Quick Tip: Freeze Tomato Paste & Never Toss a Moldy Jar Again

Quick Tip:  Freeze tomato paste & never toss a moldy jar again!Opening a jar of tomato paste can feel a bit like a Chopped-style challenge.  How many uses for this tomato paste can I think of before it goes moldy and I have to throw it away?  I tend to pay a little more for my tomato paste, opting for a glass jar over a can, so that there are no BPA lining worries.  Granted, it’s not an enormous expense, but it’s still enough that I’d rather not waste food.  I’ll add the paste to marinades, soups, and chili, but most of the time in the battle of the tomato paste, I lose.  The glass is recycled and the tomato paste goes down the drain…

So after I made cream of tomato soup recently, I decided that as soon as I was done, I was going to use one of the tomato paste solutions I’d heard over the years by freezing it.  It’s something I’d thought about doing before, but it always sounded like it would take too much time.

Freezing Tomato Paste: Never throw away tomato paste again!I was totally wrong!  In terms of active time, it took only minutes.  I made some room in the freezer.  Then I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper.  With a measuring spoon, I doled out tomato paste in tablespoon-sized dollops like red tomato-y cookies.  I then popped the sheet into the freezer until the paste patties were solid.

Once they were completely frozen separately, I just moved the solid tomato paste patties into a glass container.  I marked the outside of the glass with a black permanent marker, so that I’d know what was inside.  (After I’ve used all of the tomato paste, the marker easily comes off glass with a scratcher pad.)

Freezing tomato paste: Never throw away a moldy jar of tomato paste again!Now when tomato paste is needed in a recipe I have some options.  I can thaw a tablespoon ahead of time to use as one normally would.  If making a chili or soup, the frozen tomato paste can simply be added to the pot to melt in the hot liquid.  Or if it’s a blended soup (and your blender handles frozen things well), I can just put them straight into the blender with the other ingredients.

I recently made another batch of tomato soup, and it was so handy to simply pull a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste from the freezer.  I like knowing that I always have tomato paste at the ready without having to worry about it meeting a furry, moldy demise before I can use it.

Freezing tomato paste: Never throw away a jar of moldy tomato paste again!What are your favorite techniques for minimizing food waste?


  1. I do this with canned pumpkin for my dog, and with chipotle in adobo sauce, but have never thought of doing it with tomato paste. Great idea! For the pumpkin, I freeze it in an ice cube tray then transfer the cubes to a container for storage in the freezer.

    • That’s such a good idea to do this with chipotles in adobo. I’ve frozen the remainder of a can before (in a different container obviously), but I didn’t separate it out like this. After I thawed all of it once, I didn’t want to re-freeze. So I was immediately in the same predicament. I’ll have to separate it into individual portions next time!

  2. This is such a great idea! This happens to me all the time…I use a tablespoon or two for a recipe and that’s it. But my husband LOVES anything tomato-ey….he eats the rest of the can straight up! I like the freezing idea a lot. Thanks!

    • Ha! That’s awesome that your husband loves tomato paste that much that he’ll just eat it with a spoon. That’s the way I am with sauerkraut. Who needs anything else with it? :)

      Well, if you can get your husband to part with it sometime in the future, you’ll have to try freezing it! Who knows? Maybe he’d like a tomato-y popsicle? 😉

  3. I totally do this! It’s a tiny task that makes me feel super productive.

    • I love tasks like that! It gives a feeling of accomplishment to do these little 2-3 minute things that save money & energy down the road.

  4. I love this tip! I never would have thought to freeze tomato paste this way but it is sheer genius! I too am always trying to use up tomato paste before it goes moldy, even with the tiny little cans. Thank you Cadry! I will never have moldy tomato paste again.

    • Excellent! Glad to hear it! It’s always such a bummer when you need a tablespoon of tomato paste, and then you open the refrigerator to find a practically full container that also has mold inside. No more! :)

  5. I do that too, but I freeze it in an ice cube tray so I don’t need to clear as much space in the freezer. Also, if I have leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce I blend it up in the Vitamix, then freeze it in the ice cube tray as well.

    • Good thinking on the ice cube trays, Allison!

      I’m going to start doing that with the chipotle peppers in adobo. I love the flavor they impart, but it’s another thing that I usually can’t get through right away.

  6. This is GENIUS! I have thrown away so much tomato paste over the years, after recipes will call for say, 1 tablespoon of it. But those were the days before I knew about BPA lining, so the cost wasn’t such a big deal. Now when I splurge on the glass jar, it’s a LOT more money. Thanks for the tip!!

  7. kalecrusaders says:

    I hate wasting tomato paste too! I buy glass jars of tomato paste and freeze the entire jar once I open it. When I need tomato paste I place the jar on the counter for a few minutes to let it defrost a little before digging in.

  8. Thanks for this idea … tomato paste is one of the things I rarely use up in time either. I love to juice lemons, limes and oranges when they are on sale, freeze the juices in ice cube trays, and then put the cubes in freezer bags or containers as you did with the paste. I then always have flavor cubes for salad dressings, sauces, sauteing, smoothies, or just to add to sparkling water … and no more moldy citrus to toss.

  9. What a great idea! Thank you for all of your helpful hints. Because of you, we always have a stash of sliced bananas in the freezer.

  10. Um – this is genius! I love little tips like this – I always end up wasting tomato paste.

  11. This is awesome. I started freezing tomato paste last year because I was frustrated that I kept tossing so much of it, but I always separated it into tiny storage containers — I love the idea of dropping tablespoons of it onto parchment paper, freezing, and then storing them all together in one container. So much simpler than my method! Thanks for the tip!

  12. acookinthemaking says:

    I only started doing this recently but it’s already made such a difference in my mental health–I just HATE to waste food! Since I have very little room in my freezer I actually do my tomato paste by lining an ice cube tray with plastic wrap and then dropping it by the tablespoon-full into each compartment. Once they’re frozen I just pull the “cubes” out and place them in a baggie or jar and retrieve them when I need them.

    • I couldn’t agree more! I hate wasting food. If I even just have a couple of spoonfuls of something left – like soup, salad, grains, or whatever – I’ll still put it back in the fridge for later. And you know, I’m always happy to have those couple of bites of something when I’m making dinner and hunger is making it hard to concentrate. Sometimes just a bite or two takes the edge off of waiting for dinner.

      Good call on the ice cube tray! Thanks for the idea!

  13. Great idea…which never occurred to me! I’ve thrown out many partially-used cans of tomato paste.

  14. So smart. I have a can in the fridge it might be too late for. I take care of leftovers so well…but when it comes to tomato paste it’s like I can’t even deal with it.

    • I always try to be really cognizant about leftovers too, because I hate wasting food. Unfortunately, sometimes sauces and pastes have a way of sneaking through. Or I’ll wonder, “How long have I had this curry paste? How long can it last?”

  15. super cool! i just did this with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce!

    • A few others have mentioned doing this with chipotles in adobo. I love that idea! I’m definitely going to do that the next time I open a can.

  16. This is such a good idea. I always lose the battle. But now I will win haha.

  17. I do the very same with pesto and chipotles in adobo best trick I learned a few years back!

    • I’ve frozen pesto before but never chipotles in adobo. I’m totally doing that the next time I open a can of them, and then I won’t have to worry if the remaining ones in the refrigerator are still good or not.

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