Easy Sun Dried Tomatoes In A Dehydrator

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I was reluctant to share this with you. But making sun dried tomatoes in a dehydrator is not so bad. Tomatoes are 93% water, and living in Tennessee and drying tomatoes in the sun is not an option. I found out real quickly our weather is just to humid. It would take forever for them to dry if they didn’t mold first.

I love the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes and I have got a couple favorite recipes that use dehydrated tomatoes. But hey, just eating them like dehydrated tomato chips is great too.

After struggling to dry them outside, I gave up and started using the dehydrator. And honestly, there isn’t a difference in the flavor, so can you dry tomatoes in a dehydrator? You sure can and it is so much easier than the alternative.

sun dried tomatoes in a jar, dehydrator and freshly sliced tomatoes  Hidden Springs Homestead

And it’s more frugal than paying those ridiculous prices for them at the grocery store.

I use this Nesco Food dehydrator for now, but my wish list includes this Excalibur dehydrator. But until my trusty Nesco gives up, I’ll be using it.

Best Tomatoes To Use For Dehydrating

No matter if you are drying tomatoes in the sun, drying them in an oven or microwave, or drying them in a dehydrator, any variety of tomato will work. It’s just that some varieties are much juicier than others and will take longer to dry well.

Small fruits work really well for drying. The best tomato varieties for sun drying or dehydrating are Cherry tomatoes or Plum varieties such as Roma, Amish Paste, and San Marzano. They are a lot more meatier, they have fewer seeds, and much less juice.

ripe Roma tomatoes laying on a counter  Hidden Springs Homestead
Ripened Roma Tomatoes for Sun-Drying in a Dehydrator

If you prefer to use another less meatier variety, that is pretty juicy, like Beef Steak, Rutgers, etc. you’ll need to slice them a bit thinner since these are normally juicing tomatoes. You’ll also need to remove the core.

Whatever variety tomatoes you choose, they should be firm and ripe.

Easy Sun Dried Tomatoes In a Dehydrator

How to Prepare Tomatoes for Dehydrating

You’ll need a sharp serrated knife that will slice clean and fast.

1) Wash tomatoes well under cold water. Cut off stem and slice tomatoes to 1/4 inch thick.

sliced Roma tomato in a hand  Hidden Springs Homestead
Roma tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick for dehydrating

2) As you slice them, lay tomatoes out flat, single layer, peeling side down on dehydrator trays.

Don’t panic over the thickness, just eyeball them and slice them as even as possible. This will help them to dry more evenly. The thinner the slices are, the quicker they will dry.

Allow enough space for good airflow to easily circulate around them.

3) Once all the dehydrator trays are full, lightly sprinkle tomatoes slices with salt. I like to use Pink Himalayan Salt. And if you wish, you can also put some “dried herbs” on them such as basil, thyme, and oregano. (DON’T USE FRESH HERBS)

4) Set dehydrator thermostat to 145°F, (65°C). Drying time will depend on the variety of tomato and how thick the slices are. So I can’t really tell you how long it takes to dehydrate them. There is really no cut and dry answer. Average dry time is 6-12 hours though.

sliced Roma tomatoes on a dehydrator tray
Sliced Roma tomatoes on a Nesco dehydrator tray

Check tomato slices after 6 hours, some may be dry and ready to put in jars, others may not be. These will need to continue drying.

You’ll need to check them every hour or so. As they will dry at various times. I set my cute and simple egg timer and it works wonders to remind me.

What Dehydrated Tomatoes Look and Feel Like

As I mentioned already, drying time will vary. When a tomato is fully dehydrated, it will feel leathery and pliable, and not crunchy, hard or brittle.

It will not have any moisture when you touch it with your fingers. It will feel very much like a dried raisin. The color will be a deep red.

tomatoes almost dried on a dehydrator tray
Roma tomatoes almost dry for making homemade Sun-Dried tomatoes

If you happen to “over dry” a few, don’t worry, these can be blended to make tomato powder.

How To Store Dehydrated tomatoes

Remove “sun dried” from dehydrator tray and store in an air tight container. I use wide mouth mason jars and recycled canning lids that “unsealed” without bending when I open the canning jar.

A good way to know if you’ve gotten all the moisture out is to turn the container “up-side-down” (lid down) on the counter for about 3 days. If there’s any moisture left in the tomatoes, it will rise and you’ll see it on the glass jar.

At this point, put them in the refrigerator or freezer. They will last a while in the refrigerator.

If no moisture appears, you’ve done a great job at dehydrating them and they can be labeled and stored on the shelf too. Sun Dried tomatoes shelf life is about 1 year – give or take.

How to Tell if Dried Tomatoes are Bad

Of course any canned or stored food can go bad no matter if it is canned or dried. Canned green beans, carrots or even canned whole tomatoes or any other canned food can go bad.

How can you tell if sun dried tomatoes done in a dehydrator have gone bad? Here’s some really good indicators:

  • Look for mold inside the container on tomatoes
  • When you use from it, check for a bad smell first
  • If they have changed colors, chances are, they have gone bad

How to Use Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun dried tomatoes can be added to most any favorite recipe. Such as soups, stews, and even casseroles.

They can also be rehydrated with boiling water and use to make tomato paste and ketchup. And of course again, they can be eaten like tomato chips. Can you tell I love eating them?

Having sun dried tomatoes in a dehydrator sure is a tasty treat in the dead of winter too.

More Delicious Ways to Use Tomatoes

Easy Sun-Dried Tomatoes In A Dehydrator

dried tomatoes ready for the jar on a cutting board

Homemade sun dried tomatoes are easy to make in your dehydrator. If you love the taste of sun dried tomatoes but hate paying to cost of them in the grocery store? Then you're going to love this recipe!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs fresh tomatoes
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (optional)
  • Dried herbs of choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash tomatoes under cold running water. Remove stems and slice tomatoes to 1/4 inch thick using a sharp serrated knife.
  2. As you slice them, lay tomatoes out flat, single layer, with peel side down on dehydrator trays.
  3. Once all the dehydrator trays are full, lightly sprinkle tomatoes slices with Pink Himalayan Salt. You can sprinkle "dried herbs” on them to if you wish.
  4. Set dehydrator to 145°F, (65°C). Dry for 6-12 hours.

Notes

1. Any type salt will work, Pink Himalayan just taste great

2. If you use herbs, they should be "dried herbs" not fresh

3. Dry time will depend on variety of tomato and thickness of each slice

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drying tomato slices for making sun dried tomatoes
sun dried tomatoes with 2 ripe Roma tomatoes laying on a cutting board

8 thoughts on “Easy Sun Dried Tomatoes In A Dehydrator”

    1. Hi Jenn,

      Yes, I actually do this, but for whatever reason, have not shared my recipe. I will do my best to get a post up asap on how to do it. Have you tried it already? How did yours turn out?

      1. Good morning Jenn. Thank you for the recipe for dehydrating tomatoes. Can you please relay the process for adding the oil. We have a bumper crop of tomatoes and a dehydrator waiting to be used. Thank you in advance.

        1. Hi Jaci,

          I’m sorry, but I’m not able to help with the oil. I dehydrate them and store in airtight jars and then use them in soups, stews, as chips, etc. The NCHFP, at this time, does not recommend preserving tomatoes in oil either. I have tried it before, but got mold growing on them, so ceased trying it.

          Good Luck,
          Dianne

    2. Can I ask why the herbs need to be dry? Doesn’t it work to dry, for example a basil leaf on top of a tomato slice? Is it too wet?

      1. Hi Courtney,

        The “dried” herbs will “stick or cling” to the moist slices and dry in place on the tomato, making each tomato have an herb flavor. You can control how much flavor you add to each slice.

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