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Canning Tomato Soup Base {Homemade Canned Tomato Soup}

Follow this step-by-step tutorial to learn how easy Canning Tomato Soup can be. The ultimate comfort food, this tomato soup base recipe can be pressure canned or preserved via water bath canning. 

canning jars of tomato soup with herbs and garlic bread

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Homemade tomato soup is amazing and tastes so fresh, but peeling and pureeing tomatoes each time you want soup is super time-consuming. Not to mention that tomato season is only like six week long here in Seattle.

So what is a soup-obsessed girl to do? Can her own tomato soup base!

Which Tomatoes Are Best For Canning Tomato Soup?

Easy answer – whatever tomatoes you have! Paste-style tomatoes are thicker and have fewer seeds, but their flavor is not usually very exciting.

Throughout the growing season, I’m busy canning (whole) tomatoes and canning stewed tomatoes, but I save canning tomato soup for the end of the season when all that is left are the random tomatoes. Random tomatoes make the best soup because you get all the complex amazing tomatoey flavor in one delicious bowl.

You need about 45 pounds of tomatoes for 14 pints or 7 quarts. Since I never have that many at once, I do small batch canning and might produce 1-4 quarts at a time. It all eats the same.

Pro tip: if you grow your own tomatoes and don’t have enough to can at once, you can freeze them on baking trays and then transfer to freezer bags (I love these reusable silicone bags) until you have a critical mass for canning.

A canning jar being lowered into a pressure canner for canning tomato soup

Why Do I Need Bottled Lemon Juice?

The lemon juice is needed to regulate the acidity of the tomatoes to keep the ph level consistent. Storebought lemon juice generally has the same level of acidity (5%) from bottle to bottle. You don’t get that guarantee with freshly squeezed lemons. 

Canning Supplies

Check out this in-depth post for a complete list of canning supplies.

You’ll need:

How to Can Tomato Soup (Pressure Can) – Step by Step

I’ll walk you through the process here in photos because it really helps, especially if you’re new to canning. At the bottom of the post, you’ll also find a printable and detailed recipe card. The recipe card also contains water bath canning instructions if you don’t want to pressure can this soup.

Rinse all your awesome tomatoes and cut them in half. If you have big ol’ hunkers, then cut them into smaller chunks. Add a strainer/colander to a large bowl.

Wash and clean your jars. For canning soup, I recommend quart-sized regular mouth jars. It is no longer necessary to sterilize jars before canning (hurray!) but you should make sure they are preheated enough to not crack when placed in hot water.

You can put them in a clean dishwasher and run them through a quick wash cycle, or place them in a large pan with some water in a low heat oven (my lowest temp is 170 degrees) until you need them. I’ve even just put hot tap water in them before and left them on the counter.

Wash your lids with hot soapy water and place them in a clean bowl for now.

Add the tomatoes to a pot of boiling water and parboil them until you see the skins start to come off one of the tomatoes (about 1-2 minutes). You can read a more in-depth tutorial on How to Blanch and Peel Tomatoes.

Use a slotted spoon and remove the tomatoes and place in the strainer.

three steps showing the process for canning tomatoes

Run the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins. If my tomatoes are particularly watery, I will strain them a bit through a mesh strainer

Pro tip: when you have a bowl completely full of skins and seeds, run them through the food mill two more times. I always get almost an extra quart out of these scraps.

Transfer the tomato puree to a pot over low heat or a crockpot set to low. Keep warm until ready to can.

photos showing the use of a food mill in canning tomatoes

Add 3 quarts of water to your canner and put it on a burner set to high. Make sure there is a canning rack in the bottom of the canner. (Reminder: these are pressure canning instructions. See the recipe card for water bath canning details).

Place a funnel on a canning jar, add the lemon juice or citric acid, and ladle in the warm tomato puree, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the soup and the top of the jar. Remove any bubbles from the jar (I use a plastic chopstick).

photos showing how you fill mason jars for canning tomatoes

Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure they are free of any food.

Place a clean lid and then a ring on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that the Hulk couldn’t budge it).

Preparing jars for canning tomato soup

Place the jars in the canner. If you don’t have enough jars to fill the canner, consider Canning Water in a few jars to stock your emergency drinking water supplies.

Lock the lid. Soon, steam will start coming through the vent pipe (I call it the steam chimney). Allow the steam to pass through for about 10 minutes. Then put the pressure regulator (I call it the chimney cap) on top.

Pretty soon, the air vent will pop up. That is a sign that you’re starting to build pressure inside the canner.

Under normal conditions, tomato soup needs to be pressure canned at 11 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes for both pints and quarts. See chart below for any changes to processing times.

a chart with various processing times for canning tomato soup

When the dial gauge reaches 11 pounds of pressure, reduce the burner temp to medium, and start your timer for 15 minutes. The pressure must stay at 11 or (a little bit) above for the next 15 minutes.

You’ll likely need to adjust the temp on the burner a few times depending on your stove.

When the 15 minutes are up, remove the canner from the burner and allow it to sit until you hear a distinctive “click” of the air vent dropping. Remove the pressure regulator and carefully remove the lid (Pro tip: I always use oven mitts when I take the lid off because the steam is crazy hot).

pressure canner prep steps for canning tomato soup

Let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth). Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

Ok, So Why Can’t I Add Spices and Stuff to This Soup? Huh, Bossy Pants?

When you are canning with lower acid foods you don’t want to mess with any of the tried and true and TESTED recipes. Too much of one ingredient or too little of another can throw off the safety of your final product.

Instead, I treat this recipe as a base, much like you would if you bought a can at the store. But when cooking with it, I never just add water; it’s more fun and flavorful to doctor it up. Check out this recipe for my favorite tomato soup recipe.

a bowl of tomato soup with canning jars and garlic bread on a plate

Why Do I Need to Remove All the Seeds and Skins?

Gosh, it would be so much easier to just blend the tomatoes whole, right? Technically you don’t need to remove the seeds and skin, but I find too many seeds will turn your soup completely bitter; what a waste. Skins can also give your final product a weird texture and throw off the taste.

If you’re in a rush, canning whole tomatoes might be more up your alley. And they’re super versatile and easy to use in soups and stews. Or you could even dehydrate tomatoes.

More Recipes Like This

 

canning jars of tomato soup with herbs and garlic bread
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Canning Tomato Soup Base

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Depressurizing/pressurizing time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Follow this step by step tutorial to learn how to can tomato soup.

Ingredients

  • 20 lbs tomatoes
  • 10 tbsp lemon juice {divided}

Instructions

Pressure Canning Tomatoes

  • Rinse the tomatoes and cut in half, or quarters for larger tomatoes.
  • Add a strainer/colander to a large bowl.
  • Wash and sanitize your jars. You’ll want to keep them warm to avoid having them crack when placed in the canner. You can fill them with hot water, or place them on a tray in the oven at 170F.
  • Wash your lids with hot soapy water and place them in a clean bowl for now.
  • Add the tomatoes to a pot of boiling water and parboil them until you see the skins start to come off one of the tomatoes (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Use a slotted spoon and remove the tomatoes and place in the strainer. 
  • Run the tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins.
  • Transfer the tomato puree to a pot over low heat or a crockpot set to low. Keep warm until ready to can.
  • Add 3 quarts of water to your pressure canner and put it on a burner set to high. Make sure there is a canning rack in the bottom of the canner.
  • Add lemon juice or citric acid to your canning jars.
    Quarts: 2 tbsp lemon juice OR 1/2 tsp citric acid. Salt (optional) 1 tsp
    Pints: 1 tbsp lemon juice OR 1/4 tsp citric acid. Salt (optional) 1/2 tsp
  • Place a funnel on a canning jar and ladle in the warm tomato puree, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. 
  • Using a long utensil (I prefer a plastic chopstick), remove all the air bubbles from the jar.
  • Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure they are free of any food.
  • Place a clean new lid on the jar. Add a ring, and tighten to fingertip tight.
  • Using canning tongs, gently place the jars in the canner. Lock the lid. Soon, steam will start coming through the vent pipe.
  • Allow the steam to pass through for about 10 minutes. Then put the pressure regulator on top. (see photos in post above to see this in action)
  • Pretty soon, the air vent will pop up. That is a sign that you’re starting to build pressure inside the canner. Tomato soup need to be pressure canned at 11 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes for both pints and quarts. (see time chart in post for adjusted times for elevation and water bath canning).
  • When the dial gauge reaches 11 pounds of pressure, reduce the burner temp to medium, and start your timer. The pressure must stay at 11 or (a little bit) above for the duration of the cooking time. You’ll likely need to adjust the temp on the burner a few times depending on your stove.
  • When the time is up, remove the canner from the burner and allow it to sit until you hear a distinctive “click” of the air vent dropping. Remove the pressure regulator and carefully remove the lid (Pro tip: I always use oven mitts when I take the lid off because the steam is crazy hot).
  • Let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.
  • After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed.

Water Bath Canning Tomatoes

  • Complete steps 1-8 above.
  • Fill your canner so that there will be 2 inches of water over the tallest jar that you are canning. Set it on a large burner set to high.
  • Complete steps 10-14 above.
  • When the water has reached a rolling boil, place the jars in the canner and place the lid on top. Process pints for 35 minutes or quarts for 40 minutes.
  • When the time is up, remove the canner from the burner and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs.
  • Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

Notes

Typically, 45 pounds of tomatoes will make 14 pints or 7 quarts of tomato soup.
Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months. 
Nutrition Facts
Canning Tomato Soup Base
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 83
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 22mg1%
Potassium 1082mg31%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 3780IU76%
Vitamin C 65mg79%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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24 comments on “Canning Tomato Soup Base {Homemade Canned Tomato Soup}”

  1. I make tomato soup with some white beans in it for extra fiber and thickening.  I want to can the soup but am not sure how because of the beans.  I also use celery and onions in my soup.  

    • When it comes to home recipes, it is best to not can them. For safety purposes, it is recommended you only can recipes that have been PH tested for safety.

      That being said, I freeze soup all the time, and your recipe sounds like it is a good candidate for freezing!

  2. If I forget the lemon juice, is all lost?

  3. I froze a bunch of homegrown tomatoes (using your method of freezing whole) at the end of last summer with the plan to make tomato soup. Do the instructions change at all for frozen whole tomatoes? I don’t imagine they will be easy to cut in half before parboiling… what do you recommend?

    • Jennifer, as frozen tomatoes thaw, the skins slip right off. The insides get super mushy and unless you have giant tomatoes, you probably won’t need to do anything else to them. Once thawed, I bet they’ll be perfect for running through a food mill.

  4. I have 25 Lbs of tomatoes to use, and you just gave me the perfect idea for those tomatoes. My question is, what does a person use to “dr it up” to make it like tomato soup after you have opened up a jar? Any suggestions, because I have no clue? Thanks for the soup base instructions!!

  5. This will be a perfect base for cream of tomato soup! Heading out to get more tomatoes today. I will use the SOS (Soup or Sauce) mix from UtahState coop extension as an add in when heating up this home canned tomato soup base. So happy to have found this 🙂 Blessings – be safe during this crazy time.

  6. This is just tomato sauce. I made tomato soup using all the tomato skins and all. Put the whole cut up tomato’s in my vitamix and it blended it totally up. No seeds or peels left. Then I added some spices to taste like tomato soup. It is so good. And yes I added some lemon juice and heated the soup before pressure canning it. I’m allergic to gluten and dairy so I make all my own soups to can.

    • Hi Lori, thanks for sharing how you make yours! Sounds delicious.

      This recipe is for a base for canning tomato soup. I encourage people to doctor it up how they like when they open a jar. It’s also safer to can a “base” for people who don’t have a pressure canner or are new to canning. You’ll find these notes in the post:

      When you are canning with lower acid foods you don’t want to mess with any of the tried and true and TESTED recipes. Too much of one ingredient or too little of another can throw off the safety of your final product.

      Instead, I treat this tomato soup as a base, much like you would if you bought a can at the store. But I never just add water; it’s more fun and flavorful to doctor it up.

      This Whole30 Tomato Soup recipe is my all-time favorite. You can use this home-canned tomato soup in place of the whole tomatoes in that recipe.

  7. Hi does this recipe require salt ,and if not,why?

    • Donna, you can certainly add it if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary to keep the product safe.

      I prefer to not salt it prior to canning because it allows me to use it in recipes later that may not require additional salt.

  8. The soup mix kind of separated when I canned it, so it looks like water on the bottom half. Is that normal?

  9. Tomato anything aggravates my arthritis 🙁 So I don’t like tomato soup.

    • Is it just tomatoes or all nightshades? Have you ever looked into them as a food group? I ask because my friend has nightshade issues and all the things that count as nightshades really surprised me!

      • It seems to be any concentrated tomato, raw onion and raw peppers. I can eat the onions and peppers if they’re cooked well and fresh Roma tomatoes. The more acidic variety of tomatoes the worse it is. I’ve never eaten eggplant and potatoes are just fine for me. I also have no problem with cayenne pepper powder and paprika powder, the little I do eat of it. So spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce are out for me. I can have pizza with VERY little sauce on it.

      • How frustrating!!

        The two nightshades that surprised me were cashews and tobacco.

  10. Timely blog. We are planning to put up tomato juice/soup this weekend. I have been freezing the tomatoes as they come ripe and figure there must be 35-40 pounds by now so it’s time.5 stars