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How to Freeze Tomatoes (With and Without Blanching!)

Learn everything there is to know about how to freeze tomatoes! Freezing tomatoes is the perfect way to preserve them for using in soups and sauces year-round. This post will explain the best way to freeze tomatoes, whether or not they should be blanched before being frozen, and more!  

a photo of garden tomatoes for a how to freeze tomatoes tutorial

Can You Freeze Tomatoes? 

Yes, you can! 

If you’ve never tried freezing tomatoes before, you’re not alone. Not everyone realizes that tomatoes are perfect for freezing for later use in soups, stews, and sauces. 

You won’t want to freeze tomatoes if you plan on eating them raw in pico de gallo, on salads, or atop sandwiches, but if you plan on cooking with them they’re great to have stashed in the freezer. 

I grow tomatoes every year in our backyard, and our tomato plants often end up producing way more than we can eat all at once. When that happens, I end up giving lots of tomatoes away to friends and family. Or, I’ll freeze them! 

Although I can get tomatoes at the grocery store year-round, they’re so much more flavorful when they’re picked in season. 

That’s why I like to freeze summer tomatoes when they’re perfectly ripe and juicy. You’d never believe how much of a difference it makes to use in-season tomatoes when making tomato sauce! 

In this post, I’ll explain how to freeze tomatoes, whether or not you need to blanch them first, how to use frozen tomatoes, and more.  

a photo of frozen tomatoes in a storage container

When Are Tomatoes in Season? 

Tomatoes are a summer vegetable. They’re in season from June through September.

Although you can find them at most grocery stores year-round, they taste so much better during tomato season. It is a great idea to freeze tomatoes so you can enjoy fresh garden tomatoes in the winter.

How to Select the Best Tomatoes for Freezing 

Frozen tomatoes will only taste as good as their quality when they were fresh. Here’s what you should look out for when choosing tomatoes for freezing:  

  • They should be bright in color
  • There should be no visible blemishes 
  • Ripe tomatoes should be firm to the touch
  • Preferably they should be picked the same day you plan on freezing them

What Are the Best Tomatoes for Freezing? 

You can freeze any variety of tomato, but Roma tomatoes (also called plum tomatoes) are best. They have the most pulp, making them more freezer-friendly. In general, paste tomatoes (like Roma) hold their shape well when frozen. 

Slicing tomatoes (like beefsteak) tend to change texture once frozen and work best in soups and sauces. Anything that calls for stewed tomatoes will be fine! 

a photo tutorial collage for how to blanch tomatoes before freezing tomatoes

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Do You Have to Blanch Tomatoes Before Freezing Them? 

Blanching involves cooking whole tomatoes briefly in a large pot of water that’s boiling and then immediately submerging them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This slows the enzymes in the tomatoes from breaking them down and altering the texture of the tomato once frozen. 

  • If you plan on using the frozen tomatoes within 2 months of freezing them, you do NOT need to blanch them first. 
  • If you plan on using the frozen tomatoes within 3+ months of freezing them, you DO need to blanch them first. 

Equipment Needed for Freezing Tomatoes 

Before you begin freezing tomatoes, gather the following pieces of equipment. 

  • Vacuum sealer and Vacuum seal bags — Are best at preventing freezer burn from developing because they remove all air from the bag. 
  • Freezer bags — You’ll need either vacuum seal freezer bags or resealable plastic bags, such as a Ziploc bag, to freeze tomatoes. If using resealable bags, make sure they’re labeled “freezer” bags.
  • Baking tray — The tomatoes are first frozen on a baking tray before being sealed inside freezer bags. 
  • Large pot — You’ll need a large pot to blanch the tomatoes prior to freezing them. 
  • Slotted spoon — Makes removing the tomatoes from pot of water easier and safer. 
  • Parchment paper — You’ll want to line your baking sheet with parchment paper, otherwise the tomatoes will freeze straight to it. 
  • Serrated knife — Using a serrated knife is the easiest way to dice tomatoes prior to freezing them.

How to Freeze Tomatoes 

You have a few options when it comes to freezing tomatoes. Tomatoes can be frozen whole or diced, and raw or blanched. 

Before freezing your fresh tomatoes, think about how you plan on using them as well as when you plan on using them. Raw tomatoes don’t last as long as blanched tomatoes in the freezer. 

overhead shot of frozen cherry tomatoes

1. Freezing Raw Whole Tomatoes 

  1. Destem the tomatoes, then wash them thoroughly under running tap water. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. 
  2. Arrange the whole tomatoes on a parchment paper-lined baking tray (no need to peel them first!). Make sure the tomatoes are not touching each other. 
  3. Place the tomatoes in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. 
  4. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes to a freezer bag or vacuum seal bag. 
  5. Label, date, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

2. Freezing Raw Diced Tomatoes 

  1. Destem the tomatoes, then wash them thoroughly under running tap water. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. 
  2. Chop the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces. 
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Transfer the diced tomatoes to the baking tray, making sure they’re in an even single layer. 
  4. Place the tray in the freezer for about 2 hours. 
  5. Once frozen, transfer the diced tomatoes to freezer bags or vacuum seal bags. 
  6. Label, date, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

3. Freezing Blanched Tomatoes (Whole or Diced) 

  1. Fill a large pot with water. Bring it to a boil. 
  2. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold tap water. Add ice to the bowl. Set aside. This will act as your ice bath. 
  3. Using a sharp paring knife, score an X into the bottom of each tomato. Make a shallow cut, don’t go too deep! This will help the skin peel off more easily once the tomatoes have been blanched. 
  4. Transfer the tomatoes to the pot of boiling water. You may want to use a slotted spoon to do this so that the hot water doesn’t splash out of the pot. 
  5. Boil the tomatoes for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until the tomato skins start to split open. 
  6. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the prepared ice cold water. Again, a slotted spoon is useful for this task. 
  7. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the tomatoes. You should be able to peel off the skin using just your fingers. 
  8. At this point, you can either seal the tomatoes into freezer bags whole, or you can dice them up and then seal them in freezer bags. 
  9. Label, date, and freeze the blanched tomatoes for up to 10 months. 
overhead photo of halved frozen tomatoes in a colander

Can You Freeze Cherry or Grape Tomatoes? 

Yes, but because grape and cherry tomatoes are so small there’s no need to blanch or peel them first. Simply rinse them, pat them dry, and then freeze them on a cookie sheet until firm before sealing them in a freezer bag. 

Should You Peel Tomatoes Before Freezing Them? 

It depends on how you’re freezing the tomatoes. 

  • If you’re freezing the tomatoes raw, you do NOT have to peel them. 
  • If you’re blanching the tomatoes, you might as well peel them first because the hot water loosens up the skins so well. You can literally peel off the skin using just your fingers! 

Just note that tomato peels contain lots of nutrients. If you know you’ll be pureeing the tomatoes or using them in soups and sauces, you can opt to leave peels on. The peels will also slide right off once thawed. 

In short, leave the peel on or off — it’s all up to your personal preference! 

Should You Freeze Whole or Diced Tomatoes? 

No matter how you freeze tomatoes, you won’t be able to eat them on sandwiches or in salads later on. Freezing tomatoes changes their texture and makes them unpalatable when thawed and eaten raw. 

So, it really just depends on how you plan on using the tomatoes later. If you know you’ll be using them in recipes that call for diced or stewed tomatoes, you might as well dice them prior to freezing them. This will save space in your freezer anyways! 

Some varieties of tomatoes freeze better than others when left whole. But if you’re unsure what type of tomato you bought, just go ahead and dice it up to play it safe.

photo of frozen tomatoes in a container in the freezer

How Long Do Frozen Tomatoes Last? 

Although freezing tomatoes without blanching them first is safe, I still highly recommend taking the time to blanch them beforehand. Blanching tomatoes significantly extended their shelf life, as you can see below! 

  • Unblanched tomatoes (raw): up to 2 months in the freezer
  • Blanched tomatoes (whole or diced): up to 10 months in the freezer

How to Defrost Frozen Tomatoes 

There are a few ways to defrost frozen tomatoes. 

However, you might not need to defrost them first. For example, diced frozen tomatoes can be thrown straight into a soup or stew (just note that the cook time will need to be increased). 

  • Fridge: Thaw overnight in airtight container or freezer bag 
  • Counter: Let thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour
  • Warm water: Run the tomatoes (sealed in a freezer bag) under warm tap water for a few minutes. It’s easiest to thaw larger batches in a colander. 

Ways to Use Frozen Tomatoes

Now that you know how to freeze tomatoes, you can make any number of soups, stews and sauces. Here are some of my favorite recipes using frozen tomatoes. 

More Summer Freezing Tutorials: 

Looking for more food preservation tutorials? Here are a few that will come in handy for freezing fresh produce to enjoy in the middle of winter:

Freezing basil minimizes food waste and ensures you always have some on hand for soups, stews, sauces, and more! This post explains how to freeze basil 4 ways, plus you’ll get access to 10+ basil recipes.

This guide explains how to freeze blueberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen blueberries and using them in recipes.

Freezing raspberries is a great way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round! This guide explains how to freeze raspberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen raspberries and using them in recipes.

Freezing spinach is really simple, and handy if you would like to have extra vegetables stored in your freezer. Come learn all about the 4 different ways I like to freeze spinach and several ideas for what to make with frozen spinach!

Who doesn’t love a good kitchen tip? Looking for more kitchen tutorials? Check out the entire Kitchen Tips and Tricks archive for lots of great ideas!

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photo of garden tomatoes for a how to freeze tomatoes tutorial

How to Freeze Tomatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

Freezing tomatoes is the perfect way to preserve them for using in soups and sauces year-round.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Tomatoes (any kind)

Instructions

Freezing Raw Whole Tomatoes 

  1. Destem the tomatoes, then wash them thoroughly under running tap water. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. 
  2. Arrange the whole tomatoes on a parchment paper-lined baking tray (no need to peel them first!). Make sure the tomatoes are not touching each other. 
  3. Place the tomatoes in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. 
  4. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes to a freezer bag or vacuum seal bag. 
  5. Label, date, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

Freezing Raw Diced Tomatoes 

  1. Destem the tomatoes, then wash them thoroughly under running tap water. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. 
  2. Chop the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces. 
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Transfer the diced tomatoes to the baking tray, making sure they’re in an even layer. 
  4. Place the tray in the freezer for about 2 hours. 
  5. Once frozen, transfer the diced tomatoes to freezer bags or vacuum seal bags. 
  6. Label, date, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

Freezing Blanched Tomatoes (Whole or Diced) 

  1. Fill a large pot with water. Bring it to a boil. 
  2. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold tap water. Add ice to the bowl. Set aside. This will act as your ice bath. 
  3. Using a sharp paring knife, score an X into the bottom of each tomato. Make a shallow cut, don’t go too deep! This will help the skin peel off more easily once the tomatoes have been blanched. 
  4. Transfer the tomatoes to the pot of boiling water. You may want to use a slotted spoon to do this so that the hot water doesn’t splash out of the pot. 
  5. Boil the tomatoes for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until the skins start to split open. 
  6. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the prepared ice bath. Again, a slotted spoon is useful for this task. 
  7. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the tomatoes. You should be able to peel off the skin using just your fingers. 
  8. At this point, you can either seal the tomatoes into freezer bags whole, or you can dice them up and then seal them in freezer bags. 
  9. Label, date, and freeze the blanched tomatoes for up to 10 months. 

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Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 20Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 6mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 1g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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