How to Freeze Tomatoes the Right Way

Updated: Apr. 30, 2024

Want to savor your summer harvest year-round? Learn how to freeze tomatoes, plus which recipes are best for cooking with frozen tomatoes.

Is there anything better than the flavor of a ripe and juicy tomato at the height of summer? For home gardeners, the only downside of tomato season is figuring out what to do with those rows and rows of tomatoes that all ripen at the same time.

While we love canning tomatoes, did you know there’s an easier way to preserve that delicious tomato flavor all year long, with nary a pressure canner or boiling pot of water in sight? Read on to learn how to freeze tomatoes for easy home preservation.

Can you freeze tomatoes?

While we recommend storing tomatoes outside of the refrigerator (unless they’re fully ripe), your freezer is your best friend for long-term storage. Freezing does retain a tomato’s bright, tangy and acidic flavor, but it will affect the fruit’s texture, making it a bit mushy. So tomatoes that have been frozen are best used in stews, soups and sauces, or nearly any recipe that calls for canned tomatoes.

When it comes to preserving tomatoes, to peel or not to peel is the question. It’s really up to your personal preference. If you want to remove the tomato skins, blanch the tomatoes in hot water to remove the skins before freezing. If you do opt to leave the skin on, it is super simple to remove the skin after the tomatoes thaw. Just hold the thawed tomato under warm water and the skin will slide off.

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Step 1: Wash the tomatoes

Rinse ripe and unblemished tomatoes in cold water and dry completely.

Step 2: Cut away the stem

Use a sharp paring knife to carefully remove the stem and surrounding area.

Step 3: Blanch the tomatoes (optional)

If you prefer to remove the skins before freezing, dunk the tomatoes in boiling water for one minute, or until the skin begins to split. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water. Carefully peel the skin from the tomato flesh.

Step 4: Transfer to freezer-safe containers

Transfer the tomatoes to freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Lay each bag flat in the freezer until the tomatoes are completely frozen. You can use other freezer-safe containers for long-term storage as well. For best results, use the tomatoes within eight to 12 months of freezing.

How to Thaw Frozen Tomatoes

Thaw frozen tomatoes overnight in the fridge. Place them in a container to avoid a mess, as they will release liquid as they defrost.

Tips for Storing Frozen Tomatoes

  • Chop them before freezing: You can halve or quarter tomatoes before freezing. For ease of use, freeze the tomatoes in 4- or 8-cup increments to be recipe-ready.
  • Freeze precooked tomatoes: To freeze stewed tomatoes, peel tomatoes and cut into quarters. Place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then transfer into a freezer-safe container, allowing one inch of headspace for expansion as the stewed tomatoes freeze. Thaw stewed tomatoes in the refrigerator or microwave.
  • Stock up at the farmers market: You don’t have to grow your own tomatoes to enjoy their flavor all year long. When tomato season hits, many farmers market producers will take advanced orders of large quantities of canning tomatoes, which are also perfect for freezing.