Dehydrate cherry tomatoes to preserve the garden bounty in the summer. Use them to make this awesome DIY Sun-Dried Tomato hack all year long!
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Do you plant more cherry or grape tomato plants thinking you’ll never have enough, then find yourself with those tiny tomatoes flooding your kitchen during the height of harvesting?
The flavor of dried tomatoes is sweet, a little like tomato paste, and perfect for storage to use throughout the year.
And the biggest secret – you can make sun-dried tomatoes from them!
How to Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes
Quick Directions: Cut in half, dry at 125°F/52°C for 10-18+ hours.
Types of tomatoes to use:
Always use the freshest tomatoes you can, whether they are home-grown or purchased from the grocery store:
- Grape tomatoes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Sweet 100s
- Sun Gold
- Super Sweet 100s
Wash and remove any debris and over-ripe tomatoes.
Darcy’s Tip: I soak mine in my OXO salad spinner, dump the water into my garden, then spin them to help dry them more quickly.
Cut tomatoes in half (half again if needed). I don’t recommend slices, but you can certainly do that for larger tomatoes like Romas.
This is important because you want as much surface area to be exposed to release that moisture (especially if you are putting these on fruit leather sheets), and to help mitigate sticking.
Dry at 125°F/52°C for 10-18+ hours. You want them to be like hard raisins when done.
Related: Get a Dehydrating Temperature Magnet and never wonder about proper drying temperatures again!
Condition by putting into an airtight container, shaking once a day. Look for any moisture build up or if the tomatoes are sticking to each other. If so, put them back into the dehydrator to dry more. If you see mold, toss it all.
Store in airtight container for up to two years. Tomatoes have a shorter shelf-life because of their acids, so remember to mark them to rotate through a little more quickly.
They can be stored in the freezer to prolong their shelf-life, but it isn’t necessary.
- Cut small tomatoes in half or quarters depending on their size.
- Place tomato halves cut side up on parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer.
- Dry in an oven at its lowest setting – or 170°F – leaving the door cracked with a heat-proof spoon or silicone pad if possible.
- Dry for 4-8 hours being careful to look for signs of overdrying/browning/burning of tomatoes.
- Condition in an airtight container for a week, shaking daily, to check for moisture or clumping (if found, put back into the dehydrator to dry more).
Storage and Shelf Life
- Store dried tomatoes airtight container for up to two years in a cool, dry, dark place. Room temperature is fine!
- Vacuum sealing is not necessarily, but you can do it if you choose to help extend the long-term storage.
- Dried small tomatoes should last from 1-2 years.
- Note: If you are storing with oil for a ‘sun-dried’ tomato, safest storage is only about four days in the refrigerator.
- To make these fun little snacks on their own, feel free to sprinkle with oregano, basil, thyme, nutritional yeast or other herb you love.
- Place tomatoes between two inverted, flat plates, place your hand on top for some pressure, then slice through the tomatoes to make slicing go a little faster.
- Make small jars up for Christmas, but if you are including the oil, remind the recipient to store in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.
- Oil may turn cloudy in cold storage, and that’s fine. Many oils do that. Just let them come to room termpature and the oil will return to its ‘clear’ coloring.
How to Make Sun-Dried Cherry Tomatoes
If your desire is to make these like ‘sun-dried tomatoes’, please follow these steps:
- Dry your tomatoes as per the directions above.
- When ready to use, place the desired amount of dried cherry tomatoes in a container, and pour good olive oil over them. Allow them to sit in the oil for a while. Tip: don’t use your best olive oil for this unless you plan on serving them as a side dish on their own.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- When ready to use, it’s best to simmer the tomatoes and oil in a small saucepan on the stovetop to get them to rehydrate well in the oil.
Uses for Dehydrated Cherry Tomatoes
Dehydrated cherry tomatoes bring a sweet treat to any dish you are creating. Here are some tasty ways to use them!
- Toss into any salad for a sweet bite
- Eat as snacks on their own – they are yummy like raisins or dried cranberries!
- Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes (see recipe card below for instructions)
- Throw into spaghetti sauce, stews, chilis, or casseroles for some texture
- Chop and add to bread, muffins, etc.
- Add to any pasta dish
- As a topping on pizza
- Mix into scrambled eggs
- Toss into soup
- Create savory muffins by mixing Italian seasonings and chopped dried tomatoes and sausage into a basic muffin recipe
- Rehydrate in good olive oil, salad dressing, or even water to add to sandwiches and salads without the chewier texture of just dried.
- Make sun-dried tomato pesto
- Chop into smaller pieces and add to hummus
- Powder and make a scrumptious sandwich spread.
- Related: How to Make and Use Tomato Powder
Safety note about storing tomatoes in oil
Unfortunately, it’s not the safest means of storing.National Center for Home Food Preservation
“Oil may protect botulism organisms trapped in a water droplet. Furthermore, the oil may have a deleterious effect on lid gaskets and at least one manufacturer of home canning lids recommends against it.”
More Tomato Ideas
Commonly Asked Questions
Approximately 8-12 months for best results. The acids in tomatoes give them a shorter shelf-life than other dehydrated foods.
While this is the suggestion for best results, you may find that you get much more time out of yours!
Sun Gold, Super Sweet 100’s, grape, plum, cherry, Roma (though time will be longer with Romas).
Any dehydrator will work, though you really want to use one with temperature control, if possible. It gives you more control on the quality of food you produce. I happened to use a Cosori dehydrator in this tutorial, but also use Nesco and Excalibur dehydrators. I have created a resource that helps you decide what is the best dehydrator for you and your budget.
Unfortunately, it’s not the safest means of storing.
Here’s why: “Oil may protect botulism organisms trapped in a water droplet. Furthermore, the oil may have a deleterious effect on lid gaskets and at least one manufacturer of home canning lids recommends against it.”
Depending on the oil you used, the white is actually the oil solidifying in the cold of your refrigerator. Simply place your jar in a bowl of warm water (not hot, thermal shock is a thing), and allow it to warm the oil back up, and it will liquefy again.
Simmer them on the stove gently before using to help. Sometimes, they just need a little heat to open up the cells and soften up.
Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes and other small tomato varieties
- Small tomato of your choice
- Rinse and choose tomatoes
- Cut in half or quarters depending on size of tomato
- Place on dehydrator trays skin side down
- Dry at 125°F / 52°C for 10-18+ hours
- Follow above directions except:
- Use the lowest setting on your oven (below 200F). Watch for over browning
- After conditioning, place dried tomato pieces into a container of your choice.
- Cover completely in olive oil.
- Store in the fridge for up to three days.
- Use as you would any sun-dried tomato product.
Nutritional information is an estimation only. Nutrient information for dehydrated foods is based on fresh. Use 1/4 of the servicing size for the same nutrient information. Thus 1 Cup of fresh fruit has the same sugars as 1/4 dried.
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