort food perfection especially during the fall and winter months.
- Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole – this dinner boasts flavor and creaminess over a bed of steaming egg noodles. This casserole is just like your mom’s recipe but so much more!
- Instant Pot White Turkey Chili – Packed with turkey meat, white beans and veggies, this comfort food is super flavorful and delicious.
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – This is a delicious combination of the tastiest flavors you will ever eat in a single bite. Bacon, chicken, creamy alfredo sauce and pasta all make dinner a hit in less than 30 minutes!
Best Way To Freeze Tomatoes
- 2-3 lbs tomatoes any variety, at prime ripeness
- Using a sharp knife, remove the stem/core from the tops of the tomatoes in a cone shape. Score a line into each tomato just enough to break the skin, going from one side of the cored circle all the way down and up to the opposite side of the circle.
- Prepare a large saucepan of boiling water, as well as a large bowl filled with ice water. In batches, add the tomatoes to the boiling water in 2-minute intervals. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit for 1 minute.
- Place the tomatoes into large resealable bags and freeze! The tomatoes can stay frozen for up to one year.
- Tomatoes should be dark red and soft to the touch but not squishy when they’re ready to freeze.
- Any type of tomato is perfect for freezing! Roma, cherry, grape, San Marzano, beefsteak.. the sky is the limit! Each variety will offer a different amount of juice and sweetness and this will carry over into the sauce or other end product.
I have frozen tomatoes for years. Put them in a blender with skins on.Than freeze.
I made a mistake by not cutting the end (core) off the top of the tomato before putting them to boil for 10 min. I continued to put them into an ice bath for 2 minutes then i cut the core off and easily peeled the skin off. My question is: there is some water from the tomatoes and I’m wondering if I should dump it, or no harm in keeping it since I plan to turn the tomatoes into pasta sauce anyway. Thanks so much for sharing this very simple & easy recipe !
Great job getting started! I wouldn’t sweat it. When they thaw, it’ll either burn off in cooking or melt off. It’ll be delicious when you get to cooking with them!
After I scald, peel & cut off tops, I cut up in bowl and then pour all tomatoes in colander to drain liquid and a lot of seeds….then I bag and freeze all tomatoes.
I just core and freeze them with the skins on. They cut up easier when partially thawed.
Even spur of the moment put them in water for 10 min they will be thawed enough to cook.
Takes much less time, no one notices the skins and the skins are probably good for us anyway.
Glad you shared – thanks!
DO NOT leave your skins on the tomatoes if you are freezing or canning. They are tough and not eatable at all
I don't really have a garden, (Want one though) But I do grow my own tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets on my deck, Never thought to freeze them! Great idea! My neighbor grows summer squash and gives quite a bit, I freeze it and it tastes ok but not sure I do it correctly. Could you post something on that? Thanks Megan!!!!
You don't have to go to all the work of removing the skin prior to freezing. I just freeze whole, then while thawing the skin just falls off and I lift it out.
I don't take off the skins, never have. When you cook the tomatoes they break up, or in a salsa they just fall apart and are fine. It saves alot of time. I always wondered why people take them off ?!?
I don’t skin mine for salsas either, can’t tell a difference. I am going to freeze to see how close to fresh salsa it tastes like, I like canned salsa, but I miss that fresh taste when I eat it in the winter.
Fresh is definitely amazing! But even with frozen tomatoes being used, it’s still fresh tasting because you don’t have the preservatives that a canned or jarred salsa has. Enjoy!
Kelly @ New Leaf Wellness
I'm think these can be used instead of canned tomatoes in recipes. The only canned tomatoes I buy are petite diced tomatoes and tomato sauce (and tomato paste). Do you know what I need to do to make those? Could I simple dice the final product to sub for petite diced tomatoes in recipes?