Looking for an easy way to make sauce from frozen tomatoes? This tutorial will show you how to make homemade tomato sauce with frozen tomatoes without using a food mill or a food processor.
I love making homemade sauce with fresh garden tomatoes as they ripen. Late summer always brings in bushels of these beautiful red fruits and sometimes, I can feel a bit overwhelmed with the harvest.
So while I often try to preserve them in the canner as they come ready, there are times when I’m too busy to process my fresh tomatoes, particularly at the end of the season.
Instead of letting them go to waste, I do it the easy way. I pop whole tomatoes into large freezer bags and store them in the freezer for a later preserving date.
When I’m freezing tomatoes for making sauce or tomato paste, I don’t blanch, core, peel or cut them up.
Sometimes I even forget to remove the stems!
But it really doesn’t matter. Because whole tomatoes will keep in freezer bags for at least 6 months. This makes it very easy to create tomato sauce or paste during the winter season when the garden has been put to bed and you have extra time on your hands.
This sauce can be served fresh. You can make and preserve it in the canner.
Or better yet, you can create, cool and refreeze it in bags for a quick, go-to pasta sauce, pizza sauce or as an additive to winter soups. All three options are a great way to go!
But enough about all the ways to use homemade tomato sauce. You already know all of this.
Let’s get into the basics of how to make homemade tomato sauce with frozen tomatoes. I also created a video tutorial for you, so be sure to watch it as well!
Best Tomato Variety to Use for Sauce
You can use any type of tomatoes for making homemade tomato sauce, but you’ll get the best results when you use paste or plum varieties. They have lower water content than table tomatoes or cherry tomatoes and you’ll get more sauce per pound of fruit with these types.
The flavor is better too.
In my gardens, I like to grow Amish Paste, San Marzano tomatoes and my new found favorite is a red heirloom variety called Opalka.
But you don’t have to grow tomatoes yourself to make this sauce. You can get them at farmers’ markets, the grocery store or even from a friend or neighbor who has extra.
Equipment You’ll Need
- 5 quart (4.7 litre) stockpot with lid
- 4 quart stockpot
- stainless steel spoon
- a Bosch mixer (get the blender attachment HERE)
- measuring spoons
- 5-6 lbs frozen tomatoes
- optional: onions, meat, smoke seasoning
Video: how to make tomato sauce with frozen tomatoes
Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe
For this recipe you’ll need anywhere from 5-6 lbs of frozen paste tomatoes. In my gardens, I grow an Amish paste tomato, San Marzano tomatoes and my new found favorite is the Opalka heirloom variety.
As you can see in the video above, I freeze my tomatoes whole. No blanching required. They’re literally popped into freezer bags and are stashed in the deep freeze until I have time to get at them.
When you’re ready to make homemade tomato sauce with frozen tomatoes, sort through the bags of fruits as you place them in your stockpot, being sure to remove any stems you may have missed at harvest time.
Recipe notes: to speed the sauce making process, you can thaw your tomatoes to room temperature ahead of time. This will significantly cut down on the first cooking time!
Load your stockpot with tomatoes and cover with a lid. Cook tomatoes on medium heat, stirring a few times until they’ve softened throughout, are saggy and can easily be mashed with a large, stainless steel stirring spoon.
This will take about 30 minutes if tomatoes are frozen solid. If thawed, this will take about 10-15 minutes.
When your tomatoes are cooked, turn off the stove and remove your pot from the burner. You’ll want to let the tomatoes cool a bit before turning them into sauce.
Please don’t skip this step!!!
One of the first times I made tomato sauce using this method, I didn’t cool my tomatoes and didn’t hold the blender’s lid down when I turned it on. Big mistake!
The heat caused the lid to loosen off and my neck and arms were splatted with scalding hot tomato that badly burned my skin. I had scars for 2 years.
So always, always, always cool your tomatoes until there’s no danger of burning yourself. Cooler tomatoes are easier on your blender as well.
To puree your (cooled) cooked tomatoes, fill your blender 1/2-2/3 full.
Cover the lid with a tea towel or pot hold and firmly hold it down as you pulse and puree your tomatoes for about 30 seconds or until you no longer see peels whizzing by.
Pour the puree into a second stockpot and continue blending your cooked tomatoes until they’ve all been pureed into a smooth, watery sauce.
From here, you just want to cook the puree down, until it thickens into a beautiful tomato sauce.
How long will it take?
Times vary based on the water content in your tomatoes! Aim for about 1 hour of slow simmering. Be sure to often stir the sauce, particularly as you near the end of your cooking time.
And when you’re happy with the consistency, it’s time to flavor it up! Unless you want plain tomato sauce, that is.
For additional flavor, peel 5-6 fresh garlic cloves and mince with a sharp kitchen knife or put cloves through a garlic press. Stir in salt, fresh garlic, oregano and paprika. Simmer your sauce for another 5-7 minutes or until the garlic has softened and cooked throughout.
Your sauce can be served immediately with meat, onions, cheese or your family’s favorite additives. It’s also ready for home canning at this point, if you like.
Or you can let it cool, ladle it into zip-top bags or place in an airtight container and return it to the freezer.
This recipe makes a quick and delicious spaghetti sauce you preserve in the freezer for a quick and easy meal.
How do you thaw tomatoes for a sauce?
Whole frozen tomatoes can be thawed by cooking them for 30 minutes in a stockpot. Or, you can place the bags of tomatoes in a bowl (to catch condensation) and let them thaw for half a day at room temperature.
What variety of tomatoes should I use for this recipe?
While you can use any variety of tomatoes (yes, even cherry tomatoes!), I recommend using paste or plum types. They have significantly less water, will thicken faster and you’ll get significantly more sauce per pound of fruit.
My personal favorites are Amish paste, San Marzano tomatoes and especially Opalka heirloom tomatoes.
Can I leave the skin on my tomatoes when making sauce?
You bet! I never bother with removing tomato skins when I make this recipe. If they’re well cooked, tomato skins and even the cores becomes fragile and will puree into oblivion in your kitchen blender!
Do I need a food processor or food mill to make this recipe?
No. Because cooking your tomatoes softens the skins and cores, your kitchen blender is capable of pureeing these things into your homemade tomato sauce so they aren’t noticeable!
Does this recipe make a smooth sauce or a chunky sauce?
Definitely smooth! If you puree tomatoes in the blender like I recommend in my tutorial, the texture of your finished tomato sauce will be smooth and almost creamy.
How do I make a thicker sauce?
To make a thicker sauce, just cook your pureed tomatoes for longer. As the water evaporates, your sauce will continue to thicken until it turns into a tomato paste. Just be sure to stir it constantly if you go beyond sauce consistency!
Can I use this recipe to make plain tomato sauce?
To make plain tomato sauce without herbs, spices or fresh garlic, just omit them from the recipe. I do recommend adding salt for a full tomato flavor. But this too can be left out, if desired.
How do I freeze my homemade tomato sauce?
To freeze your sauce, let it cool and then fill zip loc bags no more than 2/3 full. Carefully seal the bag and then lay it on it’s side in the freezer, so it hardens into a flat disc that is easy to stack.
Tip: always place bags of fresh sauce in a bin until if freezes, so you can catch any leaks that might occur. To prevent blow outs, don’t stack your plastic bags more than 2-3 high before sauce has frozen into a block.
Wanna freeze your sauce in airtight containers? It’s easy! Just ladle it into plastic containers, being sure to leave 2-3 inches of open space at the top for expansion. Cover with a lid, label and stack in your freezer.
How do I thaw my homemade tomato sauce?
You can thaw tomato sauce by leaving it out on the counter for about half a day or pop it directly into a stockpot and simmer until everything has warmed and is melted.
How to Make Tomato Sauce with Frozen Tomatoes
- 5 quart stockpot
- 4 quart stockpot
- stainless steel mixing spoon
- cutting board
- kitchen knife
- measuring spoons
- 5-6 lbs frozen tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 5-6 minced garlic cloves
- Place whole frozen tomatoes in a 5 quart (4.7 litre) pot, being sure to remove stems if found.
- Cover the pot with a lid and set to medium heat on the stovetop.
- Cook tomatoes for about 30 minutes or until they're soft and sagging. Be sure to stir occasionally.
- Remove pot from heat and cool until there's no danger of burning yourself.
- Ladle tomatoes and juices into your kitchen blender, until its 1/2-2/3 full.
- Add lid to your blender and cover with a pot holder or tea towel.
- Firmly holding the lid in place, puree tomatoes for about 30 seconds or until you no longer see peels whirring by.
- Pour tomato puree into a 4 quart pot and continue blending cooked tomatoes until done.
- Bring your pureed tomato to a rolling boil and reduce heat so sauce gently simmers.
- Simmer tomato puree for about an hour to cook down and thicken, stirring often.
- When you're happy with the consistency, mince garlic and stir in along with salt, paprika and oregano.
- Simmer everything for another 5-7 minutes or until the garlic softens.
- Use immediately or preserve by canning or freezing.
- When you are ready to use, add in your favorite meat, cheeese, onions, or anything else you like in your sauce!