Cherry Tomato Brown Bettys

By • July 27, 2010 25 Comments

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Author Notes: It all started with a recipe for Strawberry Brown Butter Bettys from Smitten Kitchen. I love individual servings -- they just feel so special -- and the sandwich bread crusts are simple and unexpected. From there, I got inspiration from tomato pie recipes that combine cheese and mayo to make a gooey filling. And I recently updated the recipe to include brown butter (in place of olive oil) since brown butter + tomatoes are a wonderful thing indeed (with credit to Amanda's post last summer for the idea: You could call these Cherry Tomato Tartlets if that suits you. But since Brown Betty is traditionally a dessert made with fruit and buttered bread crumbs, you can consider these a delicious, savory cousin. - EmilyCEmilyC

Food52 Review: Cherry tomatoes are summer's perfect food, and these little brown bettys might be summer's perfect bite. Warm out of the oven, they're ooey gooey and cheesy, with crispy bread edges. The tomatoes get perfectly warm and the bread crumbs absorb the tomato juices. I made a couple of changes to the recipe; I sprinkled some panko on the top of each tartlet and broiled them a little bit at the end, it gave them a nice browned color. I also swapped out ricotta for part of the mozzarella (and the mayo) and it worked great. These will definitely be in my appetizer rotation every summer! - nomnivorousnomnivorous

Serves 8

  • 8 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • olive oil for brushing the muffin cups and both sides of each bread
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup basil, sliced, plus 1 to 2 T extra for serving
  • 1 cup fresh, good quality mozzarella, shredded
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  2. Lightly oil muffin cups. (I use a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and just leave four of the muffin cups empty.) Roll each of the 8 bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil, then gently fit the slices into the muffin cups.
  3. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter completely; cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom so they don't burn.
  4. Combine tomatoes with the brown butter, mayo, lemon juice, basil, mozzarella, and salt and pepper. Fold in the panko until the mixture holds together -- you may not need the full 1/2 cup of panko, though I usually end up using the full amount.
  5. Mound tomato mixture into muffin cups, pressing gently.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crusts are golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top, if using, and a little extra basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tags: basil, cherry tomatoes, entertaining, mozzarella

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Comments (25) Questions (0)


about 2 years ago Madhuja

Putting the bread in the muffin cup is such a neat idea, EmilyC! Your recipe sounds delicious!:)


about 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks Madhuja -- I thought the same thing when I saw the sandwich bread crust idea on Smitten Kitchen. I've never tried them in a mini muffin pan but love the idea of making them bite size for a summer party!


about 3 years ago socalceleste

i'm going to try out these little treasures tonight. My tomatoes are gorgeous, I am sure this will be a delight!


about 3 years ago EmilyC

Great! Let me know how they turn out!


almost 4 years ago nomnivorous

Yay, I'm happy to see this get an Editor's Choice pick. The recipe was utterly delicious, I was a very happy recipe tester. Thanks for a lovely summer bite, EmilyC!


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Thanks so much for the lovely review, nomnivorous! I'm so glad you liked them, and I really like your substitution of ricotta for a little of the mozzarella and mayo. I'll have to try that variation myself! Thanks again for testing!


almost 4 years ago BlueKaleRoad

Lovely! And my "to cook" list is completely and utterly out of's all good. :)


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Thanks BKR -- it's nice to know I'm in such good company!


almost 4 years ago lapadia

I love these, EmilyC! Oh, and I know what your mean about the "to cook" just keeps on growing!


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Thanks, lapadia! I suspect for many of us, the length of our "to-cook" lists is directly proportional to the time we spend on this site!


almost 4 years ago Midge

Yum EmilyC! So cute too.


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Thanks so much Midge!


almost 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, love these!


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Thank you! I'm thinking I should make them again as it's been awhile. My to-cook list is getting out of control!


almost 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'm right there with you.


almost 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

These little tartlets are beautiful, perfect hors d'oeuvre. Saved and making these soon


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Thanks so much, sdebrango! I'd love to know how they turn out! I also labeled them as an hors d'oeuvre, but I think they'd be nice served as a side -- maybe with grilled chicken or steak.


almost 5 years ago Melinda Lecomte

I bt these would be delicious with some crumbled bacon added on top


almost 4 years ago lorigoldsby

I agree--your own little BLT!


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

This suggestion is so good that I think I'm going to add crumbled bacon as a variation. Thanks for weighing in, Lori!


almost 5 years ago louisio

They look amazing - just wanted to check what 'panko' is as I am based in UK! Do you mean the Japanese panko breadcrumbs? Thanks1


almost 5 years ago EmilyC

Hi there -- yes, I used Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Hope you enjoy them!


about 5 years ago Sagegreen

Adorable and so clever!


about 5 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOVE these, they are so pretty - and a crust even I could make - genious.


about 5 years ago EmilyC

Yep -- I love these crusts for the same reason!