In 5 minutes, blistered tomatoes are charred on the outside and juicy on the inside. It’s the easiest, best way to cook cherry tomatoes!
Here’s a recipe for when the mornings are hot and the farmers markets are stuffed to the brim with tomatoes: Blistered Tomatoes! This trick takes just 5 minutes and elevates cherry tomatoes to a decadent, sweet and savory treat. Cooking tomatoes in a blazing hot skillet chars the outsides and make the interior juicy and tender. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end adds a sweet tart tang. You can use these blistered tomatoes in so many ways: as an appetizer, in a simple pasta, or over grilled fish for a stunning summer dinner. Here’s what you need to know about the basic technique!
Ingredients for blistered tomatoes
You only need a handful of ingredients for blistered tomatoes. Of course, using the best tomatoes possible is key! Here’s what to know:
- Cherry tomatoes: Use the ripest, best cherry tomatoes you can find. Farmers market tomatoes are ideal. These days many grocery stores carry hydroponic greenhouse cherry tomatoes, which can have good flavor. Make sure you know the quality before making this recipe!
- Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic vinegar adds just the right sweet tart tang to the tomatoes. Use aged balsamic vinegar if you can find it, but any works.
- Olive oil: It goes without saying: use extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt and pepper
Best tip: don’t overcrowd the pan!
The most important thing about blistered tomatoes: they need space. Crowd the pan with tomatoes, and they will steam instead of blister. The tomatoes release their juices, resulting in a gooey, sloppy mess. Here are two tips on how to avoid overcrowding:
- Use your largest skillet. Use a very large skillet. Make sure that all the tomatoes have space between them and they’re not crowded next to each other. You can use a cast iron, steel, or non-stick skillet: whatever you have. Cast iron is nice because it holds heat well.
- Cook them in batches if it is too crowded. Our largest skillet fits 2 pints of tomatoes and still allows space between them. But yours may not. If the tomatoes are touching each other and crowded in the pan, blister them in two batches.
More tips on how to make blistered tomatoes
Promise you won’t overcrowd the pan? Good! Here are a few other tips on how to make this fast and easy recipe:
- Use medium high heat. While some recipes might instruct you to use high heat, we found medium high was just right and there’s no chance of smoking oil.
- Don’t stir in the first minute! This helps the first charred side to develop.
- Shake the pan occasionally, instead of stirring. Stirring can cause the tomatoes to burst, which gets too many juices in the pan (and risks steaming). Shaking the pan rotates the tomatoes and gets a char on all sides.
How to serve blistered tomatoes
These blistered tomatoes are so simple, it will take you more time to read this article than to make the recipe! Once you’ve got that beautiful pan of warm tomatoes, here are some ideas on how to serve them.
- As a side dish. They work great on their own, as a side for fish, chicken, or any summer meal.
- As an appetizer. Place them on Greek yogurt, and serve with crusty bread.
- In pasta. Add them to pasta with fresh basil and Parmesan, like this Cherry Tomato Pasta.
- As a garnish over fish. These blistered cherry tomatoes work especially well over fish, like this Easy Grilled Tilapia.
- On crostini. Another appetizer idea! Spread goat cheese on crostini, then top with blistered tomatoes and basil.
This blistered tomatoes recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.Print
In 5 minutes, blistered tomatoes are lightly charred on the outside and juicy on the inside. It’s the easiest, best way to cook cherry tomatoes!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pints whole cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a very large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tomatoes, making sure there is space around each tomato (they are not touching) and the pan is not crowded. If you’re using a medium pan, cook the tomatoes in 2 batches, 1 pint at a time. If the pan is too crowded, the tomatoes will steam instead of blistering.
- Cook for 1 minute without touching the pan, then 2 to 3 more minutes until blistered, shaking the pan several times to rotate the tomatoes.
- Turn off the heat and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, gently shaking several times to coat. Add 2 pinches kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm, in pasta or over grilled fish.
- Category: Essentials
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Blistered tomatoes
More fresh tomato recipes
Tomato season is all about making all the fresh tomato recipes! Here are a few more we recommend:
- Amazing Tomato Pie A showstopper! A flaky thyme crust, cheesy filling, and ripe juicy tomatoes make this a savory pie you’ll want to make again and again.
- Caprese Salad or Tomato Basil Salad There’s nothing better than a fantastic Caprese salad! Pair perfectly ripe, juicy tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and peppery basil.
- Grilled Tomatoes These mind-blowing grilled tomatoes are easy and packed with smoky, juicy flavor. Serve them with herbs for a sensational summer treat.
- Tomato Basil Pasta Take that classic pairing of ripe tomatoes and peppery basil to new heights with tangy balsamic and Parmesan cheese.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.