When you are starting out in the kitchen, learning how to dice a tomato can be tricky.
I squashed and mashed a lot of tomato wedges and slices when I was starting out.
I still do, from time to time.
Tomatoes are juicy, full of seeds, and can be a bit unstable to try and secure while cutting it.
However, after reading this you will walk away with a few skills that are sure to make you feel more confident dicing tomatoes.
Before you start dicing a tomato you need to take a moment and pick out the best tomatoes for dicing.
Ripe tomatoes are better suited for dicing.
How to know when a tomato is ripe
- Hold the tomato in your hand and give it a gentle squeeze. It should feel soft but not squishy. An unripe tomato will feel hard and not have any give. An overripe tomato will feel squishy like you if you barely touch it, it will explode into a mess.
- Does the tomato feel heavier than you expected? A ripe tomato will heavier than an unripe tomato the same size.
- Take a whiff of the tomato. Does it smell garden fresh and earthy? A ripe tomato emits the aroma of a garden-fresh smell.
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What kind of knife to dice tomatoes?
The knife used in dicing tomatoes has a tremendous impact on the process. Serrated knives are often preferred because they cut through the tomato flesh instead of crushing the tomato as a dull knife will do.
If you have a sharp paring knife on hand they work really well at dicing tomatoes too.
It is crucial that your paring knife is extremely sharp or it will crush and tear the tomato flesh instead of slicing it.
How to dice a tomato
When getting ready to dice a tomato it is important to pick the proper knife.
We do our best to keep our paring knives really sharp but if you are unsure, it is best to pick a serrated knife, like a long bread knife (see photos below) or a steak knife.
A serrated knife (the kind with “teeth”) are better at not crushing the tomato as it cuts.
- Step 1: Pick a firm and ripe tomato.
- Step 2: Wash and dry the tomato.
- Step 3: Lay the tomato on its side and slice off the top, which may have a green stem.
- Step 4: Slice the tomato into equally thick slices.
- Note: The thickness of these slices depends on how small or big you want your diced pieces to be. Generally, I am for ½” thick slices.
- Step 5: Stack 3 slices at a time on top of one another.
- Step 6: Again make equal slices across the tomato stack.
- Step 7: Rotate the stack 45 degrees.
- Step 8: Again make equal slices across the tomato stack, keeping your fingers clear of the blade.
- Step 9: Repeat steps 5 through 8 on the remaining slices of tomato.
- Note: This method keeps the pulp, core, and seeds, which are all edible, but you can remove those with your fingers before or after dicing and discard/compost.
The bottom line
We use a rough dice for most of our recipes, and we often keep all of the pulp and seeds for our recipes.
You can separate these from the tomatoes and make a dry dice before you begin by using fingers to remove from the slices before you dice, then dry the slices with a clean kitchen towel.
We prefer using a serrated knife as it’s less likely to crush the tomato as it’s cut.