Have you ever asked yourself whether or not you can freeze tomato paste to use later? I’ll walk you through the simple steps for freezing tomato paste so you never have to waste a whole can on a recipe that only calls for one tablespoon!
For a long time, I have disliked making new recipes that call for tomato paste. Why? Because they never call for more than 1-2 tablespoons of the stuff.
That’s not much tomato paste compared to the volume of the whole can. Even the tiny little cans you get at the grocery store are 6 ounces, and the leftover tomato paste almost always winds up in the trash.
I really dislike food waste, and leftover paste was a bane of my existence for years! Instead of complaining about how wasteful tomato paste is, I decided to try and figure out a better way of using the rest of the can. Through some experimentation, I found a solution that keeps tomato paste at its best quality for months.
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably been frustrated with tomato paste too. You’ll never waste tomato paste again after following this simple tutorial for freezing tomato paste in tablespoon portions. I have saved so many cans of tomato paste over the years using this easy process, and you can too.
- Ingredients and Tools
- By the Numbers: How to Freeze Tomato Paste
- Tips for Freezing Tomato Paste
- More Helpful Home Hacks
- How to Freeze Tomato Paste for Later Use
Ingredients and Tools
- 1 can of tomato paste
- Can opener
- Baking sheet
- Silicone baking mat
- Tablespoon measuring spoon
- Freezer safe glass jar
By the Numbers: How to Freeze Tomato Paste
Follow these two simple steps for the easiest way to freeze tomato paste so you never waste again. The whole process can be completed quickly and easily, and ensures you always have the best quality tomato paste on hand.
Step 1: Measure Out Tomato Paste.
Open your can of tomato paste and place the silicone mat on the baking sheet (a cutting board or anything with a flat surface will also work). Carefully measure out the tomato paste, one tablespoon at a time, and place it on the silicone mat in a single layer. Repeat until you’ve used the entire can of tomato paste.
The scoops don’t have to be perfect, but try to keep each scoop to exactly 1 tablespoon. It will make it super easy to use in recipes! And I find that a measuring spoon makes a pretty good shape for long term storage.
Step 2: Freeze Tomato Paste.
After you’ve measured out all of your tomato paste, place the baking sheet in the freezer. Leave the pan in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until the tomato paste is solid. If you’re afraid you might forget about the pan, you can cover it lightly with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
Once frozen through, place your frozen tomato paste lumps into a glass storage container or freezer-safe container and store in the freezer. Now you’re all set to use tomato paste in individual frozen portions!
Tips for Freezing Tomato Paste
Answers to all of your questions about freezing tomato paste, along with tips and use ideas to make it easy peasy the next time you open a can of tomato paste.
1. Is it okay to use an ice cube tray?
Absolutely. If you have a small size ice cube tray that is easy to pop things out of (like a silicone ice cube tray), then go for it. It’s still a great idea to measure out 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to freeze in each cavity of the tray.
Then just freeze the tray, pop the frozen cubes of tomato paste out and store in a freezer-safe airtight container or small freezer bags so it’s always ready for use.
2. Is glass or plastic better?
If you’re trying to decide between a glass and plastic container to store your paste in, I recommend glass for best results. Tomato products are acidic and can leach plastic, which can sometimes lead to an off taste or odor. I typically use a freezer-safe glass jar rather than a Ziplock bag for tomato ingredients.
3. Alternative to a silicone mat?
If you don’t have a silicone baking mat, you can also use parchment paper or wax paper. I’ve even used cling wrap in a pinch!
4. How many tablespoons in a can?
I usually get about 11 tablespoons of tomato paste to freeze and use later from each small can.
5. Does this work with homemade tomato paste?
Yes, you can also freeze homemade tomato paste as long as it has a low moisture content like canned tomato paste. When I have made tomato paste from scratch in the past, I have kept it in a jar in the fridge with a layer of olive oil on top to keep it from being exposed to too much air. While that’s a great way to keep it lasting longer, freezing is a better way of extending the expiration date.
6. How to use frozen tomato paste?
The best thing is that you can usually just pop the tomato paste balls directly from the freezer into whatever you’re cooking (like some tasty homemade tomato sauce). If your recipe calls for the tomato paste to be stirred into the recipe before cooking (like in my Instant Pot Spanish Rice recipe), you can allow it to come to room temperature first. But that’s usually not necessary with the cooking process of most recipes.
7. How long is frozen tomato paste good for?
The “shelf life” of frozen tomato paste is 3-4 months if properly stored. That’s a lot longer than you can keep tomato paste in the fridge, which is only 5-7 days.
You’ll know it’s bad if it has an off odor, is excessively freezer burnt or there is any sign of mold growth.
8. Recipes that use tomato paste?
Now that you know what to do with extra tomato paste, here are some great recipes to help you use it:
- Chicken Enchiladas in Red Sauce
- Instant Pot Spanish Rice
- Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
- Instant Pot Cream of Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Marinara Sauce
More Helpful Home Hacks
How to Freeze Tomato Paste for Later Use
- 1 can tomato paste - or more
- Can opener
- Baking sheet that will fit in your freezer
- Silicone baking mat or wax paper or parchment paper
- Tablespoon measuring spoon
- Freezer safe mason jar or other storage container like small freezer bags
- Open your can of tomato paste and place the silicone mat on the baking sheet. Measure out the tomato paste, one tablespoon at a time, and place it on the silicone mat until there’s no remaining paste.
- Place the baking sheet and tomato paste dollops in the freezer for about 2 hours or until the tomato paste is frozen solid. Place your frozen paste into an air-tight container that’s freezer safe so it’s ready for future use.