how to make crushed tomatoes

How to Make Crushed Tomatoes From Scratch

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Do you have an abundance of tomatoes? These extra tomatoes could be due to you knowing when to plant tomatoes for healthy produce or as a result of using the best tomato fertilizers with essential nutrients.
Learn how to make crushed tomatoes with some of the extras, so you don't have to rely on store-bought when a soup, stew, chili, or casserole recipe calls for canned tomatoes.

It is easy to crush tomatoes from scratch. They have far more tasty than store-bought versions. Can or freeze your crushed tomatoes to keep them for a long time. 

How to Make Crushed Tomatoes


  • Salt
  • Tomatoes
  • Glass preserving jars with lids and bands 
  • Lemon juice or citric acid in a bottle (if you're canning them)


1. Quantity

If you wish to can your crushed tomatoes, prepare as many tomatoes as will fit in your canner at one time. A water bath canner can hold 9 pints of food at a time. You'll need about 22 pounds of tomatoes to create seven quarts of crushed tomatoes.

Do you want to put your smashed tomatoes in the freezer? You can then use as many or as few tomatoes as you choose. For example, to create a quart, you'll need around 2-3/4 pounds of tomatoes, and to make a pint, you'll need about 1 pound 6 ounces.

2. Preparation

Prepare a water canner by filling it halfway with boiling water. Next, heat the jars in a pan of simmering water until they're ready to use. Boiling is not recommended; Set bands aside after washing lids in warm soapy water.

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3. Clean the Tomatoes

Dip them in scalding water for 1 minute, then dip them into cold water right away. Slip off the skins. Cut out the core and remove any green regions. Cut the tomatoes into quarters now. Divide them into six heaps to make it easier to add the quartered tomatoes to the dish.

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4. Crush and Cook the Tomatoes

Crush the first sixth of the tomatoes with a potato masher or spoon to release their juices in a large pot. Then, quickly cook them over high heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning them.

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5. Add the Rest of Tomatoes

Let the hot tomatoes boil gently, then add the remaining tomatoes, a sixth at a time. These tomatoes don't need to be crushed; they'll soften and simmer down on their own. Continue stirring and adding tomatoes until you've used up all the tomatoes. Then, while stirring regularly, maintain the saucepan at a mild boil for five minutes.

How to Can Crushed Tomatoes

  1. To can your homemade crushed tomatoes, fill your hot, sanitized jars with bottled lemon juice.
  2. In each quart jar, use two tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid; in each pint jar, use one tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid.
  3. Because modern tomatoes aren't as acidic as they once were, you'll need to increase the acidity to make them safe to can in a water bath or under pressure.
  4. If you are using a pint jar, add half a teaspoon and one teaspoon to each quart jar adding salt to your crushed tomatoes.
  5. Fill the jars halfway with heated crushed tomatoes, leaving one-half inch of headroom at the top.
  6. Screw the lids and bands. Then, process pint jars for 35 minutes in a boiling water canner and quarts for 45 minutes.
  7. Next, process the jars for 20 minutes at high pressure to pressure can your crushed tomatoes.

How to Freeze Crushed Tomatoes

  1. Transfer your crushed tomatoes to freezer-safe containers to freeze, allowing 1/2-inch room for expansion.
  2. Let the tomatoes cool before putting them in the freezer.
  3. Using pint freezer jars makes it simple to replace one can of canned crushed tomatoes in a recipe with one can of homemade crushed tomatoes.
  4. It s important to note that pints thaw faster than quarts.
  5. To avoid mixing your crushed tomatoes with something else in your freezer, use freezer labels to identify your jars.

Crushed Tomatoes Substitutes

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Is it better to eat tomatoes diced, crushed, whole, or as a paste? If you don't have any crushed tomatoes on hand, here are a couple of alternatives that will suffice.

1. Tomato Puree

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Replace the crushed tomatoes in your recipe with tomato puree in an equal amount. Some manufacturers make their crushed tomatoes chunkier than their tomato puree, while others don't create much of a contrast. As a result, if you swap them out, you'll probably notice no difference.

Mutti Tomato Puree (Passata), 24.5 oz. | 2 Pack...
  • 100% ITALIAN TOMATOES: Mutti sun-ripened tomatoes are...
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2. Fresh Tomatoes

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Peeled, seeded, and crushed Roma tomatoes are used to make crushed tomatoes. Using fresh tomatoes instead of canned crushed tomatoes is a natural substitution. Avoid tomatoes from plants that are turning yellow. Here is a quick fix in case your tomato plants are turning yellow.

Peel, quarter, and seed your tomatoes if preferred, then dice them and place them in the food processor. You don't want your mixture to be fully saucy, so don't pulverize them completely. Instead, add a small bit of tomato paste to your processor to create a thicker texture and finish.

You don't need to season the tomatoes now because you'll be flavoring the marinara sauce, stew, or whatever recipe you used the crushed tomatoes for later.

3. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste

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You'll want to add something to help with the texture because canned tomato paste is much thicker than crushed tomatoes. Add some fresh tomatoes or even chopped tomatoes to the paste if you have them on hand, and blend everything. If that isn't an option, thin the paste with a small amount of water.

365 by Whole Foods Market, Paste Tomato Organic, 6...
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  • Our Organic Tomatoes are organically grown and vine-ripened in...
  • Non-BPA lining.
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4. Diced Tomatoes

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Crushed vs. diced tomatoes? Tomato chunks packed in tomato liquid are commonly referred to as diced tomatoes, while crushed tomatoes are finely diced tomatoes. To mix them a little and turn them from diced to crushed, add a can of diced tomatoes to the food processor, just like fresh tomatoes.

Remember that the mixture should remain chunky rather than being reduced to a sauce. To increase the flavor and consistency, add additional tomato paste to these.

5. Marinara or Pasta Sauce

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It's possible to replace another tomato-based sauce, but the difficulty is that these sauces are already seasoned. If you must use a jarred marinara sauce, keep in mind the other spices and ingredients in the dish to avoid an overabundance of garlic, salt, or basil.

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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