10 Simple Sun-Dried Tomato Substitutes

Sun-dried tomato substitute

Sun-dried tomato substitute? The best substitute for sun-dried tomatoes is semi-dried tomatoes, but you can also use canned tomatoes or tomato paste.

Depending on the recipe, some other options can also be great substitutes for sun-dried tomatoes, and in this article, we will go over the best ones. Keep reading to learn more!

How To Substitute Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

Although sun-dried tomatoes have a unique flavor and a great nutritional value, you can substitute them when needed. Some substitutes for sun-dried tomatoes work better in sauces, some work better in salads. Let’s go over some of the best ones:

1. Roasted bell pepper

roasted bell peppers

Roasted bell peppers are a great substitute for sundried tomatoes. When you want to replace sun-dried tomatoes when eating bruschetta, but you prefer milder flavors, roasted bell pepper drizzled in olive oil is your best choice!

2. Cherry tomatoes

cherry tomatoes

When chopped in half, cherry tomatoes will replace sun-dried tomatoes in salads or sauces. They have an intense flavor characteristic of fresh tomatoes and will be a great replacement if you don’t like the slightly sour taste of sun-dried tomatoes. 

3. Tomato paste

tomato paste

If your goal is to replace the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste is your best choice. Tomato paste is great for soups and curries and as a food thickener. 

4. Tomato puree

tomato pure

Don’t confuse tomato paste with tomato puree, as tomato puree is a thinner sauce than paste and has a milder flavor. However, you can still use pureed tomato sauce instead of sun-dried tomatoes.

5. Fresh tomatoes

fresh tomatoes

Grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and any other fresh tomatoes can replace sun-dried tomatoes in salad recipes, especially if you add a little bit of lemon juice to achieve that slightly tarty flavor.

6. Tamarind paste

tamarind paste

There are several Asian dishes that require sundried tomato flavor, and the best substitute for sun-dried tomatoes in Asian dishes is tamarind paste. You will get the same sweet-sour flavor with tamarind paste, but it is a bit sourer than sun-dried tomatoes are, so we suggest you only use small amounts. 

7. Semi-dried tomatoes

semi-dried tomatoes

Probably the most similar to sun-dried tomatoes, semi-dried tomatoes have been dried for a shorter time than sun-dried tomatoes, so they have a sweeter yet similar flavor. It is the closest among substitutes for sun-dried tomatoes.

8. Tomato powder

tomato powder

A powder made of dried and ground tomatoes, tomato powder can substitute sun-dried tomatoes in sauces and soups. However, tomato powder isn’t so good in salads.

9. Canned tomatoes

canned tomatoes

Canned peeled tomatoes have a similar flavor profile to sun-dried tomatoes, but it is less intense. Canned tomatoes also have a slightly thinner sauce that can be thickened by using a tomato paste. 

10. Homemade sun-dried tomatoes

homemade sun dried tomatoes

If you are adamant about using sun-dried tomatoes in your recipe but can’t find any in your local store, you can make your homemade sun-dried tomatoes by cooking fresh tomatoes at low temperature

  1. Slice ripe tomatoes into half and place them on a paper-lined baking tray, with a cut side up.
  2. Scoop out the insides and seeds from each tomato half.
  3. Cook at 275 degrees F until they become dry and leathery (around 20 mins).

What Is Sun-Dried Tomato?

Sun-dried tomatoes have a long history. They were invented when farmers wanted to prolong the shelf life of their crops, and to do so, they left them on their rooftops to dry in the sun. One of the crops they left to dry was fresh tomatoes, and they dried well.

What they didn’t expect was how good would the sun-dried tomatoes taste. Sun-dried tomatoes have a concentrated flavor with intense sweetness. It is a slightly tart flavor with a chewy texture.

Nowadays, most producers use a dehydrator to make sun-dried tomatoes, but you can still find tomatoes that have been dried in the sun. No matter which you choose, sun-dried tomatoes are incredibly popular ingredients for salads, soups, sauces, etc.

Their flavor is not the only reason behind the popularity of sun-dried tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes are full of vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, and magnesium.

Substitute In Salads

The best substitutes for sundried tomatoes in salads are fresh and canned tomatoes. If fresh tomato flavor is too sweet for you, you can add a drizzle of lemon juice to achieve a similar tarty flavor of sundried tomatoes.

If you are looking to make a great salad with dried tomatoes or one of its substitutes check out my recipe for spinach apple salad with dried tomatoes, one of my favorites.

Substitute In Sauces

When you want to replace sundried tomatoes in sauces, you have plenty of options, such as tomato sauce, tomato puree, and tomato paste. Drained canned tomatoes are also a great choice. But if you want only the best among sun-dried tomatoes substitutes, use semi-dried tomatoes.

You can also use roasted bell peppers drizzled with olive oil. These bell peppers are a great substitute for sun-dried tomatoes when you want a similar texture but milder flavor than the one that sun-dried tomatoes provide.

What If I Don’t Have Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

If you don’t have sundried tomatoes, you can either choose one of the substitutes listed above, or you can make your own sundried tomatoes. The easiest way to make homemade sun-dried tomatoes is to bake them in the oven, but you can also try drying them in the sun.

You need to slice fresh tomatoes in half, place them in a single layer on a flat surface and sprinkle them with sea salt. Leave these fresh tomato slices uncovered in a warm and dry place with lots of sunlight until they are completely dried.

What Is The Difference Between Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Regular Tomatoes?

The main difference between sundried and regular tomatoes is that regular tomatoes are still fresh while sundried tomatoes are dried in the sun or baked in the oven and then usually stored in olive oil.

Regular tomatoes have that fresh tomato flavor that’s almost sweet, while sun-dried tomatoes have a more intense, concentrated flavor that’s sweet and tangy at the same time.

Regular tomatoes need to be used before they go bad, which is several days. Sundried tomatoes can be used for much longer without spoiling.

Can I Use Tomato Puree Instead Of Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

You can use tomato puree instead of sun-dried tomatoes, but be aware that its sauce is slightly thinner, and it might taste weak when used instead of sundried tomatoes. To fix that and get a thicker consistency, you can add a little bit of tomato powder or tomato paste.

Another thing to add to tomato puree is tamarind paste. A mixture of pureed tomatoes and tamarind paste will be a great substitute for sun-dried tomatoes.

Is Tomato Paste The Same As Sun-Dried Tomato Paste?

As its name suggests, sun-dried tomato paste is made of sun-dried tomatoes, and that’s the main difference between sun-dried tomato paste and tomato paste, which is made of fresh tomatoes.

Can I Use Tomato Puree Instead of Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have sun-dried tomatoes on hand, you can substitute tomato puree. Just keep in mind that the flavor will be a bit different.

Sun-dried tomatoes are made by removing all the water from fresh tomatoes. This concentrates the flavor, making sun-dried tomatoes much more intense than their fresh counterparts.

Tomato puree, on the other hand, is made by cooking down fresh tomatoes until they form a thick sauce. As a result, it has a sweeter, smoother flavor that may not be as robust as sun-dried tomatoes.

However, it will still add body and depth of flavor to your dish.

What Is The Difference Between Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Regular Tomatoes?

Sun-dried tomatoes are made by exposing the fruit to direct sunlight or heat until it loses most of its water content.

Regular tomatoes are not dried and still contain a high water content.

Sun-dried tomatoes have a more intense flavor, and they are also chewier and less juicy. They can be used in a variety of dishes, such as pasta, salads, and pizzas.

Regular tomatoes can also be used in these dishes, but their high water content may make them less ideal for some recipes.

The main difference between sun-dried tomatoes and regular tomatoes is their water content. Sun-dried tomatoes have lower water content and a more intense flavor, while regular tomatoes have higher water content and a more mellow flavor.

Can You Substitute Cherry Tomatoes For Sun Dried?

Cherry tomatoes make an excellent substitute for sun-dried tomatoes. They have a concentrated flavor similar to sun-dried tomatoes and can be easily dried at home.

Simply slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place the baking sheet in a warm oven (about 200 degrees) and let the tomatoes dry for about 8 hours.

Once they are dried, the cherry tomatoes can be stored in an airtight container and will keep for up to two months.

Is Tomato Paste The Same As Sun-Dried Tomato Paste?

Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes until they form a thick, concentrated paste.

Sun-dried tomato paste is made in a similar way, but the tomatoes are first dried in the sun before being cooked.

As a result, sun-dried tomato paste has a more intense flavor than regular tomato paste. It also has a slightly chewy texture, while regular tomato paste is smooth.

Sun-dried tomato paste can be used in the same way as regular tomato paste, but it is best reserved for dishes where its bold flavor will be a highlight.

Some common uses for sun-dried tomato paste include adding it to pasta sauce or using it as a pizza topping.

Sun-dried tomato substitute pin

Are Roasted Tomatoes The Same as Sun Dried?

Roasted tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes might look similar, but they have quite different flavors.

Roasting tomatoes intensifies their sweetness and makes them softer, while sun-drying concentrates their flavor and makes them chewy.

Both methods can be used to preserve tomatoes for later use.

Sun-drying is the older method, and it dates back to ancient Rome. The Romans would slice tomatoes thin and lay them in the sun to dry.

They would often add herbs or spices before drying to give the dried tomatoes more flavor.

Today, most sun-dried tomatoes are made in commercial dehydrators, which speeds up the process.

Roasting tomatoes have been around for a long time, but oven roasting is, of course – quite recent. To roast tomatoes, you simply slice them in half and roast them in the oven.

Roasting caramelizes the sugars in the tomatoes, giving them a deep, rich flavor. You can then store roasted tomatoes in olive oil or use them immediately in recipes.

So, while roasted and sun-dried tomatoes might look similar, they have different flavors.

How Do You Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes At Home?

Making sun-dried tomatoes at home is a lot easier than you might think – and it’s also a great way to preserve the taste of summer tomatoes when they’re in season.

All you need is a dehydrator (or a warm, sunny spot), some ripe tomatoes, and a little time.

With Dehydrator

  1. To begin, wash the tomatoes and slice them into thin rounds.
  2. Next, spread them out on the dehydrator trays, making sure that they’re not touching each other.
  3. Then, set the dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and let it run for 12-24 hours, depending on how dry you want your tomatoes to be.
  4. Once they’re finished, store the sun-dried tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge – and enjoy them all winter long!

Without Dehydrator

  1. Start by selecting ripe, juicy tomatoes.
  2. Slice them into rounds or halves, depending on their size.
  3. Next, arrange the tomatoes on a wire rack or screen set over a baking sheet. Make sure that the tomatoes are not touching each other, as this will promote even drying.
  4. Then, set the rack or screen in a sunny spot and let the tomatoes dry for two to three days, turning them once each day.
  5. Once they’re dry, store the tomatoes in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Why Do Sun-Dried Tomatoes Taste Different?

When tomatoes are dried in the sun, the water inside of them evaporates. This concentrates the sugars and other flavors, resulting in a sweeter taste.

In addition, the drying process alters the texture of sun-dried tomatoes, making them more chewy and intense.

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Now you know where to find the best sun-dried tomato substitute. Semi-dried tomatoes are the best sun-dried tomato substitutes, but there are other great sun-dried tomato substitutes, such as canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, etc.

You can also try to substitute sun-dried tomatoes with non-tomato alternatives, such as tamarind paste and roasted bell peppers.

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