We’re sharing everything you need to know about how to freeze tomato paste. From the simple steps to keep tomato paste good for a long time to common questions about freezing it, here’s how to save store-bought or homemade tomato paste like a pro!
If you cook, at all, you know the frustration when recipes never use more than 3 tablespoons of tomato paste yet every jar and can is much larger than that. And like everything, there are two sides to this.
On one hand, tomato paste is a super concentrated flavor so recipes don’t need much to impart the flavor of fresh tomatoes.
On the other hand, grocery stores need to make a profit, so they have to sell more than 3 tablespoons worth at a time!
And since the grocery store dictates what gets sold, I guess we are all stuck with leftovers. Luckily, freezing this pantry staple ingredient is easy peasy and is a great way to reduce food waste! The method I’m going to show you separates the paste into smaller portions for future use because freezing the entire can of tomato paste doesn’t work very well.
whats the best way to freeze tomato paste?
The best way to save tomato past in the freezer is to use an airtight container or plastic freezer bag. You can do this by freezing them first in an ice cube tray or similar products, but I’ve found the easiest way to freeze it is pre-portion the tomato paste on a flat surface and freeze. I’ll show you exactly what I mean.
- Portion: Onto a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet, place mounds of 2 tablespoons of tomato paste on the parchment paper. It’s helpful to flaten down the top with the back of your measuring spoon so they fit better into the bags in step 2.
- Freeze: Freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer safe container for storage up to 6 months.
Tips for freezing
- Always label your bag with the contents and date. The shelf life of tomato paste is pretty long in the freezer (6 months to retain the best tomato flavor), but having the date labeled will make sure you use it in time.
- I use 2-tablespoon portions because it’s the most common quantity in my recipes, but you don’t need to be exact when measuring out your mound.
- A small cookie scoop is about 1 tablespoon and has the quick-release squeeze feature. This makes it an easy way to portion out tomato paste quickly!
- In an effort to continue to limit waste, you can use a silicone mat instead of parchment paper.
- If you are trying to freeze tomato sauce or tomato puree, this method will no work! You will need to use an ice cube tray or similar silicon product like Souper Cubes because sauce won’t hold its shape on its own like paste does.
Should I use a vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn?
Vacuum sealers are cool tools that remove all the air from a bag, essentially removing the risk of freezer burn for the foreseeable future. However, it is another “thing” to have and for tomato paste, we don’t feel it’s worth using a vacuum sealer unless you already have one that you use regularly. For most people, a Ziplock bag will work just fine!
how to thaw frozen tomato paste
When you are ready to use the tomato paste, you can often just throw the frozen mound directly into the pot. If not, you can leave it on the counter to thaw for a few minutes before using it in your recipe.
What can I do with leftover tomato paste?
Leftover tomato paste can be used in any way fresh tomato paste can be used! Some of my favorite recipes that use it are:
- Soyrizo Tacos with Adobo Creme
- Jackfruit Carnitas
- Pizza Roasted Chickpeas
- Or watch how I use frozen tomato paste in this Tuscan White Bean Soup (video below!)
- 1 can tomato paste
- Portion: Onto a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet, make 2 Tbsp-sized mounds of tomato paste.
- Freeze: Freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer safe container for storage up to 6 months. Always label your bag with the contents and date!
- Usage: When you need it for a recipe, you can often just throw the frozen mound into the pot (especially if it's a soup or sauce). Otherwise, thaw on the counter or briefly in the microwave before incorporating into your recipe.