How to Peel a Tomato

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Learn how to peel a tomato quickly and easily! This helpful guide will show you how to use the blanch and shock method to peel whole fresh tomatoes. Add them to sauces, soups, stews, dips, appetizers, and more.

Fingers peeling the skin off a tomato.

Tomatoes are a staple ingredient used in various cuisines and recipes. Some dishes require removing the skin for a smoother texture, like soups, tomato sauces, stews, and appetizers. I’m sharing a pro tip I learned in culinary school to make preparation easy. Learn how to peel a tomato in under a minute in four easy steps! 

Using the scoring and blanching technique quickly removes the tomato skin. This makes it effortless to peel and seed tomatoes, then cut or concassée for your desired application. If you ever need to make a fresh homemade sauce, bruschetta topping, or salsa or want to impress your friends, you will love this tutorial!

Tomato selection

Any type of tomato can be peeled, from big and juicy beefsteak, vine-ripened, or Roma. Make sure to select plump fresh tomatoes with a smooth, shiny surface. If the tomato is soft and mushy or too hard, the flavor and texture will not be at their peak, whether you peel it or not. Wash the tomato with cool water to remove any dirt and debris on the surface.

Score the tomato

Knife cutting two shallow criss-cross slices into a tomato.

Use a sharp paring knife to score a small 1-inch size “X” on the bottom of the tomato. Cut just enough to pierce through the skin but not too deep into the flesh. The score indicates when the tomato is done blanching. This also gives an area to peel away the skin easily.

Blanch the tomato

Boiling a tomato after carving an X into one of the sides.

Like cooking green beans, I use the blanching method, but in this case, it separates the skin from the flesh. Bring a pot filled with water to a boil, enough to submerge the entire tomato completely. Add the scored tomato and blanch in the boiling water for about 20 seconds.

The skin will start to separate from the flesh when it’s ready to be removed. You may need more time for larger tomatoes, but be careful not to overcook them because the flesh will become mushy/grainy if left for too long.

Chill in ice water

Tomato being shocked in a water with ice cubes.

To stop the tomatoes from cooking, “shock” them in a bowl of ice water. Add equal parts of ice to cold water, filling a large bowl to make an ice bath. Use a spoon or slotted spoon to transfer the tomato to the ice water immediately. Let it sit in the bath until cool enough to handle and peel, about 1 minute.

Peel the tomato

The skin should quickly release from the tomato now. You can use a small paring knife, or your fingers peel the skin. 

For more stubborn skins, which tends to happen for larger or less ripe ones, add the tomatoes to the boiling water for a few seconds longer. Do this if the peel does not easily release in the first 20 seconds. Keep them whole or cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces.

How to store a peeled tomato

  • Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Freezing softens the flesh, which is excellent to use in sauces, chilis, or stews that will be cooked down further. Freezing causes the flesh to become mushy. Store in a resealable freezer bag or container for up to 12 months.
Cutting board with several sliced pieces of tomato.

Ways to use peeled tomatoes

Now you are ready to use the peeled tomatoes however you wish! Leave them whole or dice them up. Here are some tasty recipe ideas:

Frequently asked questions

Should I remove the seeds along with the peel?

The seeds are chewy and fibrous. The gel surrounding the seed has a savory flavor that can enhance the taste of a dish. Remove the seeds by further cutting the tomato if you don’t want the seedy texture, or for clean dice used as garnish or toppings like bruschetta.

Can I use a knife to peel a tomato instead of blanching?

The skin is very thin. Using a knife to peel the raw tomato will yield less flesh. More of the juice is expelled as the blade slices through the cell wall of the fruit. It can be done with a sharp paring, chef’s, or serrated knife to reduce crushing the flesh when cutting.

Can you microwave a tomato to peel it?

This method heats the entire tomato, so it’s best to use it when cooking them further. Cut a shallow “X” into the bottom of the tomato to allow steam to escape. Place on a plate and microwave on high powder for 30 seconds. Add more time in 15-second increments, if needed, until the skin wrinkles. Chill in an ice water bath for 1 to 2 minutes before peeling.

Recipe Science

Why do you need to peel a tomato?

Removing the thin and fibrous skin of the tomato creates a smooth and even texture when eaten raw or cooked. This helps the flesh break down faster for sauces, soups, and stews. The skin has a slightly bitter flavor because it’s rich in a nutrient called flavonols. Keep the skin on to retain the nutrients and fiber, but it will impact the flavor of the dish if not balanced.

How to Peel a Tomato

Learn how to peel a tomato quickly and easily! This helpful guide will show you how to use the blanch and shock method to peel whole fresh tomatoes. Add them to sauces, soups, stews, dips, appetizers, and more.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time3 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American


  • 4 tomatoes, or as needed
  • 4 cups cold water, plus more for boiling
  • 4 cups ice cubes


  • Wash – Rinse the tomato under cool running water. Dry with a clean towel.
  • Score – Use a sharp paring knife to score a shallow 1-inch size "X" on the bottom of the tomato. Cut just enough to pierce through the skin but not too deep into the flesh.
  • Blanch – Fill a medium pot with enough to cover the tomatoes by 1 inch once added. Bring the water to a boil. Add the scored tomatoes, one at a time. Blanch for about 20 to 30 seconds. The skin will start to separate from the flesh when it's ready to be removed.
    Add more time as needed, especially for larger tomatoes. Do not overcook, or the flesh will become mushy.
  • Chill – In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of cold water and ice. Immediately transfer the blanched tomatoes to the ice water bath. Chill until cooled, about 1 minute.
  • Peel – Starting at the scored end, peel the skin away from the tomatoes. If the skin is not releasing, blanch for a few more seconds until it starts to separate from the flesh, then chill again. Use whole or dice the peeled tomatoes.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Yield: One tomato yields about ½ cup, depending on size. 
  • Storing: Place in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • Freezing: Store in a resealable plastic bag or container for up to 12 months. The texture will become mushy, so it’s best used in cooked or pureed dishes.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 22kcal (1%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 0.2gSaturated Fat 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat 0.04gSodium 18mg (1%)Potassium 292mg (8%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 1025IU (21%)Vitamin C 17mg (21%)Calcium 19mg (2%)Iron 0.3mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Cathy says

    Perfect directions on peeling tomatoes! You got right to the point , spoke clearly, and didn’t go too fast. Thank you!

  2. William Lazenby says

    This will make my meal prepping so much easier. I’m making packets of low carb curry, so I can just throw the contents of a bag in a skillet and cook it the night before work. Thanks for posting!