Two Kooks » All Recipes » Side Dishes » Fire Roasted Tomatoes (Grilled or Roasted)

Fire Roasted Tomatoes (Grilled or Roasted)

With minimal effort, fire-roasted tomatoes on the grill or in the oven will add a rich, smoky flavor with charred bits to recipes you already make or in a simple side dish.

Use this versatile, easy recipe to build depth and complexity in salsas, sauces, soups, pasta, and garnishes.

fire roasted tomatoes sitting on wire rack over baking sheet.

Although commonly used in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines, fire roasted tomatoes are popular internationally for enhancing a wide variety of dishes.

If you have a ton of tomatoes growing in your backyard, this is a great way to use them.

What to expect

With fire-roasted tomatoes, you can expect:

  1. More flavor intensity than regular tomatoes with a slightly smoky flavor and charred flavor.
  2. A pretty presentation for salads and garnish.
  3. A simple recipe, easily customizable to your taste – keep them simple with salt & pepper or add extra seasonings and herbs.
  4. Little to no difference in flavor and appearance between the grilled and roasted cooking method.

Which is better- oven or grill? 

Fire-roast tomatoes are equally good made on the grill or in the oven. I find little difference in the final results. Note that I’m using a gas grill. You can, of course, use a charcoal grill – just watch carefully for burning with the open flame.

While the oven method takes longer, it is more hands-off. You don’t even have to flip over the tomatoes. And the tomatoes hold their shape a bit better.

Bottom line: Both fire roasting methods are simple with very similar results, but I find using the oven is less fussy and easier to make a larger batch so if I had to choose a preferred method, the oven would be it. The grill is best left for small batches.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

roma tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil.

Tomatoes: Choose ripe firm fresh tomatoes.

  • The best type of tomato for this recipe is Roma tomatoes (also called plum tomatoes) or San Marzano tomatoes which are a bit denser with less water content and therefore hold their shape better.
  • But you can also use vine-ripened tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (they may get a bit mushier though).

Seasoning: For the simplest preparation, use 3 staple ingredients – olive oil, salt and pepper. To add more depth and complexity, try one of these variations:

  • Enhance flavors with a pinch of smoked paprika (a great way to add bit of extra smokiness) and/or minced garlic or garlic powder.
  • Although the charring adds natural sweetness, I find a pinch of sugar helps overcome any adicity in the tomatoes.
  • Add dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano or Italian seasonings before roasting or grilling. You can also on sprinkle fresh herbs once cooked.
  • Add red pepper flakes for heat.
  • Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes for a sweet and tangy flavor.

Step by step instructions

Slice whole tomatoes in half and core them with a spoon (optional). Season with olive oil, salt and pepper.

On the grill

To grill, place tomatoes in grill basket and grill on high heat for 3-5 minutes.
fire roasted tomatoes on the grill.
Flip over and grill for another 3-5 minutes.

In the oven

tomato halves seasoned on wire rack over sheet pan.
To roast, place tomatoes cut side up on wire rack over a baking sheet.
fire roasted tomatoes sitting on wire rack over baking sheet.
Roast skin side down for 30-40 minutes until charred (no need to turn over).
fire roasted tomatoes from grill and oven on plate with cilantro.
The left half is grilled The right half is roasted in the oven.

Recipe FAQs

Will the texture of fire-roasted tomatoes change if I freeze them?

Yes, the texture of fire-roasted tomatoes may change slightly when freezing, so consider what you will use them for. The difference won’t be noticeable when used in soups, stews and sauces. And the flavor won’t change much.

Can I preserve fire-roasted tomatoes?

Yes, you can preserve fire roasting tomatoes by canning them. Here’s an article by Spruce Eats on how to can roasted tomatoes (start at step 3).

How do I peel the skin off fire-roasted tomatoes?

Removing the skin from roasted tomatoes is a matter of preference (I don’t bother). To remove the skins, let the tomatoes cool a bit first, then gently pinch off or peel off the skins. For stubborn spots, use a sharp paring knife.

Are homemade fire-roasted tomatoes better than buying canned?

Canned fire roasted tomatoes are convenient, widely available and have a longer shelf life. But homemade ones are fresher and can be customized to the flavors you like best.

How to use fire-roasted tomatoes

Use these tomatoes in almost any dish where tomatoes are a star. They will add some intensity and smokiness and can be puréed, chopped or kept whole. Here are a few great ways to use them:

Shortcuts

Skip the step of removing the core and seeds from the tomato halves. And, cooking the tomatoes on the grill will take less time than in the oven.

Make ahead

The fire-roasted tomatoes will keep in the fridge in an airtight container or sealed bag for 3-5 days.

You can freeze the tomatoes for 3-4 months. Cool them first, place them in a sealed container or freezer bag and freeze them.

fire roasted tomatoes sitting on wire rack over baking sheet.

More tomato recipes

Or check out our full list of recipes and tips on what to do with tomatoes.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!

fire roasted tomatoes sitting on wire rack over baking sheet.
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

5 from 3 votes

Fire Roasted Tomatoes (Grilled or Roasted)

With minimal effort, fire-roasted tomatoes on the grill or in the oven will add a rich, smoky flavor with charred bits to recipes you already make or in a simple side dish.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: ingredient, Side Dish
Cuisine: Latin-American, Mediterranean
Servings: 9 tomatoes (approx)

Equipment

  • grill basket or wire rack (if using grill method)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes, Note 1 (about 8-10 tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each or to taste)
  • optional seasonings: Note 2

Instructions

  • Timing: The grilling method takes about 10 minutes and the oven method takes about 30-40 minutes (plus prep time).
  • HEAT GRILL to high or medium-high heat (about 500F/260C). OR HEAT OVEN to 450F/232C, About 10 minutes to heat either grill or oven.
  • PREPARE TOMATOES: Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Optional: Use a soup spoon to scoop out the core and seeds (I do this, but you don't have to). Drizzle oil on cut side of tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add additional seasoning and herbs if you like, Note 2.
  • COOK TOMATOES using grilling method or oven method (oven takes longer but less hands on and you can make a larger batch at one time)

GRILLING METHOD

  • Oil grill basket or spray with oil. Place tomatoes halves cut side down in a grill basket and place on grill. Grill for 3-5 minutes until slightly charred, flip over and grill another 3-5 minutes. Timing will depend on size of tomatoes.

OVEN METHOD

  • Line a baking pan with foil and spray with oil for easy clean up – and top with a wire rack if you have one. Place tomato halves, cut side up, on wire rack. Place in oven in the middle rack position. Roast for 30-40 minutes until slightly charred. Timing will depend on size of tomatoes.

Recipe Notes

  1. Tomato options:
      • The best type of tomato for this recipe is Roma tomatoes (also called plum tomatoes) or San Marzano tomatoes which are a bit denser with less water content and therefore hold their shape better.
      • But you can also use vine-ripened tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (they may get a bit mushier though).
      • Larger tomatoes will take longer to cook.
      • Seasoning variations:
    • Enhance flavors with a pinch of smoked paprika (for a bit of extra smokiness) and/or minced garlic or garlic powder.
    • I find a pinch of sugar helps overcome any adicity in the tomatoes.
    • Add dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary or oregano before roasting or grilling.
    • Add red pepper flakes for heat.
    • Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes for a sweet and tangy flavor
  2. Make ahead: The fire roasted tomatoes will keep in the fridge in an airtight container or zip-top bag for 3-5 days. You can freeze the tomatoes for 3-4 months. Cool them first, place them in a sealed container and freeze them.
 
Nutrition values are estimates based on 1 tomato (2 halves) with oil, salt and pepper. 

Nutrition

Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 840IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating