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Canned Tomatoes in Water

several jars of tomatoes canned in water.

Originally shared by Megan Erickson, former SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist.

Try this research-tested recipe for canned tomatoes packed in water courtesy of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


  • 21 pounds, Tomatoes, whole or halved
  • 14 tablespoons, Bottled lemon juice
  • 7 tablespoons, Salt (optional)

Yield: Makes about 7 quarts.



Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, or until skins split, then dip in cold water. Slip off skins and remove cores. Leave whole or halved.


  1. Pack tomatoes into jars using the raw or hot pack method below, adding 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart. One teaspoon of salt can be added to each jar, if desired.
    • To raw pack: Heat water to boiling. Fill jars with raw tomatoes, leaving ½-inch headspace. Cover tomatoes in the jars with boiling water, leaving ½-inch headspace.
    • To hot pack: Put tomatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to completely cover them. Boil tomatoes for 5 minutes. Fill jars with hot tomatoes and add cooking liquid to the jars to cover the tomatoes, leaving ½-inch headspace.
  2. Secure lids and process in a water bath canner for 40 minutes (Altitudes above 1,000 ft require an increase in processing time).

To learn more about canning tomatoes, watch our Common Questions About Canning Tomatoes video!

Canning Tips


  • Make sure to acidify the tomatoes before canning, as this ensures harmful toxins cannot grow.
  • Instructions on water bath canning can be found in this resource.

Adjusting for Altitude

Altitude (feet)
Water Bath (minutes added)
0 minutes
5 minutes
10 minutes
15 minutes

SDSU Extension recommends using evidence-based recipes when engaging in food preservation at home. The recipe above has been research-tested and provided by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Do not modify ingredients.

Related Topics

Canning Recipes