Sun Dried Tomatoes: In The Sun Or In Your Dehydrator, This Is How To Do It

By Jeanie Rose | Tomatoes

Oct 28

Dehydrated tomatoes -- In the sun or in your dehydrator, this is how you do itSun dried tomatoes are a great treat. You can buy sun-dried tomatoes or dry tomatoes yourself should you have access to a bumper crop. Either way, you can enjoy the rich, musky flavor of a sun dried tomato all year round.

Where to Buy Sun Dried Tomatoes

You should be able to find dehydrated tomatoes in your local health-oriented grocery store. However, if you are shopping online, this is a well-priced organic dried tomato that you can grab from our Amazon partner here. These are dried in a dehydrator — a popular method of drying. However, here we describe the process for drying them in the heat of the summer outside.

Making Your Own Sun Dried Tomatoes

To make your own, watch the sun dried tomatoes video on YouTube or follow the instructions below.

Homemade Sun Dried Tomatoes Steps

  1. Select tomatoes that have a high sugar content and dense meat. You do not want to dry tomatoes that have a lot of seed and juice. Romas or paste tomatoes usually work well. I continue to experiment with different tomatoes to find some fine heirlooms like Purple Russian that dry really well. If you think you have found a good candidate for drying, try drying a dozen to see how they perform. If your results are not good, you have risked only a few tomatoes.
  2. If the tomatoes are dirty or dusty, wash them well and allow them to dry thoroughly.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half and lay them out to dry with the cut side up. As the tomato half dries, it forms a little saucer that keeps the juices in. This saucer action is part of what makes the tomato taste so intense in the finished product.
  4. Set the tomatoes on the trays of an electric dehydrator or on the plastic-wrap-covered surface of something you have set up in the sun. I use a piece of plywood set up on sawhorses. I have also dried tomatoes on our flat roof.
  5. If you are drying outside, find the sunniest, warmest spot on your property for your drying project.
  6. For best results, get the tomatoes out early in the day so they will skin over before dark. The dry skin in top keeps your project from being so interesting to winged and crawling things.
  7. Check the tomatoes every couple of days. Your drying time will vary depending on your temperatures, the length of the day, and the size of your tomato. If the tomatoes start looking dark brown, move them to a spot with a little less sun. When the tomatoes are very leathery, bring them in.


You may be tempted to store your sun dried tomatoes in an air-tight container in a cool place but you will save them longer if you freeze them or store them in olive oil. If you have dried a bounty of tomatoes, you may want to try both storage methods to give you some variety.

To freeze your sun dried tomatoes, simply place them in a gallon-size freezer bag and place them in the freezer. The should remain fairly loose from one another allowing you to pull a handful out as you need them.

Storing your tomatoes in olive oil and placing it in the refrigerator is a great option as well. You can simply place the entire tomato in olive oil or follow the instructions in the sun dried tomato video below to process your tomatoes before adding them to the oil. This method provides you with an exceptional tomato paste that you can use in soups and sauces.

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun dried tomatoes are a great way to preserve tomatoes for use all year long.
Prep Time 20 mins
Servings 16 oz


  • 1 pound tomatoes paste type


  • If the tomatoes are dusty, rinse them well and allow them to dry.
  • Slice tomatoes in half and lay them out to dry, cut side up.
  • Arrange the slices on a tray for your dehydrator or on a tray you can use outside in the sun (such as a cookie sheet).
  • If you are sun-drying, cover them with plastic wrap to keep the birds away.
  • If you are sun-drying, find the warmest spot outside to dry them. (Place them in your dehydrator if you are using a dehydrator.)
  • Check for doneness every couple of days. The drying time will depend on temperatures and humidity. They are done with they are "leathery."
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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12 years ago

Thanks for linking up to the Living Well blog hop. This is a really nice post, too. I usually dry my tomatoes in the dehydrator,as our sun in not consistent. The boys eat them as snacks.

Rob Russo
12 years ago

Saving this post for reference. My wife and I absolutely LOVE sun-dried tomatoes … She puts them in so many tasty dishes.

When we can find them at the store, they are so expensive! So, we are setting a goal to make them ourselves.

Thanks for sharing.

Lea H
12 years ago

Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasure’s Whole Health Weekend Link-Up. This is a great and informative post!

Check back tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

Julia in West Des Moines

Thanks for joining the Frugal Tuesday Tip! Hope you link again soon.

Debbie Drummond
12 years ago

I’m so glad that you posted this recipe. Sun dried tomatoes really tastes so good. I tried sun drying and making some tomato pickle but the sun dried tomatoes turned out more like rotten. I’ll keep in mind about the type of tomatoes I should be using.

12 years ago

Love this idea. I’ve always been afraid to leave the tomatoes out in the sun for as long as it would take to make a good sun dried tomato, so I think a dehydrator would be a better fit for me and my family. Thanks for the tips on which tomato varieties to try, as well.

Lea H
11 years ago

Great post! Thank you for adding it to my ever-growing dehydrator recipes link-up.

11 years ago

I have a bunch of *whole* cherry tomatoes outside in the sun. Will they work without cutting in half or is it best I cut them?

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