This Chili Stewed Tomatoes recipe is made with fresh tomatoes, celery, onion, and green pepper, plus vinegar and a bit of pickling spices. It’s brightly flavored and irresistible! Enjoy as a side dish or add to chili or pasta sauce for a burst of fresh summer flavor. You can even store this in the freezer for a year!

Overhead view of a bowl of chili stewed tomatoes


 

Easy & Flavorful Stewed Tomatoes Recipe

As summer is winding down, we are indulging in all the goodness of the season’s tomato harvest. And this Chili Stewed Tomatoes recipe is the perfect way to enjoy the sweet garden abundance year-round!

I grew up on these easy stewed tomatoes, thanks to Mom, so of course I think this is the best stewed tomatoes recipe ever.

Just know that this is not your basic “tomato only” recipe. Besides rich, sweet tomatoes, it also features celery, onions, and peppers, plus vinegar and pickling spices. It’s robust and brightly flavored, so ridiculously good!

While my family loves to eat this by the spoonful as soon as I make it (it’s a crazy delicious tomato side dish), I’m always sure to tuck some away for later. Sometimes I freeze it, and other times I can it. Then I add the homemade stewed tomatoes to baked beans, chili, sloppy joes, and pasta sauce whenever I’m looking to add some fresh (and super easy) summertime tomato flavor!

Ingredients in chili stewed tomatoes

What You’ll Need

Besides tomatoes, there are just a few other veggies in this easy side dish. See the recipe card below for full measurements.

  • Tomatoes – I recommend Roma/plum or beef tomatoes, or a mixture of both. Just make sure your tomatoes are ripe and delicious, because the best tomatoes will give you the best stewed tomatoes!
  • Veggies – Celery, yellow onion, and green pepper add flavor, nutrition, and texture to the chili tomatoes.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar with just a bit of brown sugar helps to sweeten the dish and balance the acidity from the tomatoes and vinegar.
  • White vinegar – This adds a brightness to the overall recipe and helps to give that bit of pickled flavor.
  • Mixed pickling spices – Look for this in the grocery store’s spice aisle.

How to Easily Peel the Tomatoes

The easiest way to peel the tomatoes for this recipe is to very briefly boil them, and then transfer them to an ice bath.

To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and set a timer for 30 seconds. The skins should start to split on the tomatoes. Remove tomatoes immediately to an ice bath. Let the tomatoes cool a bit, then peel the skins off. The skins should remove very easily, by simply rubbing them off with your fingers. Discard the skins.

Overhead view of a bowl of chili stewed tomatoes

How to Make Chili Stewed Tomatoes

While stewed tomatoes are very easy to make, they do require an overnight rest time. So it’s a recipe you’re going to want to prepare in advance.

  • Combine veggies overnight. Combine the tomatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, and salt. Cover and let rest overnight. Strain through a colander the next day (but don’t press on the vegetables).
  • Cook. Transfer the veggies to a pot. Add the sugars, pepper, and vinegar. Wrap the pickling spices in cheesecloth and add to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy. Serve as a side dish or add to other dishes!
Jars of stewed tomatoes in a water bath
Three jars of chili stewed tomatoes

Can I Can This Recipe for Longer Storage?

Yes, this is a great recipe for canning, and takes just a few extra steps. Here’s how to can stewed tomatoes for pantry storage:

  • Fill jars. Sterilize your jars, then transfer the stewed tomatoes mixture to the jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Add the lid and then twist on the ring until it’s just finger-tight.
  • Process. Place filled jars in boiling water, with water covering the tops by at least 1″. Boil for 10 minutes in this hot water bath. Remove jars from the hot water and allow them to cool on the counter overnight.
  • Store. Then store in a cool place for up to 12 months.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

While Mom most often cans her chili stewed tomatoes, I usually freeze them. It’s just so simple and takes very little time. I just transfer the stewed tomatoes to freezer-safe containers or baggies, and place them in the freezer – they keep well for up to 12 months. It’s a delight to have these on hand when January’s bleak, frigid weather comes around!

A spoon stirring chili stewed tomatoes

Serving Suggestions

Chili stewed tomatoes make a great side dish all on their own, but also make a flavorful addition to other recipes. I like to add them to my baked beans or cowboy beans, and they add a huge burst of flavor to pasta sauce, soups, chili, and sloppy joes.

Not to mention, it’s pretty wonderful when slow cooked with a pot roast, or pieces of beef steak, pork, or chicken. My mom likes to slow cook individual portions of steak in chili stewed tomatoes until the beef is fork-tender, and then serve it with mashed potatoes. It’s an easy and fabulously tasty meal!

A jar of chili stewed tomatoes

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

There are several ways to store your leftover stewed tomatoes.

  • In the fridge. Leftover stewed tomatoes will last for up 1 week in a covered container in the fridge.
  • In the freezer. You can also freeze leftovers in freezer-safe baggies or containers for up to 12 months. Simply defrost in the fridge.
  • In the pantry. If you follow the additional canning steps mentioned above, you can store jars of stewed tomatoes on the pantry shelf for up to 1 year.
A jar of chili stewed tomatoes with a spoon

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Overhead view of a bowl of chili stewed tomatoes

Chili Stewed Tomatoes

Yield: 6 pints
prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
total time: 12 hours 50 minutes
This Chili Stewed Tomatoes recipe is made with fresh tomatoes, celery, onion, and green pepper, plus vinegar and a bit of pickling spices. It's brightly flavored and irresistible! Enjoy as a side dish or add to chili or pasta sauce for a burst of fresh summer flavor. You can even store this in the freezer for a year!
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Ingredients

  • 3 quarts peeled chopped tomatoes – I recommend Roma/plum or beef tomatoes, but any will work
  • 3 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • teaspoons mixed pickling spices

Instructions

  • In a large pot or bowl, combine tomatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, and salt. Cover with a lid or large towel and let stand overnight. The next day, drain through a colander – do not press on the vegetables.
  • Place drained vegetables in a large pot. Add sugar, brown sugar, pepper, and vinegar. Tie pickling spices in cheesecloth and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

There are several options for storage:

  • If you plan to eat all the stewed tomatoes within 1 week, simply store it in a covered container in the fridge.
  • Freeze it in freezer-safe baggies or containers for up to 12 months.
  • Can it in jars for pantry storage. Ladle mixture into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace. Place a lid on the jar and then a ring, just finger-tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This will yield 5 to 6 pints. Best eaten within 12 months.

Notes

To easily peel tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and set a timer for 30 seconds. The skins should start to split on the tomatoes. Remove tomatoes immediately to an ice bath. Let the tomatoes cool a bit, then peel the skins off. The skins should remove very easily, by simply rubbing them off with your fingers. Discard the skins.
How to serve: This makes a tasty side dish all on its own. It's also delicious added to baked beans, pasta sauce, soup, chili, and sloppy joes. And it's pretty wonderful when slow cooked with a pot roast, pieces of beef steak, pork, or chicken!
From Mom's recipe box

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 137kcal Carbohydrates: 31g Protein: 3g Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 4mg Sodium: 786mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 27g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
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Overhead view of a bowl of chili stewed tomatoes