The Best Way to Store Cut Tomatoes

updated Sep 29, 2022
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(Image credit: Christine Han)

After you’ve salted a slice for a one-minute tomato sandwich or Caprese salad, leftover sliced tomatoes create quite the conundrum. Do you stash the cut tomato in the fridge, as you would other fruit? Does that risk ruining its texture?

Learning how to store cut tomatoes is useful on many fronts—it makes the most of your grocery budget, avoids food waste, and helps keep all the tomatoes you have in peak condition.

How to Store Cut Tomatoes

You may have been told that storing whole tomatoes in your refrigerator is suboptimal, making tomatoes mealy and killing their flavor compounds. However, it’s best to store cut tomatoes in the fridge. Cut tomatoes are magnets for bacteria and susceptible to spoilage outside the fridge, especially if your kitchens is on the warmer during tomato season.

The optimal storage temperature for whole tomatoes is 55°F. While unripe tomatoes should always be stored at room temperature, it is actually fine (maybe even better) to store whole ripe tomatoes in the fridge, as long as they are brought back up to room temperature before eating. Assuming that you’re slicing into a perfectly ripe tomato, stashing the other cut half in the fridge isn’t going to ruin the tomato.

Here’s How to Do It

Store large tomato halves cut-side down on a paper towel inside a storage container and use within two days. The tomato will taste best if you can remove it from the fridge even 30 minutes before eating to bring it back to room temperature.

Diced tomatoes should also be stored in a storage container in the fridge. After a few days in the fridge, cut tomatoes should be used or frozen.