Sun-dried tomatoes are ripe tomatoes that have been dehydrated in the sun, in an oven, or in a dehydrator. These tomatoes are used in pasta dishes, salads, and any other dishes that can be enhanced with an intense tomato flavor.
Foods that make good substitutes for sun-dried tomatoes are those that have a similar texture or hit the same flavor notes, such as other tomato-based foods.
Best Sun-Dried Tomatoes Substitute: Semi-Dried Tomatoes
The best substitute for sun-dried tomatoes is semi-dried tomatoes. These tomatoes haven’t been dried for as long as sun-dried tomatoes, so they have a higher water content. This water content makes them softer, sweeter, and less intensely flavored than sun-dried tomatoes. However, semi-dried tomatoes are most similar in texture and flavor to sun-dried tomatoes compared to other substitutes.
Substitute one part semi-dried tomatoes for one part sun-dried tomatoes. Semi-dried tomatoes are usually sold in glass jars and can be found in the canned food aisle of most supermarkets.
Other Sun-Dried Tomatoes Substitutes, Alternatives, and Replacements
This section is a list of foods you can use in place of sun-dried tomatoes.
Canned Peeled Tomatoes
Canned peeled tomatoes are tomatoes that are processed by heat and sealed in a can, and are a good substitute for sun-dried tomatoes in sauces. This substitute doesn’t have the same chewy texture as sun-dried tomatoes, but it offers the same rich (but less intense) tomato flavor.
Swap 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes with 3/4 cup of canned peeled tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon of tomato paste to the sauce for thickening if desired. Canned tomatoes are usually found in the canned food aisle of grocery stores.
Fresh tomatoes are softer, juicier, and milder-tasting than sun-dried tomatoes, but they offer a similar texture and flavor. Use fresh tomatoes to add juiciness to salads, sauces, and pizzas.
Substitute equal parts fresh tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes in dry dishes like salads. In liquid dishes where the tomatoes are blended, use a 1/4 cup of fresh tomatoes for every 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes to avoid too much liquid. Add 1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste for a stronger tomato flavor.
Tomato paste is a highly concentrated sauce made by cooking tomatoes for several hours, straining them, then cooking them again until a thick sauce forms. This tangy paste is a good sun-dried tomato substitute for adding intense flavor to soups, sauces, and curries. Tomato paste thickens liquid-based sauces, but the ingredients differ most in that the paste doesn’t offer the chewy texture of sun-dried tomatoes.
Use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste in place of 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Tomato paste can be found next to the canned tomato products in most supermarkets.
Passata, or tomato puree, is a sauce made from puréed, strained, uncooked tomatoes. This sauce is made from 100% tomatoes, with no preservatives or additives, so it’s a good sun-dried tomato substitute for adding a strong tomato flavor to pasta, curry, and any dish that doesn’t need the texture of whole tomatoes. Passata adds a lot of liquid to a dish, so it’s not a good substitute for sun-dried tomatoes in dry dishes like salads.
Use 3/4 cup of passata for every 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Passata is found near the canned tomatoes at the grocery store.
Canned Roasted Red Peppers
Canned roasted red peppers are cherry or bell peppers that have been roasted, peeled, seeded, and preserved in an acidic liquid in a glass jar. These peppers have the same chewy texture as sun-dried tomatoes and have a similarly sweet, full flavor. Roasted red peppers can be used in place of sun-dried tomatoes in salads, pastas, antipasto platters, and any dish that requires the chewy sun-dried tomato texture.
Use equal parts roasted red peppers to replace sun-dried tomatoes. Roasted red peppers are usually found near sun-dried tomatoes in the canned foods aisle.
Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If your local grocery store doesn’t stock sun-dried tomatoes but does stock fresh tomatoes, consider making your own sun-dried tomatoes. Homemade sun-dried tomatoes are often more flavorful than the canned version, and allow you to be creative with the herbs, oils, and spices.
To make homemade sun-dried tomatoes, follow these steps:
Ingredients and Equipment:
- Toaster oven or conventional oven
- Small bag of sweet fresh tomatoes, like grape tomatoes
- Lined baking tray
- Olive oil and herbs, to serve
- Preheat a conventional or toaster oven to 275°F
- Wash the tomatoes and slice them in half. Scoop the soft flesh and seeds out of the tomatoes
- Place the tomatoes cut-side up on a lined baking tray and cook for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes become dry and leathery
- Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and season them with your favorite fresh or dried herbs, like basil and oregano
Tamarind paste is made from tamarind, a sticky, sour, tropical fruit. This paste is often used in Asian cooking, and it provides a sweet and sour tomato flavor similar to sun-dried tomatoes (although tamarind paste has a sourer flavor than sun-dried tomatoes).
Use a small spoonful of tamarind paste in place of 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Stir and taste the dish before adding more paste. Tamarind paste is sold in the oriental aisle of most grocery stores.
Tomato powder made from ground, dried tomatoes is a good backup option to have in your cupboard if you need a last-minute sun-dried tomato substitute. This powder doesn’t have the same texture as sun-dried tomatoes, but it adds a similar punchy tomato flavor to dishes like soups and stews.
Substitute 1 teaspoon of tomato powder for ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Tomato powder isn’t widely available in grocery stores, but it can be purchased from online spice and ingredients stores.
Canned Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Canned fire-roasted tomatoes are fresh tomatoes that are charred over a flame, chopped, and canned. These tomatoes have blackened spots on their skins, giving them an appearance that’s unparalleled by sun-dried tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes have the same sweet flavor as sun-dried tomatoes, as well as a distinct, unique smokiness that enhances bruschetta, salad, and pasta dishes.
Swap equal parts fire-roasted tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes. These tomatoes are available at some supermarkets and can be made at home on the grill.