Here is how to peel and seed tomatoes. If you’ve ever read a recipe that asks for seeded and peeled tomatoes, you may wonder just how to do that. Taking the skin off tomatoes (and the seeds out) is great when you’re making tomato sauce or tomato soup. Also when you want to freeze or can a lot of tomatoes from the garden, this technique will come in handy. 

a jar of peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes in juice

Why would you want to peel tomatoes anyway? The reason you peel tomatoes is that when you cook them into a sauce, soup, chili or stew with the peels on, those peels separate from the tomato flesh and they get tough and unpleasant. Once you have peeled tomatoes they are essentially the same as when you buy canned tomatoes. (Note the ones in the store typically say canned peeled tomatoes.)

Here are my best tips for How to Peel and Seed Tomatoes.

How To Peel Tomatoes

The process of peeling and seeding tomatoes is so much easier than you may think, and a great thing to do with a large amount of tomatoes.

Boil Water and Make an Ice Bath

  • Get a large pot full of cold water, cover it and set it over high heat. Set a slotted spoon nearby.
  • Once you boil the tomatoes, you’ll need to immediately plunge them into an ice bath to stop them from cooking. Fill a large bowl with ice and then fill it with water. Set it next to your stove.

Remove Cores and Cut an X into the Skin of the Tomatoes

  • Remove the stem and the cores from the tomatoes. Turn the tomato over and score a shallow “x” through the skin on the opposite side.

Tip: If you have a tomato shark (a tomato coring tool) you can use that. They come in handy when you’re processing a lot of tomatoes. 

Blanch and then Shock the Tomatoes

  • Using the slotted spoon, lower the tomatoes one at a time into the boiling water. Blanch the tomatoes until you notice the skin starting to split, or peel up at the x mark or where the core was removed. This takes about 35 seconds for garden fresh tomatoes. {You should be able to whistle Yankee Doodle twice in this time.} Hot house or under ripe tomatoes will take longer to soften. 
  • Do not boil so long that the flesh of the tomatoes starts to break down. 
  • Use the slotted spoon to immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath.
  • Shocking the tomatoes in the ice cold water immediately stops the tomatoes from cooking so they do not become mushy. The ice bath also cools them down enough so that they are easy to handle.
  • Note: The skin will start to get a little wrinkly at this point because it is almost detaching from the tomato flesh.

Remove the Skin and Halve Tomatoes

  • Using a paring knife, start peeling the tomato skin from the flesh at the “x” mark or wherever it naturally has peeled up or split. 
  • Continue peeling away all of the skin. 
  • Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half along the equator to reveal the seeds in the center. Cutting through the stem and blossom end will not open up/reveal the seed chambers. 

How to Remove the Seeds from Tomatoes

  • Set a sieve over a bowl for catching the juices while you’re seeding the tomatoes.
  • Hold the tomato over the bowl with the sieve and gently squeeze the outside of the tomato. You’ll likely have to poke some of the tomato seeds out if your tomato isn’t particularly soft or ripe. 

Leave Tomatoes Whole or Dice

  • Once you have completed peeling and seeding all the batches of the tomatoes, then you can either leave them whole and freeze or can them that way. Or dice them for use or storage. 
  • Save the tomato juice from the bowl. You can also press the seeds with a silicone spatula to get all the gel to go through the sieve. 

What To Do With Peeled Tomatoes

Once you have processed the tomatoes you can store them for the winter. Here are some ideas and resources for you.

Canning Peeled Tomatoes

Here is how to Can Tomatoes from Cassie. She explains all you need to know. And trust me, it’s not as intimidating as you may think! After you have canned tomatoes, you can use them in recipes such as chili or chicken gumbo. The nice thing about canning tomatoes is you can use pint jars which are an easy 1:1 substitution for store-bought cans.

How To Freeze Tomatoes

Another option, and in my opinion an easier one, is to freeze the peeled and seeded tomatoes. I like the fact that you don’t need to heat up the kitchen with any more boiling water, and you don’t need to add any citric acid to them. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Measure out how many cups of diced tomatoes you have. You will need 2 cups per 1 quart freezer Ziplock bag. Label the bags with a permanent market before you fill them so it is easy to write on them. 
  • Measure out 2 cups of the diced tomatoes and place them into a bag. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes. Then evenly divide the strained tomato juiced among the bags. Press out any excess air from the bags as you seal them shut. 
  • Lay the bags flat in a lasagna pan, one on top the the other. Transfer to the lasagna pan to the freezer and let them freeze solid. Then remove them from the lasagna pan and keep them frozen up to 9 months. 
  • Add the diced frozen tomatoes directly to soups or you can thaw them out in the fridge for one day before you need them. 
removing tomato seeds over a sieve

Recipes To Use Peeled Tomatoes

One of my all time favorite recipes, Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, uses a can of diced tomatoes. This is a simple swap! If using frozen, make sure to thaw the tomatoes in advance. 

This creamy cheesy recipe for Shrimp and Grits has a spicy tomato sauce to go with it!

This Chicken and Okra recipe is an easy Slow Cooker dinner I’ve been making for years. You’ll need the equivalent of a 28-ounce can or 4 cups. 

These vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili Tortilla Bowls are a great recipe for game night or Meatless Monday. 

I love to make Chicken Gumbo in the slow cooker. It’s so great when dinner is done at the end of a day of work! And this recipe calls for canned tomatoes so I just swap in peeled tomatoes from the freezer.

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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a jar of peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes

How to Peel and Seed Tomatoes

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: variable
  • Diet: Vegan


Here is how to peel and seed tomatoes. If you’ve ever read a recipe that asks for seeded and peeled tomatoes, you may wonder just how to do that. Taking the skin off tomatoes (and the seeds out) is great when you’re making tomato sauce or tomato soup. Also when you want to freeze or can a lot of tomatoes from the garden, this technique will come in handy


  • ripe tomatoes


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set up an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water.
  2. Meanwhile, core tomatoes and score a small “X” in the bottom of the tomatoes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water, working in batches if preparing more than four medium tomatoes, and let cook until the skin starts to curl back along the edges. [For garden ripe tomatoes this will happen in about 35 seconds.]
  4. Transfer the tomatoes to the prepared ice bath with a slotted spoon. When tomatoes are cool, remove them from the ice bath with the slotted spoon.
  5. Peel the skins off the tomatoes with a paring knife.
  6. Cut tomatoes in half along the equator exposing seeds.
  7. Set a sieve inside a bowl. Squeeze tomato seeds out into the sieve. The juices will collect in the bowl below. It may be necessary to poke the seeds out with your finger to get them all out.
  8. Press any juice out of the seeds through the sieve. Discard seeds and skins. The juice in the bowl can be used in recipes, canning or in place of vegetable broth.
  9. Chop tomatoes as desired.


The same method thorough step 5 works for peeling fresh ripe peaches as well.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pantry
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Calories: 16
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: .7 g

Keywords: how to peel tomatoes,how to seed tomatoes

tomatoes on a marble board
tomatoes on a marble board
overhead of tomatoes, diced, peeled and whole on a marble board