Cast Iron

Cherry Tomato Spread

August 16, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Makes 2 cups
Author Notes

Cherry tomatoes tend to crack, especially after several days of heavy rain like we just had. I always end up with a basket of “seconds” from my garden which I immediately turn into this simple and easy tomato spread. Or, I freeze the tomatoes whole and make the spread in the fall or winter as needed. It keeps in the refrigerator for one week to ten days.
This year I mainly grew the Sweet 100 variety, which truly deserves its name. As you can tell from the numerous submissions to the contest there are many wonderful recipes with cherry tomatoes. For me, capturing their flavor for the winter days when I cannot even walk to the compost barrel because we are iced in and I would give anything for a fresh tomato, is one of my favorite recipes with cherry tomatoes. - MyGardenersTable
Nadia Hassani

Test Kitchen Notes

Using a wonderful heirloom variety, the cherry tomato spread from MyGardenersTable really captures the flavor of summertime in a jar. We prepared this recipe twice; once using gorgeous sweet big cherry tomatoes from the farmer's market, and once with cherry tomatoes from the supermarket. The supermarket cherry tomatoes just weren't juicy enough to withstand the high oven heat and dried out. The second time around, when we used heirloom cherry tomatoes, we erred on the side of caution and turned the oven down to 350°F and it came out very nicely. It's important to use the just right-sized small, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid to prevent the juices from escaping; the tomatoes should come at least two-thirds of the way up the side. We'll be making some more and freezing it for the winter! - wssmom —wssmom

What You'll Need
  • pounds ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cups olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • You also need:
  • A small cast-iron Dutch oven
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, saving all of the juice. Chop garlic. In a bowl mix tomatoes and juice, garlic, olive oil, pepper and cayenne pepper.
  3. Put mixture in a small cast-iron pot and cook covered in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the lid and cook for 1 more hour, or until the juice has thickened. Stir occasionally and scrape down the tomatoes from the edges to prevent burning.
  5. Cool and transfer to a tall bowl if using a stick blender for pureeing, or a food processor bowl. Puree finely to a paste-like consistency. Fill in an airtight container, pour a little bit of EVOO on top to seal, and refrigerate.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Liza Posas
    Liza Posas
  • Kelly Kondra
    Kelly Kondra
  • Jackie Taylor
    Jackie Taylor
  • inpatskitchen
  • Sagegreen

25 Reviews

Liza P. November 22, 2021
I loooove this. I was skeptical at first since I never had a "tomato spread" before. I thought it would be like a marinara. It's so much more! I put this on everything and will now have this as a constant food item.
loric August 18, 2021
Just tried this today using a mixture of cherry tomatoes and bumblebee sunrise yellow tomatoes (same size). It is fabulous. I didn't use garlic gloves because my family does not like garlic, but I did add a 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. Roasted for 1 hour covered, but needed only 40 minutes of roasting uncovered. We are using this to make homemade pizzas. It is hard not to just eat it on bread now! This recipe is definitely a keeper.
ErinGhosh July 30, 2019
So tasty but mine was a liquid and not a spread. I will try again!
jy2nd July 30, 2019
You might want to cook it i covered for longer. I pass mine through the fine screen of a food mill and get a silky, thick spread
Kelly K. August 27, 2018
I made this cherry tomato spread yesterday. Rather than cayenne, I used red pepper flakes. I also added a handful of fresh basil when I blended it. I think it will be great with toasted baguette and maybe a little fresh ricotta.
Kelly K. August 27, 2018
My apologies, I thought I was commenting somewhere else.
Jackie T. August 11, 2018
Have you tried making it with fresh basil? The thought of that makes my mouth water...
jy2nd September 7, 2017
I've been making this every year with the abundance of cherry tomatoes in my garden. I tried canning it, as i can all my other tomato products, but the result had a bitter edge when I opened the jar. I'm going to try freezing this year. Meanwhile, an equal amount of this spread and some homemade chicken stock makes an awesom tomato soup for. cool rainy day.
jy2nd August 29, 2021
I, too, found a bitter edge in the spread that I canned - so disappointing. I’m going to try freezing it this year. What was your result when freezing?
inpatskitchen August 25, 2015
After all this time I finally made this last week. What a wonderful recipe!! Thanks so much for sharing!
Julie May 6, 2014
Can you substitute other tomatoes like Roma?
Danielle L. August 30, 2013
I've just made 2 batches that I doubled ingredients to use my pink and yellow cherry tomatoes, and i love it,thank's for sharing this
BlueCat September 26, 2011
What a great way to use the last of the summer cherry tomatoes. I had just made a batch of Jennifer Perillo's Creamy Homemade Ricotta (which is amazing) and I ended up spreading them together on french baguette slices. It was the hit of the appetizer selections at a family dinner party.
Sagegreen September 17, 2011
So nice to see this as an ep!
Nadia H. September 3, 2011
@wssmom: Thanks for your great and detailed review! I never froze the spread itself but I am really glad you are suggesting that. Why not, I also freeze pesto, which is raw, so that spread should freeze well also. - Now out to the garden to pick more cherry tomatoes before the next few days of rain will spoil them.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 2, 2011
Great recipe, saved - the review was great as well!
Bevi September 2, 2011
I am adding this to my freezing list. Thanks for the great tips in the review, wssmom!
wssmom September 2, 2011
Yum is all I can say!
cbear1984 August 27, 2011
How long does this keep? I see myself making this and putting it on flatbreads.
Nadia H. August 27, 2011
It keeps a week to ten days in the fridge. I have never frozen it; instead, I freeze the cherry tomatoes whole to make it.
GiGi26 August 26, 2011
Amazing, is how I discribe your spread. I made it this morning and can't wait to get a bagel to spread it on!! I may just eat it with a spoon ;-)
Nadia H. August 26, 2011
Glad you liked it. - I love what you say about your most treasured kitchen possession and I will forward this to my husband. He says something to me often too but does not always follow through 100% with part 2 (maybe I am using too many pots, pans and utensils for his taste). Anyway, I do think a living being qualifies as "most treasured", you don't have to put the emphasis on "possession". Enjoy the tomato spread.
GiGi26 August 27, 2011
I was wondering if you ever freeze it?
Nadia H. August 27, 2011
I have never frozen it; instead, I freeze the cherry tomatoes whole to make it.
vvvanessa August 18, 2011
yum. i can see myself eating this by the spoonful!