Roasted Tomato Jam

June  6, 2021
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Makes about 3 cups
Author Notes

This recipe was inspired by the following conversation on Hotline about whether or not you can make jam by roasting it in the oven: No stirring? No mess on your stove? No worrying about burning the preserves if you walk away from the stove for a few minutes? I had to try it!

Roasting jam delivered on its promises -- I layered sliced tomatoes with sugar and spices in a round braising pan, and let the oven do the rest of the work. I checked on the jam a few times but with the even heat of the oven, there was never any worry that the jam would stick to the pan base. And the edges of the tomatoes on top caramelized a bit. What more could I ask for? Next up: peaches! —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 pounds ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced (1/4 inch)
  • Large pinch salt
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 dried red chiles
  1. Pour 1/3 of the sugar over the base of a 12-inch braising pan or other baking dish. Layer half the tomatoes, overlapping the slices, in the pan. Sprinkle with the salt, 1/3 cup sugar, and top with the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, and chiles. Top with the remaining tomatoes, followed by the rest of the sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the pan, uncovered in the oven and let cook for 1 hour. The tomato juices should simmer actively. Check every 20 minutes, spooning the juices over the top tomatoes, and removing the chiles if they char.
  3. Continue roasting and checking every 20 minutes -- the tomato juices should begin to gel at 2 hours, but it could happen a little sooner or later. Test the juices by spooning a little onto a plate, letting it cool, and running your finger though it. If it holds the line, the jam is ready. Remove the jam from the oven and let cool. I eat this jam fresh so I put it into jars and keep it in the fridge.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kaite
  • Happy Belly After
    Happy Belly After
  • Kevin French
    Kevin French
  • Mariam
  • Bret Robinson
    Bret Robinson
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

121 Reviews

MzMoonpie August 17, 2023
Holy cow. That’s scrumptious. I can only make so many batches of spaghetti sauce and salsa with all these garden tomatoes. This is an excellent new use for our glut from the garden. F I don’t tell my kids it’s tomatoes, they’ll very likely gobble it up.
MzMoonpie August 17, 2023
Also, I used dried guajillo chiles
Kaite September 10, 2020
Amazing! I wanted to keep the flavor fairly neutral, so I opted to not put in the cinnamon or fennel. I could see though how you could play around with different spices and may experiment more. This was a breeze to make although next time I will skin the tomatoes as my husband commented on how tough the skins were to eat. I went through and picked out as many as I could. This jam has a faint taste of tomatoes, but really reminds me a lot of strawberry jam. I slathered it on a piece of buttered toast and fell in love with it.
Happy B. August 1, 2020
This recipe is a gem! I make this jam every summer when the tomatoes are ripe. Thank you!
Amanda H. August 1, 2020
Ahh -- love hearing this! Thanks for sharing!
Kevin F. June 1, 2020
Just made this today, but 3x the batch (yes, 9lbs of tomatoes)! Followed the ingredients to the letter, except for subbing red pepper flakes for the dried chilis as I didn't have any. Obviously the cook time was much longer, but this came out perfectly. I am debating leaving tomatoes in strips or doing a quick pulse in the food processor to chop these up for easier spreading. Debating...
Amanda H. June 7, 2020
Thanks for reporting back on your experience! 9 pounds! Hope you're enjoying the batch.
Amy June 27, 2020
Curious if you put these in the processor and what the result was. I have a batch in the oven now and am wondering about the skins.
Mariam September 21, 2019
Seems creative, but I wonder if I can use honey or maple syrup or molasses instead of sugar and what can I use instead of fennel seeds if I don't have them?
Thanks in advance
Amanda H. September 28, 2019
Hi Mariam, I think honey, maple syrup, or molasses might be too strong in flavor. You might want to try agave. Not sure how this will affect the texture, but it's worth trying. Instead of fennel seeds, you could use aniseed. Or just leave it out. Hope this is helpful!
Mariam September 28, 2019
Thanks a million. I'll give it a try.
Bret R. September 20, 2018
You never say when to add the salt.
Amanda H. September 20, 2018
Thanks for the catch -- added it to step 1!
mallory December 4, 2017
Is this possible to make in the winter? Id love to jar it and give it as a holiday gift along with artisanal cheese and crackers?
Amanda H. December 4, 2017
Hi Mallory, if you can get good tomatoes, absolutely.
Kate's K. August 14, 2017
I wanted to like this so much however it was just too sweet for me.
Scott B. August 6, 2017
If you store it in the fridge, can you tell me the expected shelf life? I'm guessing you could freeze some covered with EVOO...
Amanda H. August 7, 2017
In the fridge, I'd say 10-14 days. I haven't frozen it but I don't see why not.
Tracy July 14, 2017
Could cherry tomatoes be used for this? I believe I may have a plethora soon. Planning on cutting way down on the sugar, too.
Amanda H. July 14, 2017
It'll have a higher ratio of skin to pulp but I think it should work. Let me know how it goes.
Molli B. March 5, 2017
Amanda H. March 12, 2017
Hi Molli, I wish I had an answer for you -- I'm not sure this recipe is safe for canning so I don't want to recommend that you do so. If anyone on this thread is an expert at preserving, please weigh in!
Patty H. August 12, 2017
I think this recipe is fine for waterbath canning because the sugar two tomato ratio is so high.
Maria P. September 13, 2016
This recipe is the bomb! I used lime juice instead of lemon because it was what I had. Also, I added a star anise pod with the half cinnamon stick I had. The two dried chillis were one of those on the top 10 hottest chillis in the world charts. The spread wasn't crazy hot. It was perfect. And it is not going to last long. Maybe I should've made less gazpacho, and more of this deliciousness!
bmgid August 23, 2016
How long would this stay in a fridge? Can you freeze it? Looking at a lot of Jersey fresh August tomatoes in my garden and something other then gazpacho or sauce to keep a while for the deep dark days of winter….
EL August 23, 2016
Hi bmgid: When I do this, I don't include sugar (it doesn't really seem to need it in my mind) and I add dried boletes (porcini mushrooms) to mine.. It easily lasted in my fridge (which is cooler than many) for at least a week (it got eaten fast). I also put some in freezer bags and froze as is and it still tasted great. I haven't tried the ones that I canned so I don't know how that affects the taste.
EL January 7, 2016
I make an incredible savory tomato spread this way, inspired by "The quarter acre farm". It's great with goats cheese or cream cheese. Just throw toms, onion, garlic and some porcini in a Dutch oven along with oregano and some Italian spice mix and roast at about 400. Stir once every half hour. When it starts to get thick, turn the oven off and walk away. Who says jam has to be sweet? I mostly do this because it tastes heavenly, but also because I tend to have tomatoes like other people have zucchini. Trade anyone?
Kelsey S. October 13, 2015
Brilliant. Just brilliant.
Amanda H. October 14, 2015
Thanks, Kelsey!
beejay45 October 29, 2014
After seeing this recipe and reading these comments, I'm going to try making my prune and chili chutney this way. Do you think it would work for an onion and garlic jam, a la Stonewall Kitchen? I love that stuff and buy it by the case, but I'm almost out, and it would be great if it were this easy to make. ;)
Thanks, Amanda!
Amanda H. October 30, 2014
By "prune" do you mean a prune plum or the dried fruit? If it's the former, yes, I think it would work well. If it's the latter, I'd be concerned about having enough moisture when cooking it. You could add water, certainly (I might add some wine or brandy :) ). Definitely worth a try.
beejay45 October 30, 2014
Having grown up in prune country, I'm used to calling them prunes even when they're still on the tree. So, yes, the prune plum. I have an ancient tree (roughly 100 years old) that's gnarly and almost lying on the ground, but every year it produces the most wonderful prunes. I've been making things like prune and chili chutney with them but doing it on the stove, and me being easily distracted, I've ruined more batches than I care to admit. So, thank you Amanda, I will give this a try, but next year -- mine are already all gone this year.
Amanda H. October 30, 2014
If you try it next year, please let me know how it goes -- I'm curious!
beejay45 September 13, 2016
Sad, sad tale...I'm out in the country, and there has never been a fence between my and my neighbor's places. Their place was sold last year, and the new owner "miscaculated" the property lines and had that "ugly old tree" bulldozed! No more plums. He also had the fieldstone BBQ my grandfather built about 80 years ago bull dozed. First he said the guy doing the work must not have see it. How do you miss something seven feet tall, 5 feet wide and six feet deep made out of fieldstone and concrete? It must have taken more than one run to knock that down. Sigh. He's a lovely person, but he really should not be allowed to employ men with earth moving equipment. Sorry for the rant.
Amanda H. September 14, 2016
Truly sad -- so sorry to hear this.
Shelby October 15, 2014
What a beautiful recipe this turned out to be! I made this for a family camping trip and served it with goat cheese and crusty bread--it was completely devoured! This one is a keeper! Thank you :)
Shelby from Florida
Diane September 26, 2014
I agree with Amanda. I made another batch of this yesterday and it turned out great. I used 1 tablespoon of dried chili flakes and liked the heat of the jam. I used 1 pound of roma/plum tomatoes and 2 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes. I cooked it for about 2 hours. Timing was just right. Last time I think I cooked it for almost 3 hours, which was too long. I miss read the recipe thinking it needed to cook for 3 hours. Thanks again Amanda, nice recipe.
Amanda H. September 26, 2014
Thanks and so glad it turned out this time!
pamelarupright September 25, 2014
Any thoughts about whether I could use lighter-colored heirloom tomatoes (yellow-reddish) for this?
Amanda H. September 25, 2014
Sure -- why not!
Tonya September 1, 2015
I used yellow boys and it's a really beautiful amber color and delicious!
Diane September 14, 2014
I made this for the first time today. Wow I really like it! Used a mix of roman and beefsteak tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of dried chilies flakes. The colour and taste turned out fabulous. Mine turned out very thick once it cooled. Next time I will cook it a little less (less then 2 hours). Loved that it was so easy. Served it on top toasted baguette slices with Brie and briefly warm in the oven. I am going to get some more tomatoes and make again today. This time it will add more chiles because I like the extra heat. Thanks for a great recipe!