Sure, tomatoes are amazing sliced up in a salad or tossed into your pasta dish. But when you need a tomato fix in a pinch, why not throw it in the trusty ol’ microwave? I know, I know – we’ve been conditioned to think microwaves are only good for reheating leftovers and instant mac n’ cheese, but they can do SO much more (including cooking tomatoes).
In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about microwaving tomatoes, including how long it takes to cook them, tips for getting the best results, and how to store and use your cooked tomatoes. Whether you’re looking to make a quick sauce or roast tomatoes for salads and snacking, microwaving tomatoes may just become your favorite cooking method! So let’s get started.
Can You Microwave Tomatoes?
Yes, you can microwave tomatoes. Microwaving is a great way to quickly blanch these versatile fruits without the need for boiling water or other cumbersome methods. Simply cut slits into the skin of your tomatoes and place them on a microwave-safe dish. Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on the desired doneness, and voila – easy-to-peel tomatoes in just minutes!
Another way to cook tomatoes in the microwave is to roast them. Using the microwave you no longer have to rely on the oven, which can take up a lot of time and energy. You can either halve or cube them. Simply place the tomatoes on a microwave-safe dish, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook for 5-10 minutes.
The results are shockingly good! Especially if you consider it takes just 10 minutes to cook a tomato in the microwave, compared to 30 or 35 minutes in the oven. Sure some people may argue that oven-roasted tomatoes taste better, but in a pinch, they’re an excellent option – and so much more convenient.
How Long Does It Take to Microwave Tomatoes?
The cook time for microwaved tomatoes will depend on the size and variety of your tomatoes. As a general guideline, 2-3 minutes is enough to blanch small tomatoes like cherry or grape tomatoes. For roasting tomatoes, you’ll need around 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your tomatoes and desired doneness.
If you’re new to microwaving tomatoes, be sure to start with small batches and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Start with a shorter cooking time and add additional time as needed. This will help prevent your tomatoes from drying out or overcooking.
How to Cook Tomatoes in the Microwave
There are two different applications for cooking tomatoes in the microwave: blanching and roasting. Here are the basic steps for each method:
How to Blanch Tomatoes in the Microwave:
- Make two criss-cross slits in the skin of each tomato.
- Arrange tomatoes on a plate and microwave for 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully remove tomatoes from the microwave. Use oven mitts to avoid burning your hands.
- Soak the tomatoes in a bowl of iced water for 1 minute. This helps to loosen the skins, making it easier to peel them.
- Once cooled, peel off the skins.
How to Roast Tomatoes in the Microwave:
- Halve two tomatoes.
- Place the tomatoes with the cut surface facing up on a microwave-safe dish.
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, herb, and any other seasonings of your choice.
- Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Check the tomatoes to see if they are cooked to your desired doneness. Cook for additional time as needed, checking in 2-3 minute intervals.
Tips for Microwaving Tomatoes
Here are a few simple tips to help you get the best results when microwaving tomatoes:
Use Smaller Tomatoes
One of the keys to successful microwaved tomatoes is using smaller tomatoes. They’ll cook more evenly and won’t take as long, which means they won’t turn into mush. If you can find cherry or grape tomatoes, those are ideal, but any small tomato will work. Just make sure they’re all roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
Use a Microwave-Safe Dish
This one should go without saying, but be sure to use a microwave-safe dish when microwaving your tomatoes. Glass or ceramic are both good choices. Avoid non-microwave-safe containers as they can leach chemicals into your food when heated or damage your microwave.
Make Two Light Criss-Cross Slits
Before you put your tomatoes in the microwave, make two light criss-cross slits in the skin of each one. This will prevent them from exploding. If you don’t cut the skin, the force from the steam build-up inside your tomatoes can cause them to burst open.
Keep Them In a Single Layer
Although tomatoes will shrink as they cook, try to keep them in a single layer on your dish. If they’re too close together or stacked on top of each other, they won’t cook evenly.
How to Store Microwaved Tomatoes
Once you’re done cooking your tomatoes, be sure to store them properly. Let the cooked tomatoes cool down to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container or plastic bag. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 12 months.
When freezing your tomatoes, be sure to remove as much air from the container or freezer-safe bag as possible. This will help prevent freezer burn and extend their shelf life. You can freeze cooked tomatoes on their own, or in a sauce. Just be sure to label your container with the date and contents before freezing.
To thaw frozen tomatoes, simply transfer them to the refrigerator and let them thaw overnight. If you need them sooner, you can defrost them in the microwave on the defrost setting. Make sure to keep a close eye on them, as they may start to cook if left in the microwave for too long.
How to Use Blanched and Roasted Tomatoes
Blanched and roasted tomatoes can be used in a variety of different dishes. Here are what I usually make with mine:
1. Make tomato soup. This is a great way to use up a large number of tomatoes at once. Simply blanch the tomatoes, then puree them in a blender or food processor with some chicken or vegetable broth, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. If you want a creamier soup, you can add some half-and-half or cream at the end. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping and enjoy!
2. Salsa! Salsa is always a hit at parties, and it’s so easy to make your own at home. Simply dice up some blanched tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and cilantro. Mix together with lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with chips or use them as a topping for tacos or enchiladas.
3. Use them in place of fresh tomatoes in recipes calling for canned tomato products such as marinara sauce or coulis. Not only will you save money by not having to buy canned products, but your recipes will taste fresher and more flavorful as well!
4. Chutney is a delicious condiment made from chopped fruits or vegetables that are cooked down with vinegar, sugar, spices, and sometimes raisins or other dried fruit. It’s perfect for livening up plain old grilled chicken or pork chops. To make chutney from blanched tomatoes, simply cook down the chopped tomatoes with onion, garlic, sugar, white vinegar, and your favorite spices until thickened. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoy!
5. Tomato bruschetta is always a hit as an appetizer or side dish. To make it, simply mix together diced blanched tomatoes with fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon onto slices of baguette that have been drizzled with olive oil and broil until crispy. Serve immediately while hot! Mmmm…
1. Roasted tomatoes are an excellent addition to crêpes. They add a nice zingy flavor that pairs well with the light, fluffy texture of the crêpe itself. If you want to try something a little different, substitute roasted tomatoes for the traditional strawberry or chocolate filling.
2. Risotto is often made with chicken or seafood, but roasted tomatoes can easily be substituted in as well. The key is to add them towards the end so that their flavor doesn’t get overpowered by the other ingredients.
3. Roasted tomatoes are a great way to jazz up your hummus. Simply add them to your food processor along with the other ingredients and blend until smooth. The result is a delicious, flavorful dip that’s perfect for parties or just snacking on at home.
4. Roasted tomatoes can also be used as a filling for tartlets. Simply combine them with some cream cheese, spices, and herbs, and spoon them into pre-made tartlet shells. Pop them in the oven for a few minutes until heated through, and you’ve got yourself a tasty appetizer or snack.
5. Last but not least, roasted tomatoes make an excellent salsa topping. Their sweetness pairs perfectly with the spice of jalapeños and the acidity of lime juice, creating a delicious salsa that’s perfect for chips, tacos, or just eating by the spoonful!
Whether you’re looking to make a quick sauce or add some roasted tomatoes to your salad, microwaving is definitely one of the best ways to prepare tomatoes. Not only will you be able to enjoy them much more quickly, but they’ll also be packed with delicious flavor and nutrients. So start microwaving your tomatoes today, and enjoy all of the delicious meals you can make with them!