The Tried-and-True Method for Easily Peeling and Seeding Tomatoes

Use our Test Kitchen's tried-and-true method for the best way to peel tomatoes (including how to de-seed a tomato) for fresh sauces, salsas, and more.

There's something ultra comforting about digging into a bowl of pasta with a hearty homemade marinara sauce. If you haven't yet made your own tomato sauce or cooked many tomato dishes, you might not know most recipes call for peeling tomatoes as well as removing the seeds. Why should you remove the tomato skin? For starters, the texture of tomato skin is tougher than the soft interior, which can cause unwanted chunks of skin in your sauce or dish. Another reason to peel fresh tomatoes is that the skin contains flavonoids which can become bitter when cooked. So while those flavonoids bring extra antioxidants to the plate, leaving the peel off when cooking (versus enjoying tomatoes raw) really will produce the best-tasting result. Here you'll learn how to peel and seed tomatoes for amazing sauces, salsas, and more.

How to Peel and Seed Tomatoes

Whether you've picked fresh tomatoes from the garden or bought them, start by giving tomatoes a thorough wash to remove any dirt or contaminants. Then follow our easy way to peel tomatoes.

tomato with paring knife
Kritsada Panichgul

Step 1: Prep the Tomatoes

Make a shallow "X" on the bottom (aka blossom end) of each tomato using a sharp paring knife ($10, Bed Bath & Beyond).

Step 2: Blanch Tomatoes

Working in batches, immerse tomatoes in boiling water 1 to 2 minutes or until the skins begin to split open. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl of ice water. (Get more Test Kitchen tips on blanching veggies.)

Step 3: Peel Tomatoes

After the tomato has cooled slightly, use your fingers or a paring knife to gently pull the peel where the scored skin has begun to split. The tomato skin will slip off easily.

Step 4: Remove Seeds from Tomatoes

If your recipe calls for it, remove the seeds by cutting the tomato in half crosswise. Holding one half over a bowl, use the tip of a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

That's it! You can now properly peel and de-seed tomatoes. Plan your next Italian night with a batch of delicious homemade tomato sauce (we love this fresh tomato-meat sauce). From there, find a new spicy salsa recipe to tantalize those taste buds. Garden producing a bumper crop of tomatoes this year? Use our guides for freezing tomatoes and canning tomatoes so you can continue enjoying them throughout the year.

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