How to Use a Food Mill for Tomatoes

Making homemade tomato sauce food mill

Making homemade tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes have never been easier with the use of a food mill. But problems may arise when you do not know how to properly use the low-tech tool to get excellently pureed tomatoes.

Luckily in this post, I have developed a step-by-step guide that will hold your hand and walk you through every process involved in using a food mill for tomatoes.

I can tell you that the steps involved are rather simple compared to using sieve mesh or blender. Not just because there is no peeling required, but also because it is a very simple thing to process the tomatoes through your Food Mill. As easy as it seems, not everyone gets it right always.

There are two situations in which people use their food mill for tomatoes. While some use a food mill for raw tomatoes, others choose to first steam or boil the tomatoes before processing them In a food mill.

I can not be sure what your method is, as it depends on your recipe. But this guide covers how to use a food mill for both raw and boiled tomatoes.

How can you use a Food Mill for Tomatoes? The general and quick answer to how a food mill is used for tomatoes involves selecting fresh ripe tomatoes, preferably with low water content, cleaning and rinsing them off well, and then process with the food mill.

There is more to this though, as we will see below.

One thing you should know before we continue is that there is little or no cooking required when pureeing your tomatoes with a food mill.

As mentioned earlier, we will start by looking into the steps involved in using a food mill for raw tomatoes.

Steps to using a food mill for Raw Tomatoes

  • What I do is to first examine if any of the tomatoes has icky bruises and then I cut off the part. Larger tomatoes require more of a chop. Even smaller ones too, you can cut them into quarters or halves such that they start to release their juices.
  • Now that the tomatoes are prepared for processing, jump to setting your food mill. Place the tool over a large mixing bowl or a pot.
  • Put in all the chopped tomatoes into the food mill and churn away (the number of tomatoes you can put per batch will depend on the capacity of the food mill.
  • As the food mill purees the tomatoes, the tomato pulp and juice will fall through into your bowl, giving you a smooth puree of milled tomatoes.
  • Another interesting performance of a food mill that it delivers seedless and skinless puree. The seeds of the tomatoes will be left in the food mill.

This brings us to the proper cleaning and maintenance of the food mill after use.

The seeds and skin that is left in the food mill should be tossed into the refuse bin.

The food mill should be properly washed and kept after each use.

Steps to using food mill for steamed or boiled tomatoes

When you choose to do a quick steaming or boil of your tomatoes, you make the job easier because the flesh of the tomatoes will be broken down and the skin will be very easy to remove when using a food mill.

That is even the single essence of boiling tomatoes before using a food mill to puree them.

Another way some people go about the boiling thing, which I also encourage is to boil them for a longer period, long enough to soften the pulp.

It is easy to know when it is boiled enough because the tomatoes will certainly become somehow mushy to the touch at this point.

  • After boiling/steaming, turn off the heat, and run cold water over them, until they’re cool enough for you to handle.
  • After that, peel the skin of the tomatoes gently and then proceed to run them through your food mill.
  • Before now, you should have set your food mill and place them over a large bowl just as described in the previous steps.
  • It is okay to use a food mill for large batched of tomatoes even though you do not plan to use all of them at once. And storage is easy. Simply freeze them right away in airtight glass jars.

Now you have seen that using a food mill for tomatoes is so simple. Whenever I want to make a fresh tomato salsa Fresca, I do not fail to use my OXO food mill because it made the job easier. The steps I have just shared are the same way I use my food mill for tomatoes and I always get the best result.

And feel free to do the same for other soft food items, especially if you can boast of using a good food mill as I can.

Soft items like bell peppers, and onions, and fresh tomatoes can be run through a food mill too. But do not forget to chop them up.

Now as we progress in this post, I want to mention that it is ideal to know deeply about a food mill if you want to know how to use it like a pro in any circumstance.

Just as you know what the blades, jar, and control buttons do in a blender, you should also know the parts of a food mill so that you will not always look like a noob when handling the food mill.

This brings us to the next segment of this post, knowing more about the parts of a food mill.

Parts of a Food Mill ideal for pureeing tomatoes

By now, I think it is almost needless to start defining what a food mill is and what it does (and maybe how it works).

But I want to mention that a food mill consists of three major parts as you must have discovered for yourself.

These three parts of a food mill are:

  • Hand crank attached to a metal blade
  • Grinding plate with a sieve
  • The bowl.

An ideal food mill should feature three corrugated feet on the base of the food mill, well, I have come across several food mills with two ears on the rim plus the handle during most of my reviews post.

But the function of these corrugated feet is to help to keep the food mill firmly in place while you rotate the crank.

Now since it is a manually powered tool, it features a hand crank on the top that is attached to a metal blade or grinding plate. The food mill will able to rotate and grind your food when you turn the crank.

Now a little bit of diving into how a food mill works, your tomatoes are placed in the plate, and while grinding or mashing your food, it passes forcibly through the plate.

This plate is perforated and pours your pureed tomatoes or food into the bowl that the food mill is placed over.

A very good mill should have the disc interchangeable perforates sieving discs to be able to use different plates.

An ideal food mill for processing tomatoes should feature the following

It can be very difficult to choose a good food mill because food mills will always have the same features. But if you want a food mill for tomatoes that has enhanced performance and safety,

Below are the following features they have.


I will begin with the capacity because it pretty much determines the amount of time it will take you to get a large batched of tomatoes pureed and how fast.

Generally, I usually advise people to go for a food mill with a deep, generously size. You will be able to finish the job in no time with this type of food mill.

When using those small-sized food mills, you will not be happy with the numerous batches of food you will need to grind. And again, you do not want tomatoes falling out of the mill, yeah?

The material of the food mill

Most often, the durability of any kitchen appliance depends on the material the tool is made with. Food mills like most kitchen tools can be made from stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic. Some also have wooden handles.

So if you want to choose a sturdy, safe, and healthy food mill, I encourage you to choose a food mill that with made from stainless steel.

I consider it as the best option because it will not rust, and will survive your dishwasher. You will even see it written in the product description.

Interchangeable discs

I mentioned this earlier when explaining how to use a food mill for boiled tomatoes, it is more significant to be serious about using a food mill with the interchangeable grinding disc when you intend to use the food mill for not just tomatoes and mashed potatoes.

The provision of different disc gauges gives you varying degrees of fineness. You get the best result easily when you can identify which food mill disc for tomatoes is best to use.

The blade of the food mill should ride close to the disk

Have you also thought about what grinding in a food mill will be like when a blade that is sharply sloped and with a high angle creates a large space between it and the disc?

Food will be swept round and round the mill and this is annoying.

The food is meant to be pushed through the discs, this will happen smoothly when the blade slopes gently and it is close to the disc.

Should be easy to assemble

What is the point of using a food mill when it is hard or impossible to disassemble and assemble back?

A food mill that is easy to disassemble helps to have a less cumbersome cleaning

And when it is also easy to assemble, storage will be simple.


You should know though that with a food mill, you can make a variety of things and not just tomato sauces.

When preparing applesauce, you will need a food mill that will make you able to add hot, unpeeled, or unskinned fruits or vegetables to the mill

A food mill produces puree without the seeds or skins. And that is why most people are fond of using low-tech tool.

Making baby food, or purée for people who are on soft food diets becomes easier when you have a food mill.

You will be able to make a simple diet for people who have to chew or swallowing difficulties.

I made my first Duchesse potatoes using a food mill and I enjoy every part of the cooking process.

So if you are about to buy a food mill for just pureeing tomatoes, you are making a huge investment because food mills are versatile tools in the kitchen.

And did you say you want to buy a food mill? Look no further than this buying guide HERE that I developed recently which contains a full, detailed review on the best food mill to invest this year.

I do not need to mention to you that there are many ways to blend, grind, or whip up your tomatoes. Using a food mill is one of the easiest ways as it also helps in removing the seeds and skin of your tomatoes. This is something that neither a blender nor a food processor may do.

While it is important to understand food mill vs blender, food mill vs food processor, and more, food mills have been specially designed to grind or purée foods such as soups, sauces.

You can even get excellent results when you use a food mill to mash a variety of foods, like potatoes.

I hope this article has been able to show you how to use a food mill for tomatoes.

Drop a comment if you have further questions or opinions on the use of food mills for tomatoes.

Thanks for reading.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *