Make Ahead

Cherry Tomato Brown Betty Bites

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 8
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. Since Brown Betty is traditionally a dessert made with fruit and buttered bread crumbs, you can consider these a delicious, savory cousin. - EmilyC —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

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! - nomnivorous —Emily Hanhan

What You'll Need
  • 8 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the muffin cups and both sides of each bread
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (ricotta can be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup basil, sliced, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons 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. **For a tidier, two-bite version, you can use a mini-muffin pan. Cut each of the 8 slices of bread in half (for 16 brown bettys), brush them with olive oil on both sides, and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
  3. Combine tomatoes with the 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 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.
  4. Mound tomato mixture into muffin cups, pressing gently.
  5. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lgoldenhar
  • socalceleste
  • Emily Hanhan
    Emily Hanhan
  • BlueKaleRoad
  • lapadia

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

25 Reviews

caninechef July 26, 2017
These have become a favorite since I discovered this recipe last year. I made them last night and ate them for dinner, using a variation from a different recipe. I used 1/2 of an eggroll wrapper for the crust. Plusses -- probably a bit lower in carbs ( if you care), a bit quicker, and the wrappers needed a lot less oil to release easily from the muffin tin. Probably could just oil tin and skip oiling the wrapper. The wrapper did brown a lot quicker than the bread crust does so I had to take them out probably a bit before they were at peak gooeyness. I think for company I would still use the bread crust but if I felt like whipping up a batch at spur of the moment or wanted to use up wrappers it works pretty well. I might turn down over a bit next time I try the wrappers..
lgoldenhar April 5, 2017
Very good and super adaptable. I discovered, after prepping a lot of the ingredients, that I did not have basil or mozzarella cheese. I used grated Parmesan and parsley with a few shakes of dried basil. They came out great! I'm sure the flavor was a little different, but still super yummy. This would be great for brunch or an appetizer.
Madhuja July 9, 2013
Putting the bread in the muffin cup is such a neat idea, EmilyC! Your recipe sounds delicious!:)
EmilyC July 10, 2013
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!
socalceleste July 8, 2012
i'm going to try out these little treasures tonight. My tomatoes are gorgeous, I am sure this will be a delight!
EmilyC July 8, 2012
Great! Let me know how they turn out!
Emily H. September 1, 2011
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!
EmilyC September 2, 2011
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!
BlueKaleRoad August 16, 2011
Lovely! And my "to cook" list is completely and utterly out of's all good. :)
EmilyC August 16, 2011
Thanks BKR -- it's nice to know I'm in such good company!
lapadia August 14, 2011
I love these, EmilyC! Oh, and I know what your mean about the "to cook" just keeps on growing!
EmilyC August 14, 2011
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!
Midge August 13, 2011
Yum EmilyC! So cute too.
EmilyC August 13, 2011
Thanks so much Midge!
boulangere August 12, 2011
Oh, love these!
EmilyC August 12, 2011
Thank you! I'm thinking I should make them again as it's been awhile. My to-cook list is getting out of control!
boulangere August 12, 2011
I'm right there with you.
Melinda L. October 8, 2010
I bt these would be delicious with some crumbled bacon added on top
lorigoldsby August 12, 2011
I agree--your own little BLT!
EmilyC August 12, 2011
This suggestion is so good that I think I'm going to add crumbled bacon as a variation. Thanks for weighing in, Lori!
louisio August 3, 2010
They look amazing - just wanted to check what 'panko' is as I am based in UK! Do you mean the Japanese panko breadcrumbs? Thanks1
EmilyC August 3, 2010
Hi there -- yes, I used Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Hope you enjoy them!
Sagegreen July 28, 2010
Adorable and so clever!
aargersi July 28, 2010
LOVE these, they are so pretty - and a crust even I could make - genious.
EmilyC July 28, 2010
Yep -- I love these crusts for the same reason!