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Making sun-dried tomatoes in the oven

Updated on September 19, 2013
Sun-dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes | Source

If you live in a cold climate like me, you will realise that making real "sun-dried" tomatoes is not an option. However, drying in the oven works just as well, and you can get fantastic results from this simple method. Sun-dried tomatoes are quite expensive in the shops, so it is really worthwhile to make a few jars for later in the season if you have a glut of home-grown tomatoes.

What you will need

Lots of small ripe tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, seasoning as required (garlic, chillis, fresh herbs)

Baking trays, baking parchment, sterilised jam jars

Fresh cherry tomatoes, perfect for drying
Fresh cherry tomatoes, perfect for drying | Source

Step 1

Rinse tomatoes and drain in a colander. If using small or cherry tomatoes, you simply need to slice them in half and lay out, skin side down, on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Larger tomatoes will need slicing into smaller segments, and having some of the pulpy seedy stuff scooped out from inside.

Cherry tomatoes, halved and laid out on a baking tray ready for drying
Cherry tomatoes, halved and laid out on a baking tray ready for drying | Source

Step 2

For the basic recipe, sprinkle the tomatoes with a little sea salt, and drizzle very lightly with olive oil.

Alternatively, for flavoured tomatoes, you could crush some garlic, chop some suitable herbs such as oregano or basil, or finely chop some fresh chilli and mix these with the olive oil before drizzling over the tomatoes.

Larger red and yellow tomatoes, quartered and deseeded, ready for drying
Larger red and yellow tomatoes, quartered and deseeded, ready for drying | Source

Step 3

Fill up as many baking trays as you can fit in your oven, to make it more economical, then put them in to dry on the very lowest setting that you can put your oven on - between 50 to 100 degrees centigrade. It takes around 7 to 8 hours to dry them out, maybe a little longer for larger or thicker tomatoes.

Keep an eye on them, checking from time to time, swapping around the trays on the shelves to ensure even drying and, particularly in the last couple of hours, making sure they are not browning at all.

When dried correctly they should still be dark red, and be dry to the touch but still "squidgy". If they are crispy or brown, they are overdone.

Step 4

Wash and sterilise enough jars to hold your tomatoes (they do shrink quite a lot when dried, so you shouldn't need too many). Sterilising can be done in the oven or a dishwasher.

Fill the jars to the top with dried tomatoes, and cover completely with olive oil before sealing the jar.

They will keep for two months like this, so long as they are stored in a cool place.

They not only look beautiful, but taste fantastic too!

Ways to serve sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes have a wonderful intensely sweet flavour, and can be served in any number of ways. They can be:

  • eaten neat from the jar as a savoury snack
  • used in quiches, omelettes or on top of pizzas
  • served with a salad
  • used in stuffed vegetable dishes
  • great in all sorts of Italian pasta and Mediterranean dishes
  • serve as a cracker topping with feta cheese

© 2013 Imogen French


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Imogen,

      You are most-welcome for my words, which are the truth. I do enjoy your writing, follow, and sun-dried tomatoes. In that order. And for the follow, thank you so much. I am sincerely-honored at you doing this for me.

      I still do not know the HP protocol in approaching people for followers, so I just did as a man told my dad when I was six, "let the boy ask things. He will learn more."

      And I am now aware that you do not do the follow when asked, but in my case, I wish I could pay you back.

      Just keep on writing and stay in touch with me. Deal?

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      I really should have a go at these as I and most of the family adore sun dried tomatoes. Your hub is friendly with great photos - it all looks idiot proof which is what I look for in a recipe!

      Votes and a share.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England

      Thank you for your very kind words, Kenneth Avery. You have just reminded me that it is nearly time to do my "sundried" tomatoes again for this year - I like to do it as near to the end of the fresh tomato season as possible, to extend the season a bit further, and hopefully have some left for Christmas.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      I love sun-dried tomatoes. And they are a great snack substitute.

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, I can easily describe it as amazing.

      I loved every word. Graphics were superb. This hub was helpful, informative and I found it very interesting.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      And I am sharing this with my friends.

      You have such a gift for writing. Keep writing no matter what.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 3 years ago

      I'm going to try this! I've seen them but never eaten or dried tomatoes myself. Thanks for sharing! Yay, I learned something new today!

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England

      They are very easy to do. I did a few sorts last summer, and I found the best tasting ones are the little cherry tomatoes, which can just be sliced in half before drying, and have the most intense sweet flavour. Thanks dis-cover, HollieT, suzettenaples, rebecca, abby ... et al. for your nice comments.

    • dis-cover profile image

      Nikolic Predrag 3 years ago from Serbia, Belgrade

      My mother is from Greece and sundried tomatoes in olive oil from her village are so delicious. Honestly, I never thought that tomatoes can be dried out in the oven. Now I know, and thank you for this very, very useful article!!!

    • HollieT profile image

      HollieT 3 years ago from Manchester, United Kingdom

      I have to try this and you're right, sun-dried tomatoes are really expensive to buy. I'm just thinking that I'd like to add smoked paprika too. Thanks for sharing!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thank you for sharing your technique for sun drying tomatoes in an oven. This is great because we an have our own sundries tomatoes all year round. Your instructions are easy to follow.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great Hub on sun-dried tomatoes. Drying them in the oven is a really clever idea. Thanks for sharing!

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Yum! I so love sun-dried tomatoes! Thank you for sharing, Imogen French!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Why not oven dried? But by any other name, they'll be the same. Thank you for the instructions. I'm sure they taste very well.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      As I watch my hot weather turn cool and the tomatoes in my garden turn red this gives a good idea for processing tomatoes.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

      Thanks for all your comments, and for the link chefsref. The tomato pesto sounds like a great idea emilynemchick :)

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 4 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Imogen

      I began drying tomatoes in the oven this year and there is no better way to increase the tomato flavor. Now rather than using tomato paste I use a few pieces of dried tomatoes.

      I read one opinion that said you could sun dry tomatoes in your car. On racks of course but you can keep bugs away and use the extra heat that builds up in a car in the sun.

      I added a link to this page on my Hub about tomatoes


    • emilynemchick profile image

      Emily Nemchick 4 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      What clear, helpful instructions! I made sundried tomatoes a few weeks ago (in the oven) to use up many of my home-grown tomatoes. I made them into sundried tomato pesto and it was delicious!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful and interesting information shared by you!

      I think Sun dried tomatoes also absorb the goodness of the Sun, for example Vitamin D.

      Beautiful pictures and helpful instructions!

      Thanks and voted up!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Beautiful photos! Great illustration of preparing the tomatoes for drying. They sound delicious!