How to Make Tomato Paste at Home

Use garden fresh tomatoes in this must-have cooking staple.

Photo By: Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a thick tomato concentrate made by cooking the moisture out of fresh tomatoes. Used in a wide variety of recipes, tomato paste thickens sauces, adds inviting color and provides a rich burst of tomato flavor anywhere it is needed. It takes a lot of tomatoes to make just a little paste, but a little goes a long way. Wrangling a bountiful tomato harvest this summer? Follow these simple steps to make this kitchen staple using fresh tomatoes straight from the garden.

What You'll Need

Ingredients: 5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes / 1/4 cup olive oil / 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Five pounds of tomatoes will yield about ½ pint of paste, but this easy recipe can be scaled to accommodate any harvest. Equipment: Large, heavy pot and lipped baking half-sheet.

Core and Chop Tomatoes

Remove stem and core of tomatoes and quarter or roughly chop. Five pounds of tomatoes will provide approximately 4 quarts of chopped tomato.

Place Ingredients in Pot

Pour ¼ cup of olive oil into a heavy pot and add chopped tomatoes and kosher salt. Other ingredients like pepper or garlic may be added, but sticking to the basic ingredients makes paste more versatile when used in recipes.

Cook Tomatoes

Bring tomatoes to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes to soften tomatoes and release juices. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Pass Through Food MIll

Pour tomatoes into a food mill and crank to remove skins and seeds.

Milled Tomatoes

Once milled, tomato juice yield will be approximately two quarts.

Cook Down

Return to pot and simmer uncovered over medium heat for about an hour until volume is reduced by half.

Spread on Baking Tray

Lightly grease a lipped baking half sheet and pour tomato sauce into tray in an even coat. Place in a 300 degree oven and cook for 2 hours.


Stir thickened paste and spread evenly to finish cooking. Return to oven for 30-45 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Paste should be thick, smooth and drawing a spatula though the paste on the baking sheet should leave a clean trail.


Transfer paste into a ½ pint jar to store in refrigerator or into a Ziploc or other airtight container to store in freezer. Tomato paste will last several months in the fridge or up to a year when frozen.

Next Up

Garden to Table: Peppers

Understanding the life-cycle of the pepper fruit is critical for knowing when to harvest and how to use your specific pepper variety.

Garden to Table: Broccoli

With its sweet high notes and sulfurous body, broccoli might be the perfect vegetable.

How to Refinish a Dining Room Table

Easily refinish a dated or worn dining room table to give it a fresh look.

When to Plant Garden Mums

Want your garden mums to survive winter? Learn tips for planting fall garden mums to help them return next spring.

How to Refinish a Kitchen Table

Give an old kitchen table new life in a weekend with these simple steps for refinishing wood furniture.

How to Clean a Wood Kitchen Table

Got half an hour? Make your wood kitchen table spotless and germ-free.

How to Preserve Your Garden Herbs

Follow these simple steps for making your herb garden last.

Making a Stink: How To Keep Skunks Out of Your Garden

Learn how to get ride of skunks while protecting yourself from their best defense.

How to Kill Weeds (Without Hurting Your Garden)

There are several good reasons to keep your garden clear of weeds. They not only compete with flowers for light, nutrients and water but some also harbor diseases, which may spread to surrounding plants.