how to dehydrate tomatoes

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes [Drying Tomatoes At Home]

There is nothing quite like the smell and taste of a tomato freshly picked.  And amazingly, dehydrating tomatoes actually maintains so much of the sweetness and taste from the fresh fruit.   And while there are a variety of ways in which you can utilise a glut of tomatoes, dehydrating tomatoes is a great way to preserve them for use throughout the year.   It’s no secret that in our first year of growing tomatoes we overdid it a little.  400 tomatoes between the two of us.  And it was amazing.  We had to learn quickly what to do.  There was a lot of chutney in our lives that year.  And dried tomatoes, which added incredibly to our kitchen for the rest of the year.  So here’s our guide on how to dehydrate tomatoes.

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While I would love to be able to live in an environment where my I sun dry my tomatoes, sadly I don’t and so had to explore the best ways to dehydrate tomatoes without the ball of fire in the sky being involved.   There are two tried and tested methods for drying tomatoes that work really well in the UK.  So in this guide, we’ll cover how to dry tomatoes, how long it takes to dry tomatoes, how to prepare your tomatoes for dehydrating and how to store dried tomatoes.  We’ll also cover:

  • How to dry tomatoes quickly
  • Drying tomatoes in a dehydrator
  • How do you dry tomatoes in the oven?
  • Can you dry tomatoes in a microwave?

What is the Easiest Way to Dehydrate Tomatoes?

If you’re looking for the easiest way to dehydrate your tomatoes, then this is by using a dehydrator. If you’re looking at a dehydrator, then here are two that we recommend – there are budget dehydrators for £40 or some really awesome ones for not much more. 

Dehydrators are a great way to preserve vegetables and fruits and for a small outlay, you can make your fruit and vegetable harvest go a long way!   So much so we have an entire guide to food dehydrators here.

Why should you preserve tomatoes by dehydrating them?

Drying tomatoes to preserve them means that you retain the sweet flavour of the ripe tomato and that you’re able to use that flavour throughout the year in your kitchen.  You can use the dried tomatoes as additions to pizzas in sauces and stews.  You can rehydrate the tomato.  Allow dried tomatoes to infuse their glorious flavours into olive oil that drizzled onto mozzarella will zip you straight back to long hot sunny days.  Drying tomatoes is the most versatile way of preserving tomatoes.

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes at Home

There are several methods that you can use to dehydrate tomatoes at home.  The first is to dehydrate tomatoes using a dehydrator (we recommend this Food Dehydrator for Tomatoes)  You can also dehydrate tomatoes in the oven.  You cannot, unlike chillies, dry tomatoes in the air in the UK.    Also, you CANNOT dry tomatoes in the microwave.

Dehydrating fresh tomatoes is easy and we’ll start, however by dealing with how to prepare tomatoes for dehydrating, regardless of the method that you use to dry tomatoes.

How to Prepare Tomatoes for Dehydrating

The first step when dehydrating tomatoes at home is selection. 

What’s the Best Type of Tomatoes to Dry?

You can dry or dehydrate any variety of tomato.  I haven’t come across a variety of tomatoes that we couldn’t dry.   You need to treat some varieties slightly differently (and we’ll cover that), but you can dry all types of tomato.

Selecting Tomatoes for Dehydrating

The primary thing to remember when dehydrating tomatoes is that you should select tomatoes of a similar size to batch dehydrate together.  Then they’ll all dry at about the same time.  So if you’re dehydrating large beef tomatoes and slicing them beforehand, don’t try drying them in the same batch as cherry tomatoes. 

Next, you need to select good quality tomatoes.  Get rid of any signs of damage or decay.  Err on the side of caution.

dehyrating tomatoes selection

You can dry any variety of tomato.  You should take into account that the larger the tomato the longer it will take to dry, regardless of the drying process that you use. 

When you’re selecting which tomatoes you’re going to dehydrate then you should start the dehydration process as soon after harvesting as possible.  DON’T pick them and stick them in the larder for a couple of days before dehydrating.  Never put them in the fridge (that will kill the taste seriously quickly) 

Preparing Tomatoes for Dehydrating

Regardless of the method that you use to dehydrate tomatoes you need to prepare them in the same way.

Start by washing your tomatoes thoroughly. 

Pat them dry with a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll.

If you’re using smaller (cherry for instance) tomatoes then cut them in half and lay them skin side down on a chopping board.   

There is nothing quite like the smell and taste of a tomato freshly picked.  And amazingly, dehydrating tomatoes actually maintains so much of the sweetness and taste from the fresh fruit.   And while there are a variety of ways in which you can utilise a glut of tomatoes, dehydrating tomatoes is a great way to preserve them for use throughout the year.   It’s no secret that in our first year of growing tomatoes we overdid it a little.  400 tomatoes between the two of us.  And it was amazing.  We had to learn quickly what to do.  There was a lot of chutney in our lives that year.  And dried tomatoes, which added incredibly to our kitchen for the rest of the year.  So here’s our guide on how to dehydrate tomatoes. While I would love to be able to live in an environment where my I sun dry my tomatoes, sadly I don’t and so had to explore the best ways to dehydrate tomatoes without the ball of fire in the sky being involved.   There are two tried and tested methods for drying tomatoes that work really well in the UK.  So in this guide, we’ll cover how to dry tomatoes, how long it takes to dry tomatoes, how to prepare your tomatoes for dehydrating and how to store dried tomatoes.  We’ll also cover: How to dry tomatoes quicklyDrying tomatoes in a dehydratorHow do you dry tomatoes in the oven?Can you dry tomatoes in a microwave? What is the Easiest Way to Dehydrate Tomatoes? If you’re looking for the easiest way to dehydrate your tomatoes, then this is by using a dehydrator. If you’re looking at a dehydrator, then here are two that we recommend – there are budget dehydrators for £40 or some really awesome ones for not much more.  The BioChef Arizona Sol 9 Tray Food Dehydrator is fabulous and our reader's favourite dehydrator– read other reviews and buy it now!Best circular 5 tray food dehydrator – check prices here and buy now Dehydrators are a great way to preserve vegetables and fruits and for a small outlay, you can make your fruit and vegetable harvest go a long way!   So much so we have an entire guide to food dehydrators here. Why should you preserve tomatoes by dehydrating them? Drying tomatoes to preserve them means that you retain the sweet flavour of the ripe tomato and that you’re able to use that flavour throughout the year in your kitchen.  You can use the dried tomatoes as additions to pizzas in sauces and stews.  You can rehydrate the tomato.  Allow dried tomatoes to infuse their glorious flavours into olive oil that drizzled onto mozzarella will zip you straight back to long hot sunny days.  Drying tomatoes is the most versatile way of preserving tomatoes. How to Dehydrate Tomatoes at Home There are several methods that you can use to dehydrate tomatoes at home.  The first is to dehydrate tomatoes using a dehydrator (we recommend this Food Dehydrator for Tomatoes)  You can also dehydrate tomatoes in the oven.  You cannot, unlike chillies, dry tomatoes in the air in the UK.    Also, you CANNOT dry tomatoes in the microwave. Dehydrating fresh tomatoes is easy and we’ll start, however by dealing with how to prepare tomatoes for dehydrating, regardless of the method that you use to dry tomatoes. How to Prepare Tomatoes for Dehydrating The first step when dehydrating tomatoes at home is selection.  What’s the Best Type of Tomatoes to Dry? You can dry or dehydrate any variety of tomato.  I haven’t come across a variety of tomatoes that we couldn’t dry.   You need to treat some varieties slightly differently (and we’ll cover that), but you can dry all types of tomato. Selecting Tomatoes for Dehydrating The primary thing to remember when dehydrating tomatoes is that you should select tomatoes of a similar size to batch dehydrate together.  Then they’ll all dry at about the same time.  So if you’re dehydrating large beef tomatoes and slicing them beforehand, don’t try drying them in the same batch as cherry tomatoes.  Next, you need to select good quality tomatoes.  Get rid of any signs of damage or decay.  Err on the side of caution. You can dry any variety of tomato.  You should take into account that the larger the tomato the longer it will take to dry, regardless of the drying process that you use.  When you’re selecting which tomatoes you’re going to dehydrate then you should start the dehydration process as soon after harvesting as possible.  DON’T pick them and stick them in the larder for a couple of days before dehydrating.  Never put them in the fridge (that will kill the taste seriously quickly)  Preparing Tomatoes for Dehydrating Regardless of the method that you use to dehydrate tomatoes you need to prepare them in the same way. Start by washing your tomatoes thoroughly.  Pat them dry with a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll. If you’re using smaller (cherry for instance) tomatoes then cut them in half and lay them skin side down on a chopping board.    For much larger tomatoes you can slice them thickly. Sprinkle with good coarse sea salt. (When you get more experienced at dehydrating tomatoes you can experiment with sprinkling dried herbs as well as salt – we recommend dried oregano and dried basil for some amazing flavours) Now you’re ready to dehydrate your tomatoes.  Here are the 2 ways in which you can dry tomatoes.  We’ll start with the quickest, easiest and most convenient way to dehydrate tomatoes.  How to tomatoes in a dehydrator It is simple to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator.   A dehydrator is a specific appliance used to remove moisture from whatever foodstuff you put inside them.  You can read more about dehydrators here, but they’re fabulous appliances for extending the useful life of virtually anything that you grow in the garden.  Drying tomatoes in a dehydrator is the most effective and easy way of drying them. Select and prepare the tomatoes as I’ve described above. Spread the prepared tomatoes on the drying grids of the dehydrator.  Make sure that they’re not touching each other and have a little distance between them.  It's necessary for air to be able to circular between and around each tomato Don’t overload the dehydrator.  Turn on the dehydrator to the setting recommended by your food dehydrator manufacturer for tomatoes and off you go. Check the tomatoes.  They should not become completely dry, but remain a little pliable, not crispy.  Touch them.  They shouldn’t feel sticky.  If some are done, then remove them and leave the others to finish. How long does it take to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator? Each dehydrator manufacturer will detail the time it is likely to take to dry different fruit and vegetables, so check the instructions.  However, it usually takes between 4 and 6 hours to dry tomatoes in a food dehydrator.  Smaller tomatoes will take less time than larger tomatoes. What are the best dehydrators for tomatoes? Here are the highlights of the best food dehydrators for tomatoes.  You can read more in our full guide on food dehydrators here. TABLE How to Dehydrate Tomatoes in an Oven The second method of drying tomatoes is to dry them in the oven.  This does, however, require more energy than using a specific dehydrator. The length of time it takes to dry tomatoes in the oven depends on the size tomato.  Here’s how to dry tomatoes in the oven. Preheat the oven to about 100 degrees centigrade (fan oven) Place the prepared tomatoes on a baking tray and place them in the centre of the oven. Tomatoes should take at least 4 hours to dry in the oven, but likely longer.  I tend to check them after an hour to make sure that they’re not sticking and then check them occasionally.  Check the tomatoes.  They should not become completely dry, but remain a little pliable, not crispy.  Touch them.  They shouldn’t feel sticky.  If some are done, then remove them and leave the others to finish. How long does it take to dehydrate tomatoes in an oven? It will take a minimum of 4 hours to dry tomatoes in an oven.  How to Dehydrate Tomatoes in the microwave You can’t dehydrate tomatoes in the microwave.    How to Store Dehydrated Tomatoes There are several ways to store dehydrated tomatoes.  The most flexible is to store them in an airtight container.  Using a ziplock bag and squeezing the air out is very effective.  Then you’ll need to store them in a cool, dry place.  You can store dehydrated tomatoes in this way for up to 2 months. You can also, one placed in an airtight container, freeze dehydrated tomatoes.  They will last in the freezer for up to 9 months. How long do dehydrated tomatoes last? Dehydrated tomatoes will last for 2 months if stored in an airtight container.  It’s better to place them in a ziplock back and squeeze the air out rather than placing them in a plastic container – where there will still be air remaining.  Air = moisture = potential mould. If you then freeze the bag you can store dehydrated tomatoes in the freezer for 9 months. Final Words on How to Dehydrate Tomatoes The second best thing to freshly picked tomatoes from the garden is tomatoes that you’ve dried and seasoned yourself.  Dehydrate as quick as you can after picking and you’ll retain lots of the flavour and taste and continue to have the amazing flavours of summer in your kitchen long after the warm weather has disappeared.  Dehydrating tomatoes is a simple and easy task, whether you use a dehydrator or the oven to dry your tomatoes, prep them well, store them well and enjoy the fruits of your labour for months afterwards!

For much larger tomatoes you can slice them thickly.

Sprinkle with good coarse sea salt.

(When you get more experienced at dehydrating tomatoes you can experiment with sprinkling dried herbs as well as salt – we recommend dried oregano and dried basil for some amazing flavours)

Now you’re ready to dehydrate your tomatoes.  Here are the 2 ways in which you can dry tomatoes.  We’ll start with the quickest, easiest and most convenient way to dehydrate tomatoes. 

How to tomatoes in a dehydrator

It is simple to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator.   A dehydrator is a specific appliance used to remove moisture from whatever foodstuff you put inside them.  You can read more about dehydrators here, but they’re fabulous appliances for extending the useful life of virtually anything that you grow in the garden.  Drying tomatoes in a dehydrator is the most effective and easy way of drying them.

Select and prepare the tomatoes as I’ve described above.

Spread the prepared tomatoes on the drying grids of the dehydrator.  Make sure that they’re not touching each other and have a little distance between them.  It’s necessary for air to be able to circular between and around each tomato

Don’t overload the dehydrator.  Turn on the dehydrator to the setting recommended by your food dehydrator manufacturer for tomatoes and off you go.

drying tomatoes in a dehyrator

Check the tomatoes.  They should not become completely dry, but remain a little pliable, not crispy.  Touch them.  They shouldn’t feel sticky.  If some are done, then remove them and leave the others to finish.

How long does it take to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator?

Each dehydrator manufacturer will detail the time it is likely to take to dry different fruit and vegetables, so check the instructions.  However, it usually takes between 4 and 6 hours to dry tomatoes in a food dehydrator.  Smaller tomatoes will take less time than larger tomatoes. You can read about other fruits to dehydrate here.

What are the best dehydrators for tomatoes?

Here are the highlights of the best food dehydrators for tomatoes.  You can read more in our full guide on food dehydrators here.

Food Hydrator NameHighlightsWhat It Looks LikeRead Reviews & Buy Now!
Excalibur Food Dehydrator• 9-Tray dehydrator, 15 square feet of drying space
• Built-in on/off switch and adjustable thermostat with 26-hour timer
• Easy to clean Polyscreen tray inserts
• 7-inch fan, 600 watts, voltage: 110-120V
• Unit Dimensions: 12-1/2 H x 17 W x 19 D (inches)
Check prices and buy now
BioChef Arizona• Digital Display: 19.5 Hour Timer
• Adjustable Thermostat: 35º to 70ºC
• 9x Stainless Steel Drying Trays + 100% BPA Free inner- and outer casing
• 3x Non-Stick Sheet, 3x Fine Mesh Sheet & 3x Drip Tray
• Superior horizontal airflow for even & consistent drying of foods & no flavour contamination between the trays
• 3 years warranty on motor & parts - UK service & support centre
Buy Now!
Klarstein Fruit Jerky 6• Temperature and timer setting gives even dehydration as the fan circulates warm air
• Adjustable display on the upper surface.
• Adjustable temperature from 35-70°C.
• Adjustable timer from 0:30 - 19:30 hrs
Check Prices here
MisterChef Circular Food DehydratorTemperature- setting. easy to clean plastic trays and lid
On/off switch on the unit base.
Settable temperature from 35-70°C.
Buy the best Circular food dehydrator here
Cooks Professional Budget Food Dehydrator• 5 tier design means you can preserve varieties of food simultaneously
• Instruction manual included with drying time guidelines
• The 240W dehydrator has a timer that can be set between 1 and 72 hours with an adjustable temperature of between 35°C and 70°C
• Measures W33.5cm x D26cm x H27.5cm when all 5 trays are stacked together.
• If only one tray is used, the height is 14.5cm
Buy the best budget food dehydrator

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes in an Oven

The second method of drying tomatoes is to dry them in the oven.  This does, however, require more energy than using a specific dehydrator.

The length of time it takes to dry tomatoes in the oven depends on the size tomato.  Here’s how to dry tomatoes in the oven.

Preheat the oven to about 100 degrees centigrade (fan oven)

Place the prepared tomatoes on a baking tray and place them in the centre of the oven.

Tomatoes should take at least 4 hours to dry in the oven, but likely longer.  I tend to check them after an hour to make sure that they’re not sticking and then check them occasionally. 

drying tomatoes in an oven

Check the tomatoes.  They should not become completely dry, but remain a little pliable, not crispy.  Touch them.  They shouldn’t feel sticky.  If some are done, then remove them and leave the others to finish.

How long does it take to dehydrate tomatoes in an oven?

It will take a minimum of 4 hours to dry tomatoes in an oven. 

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes in the microwave

You can’t dehydrate tomatoes in the microwave.   

How to Store Dehydrated Tomatoes

There are several ways to store dehydrated tomatoes.  The most flexible is to store them in an airtight container.  Using a ziplock bag and squeezing the air out is very effective.  Then you’ll need to store them in a cool, dry place.  You can store dehydrated tomatoes in this way for up to 2 months.

You can also, one placed in an airtight container, freeze dehydrated tomatoes.  They will last in the freezer for up to 9 months.

How long do dehydrated tomatoes last?

Dehydrated tomatoes will last for 2 months if stored in an airtight container.  It’s better to place them in a ziplock back and squeeze the air out rather than placing them in a plastic container – where there will still be air remaining.  Air = moisture = potential mould.

If you then freeze the bag you can store dehydrated tomatoes in the freezer for 9 months.

dried tomatoes in oil

Final Words on How to Dehydrate Tomatoes

The second best thing to freshly picked tomatoes from the garden is tomatoes that you’ve dried and seasoned yourself.  Dehydrate as quick as you can after picking and you’ll retain lots of the flavour and taste and continue to have the amazing flavours of summer in your kitchen long after the warm weather has disappeared.  Dehydrating tomatoes is a simple and easy task, whether you use a dehydrator or the oven to dry your tomatoes, prep them well, store them well and enjoy the fruits of your labour for months afterwards!

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