Never waste leftover tomato paste - freeze it! This simple trick on how to freeze tomato paste ensures you'll always have perfectly portioned tomato paste on hand for cooking. No thawing required.
If you use tomato paste regularly but not super frequently, you've likely run into the issue of having multiple portions leftover once you crack into a can. It'll need to be used within about a week before it goes bad.
But what about tomato paste that comes in a tube? I thought it would totally go the distance in terms of fridge longevity, but I was surprised to see that the packaging still says to use within two weeks.
So what's the work-around? Freezing tomato paste. The best part is that you don't even need to thaw it. You can add it right to a recipe from frozen, and it lasts 3 months, often longer.
Think about what amount of tomato paste you typically use in recipes and portion it out accordingly. I usually do one tablespoon.
- Measure out equal amounts of tomato paste onto a parchment paper-lined plate or flat dish using a spoon or cookie scoop. Leave space between the blobs.
- Transfer to the freezer and freeze until solid. At this point you can put all of the frozen tomato paste blobs into an air-tight bag together because they won't stick together at this point. Freeze until ready to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you freeze tomato paste it will last best up to 3 months, after which time it may become a bit icy and freezer burnt. Make sure it's frozen in an air-tight container (such as a zip-top freezer bag) with as much air pressed out as possible before sealing to delay the onset of freezer burn.
Yes, it'll thaw out very quickly in a hot pan, within seconds. There's no need to thaw.
Most, if not all, of my recipes call for sautéing tomato paste for several minutes to "cook" it before adding any liquid/deglazing. Often this means mushing it into the sautéed onion, garlic, and spices. This is my favorite way to deepen the flavor of a dish as the natural sugars begin to caramelize. As a bonus this allows plenty of time for frozen tomato paste to thaw.
Yes, though I find this method more work than it's worth. You'd have to measure the capacity of each cube compartment so you know how much each blob will be for recipes. The frozen cubes can be more difficult to remove, and the tops of them will likely become icy as it's not an air-tight container.
Recipes to Use Tomato Paste
- Italian Sausage and Peppers
- Vegetable Beef Soup
- Spicy Sausage Fettuccine
- Coffee Rubbed (!) Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Smoky Instant Pot Lentil Soup
More Ingredient How-Tos
How to Freeze Tomato Paste
- Tomato paste
- Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, measure out tomato paste and place blobs on a parchment-lined freezer-safe dish. Transfer to the freezer for several hours, or until the tomato paste has frozen solid.
- Once frozen, remove the dish from the freezer, loosely wrap the parchment paper around the frozen tomato paste tablespoons, and place everything in an air-tight freezer bag. Press out any excess air, write the date on the bag, then store in the freezer until ready to use.
- Freeze tomato paste as soon as possible once you know you'll have leftover portions to preserve freshness.
- Frozen tomato paste will last for 3 months, after which point it will likely still be fine to use but may start to become icy and develop some freezer burn.
- A zip-top freezer bag, either plastic or reusable silicone, are good options to use.
- No thawing is required when ready to use. Just add as many blobs as needed to a hot pan.
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