Introduction: Roasted Tomatoes

Picture of Roasted Tomatoes

Slow oven-roasting turns damaged, mediocre, or tasty-but-extra tomatoes into something wonderful.

This is a great way to reduce the volume of your massive tomato harvest for storage!  I buy lots of incredible heirloom tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms* each summer, and roast them to remove water (heirloom tomatoes are VERY wet) and concentrate their flavor.   Then they go into the chest freezer for off-season use in other dishes.

*Like the look of the tomatoes you see in these pictures?  You can buy seeds online at the Wild Boar Farms website.  If you grow tomatoes, I can't recommend their stock highly enough.

Step 1: Prepare Tomatoes

Picture of Prepare Tomatoes

Acquire lots of delicious tomatoes. These are from a box of fabulous heirloom tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms at my local farmers' market. Because I'm cheap I got a box of seconds, meaning that they taste just as good but are aesthetically imperfect or got dinged in transit or handling sometime today. The squished/dinged/leaky tomatoes need to be used immediately to avoid spoilage.

Chop small tomatoes in half, and slice larger tomatoes in thirds or quarters. Lightly coat your baking dish in oil; I use spray canola for this part because I'm lazy and these heirloom tomatoes carry so much liquid they don't need more oil on the bottom.

Place your tomatoes in a single layer in the baking dish, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices; here I used chopped fresh rosemary and dried oregano. Optional: stick garlic cloves in any remaining spaces to roast and do some serious flavor-trading.

Important storage notes: refrigeration kills off proper tomato flavor. Keep them on your counter, and check daily for softness or incipient mold. Don't wash them until you're ready to use them.

Step 2: Roast Tomatoes

Picture of Roast Tomatoes

Put your tomatoes in a 300F oven and wander off for a bit.

Depending on the thickness of your slices and the amount of water in the tomatoes, time will vary. You can follow the smell; there will be a gorgeous roasty aroma as the tomatoes cook.  I usually cook my (very watery heirloom) tomatoes for 2-3 hours.

When the tomatoes (and garlic) look like they've started to brown or dry out on the top and the liquid in the pan has begun to thicken slightly, turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes to slowly equilibrate. If you're worried about overcooking them you can remove the pan and let it cool on the counter, but the slower cooling process makes for extra-tasty flavor.

Step 3: Store for Later Use

Picture of Store for Later Use

When the tomatoes have cooled drop them and the remaining oil/tomato juice goo into a covered storage bowl in the fridge. I never manage to store the garlic, as it all gets eaten within seconds of leaving the oven.

Use them for proper Southern tomato pie, frittatas, BLTs, beans, stews, or anything else calling for tomatoes; eat them straight; drizzle them with a balsamic reduction; serve on toast with chevre. They even freeze well. Roasted tomatoes are basically concentrated tomatoey goodness, and can be used anywhere tomatoes are usually found.

I'll fill in more of these links as I document more of the roasted tomato uses we favor.


Drweb4 (author)2017-04-23

I'm going to try this this year. Thanks for the box of 2nds tip. I'm going to use it on my cherry tomatoes too!

CandaceC2 made it! (author)2015-08-16

I made this recipe with beefsteak and roma tomatoes. I added the garlic cloves as suggested and used McCormick's Mediteranean Sea Salt for the spices. They came out great!

deb67--- (author)2015-07-15

Thanks for this tip ... I did not even think about roasting my tomatoes. DUH! Everyone knows Roasting makes everything taste better. Thanks for reminding me and the step by step directions. deb

impied made it! (author)2014-02-03

Delicious on pasta, salad, pasta salad and all other things that go on tomatoes!

littlednme (author)2013-04-02

These look so good! I can't wait to make them!!!

rrkrose (author)2012-07-28

I made these and they were pretty good but next time I am going to add a little less garlic.

Lucky2010 (author)2010-09-13

Thanks for the instructions! I grow many heirlooms and some were stricken by late blight :( Mostly the speckled romas. However, I do still harvest some lovely and tasty fruit. I tried this tonight with a Great White, some Speckled Romas, cute little Green Grapes (which are yellow) and a Brandywine. Because of the steam I had to suck up some juice during cooking with a baster. It was the best tablespoon of liquid I've ever had. I am also roasting yellow stuffing tomatoes, because raw they have little flavor. It's the first year I've grown them and while they're cool looking, productive and fun to grow, they aren't that tasty. It's amazing how sweet they taste after a little roasting. If you have any other tips about what to do with these besides stuffing and roasting, I'd love to read them.

canida (author)Lucky20102010-09-16

Sorry to hear about the blight! That's disappointing.

I've never seen the stuffing tomatoes before. My understanding is that most of the flavor comes from the gooey innards surrounding the seeds, so that would explain their relative lack of tastiness until roasted. How do they taste when sun-dried?

Also, great blog!

Lucky2010 (author)canida2010-09-25

I should have specified - the omnivore's solution blog isn't mine :-)

I'm gonna have to get on a garden forum and get ideas about rethinking next year's garden. Blight stays in the soil.

But anyway, they stuffing tomatoes I sliced and filled in the spaces with Green Grape (they're actually yellow) tomatoes and roasted slow at 250 degrees F. They looked cool and came out good.

redhairandfrekls (author)2010-09-18

This looks beautifully delicious. When you 'slow roast', what temperature do you use?

jakerobinson (author)2010-04-11

you say not to refridgerate but keep them on the counter.. would you not put them in a jar of olive oil to store long range?  how long can/do you keep them on the counter? thanks

canida (author)jakerobinson2010-09-16

That's for fresh tomatoes. After roasting, definitely refrigerate or freeze the tomatoes.

jomoncon (author)2010-06-14

Do you do anything to remove the peel & seeds after roasting?

canida (author)jomoncon2010-09-16

No, I find them delicious. If you really want to remove the peel and seeds, you could push the entire contents through a strainer. But why bother when they taste good?

quinault (author)2010-01-03

I gonna try tonight

Dr.Bill (author)2009-12-29

Yeah Baby!!!

Lindley (author)2009-12-24

These have worked out excellently. After cooking, I bottle them in olive oil as 'sun dried' tomatoes. I have a small fan-assisted table-top oven, and 400F incinerated my first attempt. I now use HALF that temperature and the results are perfect. About an hour and let the toms cool off of their own accord.

Xial (author)2009-11-30

Well, chief, I've got you to thank for my constant tomato purchases over the last week.
I rediscovered a farmer's market that's on my ride home, and end up going home with a backpack half full of tomatoes.
I'm probably driving my roomie nuts with the constant usage of the oven and the smell of roasting tomatoes in our apartment (and no, we don't have an apartment stove/oven~ Full sized appliances, FTW!).

I really should get some canning jars and another baking pan so I can do this more efficiently, but many thanks to you and your 'ible - I'm eating more fruits and veggies, and things cooked at home.

Now if only tomatoes didn't make me hungrier than I normally am... :)

fake_faux (author)2008-08-19

Yes I totally agree this is the BEST thing you can do with a glut of tomatoes. Also try roasting them with a little bit of mace or cayenne pepper. To make the most delicious pasta sauce to have ever caressed your taste buds, once roasted you can rub the tomatoes through a sieve to puree them and remove the skin and seeds. Then in a frying pan, heat up some extra virgin olive oil, "melt" a generous number of salt or oil preserved anchovies, mix in the tomato pulp and then add some cream to taste. Delizioso!

anna rox (author)fake_faux2009-10-20

THIS WOZ DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! i cooked it 4 my besties and they loved it!!

The Ideanator (author)fake_faux2009-09-12

Mace? I know its loaded with capsicum, but I would think that there would be some other, not so good for you stuff in there.

canida (author)The Ideanator2009-09-13

This is [ mace the spice], different from pepper spray. It's the yellowish-orange stuff that grows on the outside of nutmegs.

The Ideanator (author)canida2009-09-13

Oh, ok. That might be good. Try grilling these with garlic powder, vinegar and some butter. They're almost too good that way.

Lithium Rain (author)2008-08-07

Cool! Canida, where did you learn to cook? I must go there...

We do this to frozen tomatoes all the time-just boil them first to make them soft again. Contrary to what everyone says, you can freeze tomatoes from the garden.

canida (author)Lithium Rain2009-09-13

I roast before freezing to drive off water - saves freezer space. ;)

codongolev (author)2009-07-28

it really doesn't matter if they're green?

canida (author)codongolev2009-09-13

The ones I used are green when ripe. I haven't tried this with underripe green tomatoes - probably wouldn't be as good.

TJXANMOM (author)2009-09-04

How long can they be stored for?

canida (author)TJXANMOM2009-09-13

I store them frozen, but you can easily get a week or two in the refrigerator. More if you put a layer of oil on top to seal the tomatoes away from air.

mretuck (author)2009-09-04

Well, I hope you're happy. I made this with maters from the garden. The wife loved'em, and now I gotta make more ;-)

canida (author)mretuck2009-09-13

So sorry to hear that! It's a tough life. ;)

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-27

To save some oven time, one could leave the tomato slices in a food dehydrator for 12 hours or so, and then roast 'em the rest of the way afterwards. We dehydrate tomatoes all the way, for a much less expensive sun-dried tomato substitute. We dried some "Sungold" (super-sweet, orange-coloured cherry tomatoes) last year. Just like candy, yum! Alas, we only got maybe five ripe "Brandywines", before an early frost killed 'em last year.

I find the heirloom tomatoes we get to be too juicy for the dehydrator! We actually tried it, and the dehydrator just couldn't keep up even with a small quantity. Perhaps after half-roasting? Now we stick to drier tomatoes for dehydration.

There are some tomato varieties selected for stuffing, that have less seed goop inside, that might be better candidates for drying.
Another option is to knock the seed goop out of the tomato before drying, roasting, or saucification. This removes a whole lot of water. Added bonus for heirloom varieties is you can plant the seeds. Brandywine tomatoes (already super tasty and even better roasted) don't respond too well to this treatment, the seed goop being more integrated into the tomato structure than other varieties. Just hafta suffer when roasting 'em.
I mention all these liquid reducing strategies partly out of energy use concerns, but mostly out of my many years of living with The World's Most Useless Oven, a beastly device that uses boatloads of power, can't keep proper temperature, and heats up the apartment when in use (I almost forgot to mention that it's "apartment size", meaning that you can't fit two @#$% cookie sheets across in it). I really should get around to building a solar oven.

Sorry to hear about your oven! I've dealt with "apartment size" before, and it's no fun. A solar oven would certainly be awesome. The seed goop has quite a bit of the flavor, and I love the nice syrupy stuff you get from cooking it down in the oven. I wouldn't want to waste all of that wonderful stuff just to be able to use the dehydrator, unless I was actually seed-saving.

I find the seed goop makes for an "interesting" mix with vodka. The tomato flesh still has plenty of liquid to cook down to syrupy goodness. I'm debating which would be a more suitable punishment for the oven; tossing with a big trebuchet, or blowing it up good with some homemade explosives.

tossing with a big trebuchet, or blowing it up good with some homemade explosives.

Combining the two would be a stroke of genius. Be sure to take video.

Which would be better, explosion mid-flight, or explosion on impact?

Midflight = epic win. Bring the mythbusters along for the international tv and high explosives access.

mid flight, more like fire works, also, bring an umbrella :D

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-05-19

I tried this with generic tomatoes from the fridge and man were they ever good. I used mined garlic in it instead of slicing up whole garlic. I highly recommend this recipe! Dats it u gettin 5 stars!

canida (author)Mr. Rig It2008-08-05

Huzzah! Isn't it amazing how much it improves mediocre tomatoes? Mind-blowing.

Mr. Rig It (author)canida2008-08-09

Yes I was very suprised they were so good I ate the whole pan in one sitting. Did you make them at the conferece this summer?

Tidnull (author)2008-06-06

These look ESPECIALLY delicious. I usually eat tomatoes by themselves with s/p and dressing of some sort but this is a really awesome and easy idea.

canida (author)Tidnull2008-08-05

Definitely, give it a try! They last a lot longer in the fridge or freezer this way, and don't take up nearly as much space.

heldmyw (author)2008-06-16

roasted/dried like this, pulverize with your choice of weapons, (I like a food processor) and jar for the best spaghetti sauce/chili base you have ever tasted! Refrigerate, of course, or sterilize and can for long term storage.

canida (author)heldmyw2008-08-05

Sounds like a good idea - I'll have to try it!

I Am An Evil Taco (author)2008-06-17

Hey, random thought. You ever do this then make a marinara out of them?

canida (author)I Am An Evil Taco2008-08-05

Not yet, but it sounds like a sweet idea!

I Am An Evil Taco (author)2008-05-16

oh, god. add some chopped red bell peppers, some baby bella caps, some shallots. This sounds amazing.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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