How to Freeze Tomatoes--No Blanching & No Peeling

Got a lot of tomatoes coming in from your garden and wondering how to keep them from spoiling? I've got you covered in this post about How to Freeze Tomatoes--with everything you need to know.

Home grown tomatoes are delicious--there's nothing like them. But when you have too many of them at once, you it can become a problem. Freezing tomatoes is a surprisingly super easy way to preserve your tomato harvest for months on end.

One summer I got a boatload of really ripe tomatoes (at least 20 pounds) from our CSA and well, a lot of them needed to be processed quickly or we were going to lose them to the compost pile. I'm not one to waste food, but I'm also super busy, so I needed to figure something out, and fast

pinterest image for post about how to freeze tomatoes

Canning is a great way to store up tomatoes, but it's time consuming and heats up the kitchen--and would you believe I've never done it on my own?)

That week, we ate some (make that lots) of tomatoes raw, made homemade sun-dried tomatoes, and some of my easy marinara sauce and also what I consider to be the best salsa, but there were still MORE tomatoes left! I needed help! So I figured out how to freeze tomaoes and now I'm sharing this amazing information with you!

Ways to Freeze Tomatoes

While there are lots of posts on the internet talking about how to freeze whole tomatoes, there are quite a few that focus only on how to freeze tomatoes whole.

While that's a great idea, you might not have room in your freezer to do that, so here are some other ways to freeze your tomato harvest.

  • You can freeze them whole, sliced, chopped, diced, crushed or even blended
  • You can freeze them with or without the skins

What Kind of Tomato Is Best for Freezing?

While you technically can freeze any kind of tomato, certain types work better than others.

Beefsteak and other slicing tomatoes have a higher water content, so they won't freeze / thaw as well. You can do it, but the outcome won't be as good.

Roma and Cherry Tomatoes (yes, you can freeze cherry tomatoes), on the other hand, are the best types to freeze--they even will slice fairly well after thawing and while they won't have the same exact texture as fresh tomatoes, they can technically be used in cold salads or even on sandwiches.

Whatever tomato type you choose, make sure that your tomatoes are ripe for best results.

What Equipment Do You Need to Freeze Tomatoes

This is what you'll need in order to freeze tomatoes.

  • Quarter or larger size freezer bagsfreezer containers, or mason jars (if you really want to avoid plastic). I also like bags such as this kind. I like sealing them with Twixit Clips--my go-to clips for everything in my house!!).
  • A baking sheet or other firm surface (if flash freezing first)
  • Cutting board or food processor (if freezing blended tomatoes)
  • Vacuum Sealer or Straw (aka poor man's vacuum sealer) (optional but recommended)
  • Ice Cube Trays (optional, but a great option for making frozen tomato cubes)

How To Wash Tomatoes

To wash tomatoes, simply run them under cool running water and rub the surface. Then, use a paper towel to dry them completely. Using a gentle and safe produce wash is a good idea as well.

Important Note: It's not recommended to wash tomatoes by placing them in a sink full of water. The cut area near the stem can absorb contaminated water. For this same reason, you don't want to use any type of non natural cleaner for washing since that might enter the stem area as well.

How to Wash Pesticides Off Tomatoes

Washing your fruits and vegetables under running water is a good first step, but to get them really clean and remove pesticides, it's great to do more than that if not using organic tomatoes.

  • Add baking soda to water in a ratio of 1 tablespoon of soda to every two cups of water.
  • Soak the tomatoes in the solution for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse well and dry. 

Baking soda has been proven to remove pesticides from apples (source) and so it's thought that it should work for most or all produce.

Can You Freeze Tomatoes Without Blanching Them?

Yes, you definitely can freeze tomatoes without blanching. In fact, you don't even need to core them.

The point of blanching tomatoes is to remove the skins. However, as you'll see in the next section, thawing frozen tomatoes under water makes the skin slip right off, so blanching is unnecessary.

Do You Need to Peel Tomatoes Before Freezing Them?

I personally leave tomato skins whether I'm cooking or freezing them, since there's so much nutrition in them. However, some people like to peel tomatoes before cooking with them since the peel has a different texture than the rest of the tomato and sometimes can be a tad bitter.

If you'd prefer to peel your tomatoes, here are the easiest ways that I like to do it.

  • Easiest Way: The easiest way, however, to remove tomato peels is this--freeze tomatoes whole and then simply run them under cold water when you take them out of the freezer--the skin will come right off.
  • Remove Peels by "fishing them out." When using frozen tomatoes in a dish, the peels will come off in the dish you put them soon after you add them. Provided the frozen pieces aren't that large, you can simply fish out the pieces of peel from the dish either before or after cooking.

Note that if you want to freeze sliced, cubed, or diced tomatoes without the peels, you will need to blanch first.

How to Freeze Tomatoes

You can freeze tomatoes several ways--whole, sliced, chopped, diced, and even processed or completely blended.

It's true--believe it or not, you can freeze tomatoes whole. It's the easiest way to do it--no chopping or slicing needed, but whole tomatoes will take up the most room in the freezer.

Simply do whatever method works best based on your time and space available.

No matter which way you choose to freeze plain (unprocessed) tomatoes, the directions are mostly the same.

frozen sliced tomatoes on cutting board

How to Freeze Whole, Sliced, Chopped or Diced Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes this way can be done with minimal equipment and you can

  • Start with ripe tomatoes, as blemish-free as possible.
  • Remove the stem and any bad spots.
  • Wash the tomatoes and dry completely.
  • If not freezing whole tomatoes, slice, chop, or dice the tomatoes into uniform sizes.
  • Place the whole tomatoes (or slices or pieces) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  • Place in the freezer to flash freeze until mostly frozen--about 2-4 hours, depending on the size.
  • Remove from freezer and store in a freezer container, freezer bag, or jar, making sure to leave at least 1 inch of air space if using a jar.
  • If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible using a vacuum sealer or a "straw vacuum sealer' (see recipe card for details).

Note: There are some that claim that flash freezing before storing causes freezer burn, but that isn't accurate. It's the final packing of the frozen food and the type of freezer that results makes the difference.

frozen chopped tomatoes on cutting board

How to Freeze Processed (Crushed or Blended) Tomatoes

For this method, instead of flash freezing, you process the tomatoes and put them in usable-sized containers, like ice cube trays or small freezer bags. I also love this method for freezing tomatoes since there's no slicing or chopping involved. Simply blend and freeze.

  • Start with ripe tomatoes, as blemish-free as possible.
  • Remove the stem and any bad spots.
  • Wash the tomatoes and dry completely.
  • Process the tomatoes in a food processor or blender to make either crushed tomatoes or a whole "tomato juice"
  • Either pour the crushed tomatoes or juice into ice cube trays or place a recipe-convenient amount into containers, again remembering to leave at least 1 inch of air space above the tomatoes. Note that 3 1/2 cups is equivalent to a 28 oz. can of tomatoes.
  • If using ice cube trays, after freezing, place the cubes into a freezer bag, removing the excess air with either a vacuum sealer or the straw vacuum sealer method.

What Is the Straw Vacuum Sealer Method?

Don't have a vacuum sealer? Never fear!

All you need is a freezer bag and a straw to create pretty good vacuum freezer storage on the cheap.

You simply:

  • Fill your freezer bag with your frozen tomatoes
  • Flatten the bag on the counter.
  • Insert a straw halfway into the bag.
  • Zip the bag shut as much as possible while forcing as much air out of the bag as possible.
  • Suck the remaining air out of the bag until the bag shrinks around the tomatoes.
  • Quickly remove the straw from the bag and seal the bag.

Voila! You've sealed your tomatoes without adding to your kitchen gadget collection.

How Long Are Frozen Tomatoes Good For?

How long any food keeps well in the freezer depends on what type of freezer and the method used for freezing.  A deep freeze is better than an upright but airtight freezing is imperative for better long term storage.

In general, frozen tomatoes should last for 6-12 months, but will last at least 2-3 years in airtight storage.

How to Thaw Frozen Tomatoes

To defrost frozen tomatoes, either allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge, at room temperature for about an hour, or under warm water.

One of the best things about frozen tomatoes is how easy they are to peel! Once they're defrosted, the skins should slip right off.

How to Use Frozen Tomatoes

As mentioned above, how you use frozen tomatoes will depend on the type you freeze. Frozen and thawed cherry and Roma tomatoes can be sliced and used pretty much like fresh tomatoes.

Larger tomatoes should be used in recipes that call for stewed or diced tomatoes like spaghetti sauce, soups and stews, etc.

You'll LOVE how frozen tomatoes taste basically identical to canned tomatoes--and no need to worry about what cans are made out of!

Here are some recipes that would work great for any kind of frozen tomato:

More Ways to Preserve Produce

Preserving your harvest abundance is a great way to have nutritious food year round. Here are some great ways to do that!

tomatoes

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes is a great way to preserve your garden bounty for your enjoyment all year round!
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Ingredients

  • 12 medium tomatoes (approximately for 1 gallon-sized freezer bag)

Instructions

  • Wash and dry the tomatoes.
  • Remove the stem and core (if desired).
  • Cut tomatoes into fourths (or smaller), slice, or chop (if desired).
  • Place on a baking sheet (or other firm surface), skin side down (if applicable).
  • Freeze for at least one hour.
  • Place tomatoes in freezer bags in a single layer, taking care not to overstuff the bags. (See notes for other container options.)
  • Remove air using a vacuum sealer or the straw method.
  • STRAW VACUUM SEALER METHOD: After filling your freezer bag with your frozen tomatoes, flatten the bag on the counter. insert a straw halfway into the bag. Zip the bag shut as much as possible while forcing as much air out of the bag as possible. Suck the remaining air out of the bag until the bag shrinks around the tomatoes. Quickly remove the straw from the bag and seal the bag.
  • Store the bags flat on top of each other in the freezer.

Notes

Sliced, chopped, and diced tomatoes will take up a lot less room in your freezer than whole tomatoes will. However, you can also blend your tomatoes and then freeze them in ice cube trays, storing them in freezer bags after they are frozen.
Container Options: You can use other containers to store the tomatoes once frozen, but the bags are the easiest for compact storage and also for ease of removing excess air to prevent freezer burn.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Note: This post was republished in October of 2021 with new images and a whole lot of new information. Following is one of the original images for reference.

The Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes

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126 Comments

  1. Hi. I like your ideas and tips on freezing avocados. I clicked on freezing tomato’s. I tried this one year when I had a big harvest and no time. I washed and dried the tomato’s and put them in bags whole and unpeeled. When I needed some, I pulled out what I needed/wanted, thawed them a bit and the skins came right off and they went into the dish I was making. Easy peasy! Later on when we had more time we pulled out several bags and made a large batch of marinara sauce to can.
    Thanks for your tips and tricks.

    1. Yes, that is in the post now--I just updated it with a ton of new information. Thanks for reading and for the compliment ;).

  2. I have never frozen raw tomatoes. I cook mine then let them cool and put in jars or containers. I have kept them a year or longer.

    I actually have a box of tomatoes a neighbor brought over yesterday. I have to do them today.

  3. Hi
    No offense, but I’m disappointed that you haven’t addressed what I’m searching for. If you know the best way to preserve not just tomatoes but all fruit or vegetables that you don’t want to can or freeze.
    One example is, I’m talking about how we usually leave bananas, oranges n apples out on our table or counter but I recently read that we should refrigerate apples.
    I don’t understand why that is, so I’m trying to figure out how to extend the life of ALL of my produce.
    I’m trying to figure out what is the best way to preserve all of my produce that I buy for almost immediate use, not for way down the road for weeks later.
    My husband and I don’t like to eat a lot of the same food just to keep it from going bad but we constantly find ourselves in that situation.
    Another example is cucumbers, which is best to make it last throughout the week ? Usually I just slice very thinly a few slices for our sandwiches or salads. We eat it for nutritional benefits, not because we love it. But regardless if I leave it in the fridge or out on my counter, it seems to ripen at the same pace n I would love it immensely if you could provide me with a list of the best way to preserve the produce for just a few days longer or near immediate use please.
    I was wondering if you have a list of preference for preserving everything. If you don’t have any such a list, maybe you would be so kind to refer me to some site that might.
    Thanks for your time n help .
    Shella

    1. Hi there. Sorry but I don't have that kind of information but I can consider it for future posts :). But "everything" would be a tall order :). Hope that makes sense. Maybe I can do an extensive list but I promise that "everything" will not be included. Are you hoping for more common produce items?

    2. Hi, Barbara here, from bonny Fife in Scotland:) I Don't know if you'll see this Shella, I hope so. Heres a few tips might help☺️
      -Bananas: wrap clingfilm tightly around stems & keep on top shelf fridge, the skins will eventually darken, but the bananas will be edible for apx 2 weeks;
      -Cucumber: once you have cut some slices, wrap clingfilm around the remainder of the body up to the edge, fold over 1-2 pieces of kitchen towel paper, gently place on the cut edge & to hold paper to the cucumber, wrap a loose elastic band around it, & place in bottom shelf of fridge, & it should last a week or more.
      -To keep food in the fridge fresher for longer, place 1-2 dry kitchen (dish) sponges in the back part at the bottom of your fridge.
      Hope this helps:) Tips I have picked up over the years
      Great tip re freezing toms btw wholenewmum😁

      1. What great tips!!! I don't like using plastic wrap, but these are so helpful!
        Thanks so much for the kind words! ♥️

        1. You're welcome Adrienne🙂
          I don't like clingfilm either really, but at least I can re-use the pieces time & again for the bananas. When you take x1 banana or more out, the clingfilm can stay on the ones left in the fridge, & can then be re-used for even more bananas once you've re-stocked! 🙂 I keep them like that in an open chinese-style container (similar to the ones that a chinese takeaway comes in) -or something similar.
          Remembered another tip, this tip's for tomatoes(too!) -as well as keeping some out in a little dish on the counter for eating, the remaining can be kept fresh for 1-3 weeks by placing them in a similar open container once it's been lined with x2 pieces of kitchen towel paper. You then pop in the tomatoes, & loosely top with another piece or two of the towel & lightly fold it around them.
          -the point is to keep light from showing through, keeping the tomatoes in the dark.
          Place the container with the tomatoes, inside a brown paper bag (I pick up some meant for mushrooms, from the my local sainsbury's!) Then, give the open end of the bag a wee twist to close it up, & store in the bottom of the fridge. Done! You just take out some whenever you need them.
          Talking of tomatoes, I will be giving your freezing idea a go later today:)
          btw, unless I'm wrong -did I see some vegan recipes on your site? As a vegan I'm Always interested in likewise recipes!😋

          1. This is all so great - thank you!
            Yes many of my recipes are vegan--I was vegan for many years. I ended up getting ill and was advised to eat animal protein. I eat some now, but not a lot--really depends on the day, but our oldest has life threatening food allergies to dairy and egg (amongst other things...though the dairy one appears to be vanishing) so that's another reason why you'll find vegan recipes here, or at the very least vegan alternatives to almost every recipe. (A vegan alternative to these amazing chicken nuggets is a bit hard to do--unless you use fake chicken, that is, however....;).

            We do love this Egg Roll In a Bowl without meat, however, so that's a good example of my being flexible...and still leaning vegan. I'm basically veganish and ketoish ;). So nice to connect!

  4. Freezing food is a super easy way to preserve all the goodies from the garden. I just started bringing in tomatoes myself.

    Don't forget to label those bags when you drop...er...place them in the freezer. You could end up playing the what-is-this/how-old-is-this game. No one likes that game by the way.

  5. I can everything. There are video to teach you how . I would recommend 2 people. Linda's Pantry and the second one katscradle. And get Amish canning. Book. As well as Balls canning book.

  6. In a pinch, you can freeze whole tomatoes in large freezer bags. The advantage here is as they defrost the skins slip right off. Once they're mostly defrosted you can squeeze out the pulp and seeds. I dislike skin and too many seeds in my sauce or stewed tomatoes so this is my preferred method. It takes less hands-on time than blanching and the gel and seed removal is faster as well.

    1. I happened upon this same method when we were moving & the last of our tomatoes came in. All of my kitchen was packed in boxes except a few things, so I had to improvise. I did the same for jalapeños & bell peppers, froze them whole.

      Just rinse your tomatoes, I laid mine on a clean towel to dry. Cut the stem end off, & place into freezer ziplocks. The skins helped protect them from freezer burn & ice. (I've canned tomatoes, put them in bags like your post describes, & this method is the BEST & easiest!) Just grab however many tomatoes you need from your ziplock, quick rinse, the skins slip right off. (I'm AIP now, so I only do enough for my husband)

      I think the 'gel' she's talking about is the gelish stuff surrounding the seeds. ?

  7. Just tried freezing zapped tomatoes, as you suggest....I added lotfresh basil. Smells divine. A perfect base now for many recipes

  8. I look up the bags you referred to Country life Nat and they do not mention BPA free
    nor does amazon. Have they changed the product or just not mention in the on line info

  9. But I thought canning involves the use of chemicals?
    And moreover you once said that chemicals on naturally harvested food is not good on one's healthy being of the body.

    1. Canning does not involve chemical. Only the use of water sometimes goes in jar. Otherwise it just the produce in the jar. I never use chemical mayb lemon juice or occultly something call Ulta gel that is gluten free. You can use corn starch in stead of it. I use Ultra Gel ratherly.

  10. Hi,
    I love this idea of freezing tomatoes, sounds really easy and just what I need! Once you defrost them, how can you use them? Sorry for asking a silly question but I've never done this or made any type of sauces before.
    Thanks!