40 Ways to Use Up a Glut of Tomatoes

These 40 ways to use up a glut of tomatoes are our insider secrets and most requested recipes each year come late summer. Think of it as an inspiration board. With recipes.

A person removing a slice of fresh tomato tart with a lifter and a bowl of pesto and black pepper on the side.

This fresh tomato tart is laden with slices of summer tomato—preferably heirloom—on an herbed crust topped with creamy goat cheese and finished with a pesto vinaigrette. Elegant and impressive yet (shhhhh!) really quite easy.


An oval platter topped with spaghetti with raw tomatoes and a couple of spoons on the side.

With tomatoes in season, this pasta with fresh tomatoes is the epitome of good and simple. Eat it al fresco—it’s like taking an Italian vacation.


How can I tell if my tomatoes are perfectly ripe?

Whether you’ve got a garden full of tomatoes, or you’re carefully selecting the best ones at the market, there are a few things to consider. Perfectly ripe tomatoes are brightly colored, blemish-free, and fragrant when sniffed. They’re firm and heavy for their size, but should yield slightly when gently squeezed. For more details, read the full article How to Tell if a Tomato is Perfectly Ripe.

How should tomatoes be stored?

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature on the counter in an open container lined with paper towels. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Never store whole tomatoes in the refrigerator.

If your tomatoes are fully ripe, store them stem side down, and use within a day or two.

If your tomatoes are not fully ripe yet, store them in a single layer in the container until they are ripe, up to a week.

What are the best uses for various types of tomatoes?

If you’ve got juicy, ripe, fresh tomatoes, you can’t really go wrong, but some varieties are better suited to particular recipes.

Roma or plum tomatoes are meaty, with lower water and seed content, so they are better suited to making tomato paste and sauces.

Cherry and grape tomatoes are the most versatile, stand up well to cooking, and can be used in almost any recipe. Their smaller size makes them quicker to roast or dry. They also make a great portable snack.

Beefsteak tomatoes are juicy, with plenty of flesh, making them ideal for salsa. Their excellent flavor makes them terrific for slicing atop burgers (or even standing in for the burger patty).

Heirloom tomatoes are incredibly flavorful, and often visually stunning, so save these beauties for topping fresh tomato tarts and tomato sandwiches.

A ceramic bowl filled with chilled tomato soup with feta and olives and a stack of three white plates topped with feta, olives, and basil.

Using a variety of tomatoes in this cold tomato soup is what we usually do but if you have only one kind on hand, go for it. The feta and olives add the extra salt needed to bring out the pure tomato flavor.


A mason jar with tomato chips spilling out

These crunchy, oven-dried tomato chips are a lovely addition to a charcuterie board, an unexpected topping for tomato or minestrone soup, a swap out for traditional croutons on a salad, or even a snack eaten out of hand. They’re that good.


Three resealable plastic bags filled with freezer tomato sauce.

This freezer tomato sauce is a simple homemade spaghetti sauce made with that glut of garden tomatoes. Stash it in the freezer now and thank yourself later.


Three watermelon and tomato bruschetta slices topped with shaved pecorino and cut in half.

You’re probably not thinking garlic, basil, and cheese with your watermelon, but trust us on this one. It’s the perfect bruschetta for summer.


Roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine on a sheet of parchment paper.

These roasted cherry tomatoes with herbs are made by baking cherry tomatoes with olive oil and Italian seasoning. An easy recipe that’s wonderful with pasta, sandwiches, pizza, or simply spooned up straight from the baking sheet.


Tomato powder in a jar lying on its side and in a teaspoon beside the jar.

This versatile tomato powder is a wonderfully flavorful addition to your next tomato sauce, batch of soup, or even in a dry rub for grilled meats. Also try it in taco filling or on the edge of a Bloody Mary glass with a touch of sea salt. If homemade tomato paste is what you are after, slowly add water into your powder as your stir, until the desired consistency is reached.


A white plate filled with tomato and feta salad with small bowls of freshly ground pepper, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side.

This tomato and feta salad is made with artfully arranged sliced tomatoes, basil, olives, arugula, and pine nuts punctuated with creamy roasted feta. Guaranteed to become a summer standby.


A wooden cutting board with a bowl of caramelized onion and tomato jam and several toasted baguette slices on it.

This sweet and sticky no-pectin tomato jam is made with caramelized onions, toasted spices, and slowly simmered Roma tomatoes. You’ll be putting it on everything.


A cast-iron skillet filled with a tomato ricotta pie, one slice missing. Next to it, a white plate with a half eaten slice of pie.

Guests swoon at the sight and sigh with delight at the taste of this simple tomato, ricotta, and Manchego pie filling in a flaky cream cheese crust.


A metal sheet pan, covered with spread out tomato paste.

Homemade tomato paste is surprisingly easy to make at home and a great way to use up lots of tomatoes. All you need are tomatoes, salt, olive oil, a food mill, and a flair for classic Italian goodness.


A pan of skillet tortellini with sausage and cherry tomatoes sprinkled with chopped basil

After browning some sausage, the tortellini go directly into the same pan with some water. Once the pasta is tender, cherry tomatoes join the party and soften into a makeshift sauce. A shower of fresh basil makes this pantry meal feel a little fresher and more aromatic.


A white plate topped with a piece of cooked salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes, shallots, and fresh basil.

This salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes is quick, easy to make, and healthy. In other words, perfect weeknight fare.


A red bowl filled with fire-roasted salsa in the middle of a Mexican feast.

This fire roasted salsa is made with charred tomatoes and onions and, just for complexity and to ensure the salsa is sufficiently smoky, a smidgen of chipotle in adobo. Great for dunking, dipping, and dabbling.


Several halves of tomato Provençal on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Tomatoes Provencal are stuffed tomatoes, heirloom or otherwise, made with bread crumbs, cheese, herbs, and olive oil. So simple. So spectacular.


A cherry tomato tart ini a pie crust on a red plate, garnished with basil leaves and flanked by a pie server.

This cherry tomato tart calls for a homemade herbed crust, heavy cream, goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tons of tomatoes.


A black skillet filled with summer tomato pasta, sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.

This summer tomato pasta with basil is made with a handful of pantry staples, including fresh tomatoes, spaghetti or bucatini, and plenty of grated Parmesan. A fast, easy, no-fuss summer meal that’s on the table in just 30 minutes.


A grilled pizza with summer tomato sauce and scallions, cut into 8 wedges on a wooden board.

For this pizza on the grill, I’ve presented a “Margarita” that uses fresh mozzarella, Pecorino or Parmesan, fresh tomato sauce, basil, and scallions (an Al Forno signature move).


Slices of fried green tomatoes on a sheet of brown paper, on the side is a creole remoulade

Who can resist fried green tomatoes–slices of succulent unripe tomatoes dipped in egg and dredged in cornmeal and then fried to a crisp golden brown? Add some Creole remoulade and, well, no one can resist!


A Dutch oven filled with a cherry tomato confit of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, oil, and fresh basil leaves.

This cherry tomato confit is sweet and easy and a lovely way of preserving all those Sun Golds you planted earlier this summer. Here’s how to make it.


A rectangular casserole dish filled with spicy tomato crumble, and a spoon resting in it.

This spicy tomato crumble is made with a tomato, red wine, olive, and pepperoncini filling and an oat and bread crumb topping. A hearty, savory side that pairs magnificently with anything or makes a lovely vegetarian main.


A roasted tomato tart with cheddar and basil sprinkled over the top.

This roasted tomato tart with Cheddar and basil is brimming with flavorful slow-roasted tomatoes that bear an intensely concentrated essence and melds it all with an easy free-form pastry crust.


White plate of tomato and green bean salad with feta, red onion, parsley, and mint

This Greek tomato and green bean salad is simply heirloom tomatoes, green beans, yellow wax beans, red onion, feta, and herbs. Perfect for summer.


A small white bowl filled with homemade ketchup.

This homemade ketchup recipe, made with tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar, is made without high-fructose corn syrup. And with a whole lot more complexity and finesse than the store-bought stuff.


A rimmed baking sheet filled with assorted oven-roasted tomatoes.

This oven-roasted tomato recipe, an Italian method of slow roasting, creates a sticky, sweet tomato for use in a multitude of ways. It’s a perfect way to make use of extra tomatoes.


A patterned plate topped with a Moroccan salad made with sliced oranges and tomatoes, black olives, and sliced red onion.

This Moroccan salad is a tart, salty, and tangy side dish that’s full of incredibly vibrant tastes. Serve as a side to spicy chicken tagine with rice.


A blue background with a white bowl filled with sliced peaches, tomatoes, red onions, basil, and chunks of bread.

Tomato and peach panzanella may sound unlikely but it’s gonna knock your socks off. Or, if you’re not wearing socks this time of year, then it’ll knock your flip-flops off. Guaranteed.


A large pot of Ina Garten's easy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich being cut into croutons beside it.

This tomato soup is spiced with saffron, which has enough flavor to stand up to the Gruyère in the croutons. And the whole thing is awfully easy to put together, beating out anything from a can, anyday.


A white bowl filled with smoky gazpacho drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, and a spoon resting inside the bowl.

Few soups are simpler than this summer classic, but here I make it slightly more complicated by giving the vegetables a quick turn over a smoky fire to lightly flavor them, not cook them.


Four slices of bruschetta topped with tomato on a wooden cutting board.

Bruschetta with tomato is a quick and easy (not to mention super tasty) way to use up summer’s glut of tomatoes. A drizzle of olive oil, toasted rustic bread, and some garlic finish it off.


Fish fillets on a sheet pan with roasted tomatoes and black olives

Baked fish with tomatoes and olives is sorta Italian, sorta Mediterranean, and completely easy and impressive. Works wonderfully on crazy weeknights as well as dinner parties.


Three jars filled with pickled green tomatoes and a cinnamon stick with two empty jars in the background.

These pickled green tomatoes are lightly spiced with cinnamon and turmeric and packed in a brine with garlic and lemon zest. The result is a flavorful pickle that’s a little sweet, a little sour, and a whole lotta delicious.


Sliced tomatoes with blueberries and crumbled feta scattered on top and a sprig of basil for garnish.

This blueberry and tomato salad is a simple summer side made with ripe tomatoes, fresh blueberries, goat cheese, and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.


A cocktail glass with a scoop of summer tomato sorbet and a sprig of basil for garnish.

Tomato sorbet can be made with any tomatoes that you desire, or have on hand. This stunning dessert adds lemon, basil, and sugar to make a fresh and bright dish.


People gathered around a cast-iron skillet on a wooden board with some spaghetti and red sauce.

This red sauce, or sugo di pomodoro, is an easy, authentic Italian tomato sauce made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, and basil. Ideal for busy weeknights as well as easy entertaining.


A wedge of tomato pie on a white plate with a fork in the background.

This tomato pie is a classic dish made with fresh tomatoes, cheese, herbs, and mayo in a buttery, flaky crust. The perfect solution for an abundance of late summer tomatoes.


The components of caprese salad -- sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil on a white platter.

This Caprese salad by Giada de Laurentiis is pretty traditional—why mess with something that works? Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and a slightly updated dressing just screams summer.


Bowls of watermelon, tomato, feta, herbs, and red onion for making the watermelon tomato feta salad.

This tomato watermelon feta salad combines a couple of your summer musts in a single and simple format that’s portable enough for lunch on the go or picnics when made in a jar or can simply be tossed together in a bowl and reveled in it at home.


A close-up of a bowl filled with rigatoni noodles, covered with Parmesan cheese and basil.

Rigatoni with sweet tomatoes, eggplant, and mozzarella is a deceptively easy pasta dinner that tastes much more difficult. Cheesy and filled with silky eggplant, tomatoes, and cream, it also bakes into a magnificent casserole.


© 2020 Leite’s Culinaria. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.

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