How to Roast Tomatoes for Sauce and Freezing

I’ve been up to my elbows in tomatoes lately. Saturday was the perfect gardening day – sunny, not too hot, and not too cool. So I found myself searching my jungle of a garden for all the bright red juicy tomatoes I could find. I had it in mind to share some with friends, make some salsa, and make some roasted tomato sauce for freezing. You may be wondering why anyone would go to all that trouble. I could simply purchase canned tomatoes and sauce during the winter months. It would be easier, and canned tomatoes are still healthy enough.  The answer, for me, is in the flavor.

Roasted Tomatoes for Sauce

If you’ve never experienced a tomato sauce made from freshly picked tomatoes, you’re missing something good. Season it any way you like with garlic, basil, thyme, and maybe a little sea salt. Or perhaps with cumin, cilantro, and oregano. However you decide to season it, there’s an unmistakable taste of fresh. Fresh what? Well, just fresh . . . clean, real tomato flavor. And freezing your own sauce locks in some of that fresh from the garden flavor.

Roasted Tomatoes for Sauce

Tomatoes are full of nutrients too – high in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene. They’re low in calories, fat, and sodium. They’re definitely a healthy choice. If you’ve ever made sauce from fresh tomatoes you may have visions of cleaning and cooking them over a hot stove, and then forcing them through a sieve to remove all the skins and seeds. It takes a long time, at least for me it did. And I always felt guilty throwing away all those skins too. Sure, I got the pulp, but I eat the skin on a raw tomato – why not cooked?

roasted cherry tomato sauce in clear glass bowl

I’m  happy to say that roasting makes it easy to prepare and freeze your own fresh from the garden tomato sauce – or fresh from the farmer’s market if that is the case. I love everything about this method. There’s very little waste. You end up with a great tasting, healthy product, and it’s easy. Anyone can do this. Anyone. The process is similar to my roasted cherry tomato sauce, but with different tomatoes and without the added seasonings.

How to roast tomatoes for sauce

  1. Gather enough Roma or paste tomatoes to cover at least two jelly roll pans after the tomatoes are halved.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line your pans with foil (for easy clean-up) and drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil on the foil.
  3. Wash all the tomatoes, remove stems, and slice in half length-wise. Place them on the foil-lined pans, cut-side up. Sprinkle a little more olive oil over the tomatoes and scatter a dash of kosher salt on the tomatoes if desired.
  4. Place pan(s) in pre-heated oven. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, checking them after 40 minutes. Tomatoes should be soft and somewhat shrunk. Be careful not to roast too long or you’ll make tomato paste or dried tomatoes.
  5. Remove pans from oven and cool slightly.
  6. Slide the roasted tomatoes into a food processor and blend together, in batches, till smooth or of desired consistency. If you want to use it immediately, return to a large pot and season with your herbs and spices of choice. Continue reading for freezing directions.
  7. Ladle into clean, pint-sized freezer boxes, leaving 1/2″ head space (that’s the space between the top of the sauce and the rim of the box).
  8. Cover with a clean lid. Label the contents, date it, and place in your freezer.

There you have it. Fresh homemade tomato sauce that you can use as a pasta sauce, for soups, enchiladas, and much more. If you’ve enjoyed this post won’t you consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter below?

How to Roast Tomatoes for Sauce and Freezing: A tutorial on how to roast tomatoes for delicious homemade tomato sauce that you can use as a base for pasta sauce, soups, enchiladas, and freezing.

Thank you for sharing!


  1. I’m going to share this with my mom! She makes sauce by simmering it all day. This sounds a lot easier! Thanks for sharing at the hop. 🙂

    1. I think that’s one of the beauties of roasting the tomatoes. You can cook them longer and make it more of a paste than a sauce. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Hi Can the sauce be stored in ziplock freeer bags or mason jars instead? Would I thaw it first before using or can I heat it up while still frozen?

    1. I’ve only used freezer boxes, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use freezer bags or even mason jars if you left enough head room. I usually take it out of the freezer and start heating it up right away on the stove, making sure I stir it often till I get enough liquid on the bottom. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. You could use other tomatoes, but they will be juicier and would likely produce a thinner sauce. I haven’t used slicing tomatoes for this so I’d keep an eye on them and adjust the cooking time as needed. Hope that helps!

  3. Pingback: Freezer Tips and Inventory
  4. I don’t like to eat raw tomatoes, but have been making my own tomato sauce for some time and love it. So this year, we grew a large vegetable garden and decided to try growing tomatoes for sauce. Thank you so, so much for this recipe and inspiration because I didn’t know how exactly to go from the plant to the sauce! My tomatoes are a native Arizona tomato so I ended up with more paste than sauce/puree, but that is more than fine because I’ll just thin it with the other usual sauce ingredients when ready to make my sauce. I’m freezing some and keeping some out to use as the sauce base. I am fairly certain I could use this as a straight sauce, but it is pretty thick.

    I followed your recipe but also roasted a head of garlic at the same time (when you mention roasting veggies and drizzling olive oil, it only made sense to me to roast garlic too). Once everything was soft and cooked, I put it into my blender (yes, the whole garlic head; peeled, of course) and the result is nothing short of amazingly delicious! Wow. Seriously. So, so good.

    1. Melissa – I’m so glad to hear you tried it and liked it! I’ve also added roasted garlic and it’s wonderful too. Thanks for visiting and letting me know how well you liked the recipe!

  5. Could I process the roasted tomatoes using a foodmill instead of a Cuisinart so the seeds and skin could be separated from the sauce? Or do you have any other suggestions for separating the seeds and skin.

    1. Hi Margaret – Yes, you can process the tomatoes with a food mill if you prefer a more smooth sauce. I’ve done that myself when I wanted a smoother sauce for certain recipes. I usually don’t mind the skin and seeds, but for some recipes like it without the skin and seeds. Just put the tomatoes through the food mill and use or freeze after that. Have a great day!

  6. Just yesterday my cousin texted me and asked me about freezing tomatoes and this is the first post that popped up as I landed on your site. Perfect…sending her the link 🙂

  7. Thank you, I needed “easy” since I’m rehabbing from knee surgery and my kitchen counter is full of fresh home grown tomatoes from our garden. I’m looking forward to trying all of the recipe ideas.

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