How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes

Overhead shot of sun dried tomatoes in small jar with a basil leaf.

Learn how to make sun dried tomatoes in the oven. Plus, tips on how to season them, store them and use homemade sun dried tomatoes. 

PS – These are amazing in this Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.

This year I attempted a small garden in our backyard. I planted three different varieties of tomatoes (Brandywine, San Marzano and Cherry), basil, thyme, shishito peppers and habaneros. Oh, and I also planted some pickling cukes, but the slugs promptly ate those, so they lasted like two days. 

But I’m happy to report back that the tomatoes are doing well, as are the thyme and padrons. The habaneros don’t seem to be setting their fruit 🙁 And the slugs are still eating away at the basil. Anyone have a cure for that??? 

That’s okay though, because I was really the most excited for the tomatoes anyway. I love preserving the San Marzanos so that I can use them throughout the year to make my Nana’s Sunday Gravy. They’re also perfect for making my Chipotle Salsa (which takes all of 5 minutes to whip up in the blender). 

And those Brandywine tomatoes are huge! They’re going to be amazing as a topping for my Pan con Tomate. 

What I really have a ton of though are the cherry tomatoes. And though I’ll for sure be using them in my Israeli Couscous with Tomatoes, Caprese Tomato Risotto, and Cherry Tomato Salad with Roasted Lemons, it’s guaranteed that we’re still going to have a ton left over. 

My method for preserving those tomatoes? I’m “sun drying” them in the oven. That way I’ll be able to enjoy their yummy flavor all year long. 

Stem of cherry tomatoes next to bottle of olive oil

Sun Dried Tomato Ingredients: 

You really only need two ingredients to make oven sun dried tomatoes, though I’ll provide some more seasoning options later on. 

  • Tomatoes
  • Salt 

You want to be sure to go light on the salt when seasoning since the tomatoes will concentrate and shrink up. 

What Tomatoes to Use for Sun Dried Tomatoes? 

  • You can use any tomatoes that you’d like for making oven sun dried tomatoes. Smaller tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes, will cook quicker. But you can also use Roma tomatoes, Campari tomatoes, and San Marzano tomatoes. 

Regardless of which variety you use, you will want to cut your tomatoes in half. With the larger tomatoes, you will want to hollow them out a bit and discard the pulp, so that they will dry properly. 

Also, you will want to use uniformly sized tomatoes so that they will all dry at the same rate. 

Here’s a TIP for easily slicing a bunch of cherry tomatoes in half, that I learned from the Rachael Ray show. Use two deli container lids and sandwich the tomatoes between them. Press down gently on the top lid while you slice through horizontally with a knife. Total game changer!

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes in the Oven: 

  • Heat oven to 175 degrees. (200 degrees will also work if your oven doesn’t go that low, though the cook time will be less). 
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or use the dehydrator rack of your countertop oven. 
  • Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Sprinkle very lightly with salt. 
  • Bake for 2 1/2 hours. 
  • Press down on the tomatoes with a spatula to release their juices. 
  • Return to the oven and bake for at least 2 more hours, until tomatoes are dry, keeping an eye on the tomatoes so that they don’t burn.

Sun dried tomatoes coming out of the oven after cooking.

How to Tell When Sun Dried Tomatoes are Done: 

  • You want your tomatoes to be dry, but still pliable. If they are too wet, they won’t keep as long and could get moldy. But if you cook them too long, they will become tough. So, keep a close eye during that final hour of cook time. 

How to Store Sun Dried Tomatoes: 

  • Refrigerator: Add the tomatoes to a jar and cover completely with olive oil. Seal and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. The oil will solidify in the fridge, but once at room temperature, will liquify quickly. 
  • Freezer: For longer storage, keep your tomatoes in the freezer. Allow the tomatoes to freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen solid, transfer to a freezer bag and seal. They will keep for up to 3 months. 

Jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil

How to Soften Sun Dried Tomatoes: 

  • Sun dried tomatoes in oil will remain soft. However, frozen and thawed sun dried tomatoes will need to be softened. To do so, just soak them in hot water for about 20 minutes. 

Overhead shot of sun dried tomatoes in jar with olive oil and basil.

How Do You Use Sun Dried Tomatoes? 

Overhead shot of sun dried tomatoes in small jar with a basil leaf.

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes

Learn how to make sun dried tomatoes in the oven. Plus, tips on how to season them, store them and use homemade sun dried tomatoes. 
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees. (200 degrees will also work if your oven doesn’t go that low, though the cook time will be less).
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or use the dehydrator rack of your countertop oven.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Sprinkle very lightly with sea salt.
  • Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Press down on the tomatoes with a spatula to release their juices.
  • Return to the oven and bake for at least 2 more hours, until tomatoes are dry, keeping an eye on the tomatoes so that they don’t burn.

Notes

To Store: 
Refrigerator: Add the tomatoes to a jar and cover completely with olive oil. Seal and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. The oil will solidify in the fridge, but once at room temperature, will liquify quickly. 
Freezer: For longer storage, keep your tomatoes in the freezer. Allow the tomatoes to freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen solid, transfer to a freezer bag and seal. They will keep for up to 3 months. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper
Spatula

Nutrition

Calories: 10kcal

2 comments

  1. Melinda

    Hello!
    I am about to be inundated with tomatoes from my garden. I have the same countertop oven as you do in your pics. I noticed you are using the “air fryer basket” , what setting did you use? Bake? Convection?
    Thank you,
    Melinda

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Melinda! My model has a dehydrate function. I used that. But I think any function would work, as long as the temp is low enough. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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