A glass bowl on a black background containing tomato pulp and skin turned into tomato powderPin

Homemade Tomato Powder Recipe and Uses

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Have you ever made fresh salsa and felt like that pile of tomato pulp, seeds and skin was a waste? Then one day, when I was canning salsa while dehydrating herbs, a few tomato peels landed in the dehydrator. People, it was a revelation! When I rubbed the dried out tomato skin between my fingers, it turned into a dark red powder which, naturally, I had to taste test.

Now, I’ll be honest, it was very tart at first but the next second it was like I’d had a sip of tomato sauce. A tomato bouillon powder? I thought. Yes! Now, I’ve been making and using it as a concentrate for everything from tomato soup to pizza sauce and have got my friends hooked on it, too. So, read on for how to make tomato powder yourself or check out my quick video at the top of the page.

Step 1: Prepare your drying method.

I use a small dehydrator to make tomato powder, but if you don’t have one, you can use an oven or toaster oven. Some airfryers have dehydrating functions, too.

  • In a dehydrator, use the open-grid racks for the peels and line the racks with parchment for the pulp. (See the video.)
  • In an oven or toaster oven, you’d put a rack above a baking sheet pan for the tomato skins, and put pulp on a separate sheet without a rack. (Though I’d recommend lining the pan either way.)
  • For airfryers with dehydrator functions, check your manual’s dehydrating instructions since the instructions vary by make and model.

Step 2: Prepare the peels and pulp.

Tomato skins dehydrate more quickly if you squeeze them first in a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture. Then, to dehydrate them for tomato powder, scatter the skins in a single layer on the prepared rack. Don’t crowd them, though: the air needs to circulate between them.

To dry the tomato pulp, spread an even layer on the lined dehydrator or baking sheet. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved: if you spread the pulp too thin, it will taste burnt. But if you spread it too thick, it’ll take longer to dehydrate. Aim for layer just thick enough that you don’t see the pan. You can always go back and thin it out after it’s dried a bit.

Pro Tip

I peel tomatoes for salsa by making a quick X in the bottom with a sharp knife then blanching them in a pot of boiling water for 60-0- seconds. When you transfer them immediately to a frosty ice bath, the tomato contracts so the skins are easy to slip off.

Step 3: Dry them.

To dry tomato skins or pulp for homemade tomato powder, set dehydrators to 35°F/57°C or ovens and toaster ovens to 180°F/82°C or the lowest temperature yours will go to. For airfryers with dehydrating functions, follow the manual’s instructions.

Check the trays regularly and rotate the racks every hour to promote even drying. It takes about 4 hours in my dehydrator to fully dry out the skins, and a couple more hours to dry out the pulp. Oven times may vary. You can test if they’re done by touch: tomato skins are ready when rubbing them between your fingers creates a powder and the pulp is ready when it’s dry and crushes without resistance.

Pro Tip

There’s no need to preheat before dehydrating, since this method relies on long exposure to an even heat.

Step 4: Let them cool.

Not all of your trays may finish at the same time, but as each one is ready pull it out and let it sit undisturbed to cool. I leave mine on the kitchen counter overnight and check them again the next morning. It’s crucial that the skins and pulp are fully dry or they’ll clump when you try to make tomato powder from them.

Step 5: Turn them into tomato powder.

You can use a blender, food processor, coffee grinder, or even a resealable bag and your hands to turn dehydrated tomato skins and pulp into homemade tomato powder. Since they turn to powder at different rates, I usually do the skins in one batch and the pulp in another so I can get them to the same consistency without any big chunks. Then I combine the two.

Step 6: Storing Homemade Tomato Powder Properly.

Trial and error taught me to keep my tomato powder in a cool, dark spot away from direct light. At first, because it’s pretty, I’d kept it in a jar on my open kitchen shelves which get a good amount of morning sunlight. That faded the flavor (and color) pretty quickly, so I had to throw out the entire batch.

The best way to store your homemade tomato powder is in an air-tight container in a cool, dark spot away from heat and light. When stored properly, it will stay fresh and full of flavor for up to a year. You can freeze it in an air-tight container, too, but that won’t preserve its flavor any longer than stashing it in your pantry. Check your tomato powder before use and discard it if you notice clumping, mold or if it smells “off”—all signs it wasn’t properly dried.

A glass bowl on a black background containing tomato pulp and skin turned into tomato powder

Homemade Tomato Powder

Turn tomato skins and pulps or mealy tomatoes into a shelf-stable concentrated powder that stays good for a year. Use it to make tomato sauce, paste, soup, or juice, to add tomato flavor to your favorite dishes, or to enhance the color of your baked goods and other foods.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 tablespoons
Calories: 54kcal
Author: Katie Berry
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dehydrator, spice blend, vegetables

Video

Equipment

  • Dehydrator OR baking sheets if using oven
  • Parchment paper
  • Blender, food processor, coffee grinder, or resealable bag for grinding
  • Dark, air-tight container for storage

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups Tomato skins and pulp You can use more, this amount is for the nutritional calculator below.

Instructions

Prepare your drying method.

  • Dehydrator: Use open racks for the skins and line them with parchment paper for the pulp.
    Oven or toaster oven: Line 2 baking sheets with foil or parchment. Place a baking rack over one sheet for the skins.
    Airfryer with dehydrator functions: Check your manual for directions.

Prepare the tomato skins and pulp.

  • Squeeze tomato skins in a clean paper towel to reduce moisture and then spread them in single layer on the rack. Leave space between the skins for air circulation.
  • Spread tomato pulp in an even layer directly on the parchment paper, or as directed by your airfryer dehydrator manual. Avoid spreading so thinly that you can see the pan: you can always thin it out later if it's too thick.

Dehydrate them.

  • Put the racks into your dehydrator or oven without preheating. Then set the temperature:
    Dehydrator: 135°F/57°C
    Ovens and toaster ovens: 180°F/82°C or the lowest possible temperature setting.
    Airfryer with dehydrator function: Follow the manual's directions.
  • Check the trays hourly and rotate them to ensure even drying. This may take 4 or more hours for skins and 6 for pulp.
  • Continue dehydrating until the contents are dry. The skins dry more quickly than the pulp. Test dryness by trying to powder things with your finger.

Cool.

  • Let the trays cool on the counter completely, overnight if possible.

Turn them into tomato powder.

  • Grind the dehydrated skins and pulp into tomato powder separately. Sift large bits if needed and re-grind.
  • Combine the powdered tomato skins and pulp and transfer them to a dark, airtight container for storage. Keep in a cool, dark place away from direct light.

Storage.

  • Homemade tomato powder stays fresh for up to one year. Check before using discard it if you see clumping, mold, or notice an off smell.

Notes

For troubleshooting help and ways to use tomato powder, see my blog post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 706mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2482IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you try this?Leave a comment and tell me how it went!

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Dehydration times can vary based on initial food moisture, home humidity and the type of dehydrator used. Below are some solutions for issues you may encounter. Just remember, if your try making homemade tomato powder isn’t perfect, it’s okay! You’re using a kitchen scrap that would otherwise be discarded, so there’s no loss. You’ll be set for success on your next attempt!

Uneven drying: Spread everything in an even layer and leave room between pieces of tomato skin. Rotate your trays more frequently and even flip the skins over to ensure even drying.

Clumping: This is a sign of moisture. Make sure you completely dry the tomato skins and pulp before you powder them. Leaving the racks to cool overnight can help.

Burnt taste: If your tomato powder tastes burnt or excessively bitter is a sign of over-drying. Try reducing the drying time or lowering the temperature. Remember, this process is about slowly drying things out, not cooking them.

Did You Know?

Dehydrating is one of the oldest and most effective methods of preserving food. Humans have been using it since about 12,000 B.C.!

Mold: This is a sign of moisture in the container. Make sure you’re fully drying the tomato skins and pulp before grinding them into powder. Use a scrupulously clean and dry container, and store it in a cool, dark spot. If you live in a humid area, consider freezing the tomato powder and defrosting just what you need.

Chunky powder: If some parts of your powder are chunks while others are fine, sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to get the big chunks and re-grind those.

Faded color: When exposed to sunlight, homemade tomato powder will fade and lose its deep red color. Keep it in a dark container and store it a cool, dark cabinet or pantry.

No flavor: Like all spices, tomato powder can lose its flavor over time, especially if it’s exposed to air. Keep it fresh by using an air-tight storage container and try to use it within 1 year for best flavor.

Pro Tip

If your tomatoes were acidic to start with, a pinch of sugar will soften the tart taste and bring out the tomato richness.

Uses for Homemade Tomato Powder

Sprinkle your homemade tomato powder on anything you want to jazz up with a little tomatoey flavor. It’s a great way to add depth to sauces, dressings and soups, or to lend some color to homemade bread. Here are some of my favorite uses:

High Protein Italian Chicken Bowl: Stir 1 teaspoon each of tomato powder and Italian herbs into 1 cup of homemade cottage cheese and 4 ounces of chopped cooked chicken. Microwave 2 minutes and top with Parmesan cheese.

Quick Tomato Paste: Mix 2 parts of homemade tomato powder to 1 part water, stirring constantly to dissolve. Add salt to taste and use as you would tomato paste from the can or tube.

Tomato Cream Cheese: Stir 1-2 tablespoons into softened cream cheese. I like to use this in homemade pita bread then add lettuce, sliced red onion, and chicken or tuna.

Tomato Scrambled Eggs: Whisk 1 teaspoon of tomato powder, a pinch of salt and pepper, and 3 eggs in a bowl. Cook in an oiled pan or nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally after the first 2 minutes to form large curds.

Quick Tomato Sauce: In a saucepan, stir warm water into homemade tomato powder until it reaches the desired consistency, roughly 1 part tomato powder to 2 parts water. Add salt and pepper to taste and heat through. Other additions I sometimes use are garlic powder, basil or oregano, and a splash of olive oil for richness.

Tomato Juice: Stir 1 part tomato powder into 4 parts water until it’s fully dissolved. Chill if desired before serving. For homemade Clamato, add a splash of clam juice.)

Tomato Soup: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup tomato powder into 3 cups water or, for a smaller amount, stick with the 1:3 ratio). Bring it to a low simmer while stirring often to dissolve the powder. Season with salt and pepper along with your favorite herbs like basil or oregano. Add a splash of cream or milk to make homemade Cream of Tomato Soup. Then pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich made using my Homemade Pimento Cheese for a meal that’s out of this world!

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12 Comments

  1. Woah. And another woah. I have never heard of doing this before but it’s brilliant!!! How long do you think the powder will last in a mason jar? I’m wondering too if I could freeze the powder. The last time I grew tomatoes I wept at the amount of stuff that was wasted.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Providing you completely dry the stuff, it should last at least a year. You could always toss one of those moisture-absorbing packets (the kind you find in new handbags or shoe boxes) and it’ll last even longer.

  2. This looks like a great idea! I recently canned diced tomatoes, so I only have the skins. The pulp and seeds stayed in the jars. I was wondering if the power will still turn out if I only process the skins?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Absolutely! In fact, you’ll probably get a smoother powder from it.

  3. Shelia Heverin says:

    5 stars
    I made tomato powder last night. It seems to wasnt to get clumpy. Any ideas how to not have it clump into one blob?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It’s possible that it’s not fully dry. Try dehydrating it a bit more and regrinding it, but don’t wait too long.

  4. Silibaziso Masuku says:

    4 stars
    Thank you so much for the information. I planted about 40 tomato plants in my garden and I have a bucket full of ripe tomatoes. I was actually wondering where to sell them coz the market is kind of overflowing with tomatoes. Thank you

  5. Kathy dunham says:

    5 stars
    I have recipes that use tomato powder in baking—- savory macaroons. I would think you could add it to cheese coins or biscuits as well.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh, savory macaroons sound intriguing!

  6. 5 stars
    I have been doing this for years. Another thing I use the powder for is to add to breading. I usually bake my breaded stuff, so I can not vouch how good it would it would come out fried. It us great fir breaded and baked fish, pork chops, and especially chicken parm. Also great for simple pasta sauces, or anything you want to add some concentrated umami flavor to. When I make kimchi for a vegan family member, I use homemade pwdered shitake mushrooms, seaweed, and this stuff to get the seafood umami flavor normally achieved with fish sauce and other sea fare.

  7. 5 stars
    Aside from having Tomato Paste (which sounds wonderful), why do you have to dry & powder the skins before making them into tomato paste? It seems like its an extra unnecessary step?
    Thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Well, this is specifically about how to make tomato powder. Turning it into tomato paste is one of the ways to use it. If you’d like to make fresh tomato paste, I’m sure there are plenty of recipes on the internet for that. 🙂

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