Many people underestimate the importance of knowing how to cut a tomato. It may seem like a simple task, yet so many people get it wrong and still struggle to this day!
In today’s tutorial, I will show you some essential tips and tricks to make the task much easier. And I’ve included some handy cuts you can practice at home.
And don’t forget to use the practice tomatoes in one of my delicious tomato-inspired recipes. I am especially fond of these Caprese Empanadas, the Traditional Libyan Shakshouka breakfast dish, and of course, these rich Flavor-Packed Moroccan Chicken Livers With Tomato Sauce.
Make sure to check out these amazing recipes and the many others on my site!
How To Prepare Tomatoes
Before we dive deep into cutting tomatoes, let’s take a look at how you need to prepare them.
Tomatoes have very soft skin that is, more often than not, left on the fruits. The skins aren’t unappealing to most people and help keep the juice sacks intact.
So, when cutting tomatoes in any way, you don’t have to remove the skin. However, if you would like to learn how to do that, you can check out this tutorial.
So, how do you prepare tomatoes then?
There are just two steps to preparing them. The first is to give them a wash and the second is to remove their stem and core.
Cleaning tomatoes well is easy. You can rinse them under cold running water and wipe them down with a piece of paper towel or a cloth.
You have to make sure that the tomatoes don’t have any dirt or stubborn stains on them. This is especially important if you aren’t planning on cooking the tomatoes. In that case, the bacteria from debris won’t be killed by heat.
Unclean tomatoes can cause food poisoning ranging from mild to severe.
If you do see stains that refuse to come off with simple rinsing, you can use a vegetable scrubber and gently work the spot. Don’t bruise the tomato.
Removing The Stem And Core
Next, you need to remove the hard stem at the top of the tomato. For this, you will need a sharp pointed-tipped knife. A small paring knife works best for this task.
Insert the tip of your knife next to the core. Angle the blade so you essentially are cutting a cone around the core. This cutting technique requires a sawing motion while your move around the core.
Once it has been cut loose, you can remove it and continue cutting the tomatoes.
Another way you can remove the core is by first slicing the tomato in half, lengthwise. When it is sliced, hold one half in the palm of your hand.
Then, take the tip of the knife and make a V-cut around the core. This is essentially half of the cone you cored above. Repeat the same with the other half tomato.
The biggest difference between the two methods is that with the second one you can easily see the size of the core. That will ensure that you remove all of it, not just part of it.
How To Cut A Tomato
Now, the good part! There are many different ways to cut tomatoes. You can slice them, dice them, and make tomato wedges! And, for each of these, you can play around with their size until it suits you and the recipe you are making!
A great example of this is making tomato jam versus tomato salsa. More often than not, tomato jams are made with chunky pieces of cubed tomatoes. Tomato salsa, on the other hand, is made with finely diced cubes.
So, just like you would adjust your cutting size in this instance, you can do the same for slices and wedges.
Don’t forget to check out the tips and tricks on how to cut tomatoes to get some expert insights!
1. How To Slice Tomatoes
Slicing a tomato is super easy. Set the tomato on one of its sides. Then, use a sharp knife to cut the top off. The top won’t have a uniform thickness because it is rounded.
Then, keep making clean parallel slices of even thickness. Don’t allow the tomato to move, and try to keep your knife’s blade straight.
Keep in mind that the thinner the slices are, the more difficult they are to get even. A good thickness for sliced tomatoes is between 1/4 – 3/4 of an inch.
Sliced tomatoes are fantastic for burgers, sandwiches, or my famous Homemade Disney Ratatouille Recipe.
2. How To Dice A Tomato
When dicing tomatoes, you want to start out with tomato slices. The thickness of the slices will determine the size of the cubes. Remember, all sides technically have to be the same width.
Once you have made your slices, you can stack a couple of them on top of each other.
When they are stacked, cut the slices into strips. The strips should be the same thickness as the height of the slices.
Turn the strips 90 degrees and cut them again in the opposite direction. This will create nice tomato blocks.
3. How To Cut Tomato Wedges
To make tomato wedges is quick and probably the easiest cut of them all!
Once the tomato has been cleaned and cored, you can cut it in half, lengthwise (from core to bottom).
Then, play the half tomato on a chopping board with the cut side facing downwards.
Now, you can either cut the half in two, three, four, or five pieces. As much as you want, really! All of the cuts have to be angled towards the center (core) of the tomato half to create the wedge shape.
The more you cut this half, the thinner your tomato wedges will be.
You can use this cut to make roasted mixed veggies or a Delicious And Hearty Roasted Tomato Soup.
4. How to Cut Tomato Strips
Slice the tomato in half. Place each half flat side down on the cutting board and slice very thin strips. You can do this by cutting lengthwise or crosswise.
The thinner your slices, the more delicate your presentation will be. Tomato strips are perfect for salads or sandwiches where you need to create beautiful garnishes. You can also use them in tartar recipes or as part of an antipasto platter.
It’s also a good idea to remember that you can cut tomato strips and then dice them into cubes to create diced tomatoes for your recipes. This way, you will get perfectly-sized cubes every time!
Finally, don’t forget to save the core and seeds. You can use these in sauces or soups for extra flavor!
How To Cut Tomatoes For Burgers
So, let’s take a look at specifically how to slice tomatoes for burgers. Because as you know, a perfect burger has to have a good ratio of the bun to meat to toppings.
To start, you can use the exact guide mentioned above. Nothing changes. However, the thickness of your slices is crucial!
The ideal thickness of a tomato slice for burgers is between 0.2 to 0.23 inches (5-6 millimeters). This is quite a thick slice, but the only way you can actually taste the tomatoes!
A great tip for making tomato slices for burgers is to cover the entire patty with tomatoes without having any of them overlapping. This means that you will need to cut some of the slices in half or quarters.
This ensures that every bite has an equal amount of tomato – no area has more than another.
How To Slice A Tomato For Sandwiches
Now, you may be thinking that sliced tomatoes for burgers are the same as for sandwiches. But you would be wrong.
Sandwiches are often much thinner and less stacked than burgers. So, if you suddenly have a big chunky slice of tomato on there, it may completely ruin the ratio of ingredients on the sandwich.
For sandwiches, I would recommend only slicing the tomatoes into roughly 0.16-inch slices (4 millimeters). That will leave you with enough tomato to taste but not overwhelm the rest of the flavors.
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Tips For Cutting Tomatoes
There are a couple of expert tips that will make the cutting process a breeze!
The first has to do with the knife.
I almost never cut tomatoes without a serrated knife. While it does tear the skin a little, it’s the easiest way to create clean, perfect slices. The skin of a tomato is slightly waxy and rubbery, which makes it hard for smooth-edged blades to cut through.
So rule number one in my kitchen: always cut tomatoes with a serrated knife.
If you don’t have a serrated knife, you can still use your regular chef’s knife. However, it has to be razor-sharp. If it’s not, you will immediately see that the tomato doesn’t want to be cut.
In that case, you will first have to pierce the skin somewhere before continuing to slice or dice.
The second most important thing to keep in mind is that ripe tomatoes slice the best. Obviously, they have the best tomato flavor and the most nutrients. But when solely looking at being successful at slicing tomatoes, the ripeness can make a huge difference.
If a tomato is too soft, it will just mush under the skin as you try and slice it. Not to mention, they have a very mealy consistency which will ruin the overall look of the cut pieces.
But, if they are underripe, they are rock solid. While this makes it easy to slice, it doesn’t make good tomatoes. And the inside won’t be juicy and look refreshing at all.
You can take a look at this guide on choosing the best tomatoes.