Homemade Tomato Paste

Homemade tomato paste is surprisingly easy to make at home. All you need are tomatoes, salt, olive oil, a food mill, and a flair for classic Italian goodness. And time. It boasts a deep, mellow, caramelized flavor that’s wholly unlike the tinny taste of canned tomato paste.

A rimmed baking sheet spread with a thick layer of homemade tomato paste.

Homemade Tomato Paste

  • Quick Glance
  • (15)
  • 50 M
  • 6 H
  • Makes 32 (1-tbsp) servings | 1 pint
4.8/5 - 15 reviews
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Special Equipment: 1-pint canning jar


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[Editor’s Note: Before making this recipe, consider that the quality of your homemade tomato paste is directly related to the quality of your tomatoes. Use only fully ripe, fragrant summer tomatoes, preferably from a farmers’ market or home garden. It’s not worth going to the trouble of making it with standard supermarket tomatoes.]

If you’re using plum tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise. If you’re using round tomatoes, cut them into quarters.

Remove the seeds with your fingers. Place all the tomatoes in an 8-quart stainless steel pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes release their juices. Boil briskly for 30 minutes until the tomatoes soften and the juices reduce.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with a fine disk to remove the skins and any remaining seeds.

Return the tomato purée to the same pot and place it over high heat. Stir in the salt, reduce the heat to mediumish, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the purée has reduced to about 1 quart (4 cups), 45 to 55 minutes. You’ll need to turn the heat down as the purée thickens to prevent it from furiously bubbling and splattering.

Lightly slick a 12-by-17-inch rimmed nonaluminum baking sheet with oil. Using a rubber spatula, spread the thick tomato purée in an even layer. It should cover the entire baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 200ºF (93ºC) and turn on the convection fan if you have one. Position a rack in the center.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat (keep the oven on) and stir the purée with the rubber spatula so that it dries evenly and doesn’t form a crust. Respread the purée with the spatula into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Be fanatical about spreading it evenly; if any part is too thin, it may burn. Because of evaporation, the purée will no longer cover the baking sheet. With a paper towel, remove any bits of tomato that cling to the edges or exposed bottom of the baking sheet.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue baking until the tomato purée is no longer saucelike but very thick, stiff, and a little sticky, about 3 more hours. Every 20 minutes, stir and carefully respread the purée as before. The rectangle will become progressively smaller as the remaining water evaporates. Taste and, if desired, add more salt.

Let the tomato paste cool to room temperature.

Use a spoon and transfer the paste to a clean jar, tamping it down to make sure there are no air pockets. Level the surface with the back of the spoon. Cover the surface completely with olive oil so that the paste isn’t exposed. Screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate. It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a year.

When using this homemade tomato paste, dole it out by the teaspoon to add depth to dishes. Always wait to salt the dish until after you’ve added the tomato paste as it will bring quite a lot of concentrated saltiness. Each time you scoop out some tomato paste from your jar, level the surface of the paste and top it with more oil so the remaining tomato paste is completely submerged. Originally published August 27, 2013.

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    Sun-Dried Tomato Paste Recipe Variation

    • In Calabria, even today, conserva, or tomato paste, is dried under the hot Mediterranean sun. The tomato purée is simply spread on a large wooden slab and brought inside at night. It dries to a thick paste in 3 to 4 days. If you’re expecting several consecutive days of 100ºF (38ºC) weather, you can dry the tomato purée under the sun instead of in the oven. Follow the recipe in every other respect, and set the baking sheets out in the sun at step 4. Be sure to bring the baking sheet in at night to protect the tomatoes from getting damp.

    Recipe Testers Reviews

    Finally, something new to do with summer’s bounty of tomatoes. The instructions for this homemade tomato paste recipe look daunting but it’s simplicity itself to make providing you set aside the time.

    As it was too early for my tomatoes when I tested this recipe, I cut a deal with the local farmers’ market for overripe tomatoes. Coring and seeding the tomatoes was a simple matter, as was cooking them down until the juice was released. I think a food mill was the best choice to remove the skins from the cooked tomatoes, as it did a bang-up job providing me with a smooth purée with nothing extra in it.

    I used a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes from the pot to avoid excess liquid going through the mill. The recipe didn’t specify whether or not to add the excess juice back to cook down with the purée, so I left most of it in. I let it cook down for a full hour because it was so runny. The timing was spot-on, baking it low and slow with no burning. For all that work, I got three 125-milliliter jars of tomato conserva.

    I used the full amount of salt and they’re not kidding when they say it’s salty. I’ll definitely be making this again when tomato season is here, but I might cut down on the salt a little, as 1 heaping teaspoon paste seasoned an entire large pot of lamb ragu such that I didn’t need to use any additional salt. I can’t wait to use this in more dishes.

    It’s time-consuming but very satisfying to make your own tomato paste and so much better than store-bought! Now I know why my Calabrese grandmother took the time to do this, even though she single-handedly raised seven children who each had different food preferences and each received a personalized meal every evening. She never really left her kitchen except to sleep or garden or tend the chickens, so I guess she didn’t mind the time it took to make her tomato paste from scratch.

    Of course, she dried her purée under the sun, never in the oven as I did. And she used her own homegrown Jersey tomatoes, which are full of flavor and taste like actual tomatoes.

    I was fortunate enough to have a few pounds left in my freezer from my harvest last season, and so I used them, prorating the recipe based on the quantity of tomatoes I had on hand, which was about 3 pounds. This produced a fairly small amount of paste, but at least I was able to experience the process and know I can be successful with larger amounts in the future.

    The only suggestion I have is to use an offset spatula when spreading and respreading the paste on the baking sheet. This tool will give you a nice even layer, just like spreading icing on a cake, which is important for the paste to develop evenly in the oven.

    Every year come late summer, a delivery truck would arrive at our neighbor’s and bushel after bushel of Roma tomatoes would be unloaded and carried down the narrow urban driveway into their backyard. A peek between the webbing of our rear fence revealed a stunning sea of shiny, plump red jewels nestled in straw-colored wooden-slat baskets arranged in neat rows at their basement kitchen door. This is where Signora Catania’s annual canning assembly line began. In her cool, dark basement with the red custom terrazzo floor were oversized kettles and tools, most of which I’d never seen in my own mother’s kitchen. I’d ask my mother, “Why do they need so many tomatoes?” She answered that they were “putting up the sauce.”

    Not until I was older did I understand that she was preserving the fleeting fruit for use during winter when no self-respecting Italian homemaker would use the pink, mealy hothouse tomatoes that came in cellophane-wrapped green plastic baskets.

    I now practice my own scaled-down version of the preservation ritual, but it never occurred to me, being an apartment dweller and all, that perhaps making conserva di pomodori (homemade tomato paste) would be more efficient and versatile given my limited storage space. This recipe sparked a new approach in my household.

    Since this was an experiment, I halved the recipe and used the best plum tomatoes I could find at the market. To speed production, I used an apple corer to spear the tomatoes, deftly removing the stems and cores in neat cylinders. The times were accurate, even for half the recipe. I used a 1/4 sheet pan (9 by 13 inches) rather than a 12-by-17-inch one and evaporated the purée on a rack in the bottom third of the oven. After it was cooled, the final product fit in a sterilized half-pint Ball jar. This is the perfect amount for me to use until late summer ushers in the stars of the crops.

    The final conserva is indeed salty (I used the full amount of salt) but it has a wonderful rich, sweet, and complex tomato flavor when compared to store-bought versions of tomato paste. I love learning new techniques and this is a very valuable recipe when endeavoring to preserve summertime.


    #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.


    1. I’m in the middle of making this now, using a mixture of different varieties of tomato that my husband grew (even some Sungolds and cherry tomatoes). They were frozen, as we had a huge harvest and no time to do anything with them in August. The skins fell right off the frozen tomatoes but will the flavor be okay? I also wondered whether the paste tastes as good, if frozen in cubes, as when kept under EVOO in the fridge. An added benefit–our chickens love the strained out seeds and skins!

      This is my first time using a Leite’s Culinaria recipe–thank you and the site is so interesting to read.

      1. Welcome, Lorli! As long as your tomatoes were ripe when you froze them, they should work just fine. We haven’t tried freezing it, so we can’t say how the flavor compares, but some of our readers have had great success doing this. Do let us know how it turns out!

      1. Michelle, we haven’t tried canning it, so we can’t recommend it. If you wanted to do so, you’d need to add citric acid before cooking down the tomatoes to ensure that you have enough acidity to safely can. The National Center for Home Food Preservation does offer a method for canning tomato paste, which can be found at this link.

      1. Great question, Anissa. In theory, you can make it without salt, however, the salt does play an important role in enhancing the tomato flavor, as well as in drawing out moisture from the tomatoes to make a thick paste. The finished paste can be quite salty (particularly if you use 4 tablespoons!), but it will generally get balanced out in whatever dish you’re using it in. Just make sure you taste and season your dish after adding the tomato paste to it. If you are sensitive to salt, I’d start with the lower amount of salt suggested (1 tablespoon), and see how you like it. One other point worth noting is that crystal size in kosher salts varies significantly by brand. If you are using Diamond brand kosher salt, I’d use 1 tablespoon, but if you are using Morton brand, I’d only use 2 teaspoons of salt. Let us know how it turns out!

      2. Thanks for this, it gave me the guidance to make my own batch. I planted a large garden this year and have over 70 tomato plants. I have already made and canned sauce 3 times. each batch was about 2.5 gallons or 10 quarts. So I am good on sauce and really wanted to make paste. For this batch I started with two 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes, after cutting off the bad, coring, simmering, and then running it through my tomato mill to remove the skins and any remaining seeds (food strainer – hand crank life saver) I had about 3.5 gallons of unreduced sauce. (One side note because it takes about 45 minutes to cut up that much. I always put a lemon worth of juice and a splash of white vinegar in the empty pot at the start, that I am putting the cut and deseeded tomatoes in, just to protect the natural pectin in the fruit and to guard against oxidation as its slowly heating as I keep cutting and deseeding.) I boiled it down in a big pot with an insulated bottom for about 5 hrs. On the salt front I use Morton LITE SALT, its a 50%50 blend of sodium chloride (normal salt) and potassium chloride (important electrolyte source of potassium) so you get all the salty taste with half the sodium and potassium as a bonus. I do this will all my canning and pickling. During the final 3rd of the boil, I added some olive oil to the sauce, about 1/2 a cup to what was 1 gallon of sauce paste. This kept it moving and made it easy to wipe the sides of the pot as I stirred. Because the pot was so big, 5.5 gallon wide base I was able to take it to a very thick paste in the pot with out the need for the oven. I loaded my super fragrant and delicious paste into 4oz jelly jars, and pressure canned at 10 psi for 12 mins. In the end I got 9 full jars and one half full that skipped the canning and just went to the cooler. They look great, smell great, and taste great. I am really surpised just how much better it is than store bought. Thank you for the inspiration. I added a link to some photos of the mill and process.

        1. Thank you, Clayton, for sharing your experience and tips. We’re delighted that it turned out so well. Can’t wait to hear what you make next with all those tomatoes in your garden! (I’m a little jealous. My 10 plants pale in comparison.)

    2. I can’t comment on the recipe, but the “surprisingly easy” doesn’t jibe with the six hours spent making this. 😂

    3. This is the second year I have made this recipe, using up the surplus tomatoes at the end of the season. We love the finished product. Time-consuming to make but worth it.

      Instead of putting it in a bottle with oil on top, I put it in small containers and froze them. Easy portion sizes. Couldn’t get enough.Thanks for your recipe. Cheers!

    4. Hi, I am confused. The recipe says to put all the tomatoes in a pot and bring to a boil. Do you add water to the pot? If not, how does it boil? Thanks

      1. Hi Mark, the ripe tomatoes will release juices that will come to a boil. Perfect use for those gorgeous garden tomatoes.

      1. Wendy, theoretically, yes, but we didn’t test it that way. There are many factors involved, with how hot the dehydrator gets being the biggest. If you try it, let us know how it comes out.

    5. I have been making this gem since 2014. This year I am beyond excited because for the first time in my life, I have grown my own tomatoes…beautiful ripe, red, plump little San Marzano gems. It might be my overactive imagination but I am certain that when I add a dollop of this to a recipe, I will actually taste the love!

    6. Do I really need to use a food mill or a sieve? I do not have a food mill. I do not want to buy a food mill. I will just peel the tomatoes seed them and take the white part out of them myself and then cook it down to where I can spread it on the rimmed baking sheet.

      1. Heather, that should be fine. I don’t have a food mill, either, and while I haven’t made this recipe without one, I suspect it will just be a little more time-consuming but taste the same.

    7. Hi there! I made this today – excellent! All I did was core the tomatoes, add the salt, and threw it in my vitamix for ten minutes on high. No peeling. Then I lightly oiled my Dutch oven, poured in the tomatoes, cooked at 300 stirring every 30 minutes. PERFECT! Thank you for teaching me a new way to use my crop!

    8. I was discussing on a Facebook group how my first attempt to making tomato paste was not enjoyable and it tasted like crap. One lady sent this recipe link and said I should try it. It does take some time but I swear you could eat the paste straight from the spoon if you wanted to! It’s that delicious! This will be my go to method from now on…it’s so worth the time and effort.

    9. I make tomato paste by doing it in my outdoor bread oven. I wait till the days baking & oven’s temp is down to about 250 degrees. I put in the blended paste tomatoes that I have left the skins and seeds in, added spices, garlic, basil and salt. I put it in the mud oven overnight and the next morning I have thick tasty paste. I just jar & can it for winter’s use.

    10. I have 21 pounds of San Marzano tomatoes I’m about the start making the paste. Using the method Dave suggested by using my oven as a dehydrator but wonder what temperature. I have a range between 100 to 200 degrees F.

      Any ideas?

    11. My friend and I have a small greenhouse with more than 300 pomodoros growing right now. We are up to our ears in tomatoes and are looking for different uses. We have been canning and canning…juice, sauces, whole tomatoes you name it. I can’t wait to try to try this! Ten pounds is one bag for us. We usually get about 20, 15 pound bags every Monday. We have a total of about 700 plants (different varieties including heirlooms). This is our first year. We didn’t know quite what to expect…

    12. I tried this recipe and used 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. I’m a salt lover but that was WAY to salty. Store-bought doesn’t even have salt. I used a pyrex pan and it worked just fine. I’ll try again, minus the sodium.

      1. Dawn, thanks for chiming in. We were careful to test the recipe with various amounts of salt—the original recipe called for 4 tablespoons salt, which quite terrified us!—and we heard all sorts of feedback on the amount of salt. The only constant we found is that every person seems to have a different preference. Sometimes the very same amount that one person thought was too much was not enough for another. Although this is the first we’ve heard that 1 tablespoon was too salty. Thanks for letting us know. I’m glad you’ll try again as the technique works so well.

    13. I made this using heirloom green stripe tomatoes. I simply quartered the tomatoes, dropped them in the blender, pureed them, ran the resultant green liquid through a sieve, and poured it into a large saucepan. As I also had some green stripe tomatoes already dehydrated, I simply ground the dried ones up with my electric grinder, and cooked them in with the blended tomatoes. I had bad luck in the oven, (burned and set off the smoke alarms) so decided to try a stove top method instead. I just cooked it low and slow, and kept an eye on it so it didn’t burn, stirring it when it needed to be turned. An hour or so later, I had a half pint of the prettiest green tomato paste you ever saw. This is my new go-to tomato paste recipe.

    14. I make my paste in the oven but without the close oversight. I cut the plums in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. In a big bowl I toss the halves with my hands and a light coating of olive oil, a bit of salt and some garlic and oregano. Then spread the halves cut side up on cookie sheets or trays. Set oven as low as it can go. I do not have a convection oven. I let it go overnight, about 8 hours. In the AM the tomatoes are reduced in size but moist and pliable but not firm like sun-dried tomatoes. I then run them through my tomato mill to separate the skins to produce a rich, sweet paste. I have canned it in 4 oz. jars and frozen in ice cube trays and vacuum sealed. It’s a great addition to sauce or as a spread on bread.

    15. I can tomatoes every year, but making my own paste was a first for me! Organic, fresh, aromatic, and amazing! Thanks for the instructions and recipe. I have two large baking sheets in the oven right now and can’t wait to jar them up!

    16. I have a great crop of tomatoes this summer and finally a day off to make paste. I used a combination of Roma and salad tomatoes to make mine. Yes, it takes most of the day, but if I had read your recipe more closely, it would have gone faster. When I finally turned on the convection setting on my oven, it went much faster!

      Yours is a great recipe! I did use a fair amount of salt in mine (3 tbsp) as I like the paste to season the dishes I use it in. I found myself licking my fingers after cleaning off the spatula, and yum! The salty rich flavor is wonderful! While the paste was finishing off, I made a batch of salsa. I added a good dollop of the paste to the salsa and Voila! The salsa immediately thickened to a perfect consistency.

      Happy late summer!

      1. Sarah, happy late summer, indeed! Many thanks for taking the time to let us know how well this recipe worked for you. Nothing, nothing makes us happier than comments such as this. Thank you!

    17. I’ve had the opportunity to do classes in the San Francisco Bay Area with Rosetta. This is one of the projects that has become a staple at my house. Not only does it bring a richness to soups and stews, I’ve been known to go to the refrigerator for a spoonful as a treat. This is not a project that demands your time once you reach the oven portion – just a few minutes sporadically while you go about your day. Don, you should try her green tomato jam at the end of the season.

      1. Karen, many kind thanks for sharing your lovely experience with this recipe. It’s always helpful and gratifying to hear from someone’s who’s made it time and again. And I love that you sneak it by the spoonful!

    18. I liked this article for making fairly large scale tomato paste. To reduce liquid volume, I use the solid left from the juice preparations sieved through a fairly small mesh that preserves the bulk of the pulp except for very fine solid in the juice. I don’t overdo the juice squeezing with later tomato paste in mind. We grow lots of tomatoes mostly organically, mainly the larger Celebrity strain and Juliets for the plum type. I like the latter for juice, sauces and paste and the former for fresh and cooking odds and ends from frozen stocks. To minimize labor, we freeze most of our crop that we use for ourselves over a year by vacuum packing fresh whole, about two and a half 7.5 cubic feet box freezers each spring/summer season. We routinely make a 20# batch of tomato juice by slightly thawing and cutting into chunks, then simmering about an hour before sieving. Composting the final residue of skins and seeds is fine, but we compost with worms and too much tomato is too acid for them. We use the final solids mulched and dug in around berry bushes and other plants that like acid soil.

    19. I’m not sure if my tomatoes weren’t so juicy, but I made two different batches of the conserva with two different varieties of tomatoes, neither paste types, starting with 6 pounds reduced to 17 ounces for one variety (Pantano) and closer to 20 ounces for the other (Jaune Flamme). Both batches came out very thick, not at all “weepy”. I didn’t use the oven method, I split the cooked puree between two half sheet pans and dehydrated them at 135ºF in my Excalibur dehydrator for about 4 hours. I used 1/2 tablespoon of fine sea salt for each batch and neither batch seems to be too salty. The Jaune Flamme conserva came out a deep golden color and is especially sweet and delicious. It’s a sweet and fruity variety and I’m wondering if the sugar content helped to thicken it more?

      1. Hi Michelle, loved that you played around with this using different varieties of tomatoes and methodology. And yes, I think that you are onto something with the sugar content. Various varieties of tomatoes will affect the final taste, thickness and yield. Just make sure that the you like the tomato before cooking as the flavor will intensify in the final product. Thanks for reaching out.

    20. I used 4 tablespoons salt and it was too much salt. Cut the salt in half. Wayyyyy to much. Going to make another batch tomorrow without any salt, and will mix the 2 together. Hopefully I have enough tomatos.

      1. Hey Mike, many thanks for letting us know. We changed the recipe above to offer 2 to 4 tablespoons salt to accommodate a wide preference, seeing as some folks like the concentrated saltiness this imparts to recipes. I suspect this depends on not just personal preference but the final use for the tomato paste. Again, many thanks. Hope your second batch and combined efforts worked out to your liking.

    21. I have an abundance of tomatoes his year and want very much to do this, however all my cookie sheets are aluminized steel – is that ok? Or should I use a glass cake pan instead??

      1. Natalie, I threw out my all-aluminum pans years ago, so I understand your concern. From what I’ve researched, aluminized steel is steel coated with a combination of aluminum and silicone that’s heated to such a temperature that the aluminum is not supposed to be reactive with foods. That said, if you don’t wish to risk it, I’d rather you line those baking sheets with several sheets of parchment paper rather than use a glass cake pan. The reason is that the cake pan has higher sides than the baking sheets and these higher sides will impede evaporation and inhibit the drying of the tomato paste. But several layers of parchment should work just fine.

    22. I am wondering if anyone has pressure canned this at the end of the process rather than simply preserving by submersion in oil? We were planning to can in half pint jars so we could keep them on a shelf. Do you think there would need to be any changes made to the recipe?

    23. How I wish I came across this article earlier on, not withstanding it is not late. Very lovely and brilliant. I have been wasting tomato pastes for years not knowing how to get it preserved. We have abundant tomato here in the northern part of Nigeria, it is mostly dried and used later which I don’t really like the taste. I am sure preserving it fresh will taste a lot more better. Keep it up and may God bless your effort. You’ve made my day. Thanks.

    24. My Aunt always made Conserva with red (hot) chile peppers never used tomatoes. She has now passed away and I am so sorry I never wrote the recipe down. I know she would roast the chiles, remove the skin and seeds, and put it through a sieve then let it drip in cheese cloth. What I am missing is the paste would be real thick and I know she kept it in the refrigerator and had a piece of the cheesecloth on the top with olive oil to keep it moist. I know it was salty and you used it in your sauces, you would dilute it with water. The sauce was to die for!!! Gave it the spiciness and rich robust flavor. Would you happen to know what the ingredients might be??

    25. When I was making a pot of chili the other day, I used the congealed olive oil from the top of the jar of this paste to saute the vegetables. There is just enough of the paste in the oil when you scrape it off to give the oil a nice hit of the flavor from this wonderful paste. This is another wonderful recipe and I am already looking forward to making my 2015 batch!

    26. I plan to try this next summer and do it the old-fashioned way. How does one keep all the bugs out while outside? Seems like the ants, etc would be feasting on it.

    27. I ended up making this in the oven rather than the dehydrator and it came out so so good! I’ve been using the paste to make real quick tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes. (My husband is a farmer and everyday he’s bringing home more and more tomatoes!). I just take two or three tomatoes and chop them up. Then I add them to a little hot oil and saute them till they’re mush. Then I add a tablespoon or so of the tomato paste, with a little sugar and seasoning. Bam! Thick, fresh, amazingly tasty tomato sauce in 10 mins, perfect for pasta! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be making a second batch soon.

    28. Found this site through the comments on another blog’s tomato paste recipe. I doubled the recipe and got a full quart jar. The other recipe I followed at first called for far less salt, but I love the idea of keeping it in the fridge with the olive oil on top. Thinking tomorrow I’ll pour off the oil I put on top, stir in some more salt, and split into two smaller jars. I tried hard to get all the bubbles out but with such a big jar and such thick paste it was impossible. Bubbles will allow mold to grow and I don’t want to ruin my beautiful paste and 29lbs of tomatoes! It is incredible how much better it is than canned. I got some little burned bits and they are delicious too!

    29. OK, now I’m confused.

      Recently I made tomato sauce for stuffed shells. It was good, but I used canned tomato paste and I could really taste that. The next time I would like to use homemade tomato paste in homemade tomato sauce. Here’s my question though:

      What, basically, is the difference between tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree, spaghetti sauce, and marinara sauce? Is it just the spices or just how it’s made? Do I need to use tomato paste in tomato sauce (I used it to thicken the sauce)?

      If this is the wrong place to ask those questions, please let me know And thank you for any info you can give me and for taking the time to reply.

      1. Hi Kelly, great questions!

          Tomato paste is made from tomatoes that have been cooked for a few hours, strained and reduced into a rich paste. A dollop of tomato paste adds a savory flavor to soups and stews, and an extra boost to pizza and tomato sauces. 

Or even a tart.

          Tomato purée consists of tomatoes that have been cooked briefly and strained to produce a tangy liquid. They serve as a lovely base for David’s take on a this Bolognese recipe.


Tomato sauce is any sauce made out of tomatoes. This includes the array of jarred sauces that you see in the grocery with added herbs and seasoning. Or better yet, this homemade sauce recipe or this recipe.

    30. I made this and standard tomato paste (as well several varieties of tomato concoctions), but can you recommend some recipes to use this style of paste please.

    31. I am obsessed with this recipe. Making it fresh is amazing to me. Thank you so much! I can now feel better about what I am feeding my family.

      I plan to try the dehydrator method this time around. I hope I understood it correctly, that basically, the dehydrator will take the place of the oven.

    32. Hi, I just managed to snag 25lbs of farm fresh roma tomatoes for $10 and I was searching for the perfect paste recipe, I think I found it. This sounds SO much better than a simple tomato paste. I plan to try this recipe out tomorrow, but as my oven isn’t working and I don’t own a crock pot or a dehydrator, I’m going to put the pans under a heat lamp for a couple days and see what happens. It’s supposed to be around 80F for the next several days, so hopefully the heat lamp will add just enough heat to make this recipe work for me. Thank you for the inspiration and fantastic sounding recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out. :)

    33. I have been making Rosetta’s recipe for 5 years now. I do my conserva following her option for sun dried. It works like a charm every time. She says that you need 3 to 4 days of 100 degree weather, but I have found that here in Southern California that the high 80’s and low 90’s do the trick much quicker. Today, I was able to finish a tray of the Red Pepper Conserva (OMG good stuff!) with one day in the sun. However, I do try to boil out much of the liquid before fore it goes into the sun. I’ve never had the tomato finish that fast, as there is more water in the mix. If you haven’t tried it, sun dried is fantastic.

      Also… the paprika that comes from the dried skins of the peppers is also amazing. It’s all in her book.

      For anyone in Souther Cal, Labor day weekend is tomato gleaning at Underwood Family Farms. We picked 150 lbs at 25 cents a pound today. Get there early on Saturday as they get picked over fast. You can also order them pre picked for 50 cents a pound if you are pressed for time or just don’t want to bend over for 3 hours!

      1. Don, #jealous of all that hot weather you’re having, that let’s you make the sun-dried version of this recipe. We’ve had milder, cooler temps all summer here in CT.

    34. Hi! Any specifics regarding time/setting for using a dehydrator to finish this recipe? I’m worried I’ll end up with tomato leather…Thanks!!!

      1. Hi Antonia, unfortunately we didn’t test the recipe using a dehydrator. I know that several companies that make dehydrators have some wonderful videos so I would check on your manufacturer’s website. Also, we might have some readers with experience with dehydrators- anyone?

    35. Hi! Going to give this a try today. Question – I have always made spaghetti sauce using store bought paste, with 3 cans of water to a can of paste,. My recipe calls for 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 12 oz can of paste, plus the water. Will this ratio work with this paste, or is this more concentrated?
      Any advice is greatly appreciated -Thanks!

      1. Hi Shelley, you will get a mouthful of flavor from making your own tomato paste. Give a taste before you add it to the sauce. You can always add a bit, then a bit more as needed. More excuses for tasting the sauce!

    36. Hi Rosetta, I’m going to try this recipe today. My tomatoes are fresh and ripe. I can’t wait. Thank you so much for sharing.

    37. Can you can the above recipe in jars and cook in water to preserve so you don’t have to keep in the refrigerator.

      1. Hi Yolanda. First, for any food safety question like this one should use a discussion thread like this as a source of ideas to research, but not as an authority. Yes, chase the canning links, don’t bet your life on anything we say here.

        That said, botulism is the primary canning risk, and is less of an issue below threshold pH acid levels. I ferment my own hot sauce, and use a pH meter to insure that even at the start botulism is not a threat. Tomatoes are generally acidic enough that one doesn’t worry, and these tomatoes are unusually concentrated, increasing that acidity.

        Now, look at tradition. These preserves were not chilled in Sicily; it wasn’t an option. On the other hand, they were much more heavily salted than our modern formulations. They were often stored without air contact, if one counts the layer of oil as protection.

        The classic trap is to apply modern improvements to traditional recipes, without understanding the consequences. Most botulism deaths in Alaska come from using a plastic pail where a seal skin would have been used before.

        1. Thank you, Dave. And, Yolanda, I cannot stress enough what Dave says: We are a source of recipes, but we are not health experts. We do our damnedest in researching, but you should always, always go to the health pros if you have questions.

    38. Dear David. I’m so happy to find your site. I’m interested in your grandma’s recipe. I love rustic old school cooking. Larousse has been my go to forever. Anything old school is important to new school. I have used your site to train my daughter. Thank you.

    39. I actually used a scale and weighed ten pounds of tomatoes. I ended up with one pint. It didn’t look like it was going to fill a pint, but it did. I thought the salt was needed to help preserve it? If not, next time I will just cut the salt down a bit. I covered the jar with evoo. Used it yesterday in my pot roast gravy. Was fine..just didn’t have to add more salt. I’m tomatoed out! Made 8 quarts of sauce and 22 pints of ketchup, plus the paste! I give the ketchup out as gifts. Just can’t beat homemade (sorry Heinz, you can keep your high fructose corn syrup). Other than being a bit salty, it was still good. I will follow this recipe again and just cut back on the salt next time.

      1. Vicki, wow! I thought I was a tomato-product nut. (I’m not crazy about eating raw tomatoes.) I think you have done your Love Fruit duty for the season. Re: the salt, my guess it’s used more for drawing out the liquid so that that the tomatoes can concentrate in flavor and texture. If you make it again let me know how it turns out.

      2. Vicki, I am looking for a good ketchup recipe to replace the Heinz ketchup (or Masterfoods Big Red in Australia). Would you be willing to share yours?

          1. Thanks David, I have am processing 10kg of romas into paste as I type, so I will see what that comes down to and work back with your recipe.

    40. Made this recipe for the first time tonight. Wasn’t that hard. I ended up with about a cup of paste. Also, this is extremely salty. I used tomatoes from the farm. Had good flavor but way too salty. I like to taste the tomatoes and it’s hard to notice anything but salt.

      1. Vicki, I’m sorry the paste didn’t turn out as expect. My guess is you over-reduced it. With half the yield (1 rather than 2 cups), I can see that it would be indeed way too salty. To salvage it, I’d suggest, stirring in some store-bought paste. Are you sure you had 10 pounds of tomatoes to start?

      2. Vicki, see my earlier post; Rosetta’s book gives weights, using 0.7% salt. I also track reduction by weight, seeing 8x to 10x reductions. Remember the traditional recipe is a preservation technique in place of refrigeration, while we’re after optimum flavor.

        My all-time favorite tomatoes for this are dry-farmed Early Girls from the Santa Cruz region, available in various California farmers markets in season.

    41. I’m obsessed with ketchups and tomato paste this season. Mostly following your method if not your recipe (yet:).

      Not using the cookie sheets because I would need to buy a new one that is stainless steel before I’d put tomatoes on it. I did use a large ceramic casserole (10×14) which I poured the cooked sieved ketchup into after it had cooked 24 hours in the crock-pot.

      I didn’t find that the higher sides affected the reduction time too much. I had the oven at 200 and it reduced to a ketchup consistency in about 3 hours. For the conserva I reckon it’ll take the same time because I won’t have added any vinegar or other extra liquid to the recipe.

      Looking forward to trying this with my last 10lbs of farmers market tomatoes.

    42. I used my slow cooker, it took three days here in our damp maritime climate. My organic Roma tomatoes reduced down to one ice cube tray of tomato paste cubes. Had to freeze then put into a Ziploc bag. I used one cube in my pasta sauce…divine!!

      1. Hi CC, the salt adds flavor but more importantly it attracts moisture from the tomatoes to add in the preservation process.

        1. I made my batch a couple of months ago, and while I lost patience waiting for it to become a truly thick paste, I am pleased with it overall.

          Re: the salt — the intensity of the salty flavor has mellowed with time. I’m not quite ready to just sit down with a jar of tomato paste and a spoon, but the salt flavor is definitely not as sharp as when I first made it.

          The type of salt you use can make a big difference as well. Industrially manufactured salt (even kosher) will have a sharper, more astringent flavor than, say, relatively small batch, solar evaporated Fleur de Sel. (I used to think salt was salt until I read a book about it. While it has made me a bit of a snob about salt, it has also opened a whole new world of taste and flavor possibilities, especially when it comes to tomatoes, which *love* salt and take on a more complex flavor profile with even a light dusting.)

          1. Yes, Minervasowl, the salt does make a world of difference. Which type of salt did you use for your batch?

            1. I used the “house” Fleur de Sel from the Meadow (there is a shop in Portland, OR, and one in NYC) which has become my everyday salt. The shop owner is the author of the book I read. It’s expensive (compared to grocery store salt), but given how long the bag has lasted, despite using some significant quantities for a couple of preserving recipes, I have definitely gotten my money’s worth.

    43. Thanks. I think I’ll try it in the food dehydrator, except I’ll have to get the fruit roll up puree trays that can be used in the dehydrator. I never bought those, only have the screens for the layering in the food dehydrator. I think this would be much like drying it in the sun. Maybe not though. I’ll have to go to the farmers market after I see if I can get the trays.

    44. As I live in Palestine and there is plenty of heat and sun here, could I skip everything past step 3 and just dry it for 3 to 4 days in the sun on my balcony?

      1. Annerieke, we haven’t tested this recipe using that method because it’s too humid here, but I dare say yes, you can, seeing as that’s how they did it back in the day. Good luck! I’m sure it will work fine. And I’d love to hear how long it takes to dry….

    45. I think that a tomato paste recipe is the last one I need to get completely away from store-bought canned tomato products, so I am excited to try this recipe. I have a couple of questions though. I am not sure whether any of my baking sheets are non-aluminum. Would a large Pyrex dish be an acceptable substitute? Also, how important is it to remove the skins? Do they affect the flavor significantly? I leave skins on when I can tomatoes and when I make sauce.

      1. minervaowl, that’s swell to hear on completely veering away from store-bought canned tomato products! Can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe. As for the baking sheet substitution, I worry that the high sides of a Pyrex dish will impede evaporation of moisture and either prolong the drying process or perhaps even sabotage it. What if you used your baking sheets and covered them with several thicknesses of parchment paper and then oiled the paper? That way you get the advantage of the low sides yet don’t have to worry about whether the surface of the sheets are aluminum and, thus, reactive with the acid in the tomatoes? As for the skins, you know, I guess it’s more personal preference than anything. The taste may be slightly more tannic with the skins on, but really the difference is going to be in the texture of the resulting paste. Suit yourself. And do let us know how it goes!

        1. Parchment paper! I love parchment paper! My cookies practically leap off the baking sheet now that I use parchment paper. I’ll try that option if I don’t decide to go with the crock pot, which is very tempting so that I don’t have to worry about even spreading. Thanks.

    46. This is a very precious post. I never had any idea…I was an idiot. Now I am not so stupid. Thank you so much.

    47. A few weeks ago I made tomato paste much like this using my crock pot with the lid off instead of the oven. It took 2 days to cook down from completely full to about 2 cups final product. I had it on low heat for the first day and upped it to high on day two. Stirred every 45 to 60 minutes with a silicone spatula. I also didn’t salt mine until almost finished. This is the best tomato paste in the world.

      1. Brilliant, Rebecca! Simply brilliant. (If anyone happens to try this tomato paste recipe in a slow cooker following Rebecca’s notes, we’d love to know if it follows the same timing.) Many thanks for sharing such a swell tactic!

      2. Just tried this using the crock pot method – I’m sure it’s not quite as paste-like as it might be otherwise, but it’s beautifully rich and delicious. Thanks so much for sharing your alternate method!

      3. I am looking forward to trying your method. I have a few crockpots and would love to do this. I haven’t tried the other method but it looks good too. Thank you for writing this article.

    48. Do you think it could be put into a dehydrator for the last bit rather than in an oven? Thinking of simplifying the reduction process…closer to the temp of air-dried?

      1. Terrific idea, Ecoteri. I absolutely think it can be finished in a dehydrator, although since we didn’t test it that way, I’m afraid I can’t offer you specific guidance regarding the exact setting and timing required, although if, like me, you’ve ever just thrown something in the dehydrator and kept an eye on it, I’m certain you’ll be fine. Love to hear what you think and how long it took….

      2. I know this can be put into a dehydrator, as that is how I prefer to make it. The taste is different, and some might prefer this taste, as some might prefer that of the sun. The taste of cooked tomatoes is more familiar, but I personally don’t like cooked as much. Cooking robs aromatics.

        We have two Nesco American Harvest FD-61 dehydrators and extra trays and fruit roll inserts for all trays, making two stacks of eight, which can handle nearly 30 lbs of tomatoes at a time. Our primary conserve (not estratto) is a 4x reduction, made by skinning, salting, chunking and putting on lightly oiled fruit roll trays to dry till “gooshy” then package to freeze. We haven’t opened a can of tomatoes in 10 years.

        I’ve made various conserva/estratto experiments. Cooking and passing the tomatoes through a food mill starts out very wet, and the fruit roll trays handle perhaps 1/2 cup of liquid. Instead proceed exactly as above with peeled chunks, but to a 3x reduction, and then pass through a food mill and dehydrate some more. The dehydrator on high cooks just fine, while robbing less flavor than a simmering pot, more like the sun. And one handles a much bigger load this way, essential because Sicilian estratto is a 10x to 16x reduction.

        Rosetta’s book also gives weights; she calls for 35g salt for 4500g tomatoes, or about 0.7% salt by weight. Other recipes I know go up to 1.5%.

        1. Dave, I’m at a loss for words except to say many, many thanks for sharing your experience and insights. I so appreciate it. Many, many readers will benefit from this. Again, thank you. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you tackle next…

      1. This is the biggest waste of time I’ve spent for two years running now. Takes all freakin’ day and still, wasn’t as I expected it to be. Just buy the store-bought. DO NOT waste a whole day doing this, for barely any paste.

        1. Joanne, so sorry to hear that it didn’t meet your expectations. It is homemade, of course, and will be different from store bought. Plus the quality of tomatoes matters. This year our tomatoes are less flavorful due to so much rain. Also, the recipes does say it makes just 2 cups.

          1. This was time-consuming but the best sauce I have ever made using my own paste. Also, canned paste is highly processed and remember the tin-canning process uses carcinogens in the sealing process. I have hundreds of tomatoes at different stages. One week I make paste the other I make sauce. I did not realize u can keep it in the fridge for a year with olive oil. Great info! I think peeling them is easier than the food grinder and I can make smooth and chunky sauces—some I season, some I do not. Can you cook the paste in a Crock Pot? I’m trying that next.

            1. Lizet, so glad you enjoyed the recipe. As far as using a Crock-Pot, we didn’t test the recipe that way, so I don’t want to venture a guess and have you ruin a gorgeous batch of tomatoes.

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