Diced tomatoes are paramount to summer salads and sides. This benign task is easily overlooked, in part because there really is no wrong way to dice a tomato. However, with a little understanding of tomato anatomy and the right tool, tomatoes can be diced perfectly — uniform inside with minimal tomato jelly spills. The trick is to think of the tomato as an apple.
Like apples, tomatoes have a fleshy core that runs from the stem to the bottom. To dice a tomato as you might dice an apple means working around the core. Simply slicing through the tomato vertically would puncture the tomato's jelly pulp and seed cavities and make a small mess. Instead cut the sides of the tomato off in four sections, working around the core. Then dice the sections.
The Right Knife
The best knife for slicing and dicing tomatoes is a serrated knife. A very sharp chef's knife will work as well, but the teeth of serrated knives help slice through tomato skin easily. Avoid using your serrated bread knife, but a serrated steak knife can work in a pinch too.
How To Perfectly Dice Any Tomato
Makes 1 perfectly diced tomato
What You Need
1 ripe large or medium tomato
- Prep the tomato: Rinse the tomato and pat dry. Place the tomato stem-side up on a cutting board and remove any green stem and leaves.
- Stand the tomato up: Set the tomato on a cutting board, stem facing up.
- Cut off the sides: Cut off the longer sides of the tomato (if there are longer sides), making sure to leave the core in place; set aside. Place the core piece cut-side down on the cutting board and cut off the 2 remaining side pieces around the core. Discard the core.
- Dice: Cut each section of flesh lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips, then cut these strips crosswise into 1/4-inch dice.