Stuffed Tomatoes

5 from 4 votes
↓ Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links | disclosure policy

My flavorful stuffed tomatoes recipe is an easy side dish or a delicious vegetarian main course. Fill with a savory bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture, and bake until tender with a crispy top!

Stuffed tomatoes served on a white plate.

Recipe Science

  • Hollowing out tomatoes reduces their moisture content, preventing the stuffing from becoming soggy and allowing the tomatoes to maintain their structure during baking.
  • Baking stuffed tomatoes allows the flavors of the filling to meld with the natural juices of the tomatoes, creating a harmonious and flavorful dish.
  • The high heat of the oven caramelizes the sugars in the tomatoes’ flesh, enhancing their natural sweetness and adding depth to the overall flavor profile.

Why It Works

Stuffed tomatoes are a simple to-prepare dish that will surely impress. Not only is this fruit packed with nutrients, but its rounded shape is also perfect for filling with delicious ingredients. After baking, the tomatoes become super tender, with a crunchy crust.

For this recipe, I added a classic Italian-inspired bread crumb filling. It’s mixed with aged parmesan cheese, freshly chopped herbs, and garlic. To ensure the filling doesn’t become too soggy, the tomatoes are briefly salted to draw out the excess moisture before stuffing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients to make this stuffed tomato recipe.
  • Tomatoes: Vine-ripened tomatoes are tender, juicy, and hold their shape well. I used ones about 4 ounces in weight and 2 ¼ to 2 ½ inches in diameter. Larger beefsteak tomatoes can be used, but I recommend cutting them in half before stuffing.
  • Bread Crumbs: Use Italian-style bread crumbs. They have a fine texture that browns nicely when baked for a crunchy crust. Plain bread crumbs can be used, but increase the salt to ½ teaspoon. Larger panko bread crumbs give more crispiness but don’t turn as golden in color.
  • Cheese: Use finely grated, dry parmesan cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino romana are good substitutes. These help to bind the stuffing and add a saltier taste.
  • Herbs: Dried herbs from the Italian-style bread crumbs and freshly chopped basil and parsley provide interesting aromas and flavors to the sweet tomatoes.
  • Olive Oil: The extra fat added to the stuffing and drizzled on top adds richness and crunch.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

This recipe for stuffed tomatoes is easy to customize. Feel free to try these delicious options to switch up the filling:

  • Rice: Add cooked rice like white, brown, or wild rice. Mix it with sauteed vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or corn. This makes for a tasty gluten-free option.
  • Protein: Add sauteed ground beef, turkey, shrimp, or shredded chicken for extra protein. Add quinoa or crumbled tofu for a vegetarian filling that is high in protein. Canned black beans, chickpeas, or pinto beans add extra fiber.
  • Herbs and Spices: Cumin, coriander, curry powder, smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powder add a boost of savory taste. Cilantro, basil, dill, oregano, parsley, or green onions add freshness.
  • Cheese: For a more tangy flavor, add feta, goat cheese, blue cheese, or cream cheese. For a melty consistency, add shredded mozzarella, smoked gouda, swiss, or cheddar.

How to Make Stuffed Tomatoes

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat it to 400ºF (200ºC). Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish with olive oil, or use a foil-lined baking sheet.

Person cutting the top off of a tomato.

Step 2: Prepare the Tomatoes

Rinse the surface of the tomatoes with cool running water before creating the cavity for filling. Slice off about 1/4-inch from the stem side.

Person scooping out the pulp of a tomato with a spoon.

Use a spoon to scoop out the pulpy seeds. A jagged grapefruit spoon works well for this task. Do not remove the flesh on the sides; it helps the tomatoes hold shape so it doesn’t fall apart when baking.

Person sprinkling salt into the cavity of a tomato.

Step 3: Season the Tomatoes

There will be a lot of juice inside; pour it out so the stuffing doesn’t get soggy. Sprinkle a little salt on the inside of the tomato to season it.

Tomato draining their liquid on a paper towel lined plate.

Flip them over and let them drain on a paper towel while you prepare the filling.

Pro Tip: The salt enhances the savory and sweet taste while drawing out excess moisture.

Wooden spoon mixing a bowl of bread crumbs.

Step 4: Make the Stuffing

This is my favorite style of stuffing to add to stuffed mushrooms. It combines Italian-style bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. You can also use homemade bread crumbs; the larger particles deliver more crunch. This is a great way to make the stuffing gluten-free.

Four tomatoes filled with bread crumbs and placed in a baking dish.

Step 5: Stuff Each Tomato

Lightly pack the bread crumb filling into the cavity of each tomato. I was able to fit about ¼ cup of the mixture. Add just enough for a rounded top. Do not overfill, or the stuffing will taste dry.

Baked tomatoes with bread crumb filling.

Step 6: Bake the Stuffed Tomatoes

Baking tenderizes the tomatoes while drying the surface to create a crispy topping. They are ready when they feel soft, the skin just begins to wrinkle, and the filling is golden brown. This process takes about 25 minutes or 30 minutes for larger tomatoes. Don’t overcook them; they will be too soft to serve and very mushy when eating.

Stuffed tomato with bread crumbs that is split in half.

Step 7: Ready to Serve

Garnish with a little bit of parsley and enjoy while still hot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you hollow out tomatoes?

Make a thin slice off the stem portion to create more surface area so it’s easier to hollow out. Use a spoon or grapefruit spoon to dig out the pulp and seeds. Keep the outside flesh intact for stuffing with filling.

How do I choose the best tomatoes for stuffing?

Choose tomatoes that are round to make them easier to stuff. They should be 2 to 3 inches in diameter and ripe but not mushy before filling. Vine-ripe tomatoes are my top choice, followed by beefsteak. Heirloom tomatoes have a milder flavor with less acidity. Because of their uneven shape, they are tricker to stuff.

Can I make the stuffing ahead of time and assemble the stuffed tomatoes later?

Yes! The tomatoes can be hollowed out, and the stuffing mixture can be prepared 2 days ahead of time. Store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Don’t stuff until the day of baking.

Can I freeze stuffed tomatoes for later use?

No, freezing damages the delicate texture of the tomatoes. When defrosted and baked, they will become very mushy. It’s best to bake fresh stuffed tomatoes for the best taste.

Why do you salt the tomatoes before stuffing them?

Tomatoes are composed of over 90% water. This will cause a soggy filling if left in the cavity. Once the visible juices are poured out, sprinkle in a little salt to draw out additional water by osmosis. This also seasons the flesh, enhancing the natural savory and sweet taste. Drain the tomatoes upside down on a paper towel to collect residual moisture before stuffing. All you need is about 5 to 10 minutes. When baked, the juices in the flesh will be tastier.

Serve This With

If you tried these Stuffed Tomatoes, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Stuffed Tomatoes

Making stuffed tomatoes is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy fresh, juicy tomatoes. The combination of savory fillings, like cheese, and herbs, paired with the sweet and tangy flavor of the tomatoes, creates a mouthwatering dish that's perfect for a summer meal or a satisfying snack.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American


  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, about 2 ½" in diameter
  • ½ cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling


  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 400ºF (200ºC). Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish with olive oil. Alternatively, use a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Prepare the Tomatoes – Rinse the tomatoes under cool running water. Dry with a clean towel. Trim off about ¼ inch from the top of the tomato. Use a spoon to scoop out the pulpy seeds, then pour out the juices.
  • Season the Tomatoes – Season the cavity with salt. Invert the tomatoes and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the juices.
  • Make the Stuffing – In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, mixing until the bread crumbs are evenly coated.
  • Stuff Each Tomato – Stuff each hollowed tomato with about ¼ cup of the filling, lightly packing it into a small mound. Do not overfill.
  • Bake – Transfer to the greased baking sheet. Drizzle about ½ teaspoon of olive oil over the filling of each tomato. Bake until soft, the skin just begins to wrinkle, and the tops are golden brown and crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Serve – Transfer to a platter and serve immediately while still hot. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Using Large Tomatoes: If larger than 3 inches in diameter, use two tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half, then scoop out the pulpy seeds. Add enough stuffing to fill the cavity.
  • Using Plain Bread Crumbs: Combine ½ cup plain bread crumbs, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Make Ahead: The hollowed tomatoes and stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before baking. Wait to stuff to prevent a soggy filling. 
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Microwave on high setting in 15-second intervals until hot. Alternatively, place on a lightly greased foil-lined sheet pan and warm at 325ºF (165ºC) until hot, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 123kcal (6%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 5g (10%)Fat 6g (9%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 7mg (2%)Sodium 404mg (17%)Potassium 343mg (10%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 1218IU (24%)Vitamin C 19mg (23%)Calcium 102mg (10%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
Get 25 simple meals your whole family will love.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating