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Substitute for Sundried Tomatoes

If you need a Substitute For Sun Dried tomatoes look no further. This article will tell you the best alternatives for sun dried tomatoes for salads, soups, sauces, baked goods, antipasto and more. Along with how much of each you’ll need.

sun dried tomatoes on a cutting board with text stating "best substitutes for sun dried tomatoes"

There’s nothing like the concentrated tomatoey flavor of sundried tomatoes, but they can be hard to find and expensive. Sometimes when you’re home you just have to cook with what you have on hand. If you’ve ever been stuck without sun dried tomatoes when a recipe calls for them, this article is for you. So without further ado, here are the best substitutes for sun dried tomatoes that I’ve found.

I’ve researched the best substitute for sun dried tomatoes online and have trouble shot with each of these ingredients at home in my professional work as a recipe developer and food writer. Here is a list of the top substitutes for sun dried tomatoes. Later in the article I’ll go through each one in more detail, and tell you which substitute is best for which kind of dish.

What is the Best Substitute For Sundried Tomatoes

  1. Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
  2. Strained Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  3. Powdered Tomato Seasoning
  4. Tomato Paste
  5. Tamarande
  6. Roasted Bell Peppers

What Are Sundried Tomatoes?

Sun dried tomatoes are exactly what they sound like, tomatoes that have been dried in the sun. The sun dried tomato trend started back in Italy out of a necessity to preserve produce. Farmers didn’t want to waste their tomatoes so they set them atop ceramic rooftops and left them there to dry out for 4-10 days (according to this source). Prior to being dried, the tomatoes were treated with salt or sulfur dioxide to preserve and maintain their flavor.

In the 1980’s sun dried tomatoes started picking up popularity in the United States. Americans became obsessed with the intense tart flavor and used them in pizza, salads, antipasto, pasta and sauces. Eventually people got sick of them and the fad died in the 1990’s.

Nowadays sun dried tomatoes are most often dried out in dehydrators by commercial producers. Although you can still buy authentically sundried tomatoes or even make them yourself if you’re ambitious.

I have made them out of curiosity but I prefer to buy them. Why make life harder than it already is? You can easily get a good quality sundried tomato packed in sunflower oil, olive oil or completely plain, Sky’s the limit.

What Are The Different Types of Sundried Tomatoes?

The different types of sun dried tomatoes depends on:

  1. Type of tomato used
  2. How they were made (dehydrated or sundried)
  3. If they are packed with oil, vinegar or dry.
  4. What herbs have been used to flavor them.
  5. Quality of the Tomato used.

Sun Dried vs Dehydrated

When sun dried tomatoes are made the old fashioned way, they’re dried in the sun. This method isn’t practical for most commercial producers so they use a dehydrator to dry out the tomatoes instead. Both methods keep the nutritional integrity of the tomatoes in tact since they don’t use high heats. Dehydrators don’t go above 135 degrees.

What do Sundried Tomatoes Taste Like?

Sun dried tomatoes have a distinctly sweet and yet tart flavor that’s similar to tomatoes and yet way more intense. The flavor of sun dried tomatoes is stronger than that of regular tomatoes because the drying process concentrates the flavors in the tomato.

Sun dried tomatoes have a chewy and slightly sticky texture. Those who are adverse to chewy foods may want to use an alternative just to avoid the taste in general.

Often sun dried tomatoes are packed in olive or sunflower oil, along with garlic and other herbs, adding to their flavor. So all brands of seasoned sun dried tomatoes taste slightly different. But they all use similar ingredients like oregano, basil, pepper and salt which compliment Italian dishes.

Why Replace Sun Dried Tomatoes?

Sun dried tomatoes are a gourmet item that are often called for in Italian recipes. There are a few reasons to substitute them for other options.

  • Allergies – Sun dried tomatoes are a low risk food for allergens. But it isn’t impossible to have an allergic reaction. Especially if you’re sensitive to sulfates, which are commonly found in canned sundried tomatoes.
  • Gluten Intolerance – If you are gluten intolerant (like many of my readers) you should check the label for additives that contain gluten. Sun dried tomatoes are naturally gluten free but certain seasonings that they are packaged with may not be. If you don’t know which food additives contain gluten, check out this list.
  • Avoid Nightshades – Tomatoes are a nightshade which have been linked to inflammation. Many people with autoimmune diseases avoid nightshades.
  • Cost – Sun dried tomatoes can be pricey, often costing up to 12 dollars for a little jar! This is because they use a lot of tomatoes to produce a small amount of sun dried tomatoes since they shrivel up when they’re dehydrated, similarly to how a grape turns into a raisin.
  • Convenience – Sometimes when you’re at home and you want to make something you just have to use what you have on hand. It isn’t always possible or desired to run out to the store to buy one specialty item.
  • Improper storage – We tend to use sun dried tomatoes for a particular dish and then forget about them for a while. Months later you want to use them again and find them in the back of the cabinet covered in mold or rancid. This is because once opened you need to keep the sun dried tomatoes in the fridge where they’ll last for 6 months.

6 Top Substitutes for Sundried Tomatoes

Here is a comprehensive list of the best commonly found ingredients that can be used in place of sun sun dried tomatoes.

Fresh Tomatoes

It makes sense that fresh tomatoes are one of the best substitutes for sun dried tomatoes. They’re the same thing! Fresh tomatoes just have less concentrated flavor since they aren’t dried out. When replacing sun dried tomatoes with fresh tomatoes always use 3/4 more.

image of tomato for a good substitute for sun dried tomatoes

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted peppers add a tart, pungent and sweet flavor to any dish. If you are allergic to tomatoes or are looking for a similar replacement that you can use a 1:1 ratio with, roasted peppers are for you!

a plate of roasted peppers to replace sun dried tomatoes

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a great substitute for sun dried tomatoes in soups and sauces since it has a lot of concentrated flavor like sun dried tomatoes. When replacing a handful of sun dried tomatoes use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

Tomato Puree

Similar to canned tomatoes tomato puree is a bit thinner and smoother making it a great alternative to sundried tomatoes for soups and sauces.


Is a sweet and sour fruit that can be purchased as a paste. It’s commonly used in soups, bbq sauce and candy. As a sun dried tomato substitute you could use it in meat stews or savory sauces. I’ve worked with tamarind a bit in culinary school but I’m not that familiar with it, so I would lean towards the other sun dried tomato replacements.

Tomato Powder

Tomato powder is similarly dried and intensely flavored like sun dried tomatoes. A pinch of tomato powder is perfect for dressings, salads, soups and sauces. Use 1 tsp of tomato powder to replace 5 sun dried tomatoes.

tomato powder in a metal bowl with a spoon surrounded by sliced tomatoes

Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Canned fire roasted tomatoes are my absolute favorite sun dried tomato replacement. They’re easy to find in the supermarket, inexpensive, healthy and have a similar flavor. Since the tomatoes are roasted before they’re canned, they have a more intensified flavor then regular canned tomatoes.

a jar of canned tomatoes spilled onto a white plate
Do sun dried tomatoes need to be soaked?

Sun dried tomatoes don’t need to be soaked if you are using them whole in antipasto, pizza or salads. But if you plan to blend them into soups, sauces, dressings or baked goods I recommend soaking them for two hours before using them.

Where can I buy sun dried tomatoes?

Sun dried tomatoes can be purchased at any specialty Italian or regular supermarket. They are usually placed near the jarred olives.

Which Substitution is Best For Each Type of Dish?


For soups the best substitution for sundried tomatoes would be ones with a bit more moisture. I would use:


For salads you wouldn’t want to use any type of ingredient that has too much moisture. This would water down your dressing and make the salad soggy. The best substitutes for sun dried tomatoes for salad would be intensely flavored dry ingredients.

If you are putting the ingredient directly into the salad I would recommend using:

  • Strained Roasted Peppers – These have a similarly intense sweet/tart flavor as sun dried tomatoes. They pack a lot of punch in a small bite. Perfect to be cut up into salads.
  • Tomato Powder – Tomato powder is even more concentrated than sun dried tomatoes. They’re essentially dried tomatoes that have been ground up. A pinch of tomato powder in the dressing will give it that yummy pizza flavor.
  • Olives – Olives have a similar pungent flavor to sun dried tomatoes. If you’re looking for an ingredient to give your salad a pop of flavor Kalamata olives are a great choice.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – While they don’t have as much flavor as sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes have a more concentrated flavor then their larger counterparts. The smaller the fruit the more intense the flavor will be. This is because the produce isn’t as rich in water. Water within the vegetable dulls the flavor. So depending on the size of the tomato, how much water it got etc. the flavor will be more or less intense.

For sun dried tomato substitutes in the dressing (vinaigrette)

  • Roasted Peppers
  • Tamarind
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Powder


Sun dried tomatoes are often served alongside meats, pasta and cheeses in antipasto dishes. If you’re putting together an antipasto you can add other small and yet intensely flavored ingredients that have been cured.

  1. Olives
  2. Roasted Peppers
  3. Sliced Tomatoes
  4. Cherry Tomatoes
  5. Capers
  6. Toasted and Salted Nuts
  7. Cherry Tomatoes

Baked Goods (foccatia, pizza)

For baked goods you would want to use drier substitutes for sun dried tomatoes so that the alternative ingredient doesn’t dilute the dough and make your baked goods soggy or runny. So the sun dried tomato alternatives that are suitable for baked goods are:

  • Tomato Powder
  • Tomato Paste
  • Strained Roasted Peppers
  • Semidried tomatoes


The best substitutes for sun dried tomatoes in sauces are ingredients that have more moisture but still have an intense flavor.

  • Tomato Paste
  • Jarred Marinara Sauce
  • Tomato Puree
  • Strained Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • Strained Canned Plumb Tomatoes
  • Fresh Tomatoes

How Much To Replace Each Substitution For Sundried Tomatoes

You should always use more of the sun dried tomato substitute then the amount of sun dried tomatoes called for in a recipe if the flavor of the substitute is less concentrated. These would include, fresh tomatoes, tomato puree, canned tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes.

Alternatively if you are using a sun dried tomato substitute with a more concentrated flavor you would want to use less then the amount of sun dried tomatoes called for in the recipe. The alternatives included here would be tamarind, tomato paste and powdered tomato.

  • 1/2 Cup of sun dried tomatoes to 3/4 cup of canned tomatoes or .5 lbs fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup of sun dried tomatoes to 1/2 cup of canned, stewed tomatoes or 6 fresh tomatoes
  • 4-6 sun dried tomatoes to 1 tbsp tomato paste or 1 tsp tomato powder

How to Store Sundried Tomatoes

After they have been opened, sun dried tomatoes need to be stored in the fridge. If you try to store them in a cabinet they’ll spoil.

How Long Do Sundried Tomatoes Last?

If you keep sun dried tomatoes that have been packed in oil they’ll stay edible for six months according to livestrong. You can store dried sun dried tomatoes in a ziplock bag for up to one year in a cabinet.

What Can You Make With Sundried Tomatoes?

Sun dried tomatoes are used to make all kinds of dishes including:

  • Salad
  • Antipasto
  • Pasta
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Tacos
  • Paninis
  • Salsa
  • Pesto
  • Baked Goods

These are just a few of the foods you can make with sun dried tomatoes. The list is as long and the recipes are just as creative as you’re imagination!

Check out This Easy Recipe Using Sundried Tomatoes

Gluten Free Cauliflower Soup with Sundried Tomato Tapenade

Gluten Free Sundried Tomato Tapenade with Almonds and Mint

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