This easy-to-follow tutorial will teach you how to blanch and peel tomatoes like a pro. Peeling tomatoes is simple and makes for amazing homemade marinara and salsas, and even makes canning easier.
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Whether you’re making homemade tomato sauce, tomato soup, or salsa, removing the skin and seeds makes the finished dish so much better. The good news is that blanching and peeling tomatoes is so simple and absolutely worth doing.
What is the Easiest Way to Peel Tomatoes?
There are three main methods for peeling tomatoes – blanching/ice bath, using a knife, and freezing. The “easiest” way depends on many tomatoes you’re processing and how quickly you need them peeled.
This method also works great for stone fruit. Learn more in our tutorial on How to Peel Peaches.
When I need to peel more than two or three tomatoes, blanching is my go-to method.
You simply boil a pot of water (I use my cast iron dutch oven), remove the core or make an “x” at the bottom of the tomato, carefully add them to the water for 1-2 minutes, and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon or stainless steel spider skimmer and plunk them into a bowl of ice water.
After a few minutes in the ice water, grab one of the tomatoes and carefully remove the skin.
Using a Knife
If you’re going to peel the tomato with a knife, you’ll want to start with a very sharp paring knife. A dull knife will only smoosh the tomato instead of cutting it.
You can cut a fresh tomato into quarters or eights, and then gently use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin. I don’t recommend doing this if you need to process a lot of tomatoes at once. But it works great when you just need to peel a few. See below to see how to do this below.
When tomatoes are frozen (related: How to Freeze Tomatoes) and then thawed, the skin slips off easily. This method works best if you want to use the tomatoes for a sauce or a soup. I’m not a fan of using thawed tomatoes for canning because the final texture is fairly mushy.
Pro Tips/Recipe Notes
- You can blanch and peel all types and sizes of tomatoes. Smaller tomatoes like cherry or pear tomatoes may only need a few seconds in the boiling water.
- If you core the tomatoes before boiling, there is no need to also make an “x” at the stem end.
How to Blanch and Peel Tomatoes
- Rinse tomatoes.
- Start a large saucepan of water boiling on the stove.
- Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
- Using a paring knife, remove the stem/core from the tomatoes – OR – cut an "x" on the bottom of the tomato.
- Add the tomatoes to a pot of boiling water and boil them until you see the skins start to come off (about 1-2 minutes).
- Use a slotted spoon and remove the tomatoes and place in the ice water.
- Working with the tomatoes one at a time, remove any skin that hasn’t already slipped off.
- Once they are peeled you can slice the tomatoes in half (to remove all the seeds) or leave them whole.