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Slow-Roasting Tomatoes

August 25th, 2010

I don’t know that I’ve ever met a tomato recipe I haven’t liked, but there are some that I love more than others. One of my favorite ways to enjoy summer tomatoes is by slow-roasting them in the oven. You can throw these on pizza, on salads, eat them plain or my favorite, on top of some toast with an egg. When you slow roast tomatoes it deepens the flavor and concentrates the sugars. As a result you’re left with delicious jammy little puddles of tomato goodness, and making them couldn’t be simpler! This is even a great way to deal with so-so tomatoes that you buy from the store or the end of the season tomatoes that are ripened indoors and lack the sun-ripened flavor.

You can use any kind of tomato, from cherries to beefsteaks, just keep in mind that the larger the tomato the longer it will take to roast. Roma types that are dry roast quicker so check them earlier, but beefsteaks are more concentrated when roasted so they taste better. If you’re going to roast a batch, you may as well do an entire oven full to save energy and I guarantee you’ll always want more!

All you need to do it is cut the tomatoes in half, lay skin side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (the parchment helps get them up later). If you want to, drizzle with olive oil and some freshly chopped herbs and sprinkle with salt and pepper, or simply roast as is, it’s up to you, I do both. Roast in a 225 degree oven for 4-8 hours or until reduced in size and slightly moist, cooking time depends on size of tomatoes and your oven. You can try raising oven temp to 250, but you may get some dark spots on the tomatoes, it depends on your oven. I like to put mine in the oven before I go to bed and set the timer for 6 hours. The next morning I check the tomatoes, remove any that are finished and continue roasting any tomatoes that aren’t quite done. You can taste one after 3-4 hours and you’ll be able to tell if it’s done or not. It should taste like concentrated tomato with a slightly sweet tang. If it’s still acidic and sour, roast for a while longer.

These will need to be frozen to preserve them. I usually freeze on the cookie sheets, then store in a large bag. That way can I get one or twenty depending on what I’m making. I like to use slow-roasted tomatoes in my homemade ketchup, I find it adds a wonderful rich flavor and reduces the cooking time. I don’t roast them quite as long as when I do this since it’s much easier to extract the peels and seeds when they’re not quite as dry.

Have you ever slow roasted tomatoes?

13 Comments to “Slow-Roasting Tomatoes”
  1. carolyn on August 25, 2010 at 8:02 am

    you’re right, Beefsteak takes a lot longer time. I made 2 more pints of tomaote sauce yesturday. I know it’s not alot. But, for every pint I get, that’s one I don’t have to purchase.
    Thanks for the post.

    Reply to carolyn's comment

  2. Miranda on August 25, 2010 at 9:41 am

    So good!
    Though i do mine on higher heat for less time – makes gooier tomatoes, but super delicious and great for blending into a sauce or just tossing with other delicious veggies and maybe pasta.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  3. Sense of Home on August 25, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I dehydrate tomatoes at a low (120 degree) temperature. Then I place them in a pint jar, pour olive oil over the top and place in the refrigerator. The olive oil gets thick, but when you pull the tomato out and wipe off some of the oil they are terrific mixed in pasta dishes.


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  4. Tommy on August 25, 2010 at 11:46 am

    What’s the difference between slow roasting and dehydrating? I’ve never done either with tomatoes, but I will need to this year with all the tomatoes I’ve got!

    It sounds like the slow roasted ones should not be completely dried out, is this correct? Are you shooting for something that still has some moisture?

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on August 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      Dehydrating is done at lower temperatures so it doesn’t “cook” the tomatoes like roasting does. Roasting gives the tomatoes a caramelized kind of flavor. The dried ones are also completely dried, so often you’ll need to slightly rehydrate them in order to eat them or chop them because they have a tendency to be tough. The roasted ones are not like them (if so you roasted a little too long). This makes them wonderful to put on sandwiches because you can bit through themm.

      Yes the roasted ones aren’t completely dried, which is why you freeze them. You can try them at different stages and find out how you like them. I roast them for different lengths of time depending on what I’ll be using them for. For eating as a side I usually don’t roast them as long as the ones I’ll be using for pizza and omelets.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Tommy on August 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm

        Awesome. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

        to Tommy's comment

  5. Jennifer on August 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Those look so yummy! I think I’ll need to make some for our pizza this week!

    Reply to Jennifer's comment

  6. rachel on August 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    These are great to do in the solar oven, you have to do smaller batches (or really stack those trays carefully). Even the cardboard box with aluminum foil kind get up to 250 pretty easily. This way you don’t have to heat up the house in the summer. :) Especially here in Phoenix, where yesterday it was 112 and humid… grrr.

    Reply to rachel's comment

  7. Stephanie Morimoto on August 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I roast tomatoes at high heat before making tomato soup out of them, which leads to a nicely intense, slightly smoky flavor in the soup. I tried tomatoes for the first time in cold, foggy San Francisco (not the best idea!). Only the strong are surviving, and they’re not great, so I’ll try your slow roasting method with them. Thanks for the great tip!

    You can read about my tomato misadventures (and other local food and gardening experiences) here:

    Reply to Stephanie Morimoto's comment

  8. nic@nipitinthebud on August 29, 2010 at 3:07 am

    I’m so glad you confirmed you can freeze them (although I’ve usually eaten half of them by the time I’m sliding them off the tray!). I sauteed courgettes last week and stored them in oil but they went fizzy after a week. I’ve never dared try to store toms in oil for fear of losing them. I won’t have a glut here for them but the toms on the market stalls are a good price at the moment. I love adding sprigs of rosemary or thyme from the garden and a little balsamic vinegar.
    ps. 6 hours sleep? so that’s how you fit everything in!

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  9. Janice on August 30, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Oh my, those look wonderful. This may just be the catalyst to plant more tomatoes next year. ITM!

    Reply to Janice's comment

  10. Andreas duess on September 6, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Just a word of caution about storing vegetables in oil, this is one of the leading causes of botulism. Butulism doesn’t need oxygen to survive, oil suits them perfectly.

    More information:

    Reply to Andreas duess's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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