Canning Tomatoes (Water Bath Method)

This video is an easy-to-follow guide to home canning tomatoes using the water bath method. I’ve also included step-by-step instructions for canning tomatoes below, so you’ll be a canning pro in no time!

This past weekend I made a video of the entire process of canning tomatoes in response to receiving so many questions about how to do it. The video below is under 30 minutes and goes over water bath canning as well as canning best practices for the safety of canned goods.

There are also some very important links at the bottom of the video and this post, which you may find helpful. To see a photograph tutorial on water bath canning, please click here. I’ve also included step-by-step written instructions to make life even easier because I’m nice like that 😉.

Once you get the handle on home canning tomatoes using the water bath method, you’ll become addicted to canning, a simple home food preservation method from way back. I know I have! I’ve included some other canning recipes below, but it’s such an easy way to preserve fresh foods to enjoy later. You can also use any type of fresh tomatoes, like Roma, plum, or grape tomatoes.

Now, once you preserve them, I’m sure you’ll be wondering how to use them in your cooking. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered there as well, but home canned tomatoes are perfect as a substitution for diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes in pasta sauces, soups, stews, and chilis.

Keep scrolling and happy canning!

Note: It is up to the viewer/reader to use best canning practices and common sense when canning. I am not responsible for overseeing the canning methods and the safety of others. 

This is also my real kitchen when it is not magazine ready. A lot of work and living takes place in this room and it shows!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Fresh ripe tomatoes
  • Bottled lemon juice or citric acid

Step-by-Step Guide to Canning Tomatoes in a Water Bath

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add tomatoes (in batches if you need to) and allow to boil until skins split.

Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a dish. Allow them to cool slightly. Repeat until all tomatoes have been done this way.

Fill the water bath canner pot with water and bring it to a low boil.

If using a regular pot, place a dish towel on the bottom.

Add jars and lids (not rings) and allow to simmer until ready to use.

Gently pull the skins off of the hot tomatoes and cut off the tops, if desired.

Drain the pot you boiled the tomatoes in and add skinned tomatoes back to this pot.

Chop up with a chopper or potato masher while bringing to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and stir often, boiling gently for 5 minutes.

Carefully remove jars from the boiling water canner and drain them into the canner. Place the jars on a dish towel-lined countertop.

Use your canning funnel to fill jars, being careful to leave 1/2-inch of space at the top.

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid to each filled canning jar.

Use a damp paper towel to wipe around the rim and sides of each jar where the lid and ring will go.

Place the lid and ring on each jar and tighten lightly, but not overly tight.

Use canning tongs to lower each jar into the water bath. Make sure there is enough water to cover the jars by an inch.

Cover with a lid and bring to a rolling boil. Once it is at a rolling boil the processing time begins: 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts.

Remove from the canner once processed and place on a dish towel-lined counter.

Allow them to cool completely before removing the rings.

Canning tomatoes using a water bath.

Storage

When stored in a cool, clean, and dry place, homemade canned tomatoes can easily last up to 12 months.

Recipe Notes

You may also like these posts:

Simply Brilliant Canning Labels

Canning: THE MUSICAL (Canning Tutorial)

How to Put Up Tomatoes (Freeze Tomatoes the Easy Way)

And more things to can:

Sweet Pickles

Chow Chow Recipe (Southern Relish)

Easy Pickled Onions

Green Tomato Relish

Recipes that use canned tomatoes:

Tomatoes and Okra Recipe with Bacon

Easy Tomato Soup Recipe

Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Slow Cooker Tacos With Ground Beef

Skillet Lasagna

Canning Tomatoes

This post features a video and step-by-step written instructions on canning tomatoes using the water bath method, as well as best practices.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tomatoes
Servings: 4
Calories: 105kcal

Ingredients

  • fresh tomatoes
  • bottled lemon juice or powdered citric acid

Instructions

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add tomatoes (in batches if you need to) and allow to boil until skins split. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a dish. Allow them to cool slightly. Repeat until all tomatoes have been done this way.
    fresh tomatoes
  • Fill the canning pot with water and bring it to a low boil. If using a regular pot, place a dish towel on the bottom. Add jars and lids (not rings) and allow to simmer until ready to use.
  • Gently pull skins off of the boiled tomatoes and cut off tops, if desired. Drain the pot you boiled the tomatoes in and add skinned tomatoes back to this pot. Chop up with a chopper or potato masher while bringing to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and stir often, boiling gently for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove jars from the boiling water in the canner and drain them into the canner. Place the jars on a dish towel-lined countertop. Use your canning funnel to fill jars, being careful to leave 1/2-inch of space at the top.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid to each filled jar. Use a damp paper towel to wipe around the rim and sides of each jar where the lid and ring will go.
    bottled lemon juice or powdered citric acid
  • Place the lid and ring on each jar and tighten lightly, but not overly tight.
  • Use canning tongs to lower each jar into the water bath. Make sure there is enough water to cover the jars by an inch. Cover with a lid and bring to a rolling boil. Once it is at a rolling boil the processing time begins: 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts.
  • Remove from the canner once processed and place on a dish towel-lined counter. Allow them to cool completely before removing the rings.

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

 

Preserve today and enjoy tomorrow!

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63 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for posting the video. I loved it! As a result I caught the canning bug. Yesterday I canned 9 pints of tomatoes. I processed the tomatoes for 35 minutes as you said (after the water came to a rolling boil). All of my jars sealed. This afternoon I was reading the Preserving Book published by Ball. It said that you should boil the jars for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Did I process them long enough? Thanks so much for your help and inspiration. Francy

      1. Thanks so much. It was Edition 37. I see the difference. I did not add water. I used the Tomatoes – Packed in own juice. Does that make a difference. Could you also post your recipe for hot sauce/salsa?

        1. I didn’t add water, either, so I think you’re fine 🙂 You wanna know what I’ve been doing for salsa? This might disappoint you but I’ve been using this mix that I get in the canning section and I just pulse my tomatoes in a food processor and then cook them and add this mix. It makes the most delicious salsa and cans like a dream! Here is a link to the mix I use, I get it in medium and it isn’t hot, tastes more mild to me. They do have it in hot though. Link: http://amzn.to/1I65g7C I buy it at walmart but that price at the link ($22 for 6 packages) isn’t bad at all compared to what I pay.

  2. I am trying to get into canning, but I have a electric glass top stove. Is this a hiccup or is it possible to use a pressure canner on my glass top stove? Is it also harder to keep a consistent temperature up too? Thank you, Charity (hopeful future canner)

    1. Hey Charity!
      What you see in this video is water bath canning, and that is probably what people do the most of. It doesn’t involve a pressure canner, just a large pot or canning pot with a lid. If you use a large pot you need to put a dish towel in the bottom of it, see this post for instructions:
      https://www.southernplate.com/2008/09/yes-you-can-can-canning-tutorial-with.html
      As for pressure canning (for meats, dried beans, etc) I have a glass top stove as well and have no problems whatsoever. You need to check your stove owners manual online and see what it says as this depends on your stove. My stove manual (which is just a budget model GE) said it was just fine as long as the canner was flat bottomed. I have had no problems with temperature at all.
      Hope this helps and holler if you have more questions!

  3. I absolutely LOVED this tutorial!! Thank you so much!! As a beginning canner, I’ve learned so much in the last 30 minutes.. there’s nothing like a good ‘ole jar of freshly canned tomatoes to go into a pot of vegetable soup! Would love to see how you can other things as well 😉

  4. Oops, I forgot to add the lemon juice to my tomatoes ……. I didn’t remember until half way through the water bath …. what will happen? Do I need to start all over? Woe is me!! I guess I can just refrigerate and use them this week?

      1. Thank you for answering this question for me. I didn’t know if you’d have time to get back to me.
        I love your recipes and your blog!

  5. Thank you Christy! This was a huge help! I remember grandmother canning, and my mother sometimes too. As for how to do it myself, well, that is *another* story! This is a huge help!
    Love and prayers!
    Carol 🙂

  6. Liked your informative, very thorough video and have a couple of questions. How long would you leave a quart jar of tomatoes in the canner and would you use 1/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp of citric acid for a quart. Thank You so much.

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