How To Freeze (and Thaw) Tomatoes

(Image credit: Christine Han)

There’s a lot of advice out there for storing tomatoes. Some people swear that they’ll never ever refrigerate their beautiful summer heirlooms — but what about the freezer?

The freezer is the surprising secret to the easiest long-term storage for whole ripe tomatoes, as long as you follow a few guidelines and know when and how to use tomatoes that have been frozen.

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way

Wash, dry, and core whole tomatoes before freezing. Ripe (but not overripe) tomatoes that are medium to large in size are best for freezing.

Clear a little space in your freezer where the tomatoes can sit flat while they freeze. I prefer to store my tomatoes in zip-top freezer bags, but any freezer-safe container will do just fine as long as the tomatoes don’t touch (and freeze together as a result.)

Thawing and Using Frozen Tomatoes

Once frozen, tomatoes can be stored for up to six months as long as they are in airtight containment. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before peeling. Frozen tomatoes can be grated for instant pasta sauce or thawed completely, chopped, and added to soups, stews, or sauces. Freezing and thawing the tomatoes will affect their texture, so they won’t be enjoyable raw after freezing.

How To Freeze (and Thaw) Tomatoes

Makes 1 pound

What You Need

1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium or large are best

Paring knife
Zip-top freezer bag


  1. Wash the tomatoes: Rinse the tomatoes and pat dry.
  2. Hull the tomatoes: Remove any green stems from the tomato. Use a paring knife to remove the woody core from the top of the tomato.
  3. Bag the tomatoes: Put the tomatoes in a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag. Force out as much air as possible and tightly seal the bag.
  4. Freeze the tomatoes: Lay the bag flat in the freezer and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours but preferably overnight. Keep frozen for up to 6 months.
  5. Thaw and peel: Thaw whole tomatoes for 30 minutes at room temperature. At this point the tomato will still be frozen, but the peel can be easily removed. Thaw completely, about 1 hour, before cutting.