Yes, There's A Right Way To Cut A Tomato—Here's How

Don't cut corners!

fresh summer tomatoes

Caitlin Bensel

The punishing humidity of Southern summers is worth it for all the beautiful tomatoes the season yields. Whether heirloom, cherry, or beefsteak tomatoes, we spend the summer months celebrating the return of the juicy fruit with sandwiches, salads, and more.

In order to properly appreciate the year’s best crop of tomatoes, you'll need to learn how to cut them the right way. Whether you want wedges, slices, or a fine dice, we’ll show you how to cut them, including clever hacks for making the process a little easier too.  

tomato with serrated knife

Caitlin Bensel

Start With The Right Knife 

In theory, a chef's knife would be the perfect tool for dicing and slicing tomatoes, but unless you’re sharpening your knives quite often, a serrated knife is a much better option. The teeth on a serrated knife can slice through the tomato's skin without squishing the flesh.

A super sharp chef’s knife can do the same, but more often than not, your less than razor sharp blade struggles to pierce the skin and can't cut cleanly through the flesh without pushing out all the tomato juices and seeds. 

How To Core A Tomato

For culinary school-worthy slices and dices, you can core your tomatoes. This will require a different knife, however.

1. Pierce the outer edge of the core with a paring knife at a 45-degree angle (only the tip of the knife should be inserted into the tomato). 

coring a tomato

Caitlin Bensel

2. Trace around the core of the tomato in a gentle up and down motion until you’ve sliced all the way around. Then, the core should pop right out!

removing core from a tomato

Caitlin Bensel

How To Slice A Tomato 

For beautiful slices, you need to cut your tomato against the core. 

1 .Place your tomato on its side with the core facing your dominant hand. 

tomato on its side

Caitlin Bensel

2. Trim the top of the tomato off. 

trimming the top of a tomato off

Caitlin Bensel

3, Continue making parallel, horizontal cuts across the tomato using sawing motions and even gentle pressure. The further apart you space slices, the thicker they will be. 

slicing a tomato

Caitlin Bensel

How To Dice A Tomato 

Dicing starts with slices, but further breaks down the tomato into smaller squares. 

1. Slice your tomato into approximately 1/4-inch thick slices (for a larger dice, aim for 1/2 inch-thickness).

stacked tomato slices

Caitlin Bensel

2. Stack a few slices on top of each other and slice through the stack vertically to produce long, even strips about 1/4 inch apart (again, for a larger dice, aim for 1/2 inch).

slicing tomatoes to make diced tomatoes

Caitlin Bensel

3. Slice horizontally across the strips to dice. Repeat with any remaining tomato slices. 

how to dice tomatoes

Caitlin Bensel

How To Cut Tomatoes For Salad

Beautiful in salads, tomato wedges are an easy knife cut to master. 

1. Place the tomato on your cutting board with the core upright, facing you. 

yellow tomato on a cutting board

Caitlin Bensel

2. Cut the tomato in half, straight through the core. 

tomato sliced in half

Caitlin Bensel

3. Quarter the tomato, again straight through the core, so that you have four even-sized pieces.

tomato wedges

Caitlin Bensel

4. Cut down each quarter into your desired wedge thickness, continuing to cut straight through the core. The thinner you go, the trickier it becomes to keep the seeds intact. 

tomato wedges

Caitlin Bensel

How To Cut Cherry Or Grape Tomatoes 

While seemingly easy to halve, cutting dozens of cherry or grape tomatoes for a big batch of pasta salad can get monotonous. Try out this clever hack for speeding the process up. 

1. Place a handful of cherry tomatoes on a small plate or plastic lid. Place another plate or lid of the same size on top, sandwiching the tomatoes in between. 

cherry tomatoes on a white plate

Caitlin Bensel

2. With your non-dominant hand firmly on the top plate or lid, carefully slice through the tomatoes with a serrated knife.

slicing cherry tomatoes between two plates

Caitlin Bensel

How To Store Cut Tomatoes

While perfectly ripe whole tomatoes shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator, cut tomatoes must be. That's because once cut, tomatoes can harbor harmful bacteria and are also more prone to spoilage. Whether sliced or diced, store cut tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge and use within two days.

halved cherry tomatoes in a food storage container

Caitlin Bensel

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