Cherry tomatoes are delicious when eaten fresh, but did you also know they are perfect for roasting? Roasted cherry tomatoes are an easy way to add intense tomato flavor to many dishes.
The flavor of any type of tomato intensifies when roasted, and sweet little cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and yellow pear tomatoes are no exception. As their sweetness increases from caramelizing in a hot oven, so does their umami flavor – an intense, meaty savoriness.
Tomatoes naturally contain high levels of glutamic acid, a compound known for imparting savory umami flavors. As tomatoes ripen, glutamic acid levels increase, yielding the meaty flavor you expect from fresh, ripe tomatoes. Even if your cherry tomatoes are a bit overripe and starting to wrinkle, they can still be roasted. It’s a great way to help reduce food waste.
How to roast tomatoes
It takes about 20 minutes to roast tomatoes in the oven. Start with fresh, tiny tomatoes: cherry, grape, yellow pear, or a mix of various shapes and colors. I like to use a blend of snack tomatoes from the supermarket.
The drizzle of beef stock in this recipe adds a lot of flavor. You can substitute vegetable stock or mushroom stock for a vegetarian option. Depending on the saltiness of your stock, you might need to sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit more salt after roasting.
If you don’t like the seeds, you can remove them. Cut the tomatoes in half first, then push the seeds out with your thumb. If you do remove the seeds, the tomatoes may be done roasting at about 17-18 minutes. Check them often to avoid burning.
How to use Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
This recipe uses one pound of small tomatoes, but it can easily be doubled if you’d like to make a larger batch. Store the leftovers in a mason jar in the refrigerator, or in any tightly-sealed container. They should keep in the refrigerator up to one week.
You’ll want to spoon these tomatoes on pasta, eggs, salads, fish, rice, or avocado toast. Blend them into a pasta sauce to add fresh-roasted flavor. Or eat them by themselves! The first time we made roasted cherry tomatoes, they were part of our interpretation of a full English breakfast. We still make them in the morning and serve them with scrambled eggs.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes – or grape tomatoes, any colors
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp low-sodium beef stock
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt – add more to taste
- fresh black pepper – to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Cut tomatoes in half. Add to baking sheet, then drizzle with beef stock.
- Toss the tomatoes with the oil and stock on the baking sheet, coating each piece.
- Turn all the tomatoes cut-side up and distribute them evenly on the pan. This step is important, as it allows the juices in the tomatoes to evaporate and concentrate while roasting.
- Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
- Roast tomatoes for 20-22 minutes, until they begin to develop some dark color on the bottom and they become soft.
- Remove from pan. Enjoy while hot, or refrigerate in a sealed container for later use.
- If you don’t like tomato seeds, you can remove them before roasting. I’ve had success with making them this way. The tomatoes usually require a bit less time to roast when seeded.
- Substitute vegetable stock for beef stock to make a vegan/vegetarian version.