How to Roast Tomatoes in the Oven for Sauce or Toppings

Learn how to roast tomatoes in the oven for use as toppings on focaccia, pasta or pizza or for saucey things like bolognese sauce, soup or chili.

finished roasted tomatoes many
Roasted tomatoes are great for sauce or for toppings.

Also Read: How to Safely Can Tomatoes, Roasted Tomato Soup, How to Can Salsa

Two styles of roasted tomatoes.

1. Saucy Tomatoes

Fill the pan for a combination of steaming and roasting that ends with a mash perfect for soups, stews and sauces.

pan of roasted tomatoes
A full pan of mixed tomatoes makes for delicious mash perfect for making sauce.

2. Drier Roasted Tomatoes

A single layer of sliced tomatoes with lots of room for air circulation makes for slightly drier roasted tomatoes that are great for topping pasta, pizza or focaccaia.

roasted tomatoes ready to serve with grated Parmesan
These roasted tomato slices can be served like this with a charcuterie board or used to top pasta, spaghetti squash, toast, etc.

There is no one correct way to roast tomatoes. It really depends on what type of tomatoes you have and what your end goal is. Do you want drier tomatoes or do you want saucy tomatoes? Here’s a video that goes over all the questions you might have about how to roast tomatoes in the oven for both styles of roasted tomatoes.

  1. What kind of tomatoes are best?
  2. How to cut tomatoes?
  3. How to place tomatoes on the pan?
  4. What temperature to use?
  5. Whether or not to remove the stem end?
  6. What other ingredients/herbs to add?
  7. How to safely can roasted tomatoes?

For those of you who just want a a good recipe for all occasions here you go. If you prefer reading to watching, all the answers are after the recipe.

Recipe for How to Roast Tomatoes in the Oven

roasted tomatoes
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

How to Make Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes are an easy and delicious way to process tomatoes. Use this recipe for roasted tomatoes that you can freeze or enjoy immediately on focaccia, pizza or in soups and sauces. To can roasted tomatoes, please use one of the recipes at the bottom of the post. This recipe is not intended for canning.
Prep : 15 mins
Cook : 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 3-5 lb tomatoes (paste, slicing or cherry)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 hot peppers, sliced (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, Italian seasoning)

Instructions

  • Wash tomatoes and pat dry.
  • Slice or dice tomatoes as you prefer knowing that the thicker the tomato slices, the longer they will take to break down or caramelize.  For drier tomatoes, slice about 1/2 inch thick. If making a big batch for sauce, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces.
  • Cut green stem from inside tomatoes if you wish - optional.
  • Lay out tomatoes on large rimmed baking sheet - skin side down/cut side up. For best roasting, leave space between tomatoes and use only a single layer. For saucing a big batch of tomatoes, it's okay to overlap and crowd tomatoes; this will steam the bottom layer while browning the top layer.
  • Coat tomatoes with oil. I like using canola oil since it doesn't add any additional flavor and can withstand high heat.
  • Add seasoning. Typically, I add salt, pepper, hot peppers and thickly cut slivers or smashed garlic. Don't cut garlic too small to help prevent burning. If making a pan with a lot of tomatoes I add thyme, rosemary or oregano as well. I never add fresh basil as it will burn and turn bitter even at low temperatures. Add basil just prior to serving roasted tomatoes.  
  • Roast at 350°F for 45-60 min for soft tomatoes with some browning. Single layers of well spaced tomatoes will take only 20-30 minutes.
    Roast at 450°F for 25 min for more charring and less liquidy tomatoes.
    Roast at 250°F for 4 hours for tomatoes that are almost like sundried tomatoes.
    See more details in article.
  • Once roasted to your liking, use as is on pasta, toast, focaccia or puree for soup, chili or sauce. If you prefer to remove the seeds and skins, run roasted tomatoes and extras through food mill.
  • Roasted tomatoes will keep in fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for 6 months.
  • This recipe is not suitable for canning, please use tested recipe as listed in full article.

Notes

Any variety of tomatoes and any color or size will work, adjust cooking time to accommodate for juicier tomatoes.
Do not use underripe or green tomatoes, they will take away from the sweet flavor developed by roasting. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tomatoes

What temperature should I use to roast tomatoes?

You could roast them at 425°F for 25-35 minutes. This will give you that caramelized almost charred look and taste in the quickest time possible. But be careful when adding garlic, onions and herbs as they are likely to char at this temperature.

You could slow roast them at 250°F for 2 to 4 hours. You’ll get curled, shriveled tomatoes with intense flavor similar to sundried tomatoes. But it takes time and heats up the house.

You could go middle of the road and roast them at 350-375°F for about 45 to 60 minutes for full pans and 20-30 minutes for well spaced sliced tomatoes. This provides great flavor and caramelization around the edge of the pan without too much charring. This is the method I use most often as it goes relatively quickly, allows me to add thick slivers of garlic and hot peppers without fear of charring and results in great flavor.

chart for temps for roast tomatoes

How full should I fill the pan?

This depends on how liquidy or saucy you want your tomatoes to be in the end. The more tomatoes you add, the more liquidy the final result  – unless of course you roast for a really long time until all the liquid has evaporated. If you have several layers of tomatoes, especially slicing tomatoes, evaporating all the liquid could take 2 or more hours.

To get nice, caramelized, dry tomatoes, use a single layer of tomatoes with room for air to circulate between the tomatoes. This will truly roast them and allow for caramelization. Here’s a look at the before and after using this method.

single layer roasted tomatoes
Single layer of tomatoes. Notice the garlic is on top of the tomatoes to prevent them from burning onto the baking sheet.
roasted tomatoes
A nice mess of roasted tomatoes with hot peppers, garlic and onions. Ready to put on pasta, foccacia, pizza or to turn into soup.

For saucy tomatoes, go ahead and add a couple of layers of tomatoes. This will steam the tomatoes and leave more liquid for making saucy things.

prep roasted tomatoes
Multiple layers with onions, garlic and herbs which will be protected from charring by the liquid that will be drawn out of the tomatoes.
roasted tomatoes many w
More tomato layers means more liquid. Perfect for tasty tomato soups and sauces.

What type of tomatoes make the best roasted tomatoes?

All shapes and size of tomatoes will work for roasting including grape or cherry tomatoes. Adjust roasting time based on the size of your tomatoes – small cherry tomatoes or thin slices will take less time than large field tomatoes. Paste tomatoes will take less time than slicing tomatoes.

Paste tomatoes like romas are less juicy than slicing tomatoes. As a result, you will have less juice when roasting these tomatoes and more caramelization. They will produce a thicker sauce. If that’s what you’re after, use mostly paste tomatoes. Slicing tomatoes will have less browning and more liquid. To create a thick sauce you’ll have to roast a little longer for the liquid to evaporate.

Underripe tomatoes can be used, but your final product will not be as sweet. Aim to have the majority of your tomatoes ripe to overripe for the best flavor. I would not recommend using green tomatoes.

variety of tomatoes

How should I prepare tomatoes?

Wash and dry tomatoes.

Slice or dice tomatoes as you prefer knowing that the thicker the tomato slices, the longer they will take to break down or caramelize.  For drier tomatoes, I like to slice my tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick. When I’m making a big batch for sauce, I cut them in quarters or 1 to 2 inch pieces.

Coat the tomatoes with oil. I like using canola oil since it doesn’t add any additional flavor and can withstand high heat.

Add seasoning. Typically, I add salt, pepper, hot peppers and thickly cut slivers of garlic. If making a pan with a lot of tomatoes I will add thyme, rosemary or oregano as well.

I never add fresh basil as it will burn and turn bitter even at low temperatures. Add basil just prior to serving roasted tomatoes.

Cut side up or down?

For best results, lay the cut side facing up with the skin side resting on the pan. This will allow the moisture from the tomatoes to escape much more quickly. This really isn’t an issue if doing multiple layers.

How can I use roasted tomatoes?

You can use your roasted tomatoes straight out of the oven as topping for just about anything you would normally use tomatoes on.

roasted tomatoes on pasta
Roasted tomatoes on pasta with fresh basil and Parmesan.

Use to top pizza or focaccia. This roasted tomato focaccia is AMAZING!

slices of roasted tomato focaccia
Roasted tomatoes on focaccia. An irresistible appetizer or side.

Puree them to make soup – check out my Roasted Tomato Soup recipe.

roasted tomato soup in bowl w
Roasted tomato soup.

You can puree them or run them through a food mill for tomato sauce or tomato paste as an ingredient in other dishes.

pureed roasted tomatoes
Pureed roasted tomatoes ready to use as an ingredient for any recipe calling for tomato sauce.

You can also freeze your roasted tomatoes (whole or pureed). Simply cool completely, place in freezer bag or container and freeze for up to a year (it will be safe to eat much longer, but quality may deteriorate after that time).

Can I Freeze Roasted Tomatoes?

Yes you can. You can freeze them just as they are or you can puree or sauce them and then freeze them.

To freeze, cool completely. Put in freezer bag and squeeze out air. Seal tightly and freeze for up to 1 year. It’s best if you freeze in useable portions so you thaw only what you need.

Here’s a bag of frozen roasted tomatoes thawing. I used these for Roasted Tomato Focaccia. Use them for soups, casseroles, pasta or whatever! You may need to drain some of the excess liquid (use in soups or sauces) depending on what you’re using them for.

frozen roasted tomatoes in freezer bag

How do I can roasted tomatoes?

Canning roasted tomatoes requires a little more care and following a recipe that has been tested to be safe.

Tomatoes are a borderline acidic vegetable. That means in order to safely can tomatoes, you have to add acid. Usually this involves measuring lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid to each jar. If you’re following a tomato canning recipe that does not add any acid – it likely isn’t a safe recipe.

Roasted tomatoes add additional safety concerns because we coat tomatoes in oil, roast off a lot of the liquid and add extra vegetables like onions, garlic and peppers.  All of those variables expose roasted tomatoes to higher risk and makes them unsafe for canning as is.

That is why, to reduce the risk and make canning roasted tomatoes safe, please follow a tested recipe. Here are some recipes to consider. They are tested recipes tried and curated by www.Healthy Canning. Enjoy and can safely!

Hearty Pasta Sauce (HarvestPro Sauce Maker Manual, 2016)

Oven-roasted marinara sauce (Ball All New) I’ve made this one and quite enjoy it.

Roasted Roma Tomatoes (Ball Blue Book, 2014)

filling jar of tomato sauce lemon juice & citric acid on side
Be aware. Any tomato canning recipe should include the addition of some sort of acid – lemon juice, vinegar, lime juice or citric acid. If it doesn’t it’s probably not safe to can! Pictured is the oven roasted marinara sauce made with a food mill.

How do I clean the pan after roasting?

Your tomatoes will release juices that will get baked on to the sides and corners of your baking tray. That’s part of the roasting process and flavor making.

Luckily, it comes off fairly easily by just letting your pan soak with hot water in it. I add water to the pan and slide it back in the oven (it’s usually still hot from roasting the tomatoes) and let it rest for 15 minutes. If your oven has cooled, add boiling water to the pan and let it rest for 15 min.

Any baked on bits should just wipe off.

I hope that covers some of the various ways to make and enjoy roasted tomatoes. I’m off to check on my latest batch which we’ll be using as pizza topping. I can’t wait!

Do you roast tomatoes? Do you have any tips to add to this list? And, what’s your favorite way to use roasted tomatoes? I’d love to see your next batch, take a photo, post it on Instagram and tag #getgettys so I can see it and like it!

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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