How to Peel Tomatoes

By: EatingWell Test Kitchen

Peeling your tomatoes is the secret to silky-smooth soups, stews, and tomato sauce. Master the technique in this simple step-by-step guide and video.

Peeled Tomatoes in Bowl

Photo: Getty Images /AlexPro9500

Peeling tomatoes eliminates the tough skin, which can contribute an unappealing texture in some dishes. Seeding them also makes for a smoother texture, and eliminates any bitter taste that can linger in the seeds. Peeling tomatoes may take a little extra time, but we promise that it's more than worth the effort.

Use this simple, easy-to-follow guide to peel your tomatoes for chili, stews or homemade tomato sauce. We'll also show you how to store and freeze your peeled tomatoes for later. Don't miss the video at the end, which demonstrates the technique in our Garden Tomato Sauce recipe.

Step 1: Core & Score the Tomatoes

hands scoring tomatoes

Before you start, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Using a sharp paring knife, core the tomatoes and score a small “X” into the flesh on the bottom.

Step 2: Blanch the Tomatoes

blanching tomatoes in boiling water

Place the tomatoes in the boiling water, in batches, until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Step 3: Chill the Tomatoes

tomatoes in a bowl of ice water

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit in the water for 1 minute before removing.

Step 4: Peel the Tomatoes

peeling tomatoes

Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Working over it, peel the tomatoes using a paring knife, and let the skins fall into the strainer.

Step 5: Seed the Tomatoes

de-seeding tomatoes

Halve the tomatoes crosswise and scoop out the seeds, letting the sieve catch the seeds. Press the seeds and skins to extract any extra juice. Store peeled tomatoes in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

What to Make with Peeled Tomatoes

Featured Recipe: Pressure-Cooker Tomato Sauce

What can you do with peeled tomatoes? Add them to chili, soups, stews and any recipe that calls for fresh or canned diced tomatoes, such as salsa or fresh tomato sauce.Try using peeled tomatoes in these easy recipes:

Slow-Cooker Vegan Chili
Skillet Green Chili-Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Tomato-Caper Sauce
Anchor Bay Mussels with Tomato and Feta
Fresh Tomato Salsa

Freeze peeled tomatoes if you aren't going to use them within a week. Place the tomatoes in zip-top plastic freezer bags or airtight containers, then freeze for up to six months. Freeze in small batches so that you can thaw exactly the amount you need. Thaw in the refrigerator, then use like you would fresh tomatoes. 

Watch: How to Make Garden Tomato Sauce