How to cut a tomato is one of those things that seems easy, but can make or break a dish, says food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant’s Table.
And the worst part is, the best way to cut a tomato changes based on your recipe. If you’re making a beautiful pizza margherita and want some tomatoes to arrange on top, you need tomato slices. If you’re making spaghetti sauce and you want to keep some chunky texture, you need tomato cubes. And if you’re going for a vegetable platter with cherry tomatoes, then you just need tomato halves. Yet anyway you slice it, cutting a tomato can be a messy thing — and if you do it wrong, you can end up with a mushy mess rather than pretty pieces.
But fear not, because we’ve got all the answers and tricks for how to cut a tomato. Whether you are looking for beautiful slices to artfully arrange on top of your pizza, or wondering how to cut a tomato into cubes, we’re here to demystify the tomato cutting process for you.
First, remove the stem of the tomato
The first thing to do when cutting a tomato is to remove its stem and the stem connection point. This is the green part where the tomato connects to the branch of the plant.
To remove the tomato stem, insert the tip of a sharp knife about ½-inch into the tomato near the stem. You want to be as close to the stem as possible, to avoid cutting off too much.
Keeping the tip of your knife in place, go in a circle around the stem. This way, you’re cutting a little triangle shape that has the stem inside of it.
Pull the stem out with your fingers, and voila — you’ve destemmed your tomato.
Next, cut the tomato in half
Once the stem has been removed, cut the tomato in half, from the top to the bottom. Set one half aside, and lay the other side on the cutting board with the cut side facing down.
Next, cut the tomato into wedges or slices
Using a sharp knife, cut the tomato half into wedges or thinner slices, cutting from the top to the bottom of the tomato. The size of the slices will depend on how you intend to use the tomatoes, but the sharper your knife is, the thinner your slices can be. Once you’ve finished one half, move on to the second half and repeat the steps. If your recipe calls for sliced tomatoes, you can stop once you complete this step.
How to dice a tomato
If you’re looking for a tomato that’s cubed or diced, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach. While some people choose to slice their tomatoes and then cut the slices into dices, that’s not actually the best way to go about it. The best way to dice a tomato is to cut the tomato in half, then quarter the tomato, so you have four tomato pieces. Next, you’ll cut each quarter in half, resulting in eight tomato wedges. Finally, cut each wedge crosswise into a dice.
And voila, you’ve got tomato cubes!
How do you cut a tomato without making a mess
Cutting tomatoes can get messy, but it is possible to do so without creating a mess. To cut a tomato without a lot of juice, you must get rid of the seeds. To do so, cut the tomato into quarters. Then slide your knife underneath the core and seeds and cut them out. Set the core and seeds aside, and proceed to cut the tomato as you normally would for a dice: cut it into eight wedges, and then cut each part into cubes crosswise.
The other mess that tends to occur — and the one that can be most disastrous to your presentation — is a tomato that gets squished, rather than diced. To dice a tomato without squishing it, we recommend turning the tomato over when you cut it, especially if your knife isn’t as sharp as it should be.
To do so, simply cut the destemmed tomato in half and lay each half with cut side facing up on the cutting board, with the seeds of the tomato looking towards you. Now proceed to cut in the same steps as outlined before, but always keeping the tomato facing up. This simple hack prevents the see-sawing motion we usually do when attempting to cut into a tomato with a dull knife, which is what usually crushes the tomato.
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Remove the stem of the tomato.
- For a sliced tomato, start by cutting the tomato in half. For a diced tomato, skip to step 5.
- Set one half aside, and lay the other side on the cutting board with the cut side facing down.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the tomato half into into slices. Repeat with other half.
- To dice a tomato, cut the tomato in half, then quarter the tomato, so you have four tomato pieces. Next, cut each quarter in half, resulting in eight tomato wedges. Finally, cut each wedge crosswise into a dice.