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How to Make Sundried Tomatoes

Updated on August 5, 2012
Fresh tomatoes and basil
Fresh tomatoes and basil

Summer Veggies

I plant a small garden in my backyard every summer. There are a few vegetables (and fruits) I incorporate every year: tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers are my staples-as is basil (I absolutely adore fresh basil-and it dries nicely too!) I never have a problem giving away the extra cucumbers or peppers I have, but tomatoes are another story. Just about everyone I know has at least one plant and during a good summer there is always an over abundance of the fruit. I hate throwing anything away-and having too many tomatoes became a huge problem for me. I used them in salads, fried them, and made salsa-but I always had too many left over. I was frustrated -until I got an idea-why not SUN DRY them?

Why Sun Dry Tomatoes

If you've never had sundried tomatoes I encourage you to run to your local farmers market or supermarket and get some. They are fabulous! The drying process brings out the sugars in the tomatoes and makes them so sweet and delicious. You can use them in almost everything: pasta sauces, breads, pizza, in salads-just about anywhere. The first time I had them they were baked into bagels with basil and garlic-yummo!!

If you do find the dried red gems in your local store the first thing you will notice is that they are mucho expensive! A very small jar of the fruit soaked in olive oil will run you around $5. If you are lucky enough to find them dried in your produce department be prepared to shell out at least $8 a pound depending on the season. I don't know about you-but I don't have that much money to spend on something that is uber simple to make.

The Sun Drying Process

The first time I tried to sundry tomatoes I cut the fruits up, placed them on a cookie sheet, and put them on the table on the back porch to dry. What a mistake. First of all the tomatoes attracted all sorts of bugs including flies and gnats. I spend much of the afternoon chasing the pests away. Secondly the process took much longer than I anticipated. The tomatoes sat out all afternoon and hadn't dried. I figured there had to be a better way.

So I experimented with the oven. After several attempts I discovered the best way to dry the fruits was to put the oven on the lowest setting-and let the tomatoes sit for several hours. The results were delicious. If you don't want to tie up your oven for several hours you can heat your oven then turn it off and let the tomatoes sit inside overnight. Whichever way you choose follow the directions below and you won't be disappointed.


  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
tomatoes before
tomatoes before
yummy sundried tomatoes
yummy sundried tomatoes


  1. Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil onto a cookie sheet or baking pan. Spread the oil on the sheet in a very thin layer-the oil is used so that the tomatoes don't stick. If you don't want to use olive oil spray the pan with a nonstick spray. It is necessary to lightly grease the pan, if you don't the tomatoes will stick and will be very hard to get off.
  2. Thinly slice your tomatoes and place them in a single layer on the cookie sheet or in the baking pan. You can crowd them because they will shrink as they dry.
  3. Turn your oven on to the lowest setting. I use 170 degrees. Place the cookie sheet into the oven and check on it every few hours. The tomatoes are done when they become a rich red/brown color.
  4. Remove the tomatoes from you cookie sheet and put them in an airtight container. If you don't have a container on hand just put them in a zip lock bag. The tomatoes will keep for several months in your cupboard.
  5. You can also placed the tomatoes in a small jar that contains olive oil. Tomatoes saved this way make a great gift for your favorite foodie.

That's it! Super simple-and super delicious. Start drying your extra tomatoes now so that you have them to use in your favorite winter recipes. Try drying a few extra batches to give as gifts for the holiday season.

I've included an easy recipe below for a delicious sundried tomato and basil bread.For a great bread basket gift layer dry ingredients in a mason jar and put it along with a jar of your sun dried tomatoes and the recipe in a basket -VIOLA-an awesome gift for your favorite cook.

Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Bread


2 packages of active dry yeast, 1 Cup of Warm Water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let mixture sit until foamy. Mix dry ingredients together. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Punch down dough, form into a loaf, and let rise for another 30 minutes in a lightly greased pan. While dough is rising preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 20 minutes or until it is golden brown and sound hollow when you tap your finger on the top.


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    • mikicagle profile image

      mikicagle 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you so much. You are so sweet. I really appreciate the comment. Going to read your hubs now.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, miki,

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be honest.

      I loved every word. Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      Sun dried tomatoes are one of my favorite foods. Thanks for sharing this piece.

      You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

      I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

      That would make my day.

      I am so honored to meet you.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • mikicagle profile image

      mikicagle 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Heidimedina I know what you mean- I love the taste but the expense of the store bought ones turns me off. Rjsadowski-it isn't too late to pop a plant in a pot and get some tomatoes to dry.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      Interesting to know. I would have rated it as useful, but we no longer raise tomatoes.

    • heidimedina profile image

      Heidi Dawn Medina 5 years ago from Denver, CO

      Thanks for the advice on sun drying tomatoes. They are expensive to buy and most of them are loaded with preservatives. This is a great way to get all the summer goodness without the chemicals :)

    • mikicagle profile image

      mikicagle 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wow-thanks Arlene, Pstraubie48, and urmilashukla23 for the positive comments.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      After reading this hub I am looking forward to making sundried tomatoes. Love it.Useful, voted and shared.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Sundried tomatoes are a favorite of mine. I had never even thought of drying my own. This sounds relatively simple. Thanks for the tip about not making bug magnets. The oven will work just fine. So glad you shared this.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

      UP+++, USEFUL AND INTERESTING! I've been looking for a recipe for dried tomatoes, and this is so timely. Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil is so addicting. I could use your recipe for sun dried tomato and basil bread, too!

    • mikicagle profile image

      mikicagle 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      That is awesome. I'm sure those children got very good tans when they went on shooing duty!

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      My mother grew up on a farm in Middle Tennessee. She told me the story of how they dried tomatoes, other fruits, and vegetables. They would prepare them as you suggest, then spread them out on the tin roof of the big back porch on the house. The children, in pairs, would take turns sitting out on the roof with all that drying produce, shading themselves with parasols, shooing away the flies and birds.

      The Indians would dry things on sunny, flat rock shelves. I've no doubt their children, too, did bug duty.