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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112 responses to “Slow Oven-Roasted Roma Tomatoes”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

  23. 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…

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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)

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.?!

  32. 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).

  33. 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).

  34. 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 🙂

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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!

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. I have a pan of these in the oven as we speak! All from my garden. My hubby is very excited to try them! They already smell very yummy and they have only been in for a few hours.

  41. I made these last year and my friends and family loved them – I quickly learned I’d made too few. This year I’m doing about 20 lbs worth and I’m using a basting brush to put the oil on.
    So easy, tasty and my all around favourite!
    Love your site!!!

  42. …Hello, I’ve been a follower of your blog for awhile now and came here today to see about what to do with our tomatoes that are coming in from the garden. I loved the thought of drying ’em but ours aren’t Romas, they’re mostly Early Girls, can I still use this recipe? If so, should I slice them or quarter them? Please help and thank you.

    …Blessings :o)

  43. Question for you. We just bought a bushel of romas from the farmer’s market. I am going to be making a Tomato/Apple/Chipotle chutney from some of them, but the rest I am going dehydrate. My question is, have you ever marinaded yours in oil? I buy the sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil all the time, and the small jars are just so expensive, I thought it would be a lot cheaper to make my own. If it shouldn’t be done, that is fine, I will just reconstitute when I need them in olive oil, but was curious if you had ever done it?

  44. I love drying my own tomatoes and then marinating them in olive oil. I store them in the fridge, they keep for about a month and the olive oil I use in my salad dressings.

  45. I got 3 delicious tomato halves out of 100 that WEREN’T burnt to a crisp. So disappointing. It’s really bad advice for first-timers to do this overnight. I left them in for 10 hours and they probably only needed 5 or 6. My tomatoes must have been a lot smaller than yours, but how am I supposed to know that? I’m really sad about the wasted food.

    • Emma, I’m sorry to hear that your tomatoes burnt. The reason I include pictures in these posts is to give you some idea of the scale of ingredient I was working with. I’m sorry you didn’t realize that your tomatoes were far smaller than mine, but I cannot account for every variable when I write these recipes. I present my method. It’s your responsibility to translate it your kitchen and the ingredients you’re working with.

  46. Okay, I can vouch for her-if they are ample sized, you can definitely leave them in over nite-you can’t believe how great your house smells! I noticed your tomatoes were facing up-I had a recipe in reverse-any difference? Also, the recipe I followed had me remove the skins-and then freeze- I don’t see mention of that in your recipe-do you take the skin off after taking out of the freezer? Does this help so they don’t get soggy? (Even soggy they are oh so delicious! Thanks for your assistance.

    • I’ve always done them face-up because it felt like the liquid evaporates better that way. And I don’t remove the skins before freezing. I find that the help the frozen tomato pieces retain their shape and that they’re really easy to slip off when it comes time to use them.

  47. Once they are roasted and frozen, how do you use them in cooking? I love this idea and we have over 100 tomato plants growing in our garden this year that I’d like to save in different ways. Thanks!

  48. These sound great! I was wondering if these will keep in the fridge if packed in olive oil. If so, do you know how long they’ll last? Thanks 🙂

  49. Im going to start these right now as I’m up to my elbows in Roma tomatoes from my garden this year! My only question is about the skins- if I use them in sauce what happens with the skins? Do you have to fish them out? S.

  50. This is my second year doing these. I actually have been using the (over)abundance of sungolds and grape tomatoes that my husband deposits on the kitchen counter…ugh!! I do them like you suggest, but I drizzle a little olive oil, chopped garlic, and then lay rosemary, oregano, or whatever herb looks great by my back door that day. Since they are so much smaller, they only take about 3 hours in the oven. Thanks so much for giving me the idea in the first place! These are amazing to take out of the freezer all winter.

  51. Awesome!! After reading all of the comments an being open minded to everyone’s experiences. I gave this a first time ever try. They turned out Awesome. like candy, had to make myself stop eating them. Am so very happy to have a great new recipe to add to my seasonal recipe box. Thanks to Marissa for a excellent recipe, execellent demo pic’s and all. Your recipe Rocks!! Thanks to everyone for your comments, because they do help be aware of possibilities, that could occur, but didn’t. 🙂

  52. Have you ever tried to pressure can these roasted tomatoes in olive oil? I’d love to have small jars on hand over the winter months and for holiday giving. If possible could you recommend how long and at what pressure to process these in the small 4oz jelly jars and 1 pint jars?

    • I don’t think olive-oil packed romas are safe for canning. Everything I’ve seen recommends storing them in the fridge only. :/ Maybe make them fresh and attach a tag with instructions to refrigerate and dispose after a month? Or give them a batch of roasted and dried romas along with a small bottle of olive oil with instructions? That’s my plan, anyway, with a nest of dried pasta.

  53. […] products.We washed all tomatoes and sorted them into questionable and beautiful.We started with the sun-dried(ish) tomatoes and sliced enough tomatoes to fill up both cookie sheets and all 6 dehydrator trays.Next we […]

  54. I make these too but I sprinkle on dried basil, dried oregano, smoked paprika
    freshly ground black pepper and sea salt or kosher salt.Very yummy!

  55. I make a variation of these – I start them the same way, but put them in a cold oven and crank it up to 400 degrees. After 20 minutes I turn the oven off and let it cool down without opening the door. The high temperature roasts the tomatoes just enough to caramelize them a little and make them even sweeter. After the oven’s cooled down I decide how much further I want to dry them and let them go at the lowest setting in my oven for several hours. I aim for a flat, nearly leathery texture that’s somewhat chewy. Then I freeze in ziplock baggies. To use I just snip them into strips with a pair of scissors and toss into sandwiches, salads, pasta, dressings, anything. They taste like tomato candy, and are so good in just about everything. 5 lbs of romas easily fit into a small ziplock baggie for freezing.

    I tried making a batch without roasting them at a high temperature first, and by comparison they were rather bland tasting – the roasting adds so much depth of flavor to them!

      • As many others have experienced, I had extra romas to deal with last week. Sadly, mine were mealy and very unappetizing to eat fresh, but I didn’t want to throw them out as the taste was great (just a texture problem). So I went to the internet and found this site and decided I had nothing to loose by roasting them. Well, after roasting, texture was no longer an issue! These are fabulous! Friends came for drinks and snacks last night and everyone loved them (bruschetta with some grindings of parmesan). I thought my harvest was going to be a bust, but this recipe saved the day. My husband loves them so much, we bought 20# of “good” romas today at a farm, and he is going to roast them in his smoker. We’ll keep some in for an extra and add some hickory smoke to see how what that adds. Sound good to me! Again, thanks Marisa. This is a real winner.

  56. I am going to try this recipe this weekend with the 25 pounds of roma tomatoes that I am getting. When I decide to eat or use the tomatoes that were frozen, is there anything I need to do to them? Do I have to take the skin off? Do I eat them frozen or thaw them in the fridge?

    • Kathleen, I tend to pop these directly from the freezer into soups and stews. If the skins bother you, you can certainly remove them. If you defrost the tomatoes for a little while, the skins tend to slip right off.

  57. Just one quick question! how long do these last at room temperature, at refrigerator temp, and frozen???

    • At room temperature, they’re good for a couple of hours. Five to seven days in the fridge. And up to a year in the freezer.

  58. […] Today was a day for re-saddling myself. In my life. In my doing. After taking Astrid to preschool orientation, hitting the grocery store with Hazel, picking Astrid UP from preschool orientation (it’s only 2 hours this week), AND hitting Trader Joe’s with both girls, I decided to do.some.stuff today. What was on the docket? Red beans. Yellow Tomato Honey-sweetened Jam (although I used a lot less honey – last year, mine was super honey-flavored). Oven-roasted tomatoes. […]

  59. I have a batch going in the oven right now. I love this idea. A question though, do you have this linked to pinterest? I tried to pin it but couldn’t.

  60. I’ve been using this system for a few years now,very pleased wih it.Grow my own plum tomatoes
    or romas,have to watch though as some are bigger the others and may over cook
    I like mine a little plump,great with goats cheese and small French bread.I should have 40-50
    jars for the freezer.
    Thanks again,
    Byron-Canada

  61. Hi Marisa -This looks fantastic. I have some extra Romas and I am going to try this one out over the weekend. Would it make any difference on the results if I cut the core out of the tomatoes?

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