Dehydrating Tomatoes: A Step By Step Guide

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Preserving your own food can save you a lot of money. Dehydrating tomatoes is one great way to preserve food for later use and saves a lot of space compared with other methods.

Whether you’re drying tomatoes fresh off the vine or buying them in bulk, we show you how to do it in an economical, safe, and efficient way.

mason jars of dehydrated tomatoes on tabletop.

Dehydrating tomatoes

By dehydrating tomatoes, you can preserve their natural taste and nutrients. This article gives you instructions for dehydrating tomatoes in a food dehydrator.

I love canning and even freezing fresh tomatoes from the garden. But dehydrating tomatoes is my absolute favorite preservation method!

Tomatoes are a staple for many home cooks. It definitely is for our kitchen! Preserving them during harvest season will ensure that you’ll have tomatoes for your favorite recipes during the fall and winter months.

I love this method of preservation because it’s super simple, there’s not too much effort involved, and it saves so much shelf space.

Getting started

Before you begin, make sure that your workspace, dehydrator, and tomatoes are clean and ready to go.

Make sure you have a sharp knife available. I actually have a dedicated knife for tomato use only, so it’s always sharp and ready to go during garden/harvest season.

Can you tell that I’m pretty serious about my tomatoes? Maybe it’s the Italian in me…

Anyway, any type of tomato can be dehydrated. I plant a lot of tomato plants each season and dehydrating the bulk of our tomatoes really helps me to store them in our pantry without taking up a ton of storage space.

But not all tomatoes are created equal. Some tomatoes will take longer to dehydrate than others due to their moisture content.

This method gives the tomatoes an almost sun-dried tomato flavor and can be used in a variety of ways.

I use our dehydrated tomatoes in basically any recipe that I’d use fresh tomatoes in. Sometimes, it requires a little bit of rehydration.

Other times, I just toss them in soups, stews, and pasta sauces and let them get rehydrated that way.

Here’s a few favorite ways to use dehydrated tomatoes:

How to dehydrate tomatoes

You could certainly line a baking sheet and dry them in the oven. However, I prefer to use a dehydrator for this process.

Mainly because I don’t want to heat up my house more than I need to with running the oven during the summer months or even later in the harvest season.

I use this model of Cosori dehydrator. It is fairly quiet and doesn’t take up a ton of space in the kitchen. After using a variety of brands over the years, this is my favorite! And definitely my top recommendation for dehydrators.

slicing and chopping fresh tomatoes and adding them to dehydrating trays.
trays of tomatoes in the dehydrator.
mason jars of dehydrated tomatoes.

Here’s how you’ll dehydrate them in the dehydrator:

Begin by washing your tomatoes.

Next, cut the tomatoes in to desired size. The smaller they are, the quicker they will dry.

I like to chop mine large enough that they don’t fall through the holes of my trays. But also in a size/shape that I would use in my recipes. Of course, you could use a tray liner or parchment paper, but I don’t usually use them.

If using cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, generally I will just slice them in half. If they are larger in size, I’ll cut them in thirds.

I also really love using Roma tomatoes for dehydrating because it gives such a delicious flavor!

You’ll want to make sure that you are cutting them uniform in size to ensure that they’re drying evenly.

You could also cut them into thin slices and place on dehydrator trays, which will make them quicker to dry.

When lining the trays, be sure to spread them evenly on a single layer to help the air circulation.

Set the dehydrator to 125 degrees F. And the time set between 8-14 hours. The exact time depends on the size and type of tomato (water content), humidity, and other factors.

If they are cut too large or thick, they can take upwards of 20-24 hours to dehydrate.

Add dried tomatoes to a mason jar and condition (check for doneness).

To do this:

  • place a lid on the jar or use another airtight container
  • shake the jar once per day over the course of a week
  • check the jar for moisture (if moisture is found, add to the dehydrator for awhile longer)
  • taking these steps will help prevent mold from ruining your dried tomatoes

🍅 Recipe tips

I wholeheartedly believe that good quality ingredients make for the best recipes! I don’t recommend any fake or overly processed ingredients and will usually recommend organic / non-gmo ingredients whenever possible. 

Sourcing good quality ingredients can be difficult sometimes. Did you know that most of the olive oil in grocery stores aren’t truly authentic? Or that most seafood is farmed and sourced from China? These are just a couple of examples of confusing product labels. 

How do we find the BEST ingredients? If you’re like me, then sourcing clean ingredients is important to you! So, I’ve created a favorite shop page with all of my recommendations. Here you can find all of the best places to source good quality ingredients!

Italian flavored dried tomatoes

You can season a batch of tomatoes for a fun Italian flavored variety. Simply create a marinade for the tomatoes in olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Choose your favorite variety and toss the tomatoes around in the marinade to coat.

I like Italian flavors for this – basil, oregano, garlic. And sometimes something like rosemary & thyme makes a nice addition. Also, don’t forget a bit of salt.

Line the tray or rack and dehydrate as usual.

two mason jars filled with dehydrated tomatoes.

How to store dried tomatoes

Add the dried tomatoes (after they have been cured) to a mason jar with lid, or other airtight container for storage.

They can be stored in the pantry for around 6-12 months. The time will vary greatly on humidity, temperature stored at, and other factors.

FAQ (frequently asked questions)

How do you prepare tomatoes for dehydrating?

Wash the tomatoes and remove any stems. Slice or dice to your desired thickness. Line the dehydrator trays evenly.

How long do tomatoes take in a dehydrator?

They can take anywhere from 10-14 hours. Sometimes less and sometimes more. It is dependent on the type of tomato, the water content, how thick the tomatoes are sliced, humidity levels, and other factors.

Do you have to peel tomatoes before dehydrating?

Nope! I definitely don’t do this. You could if you don’t want the tomato skins in your recipes. But I never peel the skins and this is why this method of food preservation is pretty appealing to me. Especially when limited on time in the kitchen.

want more recipes?

Check out the recipe index where you can discover more homemade recipes from my homestead!

mason jar filled with dehydrated tomatoes

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Dehydrating tomatoes is a good way to preserve the fruit for food storage. It is such a great way to preserve the garden bounty. This recipe offers an overview of the super easy process.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 10 servings (approximately)

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Begin by washing the tomatoes.
  •  Cut the tomatoes in desired size. The smaller they are, the quicker they will dry.
  • Set the dehydrator to 125° F. And the time set between 8-14 hours. The exact time depends on the size and type of tomato (water content), humidity, and other factors. If they are cut too large or thick, they can take upwards of 20-24 hours to dehydrate.
  • Add dried tomatoes to a mason jar and condition (check for doneness). See notes for more info on conditioning.

Notes

I like to chop the tomatoes large enough that they don’t fall through the holes of my trays. But also in a size/shape that I would use in my recipes. Of course, you could use a tray liner or parchment paper, but I don’t usually use them.
If using cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, generally I will just slice them in half. If they are larger in size, I’ll cut them in thirds.
I also really love using Roma tomatoes for dehydrating because it gives such a delicious flavor!
You’ll want to make sure that you are cutting them in uniform size to ensure that they’re drying evenly.
To condition:
  • place a lid on the jar or use another airtight container
  • shake the jar once per day over the course of a week
  • check the jar for moisture (if moisture is found, add to the dehydrator for awhile longer)
  • taking these steps will help prevent mold from ruining your dried tomatoes

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