How To Make Tomato Powder and Use It, Too

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Knowing how to make tomato powder and use it is one of the keys to getting your time and money’s worth from the tomatoes in your garden.

If you’ve ever made salsa, you’ve probably looked at that pile of tomato skins, seeds, and pulp and felt just a little ripped off.

Well, no more! Rather than tossing those parts of the tomato away, turn them into tomato powder.

Not into canning or making fresh salsa? You can turn mealy tomatoes, or ones that are about to go bad (cut away any black spots) into tomato powder, too. Now you don’t have to feel guilty for not using your produce quickly enough.

How To Make Tomato Powder

It’s astonishingly easy.

Step 1. Prepare the peels

Tomato skins spread on a dehydrator rack

Squeeze tomato peels dry with a clean towel then scatter them on a dehydrator tray. If you don’t have a dehydrator, spread the peels in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I love this inexpensive dehydrator bought from Amazon.)

Step 2: Prepare the pulp

Tomato pulp spread on a different dehydrator rack

Line another dehydrator tray with a fruit roll sheet, or cut parchment paper to fit. If you don’t have a dehydrator, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spoon the tomato pulp onto the sheet and spread it thinly using a spatula.

Step 3: Dry them

Turn your dehydrator to 135°F/57°C, or pop the baking sheets into a 180°F/82°C oven, and check the trays regularly. For dehydrators, you’ll want to peek every hour or so and rotate the racks each time. If using an oven, check it after an hour and again every 30 minutes or so.

The skins are usually the first to dry — around 4 hours in my dehydrator — followed an hour or two later by the pulp. You’ll know when the skins are dry because they’ll be papery, whereas the pulp will look like dried cat yack. (Really.)

Step 4: Cool them

Remove the trays from the dehydrator or oven but leave the tomato peels and pulp on them. Let them sit until they’re completely cooled, ideally overnight. Waiting overnight allows any remaining moisture to evaporate and keeps your tomato powder from clumping during storage.

Step 5: Powder them

Once completely cooled, tip the skins into a blender or food processor and whir them until they’re powdery. Dump that into a bowl and repeat using the tomato pulp. Combine the two and transfer the powder to airtight storage containers or vacuum seal small bags of the stuff.

How To Use Tomato Powder

Once you know how to make tomato powder, you’ll find it an amazingly versatile addition to your pantry. I often stir it into soups or stews, sprinkle it on scrambled eggs, and even use it to jazz up a homemade vinaigrette. Here are some other uses for it:

Tomato paste: Only need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste? Don’t open a can. Mix 2 parts powder to 1 part water to make as much or as little tomato paste as you need.

Tomato sauce: Combine 1 part tomato powder to 6 parts water to make tomato sauce. To make the equivalent of a 15-oz can use 1/3 cup tomato powder and 2 cups of water.

Tomato juice: Stir 2 tablespoons tomato powder into 8 ounces of cold water for a refreshing tomato juice without all the nasty sodium and preservatives of the store-bought stuff. (Add a splash of clam juice for homemade Clamato — yum!)

Instant tomato soup: Stir 2 tablespoons of tomato powder into 8 ounces of boiling water. Add a pinch of onion and/or garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mmmm, good!

Pizza sauce Combine 1/2 cup tomato powder and 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, oregano, and basil, plus a pinch of salt. Add 1 tsp. of sugar to counter the acidity, and simmer until the sauce is thick.

Now that you know how to make tomato powder and use it, don’t let those peels and pulp or the mealy tomatoes on your counter go to waste!

Tomato Powder

Don’t toss those overly ripe tomatoes, or the skins and pulp left after making salsa! Turn them into this versatile powder that can be used to make sauce, soup, and other great recipes.
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword dehydrator, vegetables
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 5 mins
Makes 8 tablespoons
Calories 54kcal
Created by Katie Berry

Equipment

  • Dehydrator OR baking sheets if using oven
  • Parchment paper
  • Blender or food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Tomato skins and pulp

Instructions

  • Squeeze the tomato skins in a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • Spread the tomato skins on one unlined dehydrator tray and the pulp on another one lined with parchment. If using an oven, spread on lined baking sheets.
  • Turn your dehydrator to 135°F/57°C. For oven-drying, place the sheets in the middle of the oven and set it to 180°F/82°C. Rotate dehydrator racks or baking sheets every 30 minutes. Remove the skins when they’re papery and the pulp when it’s completely dry.
  • Let cool completely on the counter until room temperature. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend on HIGH until powdered. Store in an air-tight container.

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

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27 Comments

  1. Felix T. Katt says:

    Let’s say you purchase 16oz. of whole tomatoes from your local big-name supermarket. You steam them, ice ’em, and peel the skins; remove the seeds, and make them into 12oz. worth of tomato sauce that you’ll use later. At $1.49 a pound for tomatoes, that’s a bit more expensive than the $0.99 15oz. can of store-brand plain tomato sauce.
    Would you get enough tomato powder from the scraps of making the 12oz. tomato sauce that if you turned it all into paste, and compared it to a like amount of generic canned paste, it would make/exceed the cost deficit?
    I suppose the bottom line is – Can this still be cost effective with purchased tomatoes as opposed to gardened ones?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I wouldn’t bother doing such a small amount, personally. I make tomato powder from the scraps left after making ketchup or tomato sauce. The juice gets canned as tomato juice. So, basically, I’m getting three products out of any tomatoes I buy, which is what helps make this more economical.

      As for the price of tomatoes, I pay $0.99 a pound at our green grocery, but in about 3 weeks the grocery stores will be running tomatoes at $0.50 a pound. Local farmer’s markets also have tomatoes very cheap this time of year, too.

      Where I live it’s pretty common to see local gardeners selling home-grown tomatoes out of the back of pickup trucks or lemonade-style stands at the gas station or garden center. I often wait until they’re getting ready to close up then offer to buy whatever they have left. Doing that, I’ve managed to get tomatoes as low as $0.30 per pound because they don’t want to haul them home.

      So to answer your ultimate question: it’s cost-effective if you’re a good shopper, and if you’re using the tomatoes for more than just converting them into powder.

    2. How long is the powder good for ???

    3. Katie Berry says:

      I’d treat it like any dried, ground herb and use it within two years.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I dry my excess tomatoes as above then freeze them as dried slices. When I use them I grind them in a nutribullet and add them to sauces to thicken them and add flavour. Have always still been good at a year in a ziplock palstic bag. takes up very little space.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That’s a wonderful way to do it, Kazevac!

  5. Thank you so much for this very complete, useful post. I am wondering about the pizza sauce recipe: what is the other spice besides garlic powder that is meant when you say 1/2 tsp “each”? Again, many thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for catching that, Becky! I’ve fixed it so now it reads 1/2 tsp. each garlic powder, basil, and oregano, plus a pinch of salt. 🙂

  6. Can you give more thorough measurements for tomato paste and tomato sauce. Thank you.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      When a recipe calls for 1 part of one ingredient to 6 parts of another, you adjust it based on how much you want to make. The tomato sauce use, for example, says 1 part tomato powder to 6 parts water. You can make those parts teaspoons, in which case you’d use 1 teaspoon of tomato powder and 6 teaspoons of water. Or, you could make them cups and combine 1 cup of tomato powder and 6 cups water.

  7. what an amazing idea. I’ve had to give this stuff out to the animals for decades. And, yes I complained everytime I did it. Now I can use what I normally would have discarded. This means less waste. And the use part is nothing short of awesome. So sorry I am new to the internet and just now finding your helpful information. I just discarded the remains of 200 lbs of tomatoes. just imagine how much powder that would have made. This is being copied into my canning notes for next years crop. THANK YOU.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Well, first off, welcome to the internet! 😉 I’m glad you found this helpful. 200 lbs of tomatoes is a lot to be discarded, so I’m guessing that you have a vast garden or a small farm. If you’ve been feeding tomato peels to chickens, please be sure to make up for it with other veg scraps – you’ll keep them laying year-round and have much better eggs than one could buy in the store! Otherwise, turning your tomato peels into powder is a fantastic way to make use of them. You might also like my ideas about how to use other kitchen scraps. Waste not, want not!

  8. David Farley says:

    After you think it is to old put in compost pile.. Mine are vacuum seals in canning jars. Over 1 year old fast fine still. Also if you grow worms for your garden… I make a mix vegie blend. Add water put in ice tray. Frozen worm food. They thrive on it

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Katie,
    This is my first time coming across your website…and what a happy delight! I’ve been looking for recipes all day for Ketchup
    made with tomato powder. I see where you’ve mentioned making ketchup from tomato powder…..I wonder if you please share
    your recipe with us?!?? It would be Highly Appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  10. OMG Dried cat yack hilarious!

  11. 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. Even though you’ve already powered it, you can dry it a bit more to see if that helps. Just keep an eye on it, to make sure it doesn’t burn. Another option is to mix it with a little cornstarch, but that will thicken whatever you use it in. I’ve found the very best solution is to add a silica packet to the container. You don’t have to buy them — they often come tucked inside shoeboxes or clothing purchased online, in new handbags, or other items. Don’t open it — just pop the entire packet in the container and it’ll soak up any moisture to keep your tomato powder dry.

  12. 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

  13. Kathy dunham says:

    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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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:

      You don’t have to if you have a fresh tomato paste recipe you want to use. The instructions I provided are for people who have already dried and powered tomato skins and find themselves wanting to use them in different ways.

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