How to Skin Tomatoes

Whether you need to peel tomatoes to make a smooth tomato sauce, gazpacho or salsa, a pot of boiling water and a paring knife are all you need to get the job done. A vegetable peeler also works as long as it's sharp.

The Boiling Method

Equipment Needed

  • Sharp, serrated paring knife
  • Large pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Bowl (optional)


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a full, rolling boil, with large bubbles breaking the surface of the water. Boiling water registers 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut a small "X" in the bottom of the tomato, away from the stem end, using a paring knife.
  3. Slip the tomato into the boiling water and leave it for a full count of 20 seconds for a medium-size tomato and up to 30 seconds for a large tomato.
  4. Spoon the tomato out of the water with a slotted spoon and place it under cold running water or in an ice bath. If you plan to use the tomatoes immediately, you don't need the ice bath.
  5. Pull the peel off using a paring knife, beginning where you cut the "X." The peel should slip off easily.

The Peeling Method

Equipment Needed

  • Sharp, serrated paring knife
  • Sharp "Y"-shaped vegetable peeler


  1. Cut a small slice off the top, stem end of the tomato with a paring knife.
  2. Core the tomato. Cut a small circle around the stem, then cut deeper into the circle to lift out the tough tomato core. Some tomatoes, such as plum and Roma varieties have hardly any core, while beefsteak and some heirloom tomatoes have a longer and tougher core.
  3. Use the peeler to skin the tomato, beginning at the top, stem end and drawing the peeler down the tomato using a slight sawing, back and forth motion as you pull it down.  

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