Slow Oven-Roasted Roma Tomatoes

cookie sheets of tomatoes

I’m elbow-deep in roma tomatoes at the moment, but wanted to drop by with a few words on one of the ways I’m preserving these scrumptious gems. Long, slow roasting in a 200 degree oven. This treatment shrinks their mass, concentrates their flavor and transforms them into something savory and succulent.

tomatoes in the oven

It is so easy to do, I feel a little silly offering instructions. Wash, dry and slice the tomatoes in half. Lay them out cut-side up on parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheets, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Put in the oven and roast at 200 degrees (truly, no hotter than that) for 10-12 hours. I realize that sounds like an inconveniently long time, but I tend to do this overnight, timing it so that they’re finished when I get up in the morning. Works perfectly.

finished tomatoes

I don’t can these tomatoes (honestly, I don’t think you can). I simply cool them, freeze them on the cookie sheets where they were roasted, pack them into jars or freezer bags and store them in the freezer. Easy for year-round additions to pastas, sauces, salads and more.

jar of tomatoes

Just one word of warning. They are so delicious that they may not make it into the freezer for storage. I took a cookie sheet’s worth to a potluck tonight and served them on top of baguette slices that had been smeared with goat cheese. One person told me that he doesn’t really even like tomatoes, but couldn’t stop eating these.

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110 Responses to Slow Oven-Roasted Roma Tomatoes

  1. 1
    meemsnyc says:

    Oh my goodness. This sounds so amazing! I’ll have to try it if I ever have so many tomatoes.

  2. 2
    Vicki says:

    Your last post made me chuckle and this one made me smile wide. I picked up my 80 pounds of romas this morning and am enjoying knowing there’s someone all the way across the country doing the exact same things I am this weekend. So far I’ve managed salsa, bruschetta topping, tomato sauce, and some plain canned tomatoes. Tomorrow is more of the sauce and plain tomatoes and then I’m planning to dry the rest – pretty much the same way you said.

  3. 3
    Anna says:

    I have goat milk & cheese coming out of my ears, too bad I live in Alaska and can’t easily grow tomatoes, they look wonderful. It does give me a good idea for dinner sometime if I just buy some at the store. Thanks!

  4. 4
    Carolyn says:

    sounds yummy! can’t wait to try it!

  5. 5
    Red Icculus says:

    We do the same thing. We have a great garnish or chutney using these:

    Throw a handful in the food processor with a little olive oil and blend. Add chopped onions, red and black pepper, and salt and blend until the onion is finely diced. Serve on top of bread, pasta, or anything carb-y and you will have happy consumers.

  6. 6
    Suzanne says:

    Use these dried tomatoes when making homemade tomato soup and the concentrated tomato flavor is so good it will blow your socks off.

  7. 7
    Amelia says:

    I just got a food dehydrator. Could you do this with it or does it need to be in the oven? It’s an Excalibur, but only goes up to 155 degrees.

  8. 8
    Rita says:

    You don’t have any issue sleeping with an oven running? I found a recipe for a pulled pork but it cooked for something like 16 hours and I was stressing over the idea of sleeping while the oven was on.

    Also, do you just freeze them dry? Do you know how long they’d last in the fridge if they were in oil?

  9. 9
    sue says:

    When I make Tomato Confit, I add basil, tarragon, thyme, rosemary (or whatever I have). I use all kind of tomatoes, not just romas. The Striped Germans are particularly beautiful. Lemon Boys get really citrusy. I need to get some Green Zebras or Aunt Ruby’s to make a green confit.

    I put the oven fan on and drop the temperature to 150 degrees.

  10. 10
    Marisa says:

    Amelia, I’ve found that dehydrated tomatoes are a very different animal from these. You could certainly do them in the dehydrator, but they won’t be the same.

    Rita, I have a very dependable, electric oven that I trust. I don’t worry about it running overnight. I might be more concerned if it was gas, though. For storage, I freeze them on the cookie sheet on which they were roasted and then pack them into freezer bags. However, if you wanted to cover them with oil and keep them in the fridge, I imagine they’d last about a month.

  11. 11
    Julia says:

    I make these all the time, but never thought to freeze them! Brilliant. Too bad I just froze the twelve pounds of tomatoes I had waiting to preserve. There should be more. Every time I roasted tomatoes I was so sad that I couldn’t keep them longer or can them. Now I know better, thanks to you!

  12. 12

    yep, every time I roast tomatoes like this I end up eating them all right off the baking sheets before they can cool completely. I really am trying to make some to have later in the year, but I just don’t see it happening.

  13. 13
    Emily says:

    I made the same thing a few weeks ago. I chopped them up and put them into my homemade pesto and served with goat cheese and crackers…YUM!

  14. 14
    Amelia says:

    Getting great ideas for next year! Oh, and how much a pound you girls paying for your Romas? I can get for 75 cents for PYO at the farm. Let me know if that is a good price!

  15. 15
    chelsea says:

    Oh! Thank you so much for this! I have been wanting to do something like this for a while, now you have given me the easy steps to do so. Next weekend I think I’ll purchase a bunch of tomatoes from the farmers market and go to town!
    You have also inspired me to try my hand at canning. You have a fantastic blog here.

  16. 16
    Melanie says:

    Intriguing! I’ve never thought to do that before. I may have to try it, and pass it along to my sister to try, too. Neither of our husbands care for tomatoes in their raw form. Since it is apparently a texture thing, I wonder if this would change anything for them?

    Lovely, no matter what 🙂

  17. 17
    lynnann says:

    I used my steam juicer on my Romas and then…yellow elixir from heaven…then, will use my hand crank processor to make the pulp into the paste as it is meant to be….love and peace

  18. 18
    lynn says:

    We make these like crazy every summer. Aren’t they amazing? If you make sure they’re good and dry, you can cover with olive oil and they’ll last at least 6 months. Just make sure they’re dry and completely covered with the oil. They’re outstanding on pasta, in cheese fondue, in cheese balls, and in deviled eggs mixed in with pesto and sour cream or plain yogurt.

  19. 19

    What I really love about doing these tomatoes is waking up in the morning to the sweet scent. You can also slow roast them in a solar oven, but it takes two days out in bright sun. They do turn out beautifully though.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog.

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  20. 20
    Teresa says:

    i too am up to elbows in romas on this long weekend in canada. 8 litres of stewed with fresh basil yesterday, and i am now on 2nd pan of roasted tomatoes, then a small batch of spicy ketchup perhaps later today. (40lbs came home with me the other day packed up on my motorcycle-oh what a site it was!)
    i packed the first oven roasted batch this morning in a fruity olive oil-this should last for many many months (or until we eat them all!) as long as the remain completely covered by oil at all times.
    eat well my friends

  21. 21
    evalyn says:

    I have never been able to get this method to work – it could be my oven and my lack of patience. Will try again, I’m sure. I do put sliced tomatoes throught the food deyderator. This creates a crisp “chip” that is equally addictive. They keep well in the fridge in an airtight container – I’m still usig the ones I made last summer.

  22. 22
    Annie says:

    Delish!

    Q- Where have you found to be the best place for securing such large amounts of fruits/veg to can/freeze? What’s a reasonable range of cost for the tomatoes you acquired?

  23. 23
    Marisa says:

    Annie, over the years, I’ve developed relationships with people who have access to the good stuff. Here in Philly, that means the farmers markets, the folks over at the Fair Food Farmstand and some of the people who run the small, local produce markets. I’ve found that people are almost always willing to cut you a deal if you’re willing to buy in large quantities.

    The tomatoes I bought worked out to be $1 a pound. Not the world’s best bargain, but a respectable bulk price.

  24. 24
    Jenna says:

    This sounds great, but very expensive. Gas stove…on for 10 hours? I think not.

  25. 25
    Nette says:

    This looks awesome; I will be doing it next weekend. Do you know about how many pounds to fit on those two cookie sheets, so I can know approximately how many pounds I would need for one oven-load?

  26. 26
    Marisa says:

    Nette, I don’t know how many pounds it was. However, I do know that each tray held between 18-20 split roma tomatoes.

  27. 27
    Annie says:

    Thanks for the great info, as always, Marisa!
    Belated Congratulations on your book 🙂

  28. 28

    I make similar slow-roasted tomatoes with yellow pear tomatoes — they are so small that they only take about 4 hours but the flavor is AMAZING!

  29. 29
    Juice says:

    I would never have thought to try this. Don’t apologize for such a “simple” recipe – it’s still new to many of us!

    Off to find some tomatoes…

  30. 30
    Janet T says:

    Can I do this with Cherry tomatoes? We have a ton!!

  31. 31
    Courtney says:

    I just did this last weekend. I dried mine keeping the tomato halves slightly attached, though, and sandwiched roasted red pepper bits and leaves of basil between each slice before packing in oil. I’m trying my best not to open the jars for at least a couple of weeks, because I’m sure once I do, they’ll all be gone!

  32. 32
    Deena says:

    I made a version of these last year — more semi-dried than fully dried, but still all concentrated and rich and delicious. Unfortunately the semi-dried to NOT last well packed in oil — mold bloomed within just a couple weeks. Soooo disappointing. Perhaps I’ll try something more like this version this year.

  33. 33
    Catherine says:

    I started these at 7:00 last night but they took far longer than 12 hours… the last weren’t completely done until after noon today. I wonder if my electric oven wasn’t venting the steam enough to dry them more quickly… or whether I had unusually large romas? They didn’t seem that big to me. I looked at similar recipes and many recommend propping the oven door open to let the moist air escape more quickly. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on this?

    The tomatoes did turn out lovely and I had to freeze them quickly before my daughters ate them all right off the sheets.

  34. 34
    Theresa says:

    This may sound like a silly question, but I’m just breaking into canning. If you pack them in oil, how do you seal them? (other than screwing the lid on tight)

  35. 35
    Patricia says:

    My Roma’s are coming in haphazardly, so I will buy them on sale this week and roast roast them. They cost so much in the store. I have a question for you. I canned picallili last night with my excess green tomatoes. When I was done putting them in jars, there was a lot of the liquid left over in the pot. There was no way it would fit in my jars. Will this compromise the safety of my product. I know you are not supposed to change proportions, and I didn’t; there was just so much left over. I cooked the ingredients for 20 minutes and processed for 10. Thanks

  36. 36
    lizette says:

    holy cow – these are AWESOME! i made them last night with the tail end of our heirloom black romas and this morning i could not stop eating them. very, very delicious.

  37. 37
    Robin says:

    Just made some of these – so yummy! My romas were HUGE so I cut them in quarters and 8 hours later the house smelled delicious and they were done! Froze on the trays like you suggested and once they were frozen I packed two trays down into one glass jar in the freezer.

  38. 38
    Lisa Marie says:

    I made these yesterday, but think I might have over cooked them. Marisa, can you please describe what consistency the tomoatoes should be when they’re “done” — crispy, dry, a bit soft, still a little juicy, etc.?!

  39. 39
    Mary says:

    Adding you to my google reader- love the blog!! Next year I am adding Roma tomatoes to my list for the garden!

  40. 40
    Elyse says:

    I saw this and thought I’d try it. I was a bit apprehensive about the gas oven but it solved the problem by refusing to stay lit at a low level for more that 15 minutes, so I put the tray into my tabletop convection oven. My electric bill might be nasty but I feel safer sleeping with that on. We’ll see how it turns out (it’s cooking now).

  41. 41
    Elyse says:

    Success! They came out like chips (because it was a convection oven). Kept a few out to put on a mini pizza tonight and packed the rest into a container in the freezer (or I would have eaten them all at once).

  42. 42

    Ohhhh, these look so good. I’m STILL waiting on my roma’s to ripen. I’m not sure they’re going to make it before the first frost. But if they do, I’m adding this to my list of things to do with them!

  43. 43
    Brooke - in Oregon says:

    Maybe easy but I am very thankful you posted this! I have a Huge tomato patch this year and these are going into my oven today 🙂

  44. 44
    Hollis says:

    Marisa – Any thoughts on using Early Girls? (Too juicy?) Tons of them here in SF right now. Thanks!

  45. 45
    Taryn says:

    I had these going for 7.5 hours and some of them were a little too burnt! I wonder if my romas were too small. I probably won’t freeze any, maybe a small tray’s worth, but the ones that didn’t burn are DELICIOUS! I just wish I had been checking the oven more often.

  46. 46
    Paz says:

    First of all what a great blog! Tried yesterday this, but apparently the tomatoes I was using are on the plumpest side so after spending the whole night on the oven at a temperature of less than 100ºC they look half done/dried. As I had to go to work and didn´t want the oven working on its own at home, I switch it off. Do you think I can put them back in the oven this afternoon after I come back from work? Thanks a lot from Madrid!

  47. 47
    Jas says:

    A last minute dash into a grocery store I don’t normally shop at got me 5 lbs of romas at just 49 cents each! SCORE! A few will be eaten fresh, but the rest are going to be split between oven roasting them (I toss a few sprigs of basil or thyme onto the trays as they cook)and trying out the tomato jam. I can’t wait!

  48. 48
    Bette I says:

    We have several Roma tomato plants in our garden this year. I can’t wait to try drying some in the oven. I found your site thru the Country Woman magazine I received today. I love trying out unique recipes for jams and relishes. A favorite for our family is red raspberry, peach and jalapeno jam. It is great with cream cheese and crackers!

  49. 49

    […] are similar to the long roasted romas that I wrote about last summer. The nice thing about grape tomatoes is that their smaller size […]

  50. 50
    Mary Lynn M. says:

    Just made my first tray of roasted romas. Wonderful smell to wake up to. I do not have an issue leaving my gas oven on for 12 hrs. Next year, I will have to plant more Romas. I planted my tomatoes early this year ….. living in Pittsburgh you take a chance…this year it paid off.

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  1. Slow Roasted Grape Tomatoes + Giveaway | Food in Jars - July 28, 2011

    […] are similar to the long roasted romas that I wrote about last summer. The nice thing about grape tomatoes is that their smaller size […]

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