How to Core Tomatoes: Step by Step Directions

By Alexandra Caspero on May 26, 2022
Learn how to core a tomato for use in sandwiches or salad recipes
How To Series

If you need to seed or core a tomato for a recipe, follow these step-by-step directions for how to core tomatoes

We eat a lot of tomatoes in my house. Whether I’m peeling tomatoes for my homemade salsa recipe or canned tomato sauce recipe, opening a fresh can of tomatoes for chili or slicing one for tomato sandwiches, it’s safe to say that tomatoes are one of my most-eaten foods. 

In recipes where you want to avoid watery, seedy tomatoes you’ll need to core them first. As tomatoes can be very watery, coring them before chopping avoids adding in excess moisture and is especially important in grain salads, like my Corn, Tomato and Mint Salad or Mediterranean Farro Salad recipe

Here’s how to Core a Tomato. 

If you want to peel your tomatoes first, here’s my step-by-step guide to peeling fresh tomatoes

How to Core Tomatoes

Step 1: Wash & Dry Your Tomato 

Wash and dry your tomato first. Ripe, firm tomatoes are best for this. Overly ripe tomatoes can also be cored, but they will be more watery and may lose their shape as they are chopped. 

From there, remove the green stem, if there, from the top of the tomato with either your hands or a sharp paring knife. 

removing the stem from a tomato

Step 2: Remove the hard core first with a knife

Using a sharp paring knife, insert a very sharp knife into the top of the tomato then gently push the knife down about 1/2 inch and using a circular motion angled into the tomato, cut around the hard core of the tomato. 

Once you’ve gone all the way around the tomato, use the tip of your knife to life the tomato core top out. 

If you want to keep the seeds in your recipe, then chop and use the tomato as desired. I’ll prep a tomato like this for use in sandwiches or on burgers where I still want the juicy part of the tomato without the tough core. 

removing a core from a tomato

Step 3: Halve the Tomatoes and Remove the Seed

Halve the tomato vertically from the top, then slice it again in half if it’s a large tomato, like a beefsteak. For smaller, roma tomatoes then you can just slice in half. 

Use your knife to slice from the bottom of the tomato all the way to the top, just underneath the white, seedy core middle.

You are now left with the inside, firmer wall of the tomato and the seedy middle removed. Discard the seeds and core and use as desired. 

How to Core Tomatoes

Step 4: Dice tomatoes 

Depending on what recipe you are needed the tomatoes for, you can slice or chop them. 

Diced and Cored Tomatoes

What’s the best knife for cutting tomatoes? 

A small, serrated knife that can easily slice through a tomato is the best knife. In a pinch, a bread knife or a serrated steak knife will also work. Or, if you don’t have any serrated knives than a very sharp chef’s knife.

Recipes for seeded, cored tomatoes

Once you have cored, seeded and chopped your tomatoes, it’s time to use them! 

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removing the stem from a tomato

How to Core a Tomato

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: As many tomatoes as needed
  • Category: how to
  • Method: slice
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

If you need to seed or core a tomato for a recipe, follow these step-by-step directions for how to core tomatoes. 


  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: As many tomatoes as needed
  • Category: how to
  • Method: slice
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: As many tomatoes as needed
  • Category: how to
  • Method: slice
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

  • Tomato

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry your tomato first. Ripe, firm tomatoes are best for this. Overly ripe tomatoes can also be cored, but they will be more watery and may lose their shape as they are chopped.
  2. Using a sharp paring knife, insert a very sharp knife into the top of the tomato then gently push the knife down about 1/2 inch and using a circular motion angled into the tomato, cut around the hard core of the tomato. Once you’ve gone all the way around the tomato, use the tip of your knife to life the tomato core top out.
  3. If you want to keep the seeds in your recipe, then slice and use the tomato as desired. Or, remove the seed part with a sharp paring knife, then slice and chop as desired.

Notes

For directions with photos, see the post above.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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