If you've not ventured into the world of canning fresh produce, this tomato confit is one of the best ways to preserve the taste of fresh summer tomatoes for your cold winter nights. Grab a big batch of juicy tomatoes and some olive oil, and we're in business! It's so tart and delicious that it just screams summertime (even when it's not!)
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
🍅 What is tomato confit?
Confit is a French technique that was mainly used for preserving meats and vegetables. In the case of tomato confit, the tomatoes are seasoned, cooked, and preserved in fat - typically olive oil.
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Requires almost no active prep or cook time! Plus it just needs six simple ingredients (minus salt and pepper!)
- Great way to preserve fresh tomatoes for the winter. I'm all about getting people to eat seasonal. And this is the best way to preserve fresh summer tomatoes for the cold winter nights.
- Vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free recipe. This recipe caters to a wide range of dietary preferences without compromising on flavors!
- Perfect for make-ahead and freezing. Once I make tomato confit, I portion and freeze them (great alternative to canning!) Then, I can just pull them out as needed to top off my avocado toast, or Korean street toast, or throw them on a good pesto pasta!
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, dried oregano and thyme, salt and pepper.
What type of tomatoes should I use?
You can use almost any type of tomato as long as they're fresh, ripe and juicy! For a quick look at the different types of tomatoes, check out the infographic below. This is purely a preference thing, but I like cherry, vine or Roma tomatoes for my confit.
Other notes and variations
- Extra virgin olive oil. You're basically going to submerge the tomatoes in oil. So I try to use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor and health benefits (studies show that cooking tomatoes in olive oil breaks down lycopene, a key component that is hypothesized to help reduce risk of cancers, and makes it more available to your body).
- Herb variations. I love using basil, oregano, and thyme together since it really brings the full Mediterranean suite of flavors to the tomato confit. But you can use other herbs (or leave them out) to your preference.
📖 Make the best tomato confit!
- Preheat your oven to 250°F.
- Add a couple of sprigs of fresh basil, oregano and thyme to a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish
- Add tomatoes (I like keeping the green parts since they help hold the structure, but you can remove this before you bake if you wish!) and a few cloves of garlic
- Season liberally with sea salt and black pepper, and then drizzle the tomatoes and garlic with olive oil so it covers them entirely.
- Bake for about 1.5 to 2.5 hours until the tomatoes are blistered (but they should still retain their shape)
Remove the green parts and peel the garlic (if you didn't already). Your tomato confit is ready!
👩🏽🍳Top tips and FAQs
Roasted tomatoes are typically lightly drizzled with oil. However, tomato confit involves cooking the tomatoes in a lot of oil! This slows down the process of caramelization and helps retain structure.
Oh, the joys of being able to cook with confit oil! I love using it in place of oil when I normally cook. I also love using it in salads and salad dressings (e.g., to massage kale in this kale salad, or to drizzle over some fresh tomatoes in this Caprese salad).
You can substitute the thyme, oregano or basil with dried versions if you prefer. However, those are typically more potent - so season cautiously (no more than a half teaspoon each).
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
Once the tomato confit is done cooking, you can transfer to an airtight, sterilized container and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks (up to 1 month). Make sure to completely cover with olive oil so that there's no chance of oxidation from air. I find it never lasts more than a week or two in my household.
To freeze, I first portion the confit into individual, freezer-proof jars or ice cube trays. In this case, you can freeze the tomato confit for 1 to 3 months. Freezing it this way is a great alternative to pressure canning!
The olive oil will harden (regardless of storage in the fridge or freezing) so make sure to bring them up to room temperature before you eat them. If freezing, I typically bring each portion into the fridge first and then pull them out to room temperature before using. Or if you're using them in sauces, you can throw them straight in.
What can I serve with tomato confit?
Oh my, where do I even start?! My favorite way to eat this is straight out of the jar, but with that out of the way, here are a few options:
- Top your toasts. I love adding these to my avocado toasts or even some of my more elaborate sandwiches (like this Korean Gilgeori toast).
- Top your pasta. Tomato confit and basil pesto are a match made in heaven. I also love using this with other pesto pastas (like my broccoli pesto with whipped ricotta at the bottom).
- Top your salads. Tomato confit tastes great with almost any salad. I've thrown them on my Caprese salad and into my tortellini salad (even added it to my mango salsa once!)
If you love summer tomatoes, check out these other recipes:
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes, substitute with Roma or vine tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin preferred
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, check notes for dried herbs
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano, check notes for dried herbs
- 12 basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 250°F
- In a deep baking dish, add 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano and 10-12 fresh basil leaves. Add 1 lb of cherry tomatoes and ~4 garlic cloves. Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
- Pour ¼ cup of olive oil over the tomatoes and make sure the tomatoes are covered with olive oil.
- Bake at 250°F for 2.5 to 3.5 hours - when done, the tomatoes will appear blistered but still retain the shape.
- If you haven't already removed the green parts of the tomatoes and the garlic peels, remove those.
- Transfer the confit into a sterilized airtight glass jar, cover with olive oil (you can top up if there isn't enough oil) and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks!
- Types of tomatoes. You can use almost any type of fresh, juicy, ripe tomato in this tomato confit. I prefer using cherry tomatoes since it doesn't require additional prep time! However, you can use vine or Roma tomatoes - just halve them!
- Fresh versus dried herbs and variations. I find that the combination of basil, oregano and thyme (or lemon thyme) gives me the best approximation to the Mediterranean flavors I used to love in tomato confit (when I lived in Italy). I prefer fresh herbs since you can chuck them into the storing jar but you can substitute with dried herbs (approximately half a teaspoon each). You can also add red pepper flakes or other herbs of your choice.
- Storing: You'll want to make sure the tomato confit is not exposed to air - so once you transfer to an airtight container, cover with olive oil until the top is fully covered. Then store in the fridge (potentially up to a month, but ideally 2 weeks).
- Freezing: You can portion this into individual freezer-safe containers (or better yet, ice cube trays!) to freeze up to a couple of months. Make sure to thaw (since olive oil will harden in the fridge or freezer).