Can you boil tomatoes? (3 Original Methods)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you boil tomatoes? We will discuss the purpose of boiling tomatoes and some ways to prepare tomatoes by blanching, peeling, and making them into sauce or puree.  

Can you boil tomatoes?

You can boil tomatoes. However, the length of time that you boil tomatoes depends on what you are trying to do with them. 

In fact, during processing the endogenous enzymes catalyze the formation of important compounds of tomato flavor. The thermal treatment mainly modifies saturated and unsaturated C6 alcohols and aldehydes, esters, ketones and carotenoid derivatives, which characterize the flavor and aroma of processed tomato (3).

If you would like to tenderize the skin on the tomatoes, you need to boil them for 40 seconds. As the skin becomes soft, it comes right off without giving you much of a hassle that comes with peeling the tomatoes. 

If you are making a sauce, gravy, or soup, you do not need to boil tomatoes separately. Boiling tomatoes can easily turn them into mush which is desirable only if you are anticipating it. 

Add water to your boiling pan as much you would want to prepare the dish with. With the tomatoes, add the seasoning, including garlic, onion, olive oil. As the tomatoes break down, they cook and mix with the rest of the ingredients until your dish is ready.  

Heat processing of fruits and vegetables rich in lycopene makes the availability of lycopene higher than in the raw products. Oxidation and thermal degradation of lycopene occurred at high temperatures and processing times beyond 90 minutes. However, boiling significantly decreases the vitamin C content of the fruit (2).

In human blood and tissue, the only source of lycopene is diet because the human body is unable to synthesize carotenoids. Consequently, the primary sources of lycopene for humans are tomato and tomato-based products, which account for up to 85% of intake (1).

How to make boiled tomatoes?

Boiled tomatoes are called stewed tomatoes that are made into a dish after mixing them with herbs and spices. The stewed tomatoes are frozen so that they can be stored and used over a few months’ time. 

To boil tomatoes follow the steps below; 

  1. Take a large pot, fill up water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add tomatoes to the pot, making sure that each of them immerses completely.
  3. Let the tomatoes boil for sixty seconds. 
  4. Take the tomatoes out of the pan carefully using a slotted spoon.
  5. Put the tomatoes in an icy cold bath. 
  6. Repeat the steps for all of your tomatoes. 

How to blanch your tomatoes?

To blanch your tomatoes, the ideal way is to pour boiling hot water into your tomatoes for 30-60 seconds (4). You can also use cold water shock to stop the tomatoes from cooking any further. 

As the rolling-boiled water immerses the tomatoes, the skin comes off. 

The skin will come off almost immediately and you can use the tomatoes to make sauces and gravies. 

To make barbeque sauce, squash the skinned tomatoes and simmer for around 8 hours with the rest of the ingredients. 

To make pasta sauce, cool the blanched tomatoes and dice and then add them as the last ingredient. You do not want to cook the tomatoes for more than 30 minutes if you are making pasta sauce. 

Industrially, the tomato processing includes thermal treatments applied to inactivate enzymes (blanching) or to stabilize the product (sterilization) that cause changes in sensory and nutritional characteristics of tomato derivatives due to co-oxidation reactions of carotenoids and Maillard reactions. The blanching parameters, such as time and temperature of treatment, are usually selected according to the inactivation of endogenous enzymes. Optimal conditions are 67°C for 24 min and 86°C for 3.5 min for the cold break and the hot break treatments, respectively (3).

The hot break method, which involves a processing temperature of 90˚C or higher, and the cold break method, in which the processing temperature is 77˚C or lower. Hot break results in a much more viscous product, and is used for ketchup, sauces, pastes, etc., whereas cold break yields a product with better flavor and color retention, and is used for less viscous products, such as tomato juice (5).

How to make tomato puree by boiling tomatoes?

Tomato puree is a good way to store tomatoes. The puree has a longer shelf-life than tomatoes and makes an excellent handy ingredient, saving you from the hassle of preparing your tomatoes before you prepare the dish.

  1. To make tomato puree, choose tomatoes that are sweet and ripe. 

   2.  First, make cuts on the top of the tomatoes, then boil on a medium flame for three minutes. 

3. Take the tomatoes off the flame and give it an ice shock. 

4. Peel the skin off, cut them into small chunks, and take out the stem. 

5. Blend in a jar or grinder until smooth. 

6. Store in either the fridge or the freezer. 

How to make tomato sauce?

To make tomato sauce you can use any variety of tomatoes. You need to follow the steps that are common to boiling tomatoes including washing, boiling, and giving a shock treatment. Then blanch and peel the skin off.

The step which follows after is to chop the tomatoes. Use a blender with blade attachment and process until it reaches your desired consistency. You can choose to keep it chunky or process it until it becomes pureed. Alternatively, you can chop the tomatoes by hand using a knife, or a food mill to make a smooth mixture. 

Transfer to a stockpot or a dutch oven and simmer until it becomes thick and smooth on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, butter, olive oil, salt, and some sugar. Simmer and stir occasionally. The process will take around 30 to 90 minutes. 

You want to get rid of the water and give it a thick sauce-like consistency. Before serving, add some basil leaves. Serve with spaghetti or a sandwich. 

To preserve, either add lemon juice and salt or keep them in the refrigerator. 

Tomatoes for many years were considered high acid. However, new varieties, over-mature fruits, and tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines may have a pH greater than 4.6. The USDA and University-based researchers have determined that to ensure a safe acid level for boiling water canning of whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes (2).

In the refrigerator, the tomato sauce can be stored for 4 days while in the freezer you can keep it for around 3 months


In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you boil tomatoes? We discussed the purpose of boiling tomatoes and some ways to prepare tomatoes by blanching, peeling, and making them into sauce or puree.  

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Szabo, K., Cătoi, AF. & Vodnar, D.C. Bioactive Compounds Extracted from Tomato Processing by-Products as a Source of Valuable Nutrients. Plant Foods Hum Nutr, 2018, 73, 268–277. 


Ishiwu Charles, N., et al. Effect of thermal processing on lycopene, beta-carotene and Vitamin C content of tomato [Var. UC82B]. J Food Nutr Sci, 2014, 2, 87-92. 


Andress, E. Resources for Home Preserving Tomatoes. 2018. National Center for Home Food Preservation. University of Georgia. 


Chong, H. , Simsek, S. and Reuhs, B. Chemical Properties of Pectin from Industry Hot and Cold Break Tomato Products. Food Nutr Sci, 2014, 5, 1162-1167.