This is a simple tutorial for how to make canned tomatoes.  This is so easy, anyone can do it and enjoy canned tomatoes all year long at a low cost.

How to Can Tomatoes--tutorial from

Canned tomatoes are a staple in my pantry, and I think in most people’s pantries. I LOVE having a stock of homemade canned tomatoes to pull from. They are super easy to make and they taste amazing!  I like to buy a box of fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market so I can have yummy canned tomatoes that will last me for months!

Yields 6 quart jars of diced tomatoes

16 pounds Roma tomatoes (or other low-moisture tomatoes)
Boiling water
Lemon juice

Equipment needed:
A large canning kettle or stockpot (for processing the jars)
A small, round rack (to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot)
6 quart jars, sterilized
Box of new lids and rings

A bowl filled with tomatoes.

1. Start by blanching your tomatoes.  Put a large pot of water to boil. Cut “x” shaped slits at the bottom of the tomatoes (this will make them easier to peel), and boil in small batches for 1-2 minutes. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Once they are cooled, peel skin off the tomatoes using your hands or a paring knife.

2. Fill two more small pots with boiling water. In one pot, boil the lids to the jars for about 10 minutes, to soften their sealant. (UPDATE– there are new rules to certain brands of lids, and many no longer require boiling the lids. Check your box of lids before doing so.) Use the other pot of boiling water for adding to your tomatoes (see step 4).

3. Place your canning rack into your canning kettle, and fill the kettle with enough water that the jars will be able to be submerged. Bring water to a boil.

4. While the jars are boiling, chop tomatoes into large chunks.  Stuff your sterilized jars evenly with chopped tomatoes. Add ½ tsp salt, and 1 tsp bottled lemon juice to each quart. Gently pour boiling water in the jars with the tomatoes, leaving ½ in. headspace at the top of the jars.

Mason jars filled with canned tomatos.

5. Wipe the rims of the jars clean. Place the lids and rims on the jars.

6. Using jar lifters or tongs, lower the jars into the boiling water in the canning kettle.  Once all the jars are submerged in the kettle, put a lid on it and bring it back up to a boil. Process, with the water boiling the whole time, for 45 minutes.

Jars of canned tomatoes in a water bath.

7. Remove the cans from the kettle water bath and set them on a towel on your counter-top to dry and cool. Leave them undisturbed for several hours. Later, you can test the seal of the jars by gently tapping the lid, which should hold tight and be concave. (If you find one that did not seal, then it did not process correctly, so refrigerate it and use it soon.)

8. Store jars in a cool, dark place until ready to use.


How long are canned tomatoes good for?

If these canned tomatoes are properly stored, they will last 18-24 months (at best quality), and are often safe eating after even longer than that.

How do I know if my canned tomatoes are safe to eat?

Always make sure your mason jars do not show signs of leaking or rusting.  Press down on the center of the lid: it should not pop back. If it sits flat it is safe, but if it pops back, it has not sealed properly.

If your tomatoes start to develop a fowl odor, become discolored, or if you see signs of mold, these are signs of spoilage and you should discard them!

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

This post contains affiliate links.

Related Posts

Share Recipe


About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Gathered a box of tomatoes today and I’m using your recipe to can them.
    I haven’t canned anything for a few years so I’m excited and ready to go again.
    I’ll let you know how it comes out…😋

  2. Hi Lauren sorry to be a bimbo but haven’t done much canning (a bit frightened of it) when you say submerge you mean totally over the top of the lids?

  3. Can this recipe be adapted to add more herbs? I’m brand new to canning so I want to make sure it’s safe. We use a lot of canned tomatoes and luckily we have a large amount growing this year. I’d like to add garlic or herbs for a bit more flavor. I could use fresh or dried herbs if that matters.

  4. I would like to try again as I do use alot of canned tomatoes but don’t want to have them go to waste if the canned tomotoes don’t turn out should I perhaps try with the citric acid instead of the lemon juice as the recipe only calls for lemon juice and I deskinned the tomatoes using the hot water bath method.
    water and salt only added if I recall from the receipe and than boiled the jars for the proper times, and let them set in which they all did all the jars sealed with no issues

    1. Hi Ann, I’m a little confused by your question–I may be wisest for you to refer to an official safe canning/preserving guide.

  5. Hi
    If I recall this is exactly what I had done to make my homemade canned tomatoes however and letting them sit for while or a few days later I went tried one but tomatoes taste quite lemon flavoured. Are they supposed to taste that way
    I did use the roma tomatoe

    please advise as in all of the recipes I have found for making homemake whole tomatoes or cut up tomotes the receipe calls for lemon juice

    jar size was the 1 pint and 1 litre size
    if they are supposed to be that way than I am fine but if they aren’t than I will be putting them in to the garbage, I have even let them sit for much longer now as I think I make them 2 years ago. and they are stored in a dark cabinet

    same with my tomatoe sauce I made as well using a receipe which called for lemon juice as well as the other ingredients like onion, celery, and basil that sauce tastes a bit lemony as well which again I used roma tomotoes and followed the receipe from the canning books I purchased that specialize in canning reciepes Bernard’s if I recall


  6. Just read this post, and I am super excited to bottle my tomatoes. I just got home from POWWOW and I now have a ton of tomatoes. I just got married less than a year ago, so it’s just my husband and myself at home and there’s no way we’ll eat all these tomatoes, so I’m looking forward to trying my hand at bottling them. Thanks for the tutorial!

  7. You make it look easy! I am new to canning – just this summer. So far, I have made strawberry jam, apricot jam, and canned peaches. Tomatoes are next on my bucket list and you have just inspired me to try it this weekend.

  8. Hi, Roma tomatoes aren’t available locally UK. Can you suggest another type of tomato to use or and type NOT to use if that’s easier. Thank you

    1. Hi Belinda, any type of tomatoes should work but the less watery the better, that’s why I like Roma tomatoes best. Good luck!

    1. That’s a good question–I’m not sure if lime juice has the same (or enough) acidity to get the tomatoes to the same safe PHzone needed for canning. I would read up on canning safety or try to google it…

  9. I am in the process of canning….I am doing pints and quarts of tomatoes, the pints have a little buckle in the lid, do you have any idea? They are still cooling so we will see…

    1. Hi Melanie, I would allow them to rest for several hours and then check the lids again–sometimes the lids will pop and seal as they sit.

  10. I absolutely agree with Sophie on her previous points….following the National Center for Home Food Preservation or USDA is the best way to go for canning with optimum safety in mind for your family and others. I would like to add that the lemon juice should be added at 1 Tbs per pint OR 2 Tbs per quart….according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Also, checking with your local university Cooperative Extension Service for up to date canning guidelines would be helpful too. There is no way I would take risks in home canning….

  11. A couple of things to consider when canning tomatoes. First, the USDA says it is unsafe to use a steamer canner for anything except high acid jams and jellies. Second, the canner pot can be filled with hot water but it should not be brought to boiling before the jars of cold tomatoes are put in. To correctly process the core temperature of the tomatoes must reach a certain temperature for a length of time. The processing time is actually shortened by putting the jars into boiling water and re quired internal temperature may not be reached for the right lenghth of time. When in doubt always refer to a recognized authority such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

  12. Just curious, I use a steamer to process my jams and jellies also fruit. I have used the water bath but have found the steamer easier to use but with tomatoes do they need to be immersed and why?

    1. Hi Charlene, you can definitely use a steamer, that’s what my mom uses and what I grew up using!

  13. I never would have thought canning was actually this easy and I use canned tomatoes in everything! Thank you for this awesome post!

  14. This is awesome. Canning has always scared me, but we planted a lot of tomatoes this year, so I think I need to brave it!

  15. Oooooh I love freshly canned tomatoes! I totally need to do this! I was feeling like I missed out on all the fresh tomato fun this summer since we moved because I didn’t plant a garden! Great idea to go to the farmers market! Perfect. Thanks! They look amazing.

  16. Just curious, why the lemon juice? Aren’t tomatoes pretty acidic themselves? I have never canned tomatoes, but I might try doing salsa as soon as our tomatoes are ripe because we will have lots of them!

    1. Hey Amber, that’s a good question. The acidity in ripe tomatoes is much lower than in greener/unripe tomatoes. And since the acidity levels vary so much in tomatoes it’s really important to add the extra acidity so that the Ph levels in the canned tomatoes stay at a safe level to avoid botulism. It’s recommended to add whether you’re using a water bath or pressure canner.

      1. Thanks for the great info! I have 2 quick questions: In step #4, how full do you fill each jar with tomatoes and how much boiling water do you put in each jar with the tomatoes?

        Thanks! Teresa

        1. Hi Teresa, I don’t have a specific measurement for you, because it depends on your jar size. Pack your jars with chopped tomatoes until they’re nearly full–leaving 1/2” of headspace. Then pour boiling water into the jars until the water reaches the top of the tomatoes, still leaving that 1/2” of headspace. Does that makes sense?

    1. I’ve done this. It works really well, and the flavor is wonderful! It makes peeling the tomatoes very easy.