What to Do With Leftover Tomato Paste

Isn’t it annoying when a recipe calls for less than a full small can of tomato paste? Most of the time we don't know what to do with it and leave it partially covered with plastic wrap in the back of my fridge, and discover it weeks and weeks later, with a light layer of mold on the top, and throw it out, feeling wasteful and irritated. Below, we've got tips for saving tomato paste for future recipes, plus essential info about working with this ingredient.

  • 01 of 06

    How to Make Your Own Tomato Paste

    Tomato With Tomato Paste In Wood Spoon
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    Making your own tomato paste from scratch helps you control the final flavor. Slow-cooking gives the paste a deep, rich flavor, unlike the canned version you find in the store. While cooking paste takes some time, you'll end up with enough paste to last you for several recipes. 

  • 02 of 06

    Health Benefits of Tomatoes

    Harvesting Tomatoes
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    Tomatoes are also an excellent source vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum and vitamin K. They are also a very good source of copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E and phosphorus.

  • 03 of 06

    What Is Tomato Paste?

    Tomato paste
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    What exactly is tomato paste? It's a thick paste made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce the water content, straining out the seeds and skins, and cooking the liquid again to reduce the base to a thick, rich concentrate. That's why you only need a small amount to add a big tomato flavor!

  • 04 of 06

    Freeze It in a Bag

    What to Do with Leftover Tomato Paste
    Katie Workman / themom100.com

    Scrape out the rest of the tomato paste, put it into a small sandwich-sized zipper top baggie with “Tomato Paste” and the date on written on it with a Sharpie (which you should always have in your kitchen junk drawer) and throw it in the freezer. The next time you need a small amount of tomato paste, take it out, and break off a piece that’s about the size of 1 tablespoon or whatever else the recipe calls for (don’t worry about precision: tomato paste isn’t one of those ingredients you need to measure perfectly, like baking powder or baking soda). 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Freeze It in an Ice Cube Tray

    Tomato sauce in ice cube tray
    William Reavell / Getty Images

    You can also freeze the tomato paste in ice cube trays, but I find using plastic bags to be quicker, easier, and less messy.

    Final tip: if you don’t have tomato paste, you can also use ketchup!

  • 06 of 06

    Tomato Recipes

    Classic Tomato Sauce for Pasta
    Katie Workman / themom100.com

    Tomato paste is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can add a punch of tomato flavor to any dish. For a classic pairing, make this simple tomato sauce for pasta. Also, check out this comforting, perfect tomato soup. For a more interesting way to use tomato paste, try this tomato scallion rice that is great for a quick lunch or side.