How to Cut a Tomato Like a Pro

Publish Date May 30, 2023 4 Minute Read

Whether they’re adding a burst of color and flavor to salads or topping a perfectly cooked burger, tomatoes are a summer staple. But cutting them can be a challenge. With their delicate skin and soft cores, they’re easily crushed and can be slippery. So how should you cut tomatoes? What’s the best way to prepare them for salads or sides? We’ve compiled our top tomato tips, from how to pick them out at the store to how to chop, dice and slice them.

Picking the Perfect Tomato

To pick the perfect tomato, start with the season. Peak season for the tastiest tomatoes is May through October in most states. However, with the rise in indoor farming, it’s possible to find delicious tomatoes year-round.

A good tomato should be heavy for its size, unblemished and firm with a little bit of give when pressed gently. The perfect tomato should be aromatic, so smell the area where the stem was attached to see if it gives off a tomato-y smell.

But what about the smaller varieties that often come prepackaged? Again, look for blemishes or dark spots. Search the packaging for any liquid, since that can be a sign they’re going bad. Look for tomatoes that have a nice, deep color and smooth skin.

Heirloom tomatoes can seem more intimidating than standard hothouse varieties, but many of the same rules apply. Check the bottom of the tomato - the darker the bottom, the riper it’ll be. Don’t let the colors throw you off, since heirloom tomatoes often come in different shades of red, yellow and even purple.

Remember, tomatoes will continue to ripen once you buy them. To slow the ripening process, you can store them in the refrigerator.

Want to learn more about tomato varieties? We’ve created a guide to the best types of tomatoes.


The first step in cutting a tomato is to make sure you have the right tools. A serrated knife is best for cutting tomatoes because its teeth can easily pierce the skin, helping to keep the structure of the tomato intact while you slice. Cutting tomatoes can be slippery business, so remember to curl and tuck your fingers as you cut.

If you have a lot of tomatoes to chop or dice, a vegetable chopper may be the best option. We recommend cutting the tomato in half and removing any seeds before using the chopper (to avoid making a mess).

A food processor can also make quick work of dicing your tomatoes. To avoid accidentally making tomato sauce, add tomatoes just a few at a time to avoid overloading the bowl. Then, pulse the processor 2-3 times. Once the tomatoes are chopped to your desired size, remove them from the bowl before processing more.

Using a vegetable chopper or a food processor is also a safe way to get your kids involved in the cooking process.

Shop Tomato Cutting Tools

Chopped vs Diced Tomatoes

First, what’s the difference? While this may seem like a “you say to-mate-oh, I say to-mah-to” issue, there’s actually a distinct difference between the two cuts. A chop is typically a rougher, slightly larger cut, while a dice is smaller and more uniform.

Chopped tomatoes are great in salads, recipes where they’ll be cooked (like a sauce), in soups or as part of a quiche. Diced tomatoes work best in dishes where the tomatoes will be the star of the show, such as salsa or bruschetta.

How to Remove Seeds

Leaving the seeds in can result in a watery consistency. To remove tomato seeds, cut around the outside edge of the core (the area where the stem once was) and discard. Then, cut the tomatoes into quarters. Finally, use a knife to slice the seeds away from the flesh of the tomato.

How to Chop and Dice a Tomato

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds. Then, cut each quarter into strips. Cut the strips crosswise to chop your tomato. For a dice, create thinner strips as you cut. Remember to tuck your fingers under as you cut.

Cherry tomatoes and other small varieties only need to be cut in half. If you want a smaller chop, simply cut and then rotate to cut again, leaving you with a quartered tomato.

How to Slice Tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes are the perfect addition to sandwiches or grilled hamburgers. To slice, cut the top off the tomato and discard. With your tomato on its side, slice into rounds of your desired thickness. If you want a steadier way to cut the slices, cut the tomato vertically in half and lay the tomato cut side down on your cutting board before creating your slices.

How to Prep and Store Tomatoes

To remove excess liquid from tomatoes, put diced or chopped tomatoes in a colander or lay slices on paper towels. Then, salt the tomatoes and leave them alone for 5-10 minutes to allow the liquid to drain. Since tomatoes are acidic, they can handle the addition of salt well.

Before cutting your tomatoes, they should be kept at room temperature. After you’ve cut them, place them in a container of your choice and keep them refrigerated.

No matter how you slice it, tomatoes are the perfect way to add color and flavor to any dish. Now that you’ve got the basics down, check out some of our easy meal favorites to show off your skills.