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

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Updated June 15, 2020
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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 on the easiest way to peel tomatoes for recipes like chili, stews or homemade tomato sauce. We'll also show you how to store and freeze your peeled tomatoes for later. Lastly, see this technique in action by watching the video at the end.

Step 1: Core & Score the Tomatoes

Before you start, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water on the stove next to the pot. Using a sharp knife, core the tomatoes and cut a shallow "X" into the bottom of each tomato.

Step 2: Blanch the Tomatoes

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

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

Instead of using a cutting board as a work surface, 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

Halve the tomatoes crosswise and scoop out the seeds, letting the sieve catch the seeds. Press the seeds and tomato skins to extract any extra juice. Store peeled tomatoes and juice 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? Use them for tomato salad or add them to chili, soups, stews and any recipe that calls for fresh or canned diced tomatoes, such as salsa or fresh pasta sauce. Try using peeled tomatoes in these easy recipes:

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.