How to Make Tomato Freezer Jam

A beginner's guide to making tomato freezer jam.

Savory tomato jam has become a permanent fixture on cheese and charcuterie boards. Homemade tomato jam is delicious so who wouldn't want a lineup of jars in the pantry to grab in the dead of winter to perk up a grilled cheese sandwich?

Tomato Jam: Tips to Remember

Because tomatoes are a low-acid food, which can be a source of botulism when canning, you should not whip up your own recipe. Instead, you should follow a tested recipe by a reputable institution such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation or a Cooperative Extension.

Luckily there is a great workaround for the tomato jam conundrum: freezer jam! It frees you of those food safety concerns and lets you stock up on jam without the need for canning.

Types of Tomatoes To Use for Jam

Small tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes work best for making tomato jam, and a mixture of different colors is nice. When mixing and matching different types of tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes and large tomatoes, place them in two different baking dishes, as they require different cooking times.

Yellow or orange tomatoes tend to be sweeter so you might want to reduce the sugar amount when using those. Roasting the tomatoes instead of just cooking them on the stove intensifies the flavor and condenses the juices, yielding a thicker, more flavorful jam.

Should You Remove the Tomato Skins?

It's a question of personal preference whether you leave the skins on the tomatoes or remove them. From a food safety standpoint, leaving the skins on is fine, as the jam is cooked for an extended time, which kills bacteria that might be present on the skins; plus, the jam is frozen, which further prevents bacterial growth.

two jars of tomato jam with a tomato to the side
Nadia Hassani

How to Make Tomato Freezer Jam

This tomato jam recipe is full of warming spices with a hint of sweetness. The recipe amounts can be doubled or tripled. Larger batches require longer cooking times until the jam thickens.

Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe small tomatoes
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked hot paprika, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1. Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease one or two large shallow baking dishes, as needed.

tomatoes in a baking dish
Nadia Hassani

2. Cut the tomatoes and place in the baking dish

Cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise or cut regular size tomatoes into large even chunks. Remove the core from large tomatoes. Place them in the dish.

3. Roast the tomatoes

Roast cherry tomatoes for 20 minutes and regular tomatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

roasted tomatoes in dish with bowl of spices
Nadia Hassani

4. Add remaining ingredients

Transfer tomatoes to a large saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

tomato jam in a sauce pan with spoon
Nadia Hassani

5. Simmer until jam is thick

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the jam is thick and a spoon leaves a trace, about 20 minutes. Stir often, especially towards the end, to prevent it from scorching.

6. Fill freezer containers with jam

Remove from heat and fill into jars or small freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Let cool, then close with plastic storage lids and let stand for a few hours until the jam has set.

7. Freeze the jam

Freeze and use within one year. Once a jar or container is opened, store it in the fridge and use it within one week.

Tip: Preserve Tomatoes in Oil By Freezing

Freezing is also a good way to preserve tomatoes in oil. Tomatoes in oil aren't safe for canning or for storing in the fridge, as there is the risk of botulism in both. The spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, a neurotoxin that can cause serious illness and death, grow in the absence of oxygen and in low-acid foods, such as tomatoes packed in oil. Freezing is the way to go because the growth of the bacteria is prevented at freezer temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.


Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love