This luscious sweet Cherry Tomato Confit With Garlic is easy, only 5 minutes of prep and can elevate a wide variety of dishes! These caramelized cherry tomatoes are packed with flavor.
Perfect plump and juicy tomatoes slow cooked in olive oil can be used for appetizers, salads, pastas like Lobster Pasta, and more. The cherry tomatoes turn even sweeter when they caramelize while becoming infused with garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper flakes.
While you can make tomato confit any time of year, this is a great summer recipe for when your garden is overflowing with tomatoes!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Cherry Tomato Confit with Garlic is very easy and hands-off! Add all the ingredients to a baking dish, covered in olive oil, then let them go low and slow in the oven until you have the rich flavor of caramelized tomatoes and garlic. 5 minutes of prep then straight to the oven!
- These tomatoes have a wide variety of usage. I love adding them to pasta, whipped goat cheese appetizers, salads, eggs, toast and more! They're a great way to turn a plain dish into an upscale dish!
- Confit tomatoes last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge! Keep them in an airtight container such as Tupperware or a jar with a tight fitting lid.
What Is Confit?
Confit is a French term that means 'preserved' and refers to the slow cooking process and storing of a meat in fat. Duck confit is one of most widely known confit recipes. Often times, the meat is salt cured before this process.
Duck confit is cooked in its own fat, duck fat. For this recipe, we'll use olive oil for the confit cooking process.
This term can be used in other recipes besides meat. For instance, garlic confit, tomato confit and lemon confit. During the process of making tomatoes confit, the cherry tomatoes with caramelize slightly.
When using a confit method for tomatoes, the olive oil allows the tomatoes to preserve their shape and texture. In general confit cooking will give an end result that is moist and flavorful.
Keep the oven at a low temperature, around 250°F so you can slow cook your food. Do not rush the process and boil it in fat.
For more in depth information on the confit cooking method, this article is a good read.
You'll need the following ingredients for this recipe:
- Cherry tomatoes need to be very ripe and sweet. Tomatoes out of the garden are perfect but you can also find a great cherry tomato at your local grocery store throughout the year.
- Fresh thyme is a great option for an herb when making tomato confit with garlic but you can choose basil, oregano, rosemary or chives, depending on what you'll use the confit tomatoes for.
- Lemon zest adds brightness and flavor to the cherry tomatoes. Use a Microplane zester to zest your lemon.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use grape tomatoes, vine ripened tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, or Campari tomatoes for this tomato confit recipe. Tomatoes should be ripe and sweet. Do not use a green tomato.
- Add whatever fresh herbs you like! Herbs can be used interchangeably depending what you'll use the tomato confit for. Try fresh thyme, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon or oregano.
- Omit the crushed red pepper if you're not a fan of spice. Alternatively, you can add any fresh chili or dried chili you like!
How To Make Cherry Tomato Confit With Garlic
Making Cherry Tomato Confit with Garlic is simple! Follow these few directions and before you know it you'll have a sweet flavorful recipe for tomato confit!
Preheat oven to 250°F. Add all ingredients to a baking dish then pour olive oil over the top until garlic is fully covered. The amount will depend on what size dish you use, so it could vary from 1 cup.
Bake for 2 hours & 30 minutes until tomatoes are soft, slightly browned and beginning to burst. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Squeeze garlic cloves into oil and gently mix.
- Cook this tomato confit recipe low and slow. Don't be tempted to get in a rush and turn the oven to a higher temperature. The whole point of the confit cooking process is to cook slowly and preserve.
- Leave the vines on the cherry tomatoes for ease. No need to take them off. When the tomato confit is ready, the vines will pull right out. It's also kind of pretty!
- Use kosher salt. As with any of my recipes, follow the directions and use kosher salt rather than table salt. There is a difference and the recipe will not come out the same. I prefer Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If using Morton's, use about 25% less than what is called for. Purchase Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
- Fully cover the head of garlic with oil. This allows the garlic to properly caramelize and become soft and buttery. Not fully covering in oil will result in a dry area of garlic.
- Tomato confit is a wonderful way to use up the influx of garden tomatoes in the summer months! It pairs perfectly with roasted zucchini.
- When zesting a lemon, be sure to only zest the yellow part of the skin. The pith, the white part under the yellow skin, is bitter and unpleasant. I use a Microplane zester for ease.
In general, you can use most any kind of tomato when making tomato confit. If cherry tomatoes aren't available, grape tomatoes or another small tomato similar in size will work best for confit tomatoes. Other tomatoes such as San Marzano tomatoes, Roma tomatoes or Campari Tomatoes will work too, but the cooking time and amount of oil may need to be adjusted accordingly.
Confit tomatoes are cooked low and slow while submerged in fat, leaving you with a sweet caramelized tomato that retains it's shape and texture. This method takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Roasting tomatoes can be done low and slow for the same amount of time, resulting in a sweet caramelized tomato that has shriveled and dried out a bit. Roasting tomatoes at a high temp will give a dried out, slightly sweet tomato that has also shrunken in size. All three methods are delicious but with different results.
Choosing the right tomatoes for a tomato confit recipe is simple. Look for a smaller tomato that is very ripe and slightly sweet to very sweet. Garden tomatoes work very well as do certain store brands. Buy a few varieties from the local grocery store to test out and check quality, ripeness and taste.
I prefer a good quality mild olive oil. It really lets the flavors of the tomatoes shine. You can use other neutral oils such as grapeseed oil or avocado oil.
As long as your oven is calibrated correctly, you can remove the tomatoes after 2 hours and 30 minutes. Some telltale signs that your simple tomato confit with garlic recipe is ready is that the tomatoes are soft, lightly caramelized and may be just starting to burst. The garlic should look soft and buttery, also slightly caramelized.
Store cherry tomato confit with garlic in an airtight container such as Tupperware or a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Add the oil that the tomato confit was cooked in to cover tomatoes and garlic when storing.
Using cherry tomato confit after being in the fridge requires either a slight heating of the tomatoes and oil or letting them come to room temperature, which may take awhile. I prefer to heat whatever I'm going to use.
You can reheat the confit by placing it in the microwave for 20 second intervals or placing it in a 350°F oven for a few minutes.
Freeze tomato garlic confit in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight then proceed as directed above before using.
Cherry Tomato Confit With Garlic is simple and takes just minutes to prep. After it's made you have endless ways to use it! A few of my favorites are:
- Creamy Lobster Pasta With White Wine Cream Sauce
- Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini
- Lobster Gnocchi
- Easy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Cheese Tart
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Cast Iron Salmon
- 1 9" cast iron skillet or baking dish with high sides le creuset skillet
- 18 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 head garlic cut top off, about ¼ inch to expose cloves
- small handful of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil, chives or oregano
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 250°F
- Add all ingredients to a baking dish then pour olive oil over the top until garlic is fully covered. The amount will depend on what size dish you use, so it could vary from 1 cup
- Bake for 2 ½ hours until tomatoes are soft, slightly browned and beginning to burst. Remove from oven and let cool slightly
- Squeeze garlic cloves into oil and gently mix. Serve with whipped goat cheese, crostini, pasta or on a mezze spread or charcuterie platter.