How to Peel Tomatoes {The Easy Way}

peeling tomatoes

Before I start this tutorial on how to peel tomatoes, I should clarify that this is how I peel tomatoes – and it’s a lot easier than the typical method. When I’m facing mounds of tomatoes from the garden that all need to be processed into salsa, sauce or canned, I cannot be bothered with making an “X” in the bottom of each tomato like many instructions advise. I mean, sheesh, it already takes long enough.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile you’ve probably realized that I try to find the easiest way (read: lazy?) to do things. So years ago when I was faced with my first piles of tomatoes from my garden I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t cut the “x” in the bottoms first. Guess what? The skins start to peel all by themselves. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

How to Peel Tomatoes {for processing, sauces, etc.}

1. Begin with the amount of tomatoes needed for the recipe. Weigh them and have them ready to go while your largest pot filled with water is coming to a boil. Put them in the wire basket and dunk them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. You will start to see some of the skins start to crack and curl.

2. Immediately dump them into a large bowl or sink. The nice thing about having them in a bowl is that you can move them around if needed and you still can use that side of the sink if needed. Repeat as necessary until all the tomatoes are dunked and in the bowl.

3.  Set on a cutting board and peel the tomatoes. Most of the peels will be cracked and will come right off when you pull them. Simply core and cut these as needed for your recipe.

3b. If there are some tomatoes that have intact peels, core them first…

3c. And then the peels will just slide off. Super easy.

4. Proceed with all of your tomatoes as needed, chopping after peeling and moving them off to the side.

Note: I use this over-the-sink cutting board when I’m preserving and find it really useful. I think it originally came with a little basket covering the hole (to catch vegetable waste?), but I’ve long since disposed of that. What I like is that it sits over the sink and I can have a bowl sitting under the hole. All the peels, ends and seeds are contained in the bowl and when it’s full I can easily pick it up and put it in the compost. There’s also no worry about all the juices from fruits and vegetables getting all over the counter.

Stay tuned for recipes to use up all these tomatoes we now know how to peel- the easy way!



  1. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    I’ve had this for about 15 years! I actually think someone gave it to me…
    I tried to find one and there’s one on Amazon that I’ve put in my sidebar of things I recommend. It’s bamboo and more expensive, though. Maybe a kitchen store?

  2. Jenelle says

    Thanks! I’ll have to keep my eye out for one. I’ve only got 4 small tomatoes out of my garden this year so far, so I don’t think I will be doing any canning. Ah well. I shall try again next year.

  3. Laura in LittleRock says

    You also can plunge the blanched tomatoes into ice water. Just partially fill your sink with water and dump some ice in before you put tomatoes in the boiling water. The ice bath will stop the cooking process… and the tomatoes will really start to peel as they chill. I grew up canning and ice bath for tomatoes is a fabulous trick.

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