Kalyn's Kitchen

How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce

This recipe for How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce is one I used for years when I had a big garden that produced lots of tomatoes! 

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How to Make and Freeze Tomato Sauce

A lot of people are into canning tomato sauce, but I’ve been able to successfully avoid the home canning impulse for quite a few years now, even though most of my family has that gene. I prefer the flavor of frozen tomatoes to canned, and always freeze slow roasted tomatoes and Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce every year which I make from garden tomatoes.

The recipe I’m posting here is for the sauce that I make when I’ve already made roasted tomatoes, marinara sauce, and eaten tomato salads for weeks and the garden is still producing tomatoes! It’s nothing more than plain tomato sauce, but oh what flavor when you make the sauce yourself from tomatoes still warm from the sun and picked the day you make the sauce.

Do you have to peel the tomatoes?

The most inspiring thing about my recipe is the flash of brilliance I had when I realized that you don’t have to peel the tomatoes. You can put them in a food processor and puree everything, and then when you cook them the peeling disintegrates into the sauce for brighter tomato color and more flavor.

What if you don’t want tomato seeds in the sauce?

This method will produce a rather rustic tomato sauce which still has the seeds. You can use a food mill (affiliate link) to remove seeds when you defrost the sauce if you’re making something where you want a more pure type of sauce.

How long will the fresh tomato sauce keep in the freezer?

This sauce will keep at least a year in the freezer if it’s in containers with a snap-tight lid.

How do I use this versatile sauce?

Freezing the sauce without seasonings creates endless possibilities for using it. Add garlic, oregano, basil, or other seasonings when you use the sauce to create soups, stews, pasta sauces, or other dishes this winter.

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How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes

This recipe for How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce is one I used for years when I had a big garden that produced lots of tomatoes!

Ingredients

  • use about 6 large tomatoes for each cup of sauce

Instructions

  1. It’s important to use tomatoes that are well-ripened and it’s best to pick them the day you make the sauce if that’s an option.
  2. I’d estimate that it takes about 6 large tomatoes to make a cup of sauce, but make as much as you can because this tastes wonderful in the winter when you’re dying for the flavor of fresh tomatoes.
  3. Put tomatoes in the sink and rinse well with cold water.
  4. Cut out stem area of each tomato and discard.
  5. Cut each tomato into pieces about 1 inch square. (Don’t make the pieces too large or the tomatoes won’t puree easily.)
  6. Using the food processor with the steel blade, puree diced tomatoes in batches and add to large heavy stock pot. The puree should be nearly all liquidized when you add it to the pot.
  7. Turn the heat as low as you can get it and cook the mixture until it is reduced by at least one half and as thick as you want it.
  8. I usually cook my sauce at least 6 hours to condense it down to the thickness I want. Your house will smell delightfully tomato-like while you cook this.
  9. I like to use a rubber scraper to scrape off the caramelized tomato that sticks to the side of the pot as the level decreases and do that about once every half hour.
  10. When sauce is condensed and thick, put into individual plastic containers and let cool on the counter for an hour or so.
  11. When sauce is cooled, snap on plastic lids and freeze.
  12. This will last for at least a year in the freezer. When you’re using the sauce, if you want a more pure tomato sauce that doesn’t have any seeds you can put it through the food mill after it’s thawed.
  13. Freezing the sauce this way with no added seasonings at all creates endless possibilities for using it. Add garlic, oregano, basil, or any other seasonings you want when you use the sauce to create soups, stews, pasta sauces, or other dishes this winter.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Sauce Recipes for more ideas like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2006, and I have made this type of sauce many, many times though the years (although now I sometimes have to buy tomatoes at the Farmers Market). The recipe was last updated with more information in 2021.

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    95 Comments on “How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce”

  1. I thought you could freeze tomato sauce
    I didn’t know how long it would last
    My aunt froze fresh squeeze limons
    For limonad
    If we could only freeze lettuce

    • I waste a lot of lettuce, lol! I have frozen fresh limes and lemons, but it was a mixed result for me and now I just prefer to freeze the lemon juice or lime juice to use later in recipes. You can use the search bar to find that post. I do that all the time!

  2. So glad i found this! Everything i was finding was for pasta sauce and I wanted to replace my pantry staple also wanted something I could freeze. I used the food processor, then a slow cooker, then the stove top. It was still a tad to chunky for my taste, so i used my stick blender and smoothed it some more. So happy with the results. The seeds add that homemade rustic flare. I have so much to freeze.

    • So glad you liked the way it turned out. It has been many years since I shared this post and I still make it exactly like this!

  3. Can you freeze it in a glass jar?

    • I don't think I would because it's hard to predict how much the sauce will expand when it freezes and you don't want broken glass in your freezer. If you have frozen similar things it might work, but I don't have any experience with that.

  4. I used to take tomato sauce with bread in morning breakfast. Therefore, I will definitely try this yummy sauce recipe. Thanks for this nice sharing.

  5. Try putting up your tomatoes this way ! I take my fresh picked tomatoes, core and rinse. throw the whole tomato in the freezer for about 24 hours to a hard freeze..Rinse under hot water, the skin falls off, and throw the frozen balls in a large pot and simmer down..(I use a 23 quart pot)..no need to chop the tomato, they macerate down to a perfect sauce consistency..add your onion garlic, herbs, freeze in plastic containers, pop out when frozen and vacuum seal..I put up an average of 20 gallons each summer..I plant around 40 plants each year ~

  6. Bernadette, glad that worked well for you!

  7. So I tried the idea of putting the pureed tomatoes into the tea container and let them set overnight. I woke up to a layer about 2-inches thick of "water" that I just drained out. Great idea … thanks for the recipe and the site. Love the no-heat lunch ideas too.

  8. Just came across this and am making the tomato sauce as I write this, have much more to do. Will be a busy week. I am freezing in 1 pint jars this year. See how that turns out. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Paul, it's interesting how we end up doing so many things like our parents did them, isn't it?

  10. What a great blog! My mother used to do this, and recently, that gene has surfaced in me. Dad also grew a ton of basil, so mom would toss a bunch in the blender, and puree' with olive oil, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. After it was frozen, she quickly transferred to a freezer baggie. In winter, she would float a cube or two on her sauce. She did the same with Sage, and other herbs.

    My sister puts a whole peeled carrot into her sauce when she cooks. The sugars sweeten the sauce. She simply pulls it out out before serving or freezing.

    Now, I am hungry….

  11. I am making this as we speak. Virtually every receipe I looked at online was for "spaghetti" sauce and I wanted plain ole tomatoe sauce.