How to Make Tomato Paste

Ah, the humble tomato—so versatile, so delicious, and the star ingredient in countless recipes. But what do you do when you have a surplus of ripe tomatoes on hand? Instead of letting them go to waste, why not turn them into homemade tomato paste? In this guide, I’ll walk you through the simple steps to create your very own tomato paste from scratch.

Choose the Right Tomatoes

The key to making flavorful tomato paste lies in selecting the right tomatoes. Look for ripe, juicy tomatoes with deep color and rich flavor, such as Roma, San Marzano, or heirloom varieties. These tomatoes are packed with sweetness and acidity, perfect for making a vibrant tomato paste.

Prepare Your Tomatoes

Start by washing your tomatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Next, remove the stems and core from each tomato and cut them into quarters. If desired, you can also remove the seeds to create a smoother paste, although this step is optional.

Cook Down the Tomatoes

make Tomato Paste

Place the quartered tomatoes in a large pot or saucepan and bring them to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Allow the tomatoes to cook down slowly, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. As the tomatoes cook, they will release their juices and begin to break down into a thick, rich sauce.

Season to Taste

Once the tomatoes have cooked down to a thick, saucy consistency, it’s time to add seasonings to enhance their flavor. Common additions include garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor to your liking.

Blend to Perfection

Once the tomatoes have cooked down and the flavors have melded together, it’s time to transform them into a smooth, velvety paste. Use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquids, and work in batches if necessary to avoid splattering.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How long does homemade tomato paste last?

A: Homemade tomato paste can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for longer storage. Be sure to label the container with the date to keep track of its freshness.

Q: Can I use any type of tomato to make tomato paste?

A: While you can technically use any type of tomato to make tomato paste, certain varieties like Roma, San Marzano, or heirloom tomatoes are preferred for their rich flavor and lower water content.

Q: Can I add other vegetables to my tomato paste?

A: Absolutely! Feel free to get creative and add other vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or celery to your tomato paste for added flavor and nutritional value.

Q: How do I know when my tomato paste is ready?

A: Your tomato paste is ready when it has thickened to a spreadable consistency and has a deep, rich flavor. You can also perform the “plate test” by spooning a small amount of the paste onto a plate and tilting it—if the paste holds its shape without running, it’s ready.

Q: Can I can homemade tomato paste for long-term storage?

A: Yes, homemade tomato paste can be canned using a pressure canner or water bath canner for long-term storage. Follow proper canning procedures and guidelines to ensure safety and shelf stability.


Making your own tomato paste at home is not only easy and economical but also allows you to enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavor of ripe tomatoes year-round. With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time, you can create a pantry staple that will elevate your favorite dishes and add a burst of freshness to every bite.

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