Freezer Tomato Sauce

This freezer tomato sauce recipe is essentially a simple homemade spaghetti sauce that you make from your glut of garden tomatoes, stash in the freezer, and thank yourself for having done so come winter. Here’s how to make it.

Freezer Tomato Sauce

If having freezer tomato sauce at the ready is something that sounds pretty nifty to you, then chances are you need to drop everything and make this easy, fresh, homemade tomato sauce recipe that you can stash in the freezer. Kindly note that this freezer tomato sauce recipe makes A LOT of tomato sauce, which in turn equates to a lot of freezer space devoted to tomato sauce. If you’re inundated with tomatoes, this is the recipe for you. And although we’re big proponents of big batch cooking, you could easily halve this recipe and still have an ample stash to tide you through until next tomato season—well, okay, maybe until next month. Originally published August 20, 2016.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Use Up That Glut Of Tomatoes

Still have an abundance of tomatoes after making this freezer tomato sauce? You could always take a cue from Spain, where the last Wednesday in August marks La Tomatina, the annual tomato-slinging fest which draws literally thousands of folks to the town of Bunol to engage in what has got to be the world’s most gargantuan food fight. Or at least the world’s most gargantuan tomato fight. We certainly hope they’re not hurling heirlooms.

Freezer Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 3 quarts


  • 8 pounds cherry tomatoes or small plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 large basil or rosemary sprigs
  • 3 large flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)


  • 1. Toss the tomatoes in a large pot or Dutch oven with 6 tablespoons water. Dampen a large piece of crumpled parchment paper with cold water, open it, and place it directly over the tomatoes. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally to stir. Do not open, as the tomatoes are sweating and cooking in their own steam.
  • 2. Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor, working in 2 or 3 batches if necessary, and process until smooth. Strain through a sieve, discarding the skins and seeds, if desired. Place the strained tomatoes, olive oil, shallots, garlic, and herbs in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, until reduced to about 12 cups. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the sugar, if desired. Use immediately or freeze or later.
  • 3. To freeze: Allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature, then divide it among six 1-quart plastic freezer bags—each bag will contain about 2 cups sauce, making each bag only half full. Place the bag on its side on a flat surface in the freezer until solid, at least 1 hour. Then stand the flat bags of frozen sauce on end, as you would books on a shelf, to minimize the amount of space they take in your deep freeze.

    To thaw: Thaw the frozen bags of sauce by completely immersing them in a bowl of cold water, about 1 1/2 hours to partially thaw. Or put the bags of sauce on a plate and thaw in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. You do not have to completely thaw the sauce before you rewarm it.

    To serve: Transfer the thawed sauce to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer for 5 minutes. If only partially thawed, simmer for an extra 5 minutes.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This freezer tomato sauce recipe is a great and easy way to bring summer tomato flavor to the doldrums of winter without the scary canning part! I made some small adjustments. I used basil instead of rosemary, which makes the sauce more versatile later on. I omitted the parsley, as it browns quickly when cooking and is better added either when putting the cooked sauce in the bag, or just before use, since parsley is available year-round. If you have one, use a food mill instead of a food processor, because you won’t have to strain the sauce to remove skins and seeds. I didn’t reduce it as much as they said; I like to reduce the sauce when I use it.

This freezer tomato sauce was easy and tasted delicious. It’s the height of summer and tomatoes are pretty good. I think it would need to be puréed if cooked in the winter. It was nice and thick and didn’t lose its taste after defrosting. I think it needs less garlic. I would only use 2 cloves next time.

This freezer tomato sauce is sweet yet tart. I'd reduce it even further after defrosting, as ice crystals may build up during freezing and thin the sauce.


  1. This will be one to store in my memory banks until our summer down here in Oz. I especially like the idea of freezing it flat in bags for easier storage – inspired!

  2. I remember seeing the ‘parchment lid’ method in a few Thomas Keller recipes. I’m curious, why parchment instead of the actual pot lid?

    I have an abundance of tomatoes, and I’m looking forward to freezing sauce for the winter.

    1. My understanding is that the parchment adheres to the surface of the liquid, thereby trapping the moisture and flavor that may otherwise evaporate into the air. Whereas a lid does much the same, the intervening air allows for dispersion of said moisture and flavor. That’s a very non-scientific answer. Anyone care to posit a more technical response?

  3. Please do not disregard this recipe if you do not have the requisite 8 pounds of tomatoes! Since tomatoes have been coming on this summer, every other day or so I end up with about 2 pounds more of lovely Roma beauties than can be consumed fresh; consequently, I have been using this technique to preserve them. Simply scale down the ingredients and make personal-preference adjustments to the seasonings and herbs.

    Some might comment “Why bother for such a small output?” My response to that position would be that anyone who loves to cook will not find the preparation of this freezer sauce onerous. What a great way to preserve the brightness of fresh tomatoes without the unbearable chore of canning.

    1. Great advice, Ozma. So glad that you are able to sock some of those tomatoes away for a rainy day, so to speak.

  4. I love having this on hand throughout our winter for any number of dishes. A favorite is putting this sauce in vegetable soup. It’s so bright and fresh tasting. I skip the sugar.

    1. Cheryl, a friend of mine just tried this freezer tomato sauce with “regular” tomatoes. Because larger tomatoes contain more juice, the resulting sauce was more liquidy and, as a result, a touch diluted. You could however, try it and simply simmer the tomato sauce, uncovered, a touch longer than the recipe indicates to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavors until you’ve got the desired consistency and flavor. If you do try it, kindly let us know how it goes!

  5. Can you just freeze the tomatoes once puréed and not make a pasta sauce? I wasn’t sure if it needed cooking before freezing.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe?
Let us know what you think.