How to Make Canned Tomatoes Taste Better Than Fresh

Did you know canned tomatoes aren’t fully cooked? I didn’t either, until this Bon Appétit article enlightened me.

They’re not raw—they’re cooked long enough for a lengthy shelf life, but not long enough to do anything for the taste.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

Sure, you could use fresh tomatoes in your recipe for tomato soup or chili. Even when they’re out of season, there are ways to make them taste like summer in the dead of winter.

But I’m living on more of a canned tomato kind of budget, ya know?

It is possible to make canned tomatoes taste like fresh ones, though—all it takes is a little know-how. When you’re done, they’ll be just as tasty as any cooked tomato you’ve ever had (if not far tastier) —your pizzas, soups, and pasta sauces will thank you.

To make the most of your can of whole or diced tomatoes, you’re gonna have to heat those babies up. Cooking will get rid of the excess moisture that makes canned tomatoes taste like, well, canned tomatoes. Caramelization is key, whether it’s achieved through a slow roast or quick sauté. You have two options:

Method No. 1: Hands-Off

  1. Strain the tomatoes and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle them with olive oil and add whatever seasoning you want.
  3. Roast at 300° for about 45 minutes, or until they appear ever-so-slightly dry on the outside.

Method No. 2: No oven required

  1. Strain the tomatoes.
  2. Cook your them over medium heat in a saucepan with olive oil until slightly caramelized.

Once you’re finished—and your tomatoes are bursting with robust flavor—try one of our favorite canned tomato recipes.

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