Pint-Sized Fun: Canning Cherry Tomatoes

Raw packed cherry tomatoes in canning jar
Canning cherry tomatoes begins by washing the tomatoes and removing the stems. Blanch them in boiling water for about a minute, then transfer them to an ice bath to make peeling the skins easier. Pack them into canning jars and process them for 10-15 minutes in a pressure canner or boiling water bath.

What is the Best Way to Can Cherry Tomatoes?

The best way to can cherry tomatoes depends on the tomato you are canning. There are about 7,500 varieties of tomatoes, all with varying pH levels of around 4.6; some higher, some lower. Any food with a pH of 4.6 or under can be safely water-bath canned. However, any food with a pH above 4.6 must be pressure canned.

If you can tomatoes in a water bath, you must add additional acid of some kind, be it lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar. Adding acid to tomatoes you plan to process in a pressure canner is also recommended. You can use white wine or apple cider vinegar if the acidity level is 5%.

Canned cherry tomatoes in jars
Canned cherry tomatoes

How to Prepare Cherry Tomatoes for Canning

When preparing cherry tomatoes for canning, there are different ways of preparing them depending on your preference and the desired outcome.

  1. Peeling is optional, as their skins are usually thin and tender. If you prefer skinless tomatoes in your canned product, you can blanch them to make peeling easier.
  2. Blanching tomatoes involves briefly immersing them in boiling water and then transferring them to an ice water bath to stop cooking. If you prefer to remove the skins from the cherry tomatoes, you can do so after blanching them. Use your fingers or a knife to peel off the skins gently.
  3. Cherry tomatoes generally have small seeds that are less bothersome than larger tomato varieties, and removing the seeds is optional. If you wish to remove the seeds, cut the cherry tomatoes in half or squeeze them gently.
  4. If you prefer whole cherry tomatoes, leave them as is or cut larger ones in half. If you prefer smaller pieces or crushed tomatoes, you can chop the cherry tomatoes into smaller pieces.
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Cherry tomatoes in a jar

Home Canning Recipe for Cherry Tomatoes

  • Author: Adam
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pints 1x


This recipe for pressure-canning cherry tomatoes maximizes the natural flavor and texture of the tomatoes, creating a delicious and vibrant canned product. Additionally, the precise combination of processing time, pressure, and headspace ensures optimal safety and long-term preservation.


  • 7 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 16 cups)
  • 4½ cups water
  • 8 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt or canning salt
  • Add herbs or spices
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Garlic cloves (if desired)


  1. Before you begin pressure canning, gather all the necessary supplies. This includes a pressure canner, canning jars with lids and bands, a jar lifter, a lid lifter or magnet, a sharp knife, a cutting board, a slotted spoon, and a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Wash the canning jars, lids, and bands with hot soapy water. Rinse them well. Sterilize the jars by boiling them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes or running them through a dishwasher cycle. Keep them submerged in hot water until ready to use.
  3. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific pressure canner model. Ensure that the pressure canner is clean and in proper working condition. Place the canning rack inside the canner and add 2-4 inches of water.
  4. Heat the lids over low heat, but not bring them to a boil. This helps soften the sealing compound on the lids. Keep the bands handy.
  5. Rinse your tomatoes in a strainer and prepare them as desired.
  6. Cook the tomatoes in a large pot with 1½ cups of water. Let them boil on high heat for 5 minutes before putting them into the jars. Some people like to fry the tomatoes with a little olive oil, garlic, and salt rather than boiling them.
  7. Use a ladle and a canning funnel to transfer the cooked cherry tomatoes and their juices into the jars. Otherwise, place them directly into the jar, packing them firmly without squashing them. Leave a one-inch headspace.
  8. Use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every pint jar or 2 tablespoons for each quart jar.
  9. Add enough boiling water to cover the tomatoes. Your final headspace should be between ½ and ¾ inches.
  10. Use a spatula, wooden spoon, or other soft kitchen implement to remove any air bubbles that have formed on the inside of the jar.
  11. Wipe any residue from the rims of the jars using a damp dish towel dipped in vinegar. Attach the lids and bands to the jars, tightening them until “fingertip tight.”
  12. Add two inches of water to the pressure canner.
  13. Using a jar lifter or tongs, put the jars into the canner. Lock the lid on tight, and increase the heat. Allow the canner to come to a boil.
  14. Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 10 minutes per your altitude and canner type:

Dial Gauge Pressure Canner

  • 0 – 2,000ft: 6 lbs for pints; 11 lbs for quarts
  • 2,001 – 4,000ft: 7 lbs for pints; 12 lbs for quarts
  • 4,001 – 6,000ft: 8 lbs for pints; 13 lbs for quarts
  • 6,001ft and up: 9 lbs for pints; 14 lbs for quarts

Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 5 lbs for pints; 10 lbs for quarts
  • 1,001ft and up: 10 lbs for pints; 15 lbs for quarts

Post Processing  

  1. When the processing time is complete, turn off the stovetop and let the pressure release naturally.
  2. Once the dial gauge reads zero, remove the pressure regulator and release any remaining pressure.
  3. Open the lid and use tongs or a jar lifter to transfer the jars carefully to a clean dish towel or a protected work surface. Let the jars cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.
  4. Test the seals by gently pressing the center of the lids with your thumbs. If they flex or move, it indicates an improper seal.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Canning Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • Serving Size: 17g
  • Calories: 3.1kcal
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 0.9mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.7g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 0.2g

Can Cherry Tomatoes Be Canned with Skins On?

Yes, cherry tomatoes can be canned with their skins on. The skins of cherry tomatoes are typically thin and tender, making them less noticeable in the final canned product than in larger tomato varieties. However, if you find the skins bothersome or prefer a smoother texture, you can peel them before canning.

Jars of cherry tomatoes with skins removed
Skinned and canned cherry tomatoes

Is Canning Liquid Required for Canning Cherry Tomatoes?

Cherry tomatoes contain enough natural juice to create a decent amount of liquid during the canning process. The tomatoes also release their own juices during processing, which helps create a flavorful and natural canning liquid.

However, many recipes recommend adding boiling water so there is a ½ inch of headspace in the jar before the canning process begins. This space allows for the expansion of the liquid and air removal during the canning process and creates a proper seal.

Should You Raw Pack or Hot Pack Cherry Tomatoes?

Hot packing (pre-cooking) or raw packing cherry potatoes is a personal preference.

  • Hot jar packing means enhanced flavors, better textures, and improved preservation. The cooking process softens the tomatoes and allows you to fit more into each jar.
  • The raw pack method saves time, retains nutrients, and results in a firmer texture, which is desirable for certain recipes.
Man putting raw tomatoes and herbs in a canning jar
Raw-packing cherry tomatoes

What Size Jars Do You Use For Canning Cherry Tomatoes?

Pint jars are suitable for smaller portions. They are convenient for recipes that call for a smaller amount of tomatoes, such as sauces and salsas, or adding tomatoes to dishes like stews or soups.

Quart jars are ideal if you have a large harvest of cherry tomatoes or prefer larger quantities of canned tomatoes. They are suitable for recipes that require larger amounts of tomatoes, like canning whole cherry tomatoes or making large batches of tomato sauce or puree.

What Are The Benefits of Canning Cherry Tomatoes?

  1. Canning allows you to extend the shelf life of cherry tomatoes, even when they are out of season.
  2. Canning allows you to preserve and enjoy unique or heirloom tomato varieties that may not be readily available in stores.
  3. Having jars of canned tomatoes is convenient to easily incorporate into sauces, soups, and stews.
  4. When canning cherry tomatoes, you have control over the ingredients.
  5. Canning cherry tomatoes is cost-effective as buying fresh tomatoes in bulk saves money.
Cherry tomato plants full of ripe cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomato plants

Shelf Life And Storage of Canned Cherry Tomatoes

When canned properly, cherry tomatoes can have a relatively long shelf life.

  1. Canned cherry tomatoes typically have a shelf life of 1 to 1.5 years. However, it’s important to note that the quality and flavor of the tomatoes may diminish over time.
  2. Store canned cherry tomatoes in a dry, dark, and cool place to maximize their shelf life. Ideally, they should be kept in an area where the temperature remains stable and doesn’t exceed 75°F.
  3. Ensure that the canning jars are properly sealed before storing them.
  4. Label the jars with the date of canning to track their freshness.


Adam was fascinated from an early age by his father's car and his mum's kitchen. His love of home food preparation stems from her. From baking to roasting and freezing to canning, he has always followed the lessons she taught him all those years ago.

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