sun-dried tomatoes

How to Make Homemade Sun-Dried (Oven Dried) Tomatoes

July 11, 2013Katie

sun-dried tomatoes

Do you love sun-dried tomatoes like I do, but not the price?  I am a huge fan of sun-dried tomatoes and last night I decided to make them at home. I experimented with both cherry tomatoes and plum or Roma tomatoes and let me tell you, homemade are absolutely wonderful.

While these are technically “oven-roasted”, they came out gorgeous, much redder and with deeper flavor than any I’ve bought in the store.  Now it has spurred me to ask Mr. Wonderful to make me a covered drying rack to try to actually make them  outside in the sun.


photo of homemade sun-dried tomatoes

Remember the post I did about the crazy cherry tomato plant I grew a few summers ago? That thing produced tomatoes clear up until Thanksgiving that year. We had scads of the sweet little treats picked every day filling up a bowl on our counter and we were running out of things to do with them.

This year, tomatoes are actually growing in Oklahoma, and I am getting a head start on recipes for them as my current two plants are just now starting to produce the little candy-like tomatoes so I’d love to show you what I did last night!

homemade sun-dried tomatoes

Before you start, I should warn you that you’ll need to plan to do these when you’re not in a hurry to go anywhere.  My first pan of cherry tomatoes took roughly around 2-2 1/2 hours and the larger tomatoes can take up to 5 or 6 hours. You’ll need to pre-heat your oven to 200º and slow dry them until they’re chewy and leathery, like a raisin. This is the perfect recipe because you can actually forget about the oven for two whole hours and nothing will burn!

Take your cherry tomatoes and slice them in half.  Here’s a shortcut to help you slice them quicker.

slice cherry tomatoes

I also decided to try a pan of Roma tomatoes, so I sliced those as well. Make sure on the Roma’s or plum tomatoes that you remove the icky stem spot.

core roma tomatoes

Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper, or if have a baking rack that fits into your baking sheets, that would be even better.  Most people don’t, however, so I decided to do mine on parchment paper.  Lay your cut tomatoes out in a single layer, not touching at all, and with the cut side facing up.  They will shrink by about one-half when they are roasting.  You will be surprised!

tomatoes baking sheet

Well, except now you won’t because I went and told you didn’t I?

I did the same with my larger tomatoes. Then I sprinkled them with salt and pepper.

salt tomatoes

You can also add any herb you like. I experimented with both fresh and dried herbs by putting fresh rosemary on the cherry tomatoes and dried basil on the Roma’s.

And that’s it. Some recipes call for drizzling with olive oil, but it really is not necessary and many advise against it. Just pop them into the oven.

drying tomatoes

Turn on the timer for two hours. That’s when I first checked my cherry tomatoes. Each oven heats differently, so you’ll have to eyeball these to see when they finish in your oven!  The Roma tomatoes took WAY longer. this was after 5 hours.

oven-dried roma tomatoes

In fact, at 11 that night, I had to turn them off and finish them the next day.

sun-dried roma tomatoes.jpg

It took roughly about 7 1/2 hours for them to be just right.

I think I may just stick to cherry or grape tomatoes. I prefer the cooking time AND the size of these.  This was at the end of two hours, and although they were shriveling a bit, I still saw too much moisture.

sun dried tomatoes in the oven

So I popped them back in for an additional half hour. When I checked them at that point, the moisture was gone, and they were leathery and chewy, but not crisp (don’t do crisp!). Their color had deepened to a brilliant red and they were just gorgeous…don’t you think?

sun-dried tomatoes in the oven

At this point, I allowed them to fully cool and packed them into a mason jar and drizzled a little olive oil over them.

homemade sun-dried tomato

From what I’ve read, you can keep them in your refrigerator for months this way.

IMG_0052

Other options included vacuum sealing or double bagging them and squeezing as much possible air out of the bag before freezing and they will keep for up to a year (do NOT add olive oil!).

Old school Italian cooks will tell you not to refrigerate them, but to make sure your mason jar is pristine and spotlessly  clean, add olive oil, and keep them out in the pantry so as not to dilute the sweet and tangy flavor of the tomatoes, but I just am not sure about the safety of that so I won’t advise that way.

However you decide to store them, you must make these soon!

how to make sun-dried tomatoes

From snacking on each gloriously “bursting with tomato flavor” bite, you can either snack on them fresh out of a bag, or pluck them from their olive oil bath and use them in pasta salads, sandwiches or pasta.  Try blending them in with your pasta red sauce for an added burst of depth of  flavor or make the Pesto Rosso (sun-dried tomato pesto) I made yesterday. You’ll love every savory bite!

How to Make Homemade Sun-Dried (Oven Dried) Tomatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large container cherry tomatoes
OR
  • 8 Roma tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh herbs, like thyme or rosemary
  • olive oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200º
  2. Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up in a single row on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Place pan in oven and leave it for 2-6 hours, depending on size of tomato
  4. Check cherry tomatoes at 2 hours
  5. Check larger tomatoes at 4½ - 5 hours
  6. Tomatoes should be leathery and chewy when done, sort of like a raisin.
Optional: Store in airtight glass clean jar with barely enough olive oil to cover. Will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 months.
Optional: place in double freezer bags or vacuumed sealed bags (don't add oil!) and freeze for up to a year.

how to make sun dried tomatoes

21 Comments

  • Vanessa Figueiredo

    July 14, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Hi Katie, Definitely I'll save this recipe and try later! It is super easy and it seems to be delicious! :)
  • Anne-Marie

    May 18, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I assumed the temperature is Fahrenheit ?? I converted it to celcius perhaps you could do that with your recipes for the convenience of the rest of the world? Thanks
  • Sarah

    July 15, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I started these based on another recipe that just said to cut them in half, and I didn't remove the stem spots. Should I be worried? They're already about halfway done.
    1. Katie

      July 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Sarah - I think you'll be ok -I have never dried them whole before. I think this will work but probably will take much longer. Removing the seeds helps remove a lot of the moisture. The stem spot won't kill you. It'll be ok!
  • Marie at the Lazy W

    July 10, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    In love the way your write recipes. xoxoxo
  • Barbara Karr

    May 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Going to try this week-end. Will not pay store prices! THANK YOU!
    1. Katie

      June 30, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Barbara - yay I hope you love them!
  • Sandi

    August 6, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Super easy and so tasty! My new favorite!
    1. Katie

      August 7, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Sandi - GREAT! So glad you enjoyed them!
  • Peter

    September 2, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    I burned mine good. :( full black crisp mode. The recipe doesn't mention F or C ... and i stupidly just assumed. (well, just didn't think of it because no unit WAS mentioned). Better at least indicate your units in recipes. Please :)
    1. Katie

      September 5, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Peter - so sorry - I'm from the US and all my recipes are F.
  • Colby

    September 4, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    I also have two tomato plants and am looking for storage options! Two questions/thoughts: 1. If you quartered the Roma tomatoes instead of halves, would they cook faster and still have the same quality? Just thinking how to save time! 2. How would these compare to ones purchased at a store and thrown into some sort of pasta sauce? I doubt I would eat mine straight, but I sure would covered in alfredo sauce :) Thanks for the great tutorial!
    1. Katie

      September 5, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Colby - I think it might be a tad quicker. Also, they would be the same as store bought. You can also pop them into a freezer bag without oil and they freeze beautifully!
  • Nikki Exton

    September 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Farenhight or Celcius, please!! If I had a dollar for every time I've had to ask this question I'd have 50 bucks :)
    1. Katie

      September 26, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Nikki - Farenhight
  • Janice Walker

    January 30, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Hi there Katie... Can you please tell me what the results were with the dried and fresh herbs? I was going to just put some in with the dried tomatoes, olive oil and in mason jar... Going home to dry some soon...
    1. Katie

      January 31, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Hi Janice Walker -yes the result was good with the herbs - but I think perhaps you may want to just add to the jar with the olive oil. I like that idea and will try next time instead of roasting them on the pan.
  • Gale

    September 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Hi. I planted 7 sungold cherry tomatoe plants and because they are heirloom, they continue to grow until frost. Mine are 7 feet high!!! Have so many that even though I give to family and friends, still have an abundance. Made sauces and canned them fresh and I just used your recipe for oven dried. Will make a delicious pasta with. Many thanks, Gale
    1. Katie

      October 3, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Gale - Sungold! I have them on my list to plant next year! Hope you enjoy!
  • natasha

    June 27, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Here I am trying the recipe, putting my tomatoes in my oven which was at 200 degrees Celsius. I would have burnt my tomatoes if something didn't click to check other recipes before I continued. Yeah, not all of us readers are from America so not all of us use Fahrenheit. I'm from Canada, we use celsius. Just a heads up for future recipes <3
    1. Katie

      July 1, 2019 at 9:13 am

      natasha - Yes all my recipes will be using Fahrenheit because I am from America. I've never thought about clarifying that on my posts. Thanks for the suggestion.

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