How to Dice a Tomato

Heather says:

Today we’re continuing with our knife skills series with how to dice a tomato.

Since I don’t have a photographer or an extra set of hands at my disposal -the latter would totally ruin my frequent “I only have two hands, wait a minute” excuse- the reader should know that during the actual slice the knife is held in the dominant hand. The top of the blade is gripped between the thumb and the second knuckle of the first finger and the other three fingers are curled around the handle. Some people find it more comfortable to rest their index finger along the top of the blade.  Either of these two grips gives the cook better control of the knife than just gripping the handle.

A very sharp knife or a good serrated knife is essential for slicing tomatoes. A dull knife just tears the skin, smashes the fruit, or skids off the surface increasing the risk of a cut. Use care and common sense.

Removing the seeds is an important step for salsa and toppings for bruschetta, it keeps the flavor and the texture of the tomato without all the watery mess or funky seed texture

Let’s get started.

How to Dice a Tomato

Oh look, it's a tomato!Start by removing the core. There are fancy little gadgets called tomato corers, but a cheap-o metal 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon works well.

Insert the tip of the spoon at the end of the stem and scoop it out.

Remove the coreNext, cut the tomato in half through the equator, not top to bottom. Lay the tomato on its side to accomplish this.

Cut the tomato in halfUse a -clean for Pete’s sake- finger to scoop out the seeds.

Scoop out the gutsUsually it is perfectly fine to discard the seeds. The next step depends on the shape and firmness of the tomato.

Sometimes it is easier to slice the tomato if the cut side is on the cutting board. Ensure the fingers of the guiding hand are completely out of the path of the knife.  If the tomato is particularly large, a second slice may be needed.

Slice the tomatoIf the tomato was sliced several times, it may be easier to perform the next step one or two slices at a at a time. Stack the slices, cut side down, and cut into even strips.

Slice into even stripsGather the strips and turn ninety degrees. Cut across the strips in even slices.

Cut across the slicesLook at that a nice, evenly diced tomato.Diced Tomatoes

This post is a part of the Home Ec 101 Knife Skills Series.

This post was submitted to Tutorial Tuesday.

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Comments

  1. Great info everybody should have! Thanks for linking up to my Tutorial Tuesday!

  2. Just yesterday (I kid you not) I was thinking, "I wish Heather would show how to dice a tomato the right way. I always make a terrible mess."

    You're a mind-reader on top of being a domestic goddess!

  3. KC Debi says:

    I have a question – Is there any reason to remove the seeds besides aesthetics?

    Thanks! These tips are wonderful.

    • Yes, sometimes it's for purely texture reasons such as making sauce, tomato seeds, even cooked would be annoying. Other times it keeps the finished item from being watery. If using diced tomatoes to top a pasta, the excess moisture would just puddle on the alfredo sauce. In salsa and similar items it keeps the finished product from being too watery.
      The ratio of seed pulp to flesh varies by type of tomato. Roma tomatoes, for instance, have thicker walls and smaller seed cavities, while some slicing tomatoes have very thin walls and lots of seeds. The pulp carries flavor, so this isn't a bad thing, say on a BLT. Speaking of that, it's lunch time. . .

  4. Heather, you need to get a camera into the hands of that oldest kiddo and train him to be your photographer!

    Discard the seeds and pulp? Heresy!
    Just eat it, eat it, open up your mouth and feed it…..

    (don't smack me)

    • I like gazpacho, but I like it even more without the seeds AND I just read some interesting stuff on how to save tomato seeds. As soon as my mom's (because I am NOT a gardener) come into season I'm going to give it a shot.

  5. I was thinking you could set up the camera on a tripod (maybe you already do) and set the timer to go off while you manoeuver the food.

    • Before I can do that I need to invest in a better lighting set up. Right now I frequently end up crawling on top of the counter to take advantage of the light from a small window. I can't, at this point get the right angle from a tripod, but I'll keep trying. You are quite right, the timer would work really well, if I could get the camera to the angle I need..

  6. I love these how to posts. I always think, "Oh yeah who doesn't already know how to dice a tomato?!" and then no doubt I learn something about it. Never fails.

    I have never heard (or thought of) using a tsp to core a tomato. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Haahahaha! 3 days too late!

    I finally figured it out on Saturday! I was chopping for tacos and dreaded the laborious task of doing things my usual way (each cube cut individually) and decided to approach the task as I would dicing an onion. To my utter shock it worked and I had 3 tomatoes diced in no time at all!

    Great tutorial. Hopefully it will spare someone the years of frustration I suffered.

    • I'm glad you got it figured out! Don't worry, I think this series will continue for a while. There's a lot of produce out there that needs a different approach.