A recipe for How to Air Fry Grilled Tomatoes might sound like an oxymoron but I know you know what I mean! Halved large tomatoes which are classically grilled and then served with a full English breakfast or other traditional pub meals are so much easier to cook well and evenly in the air fryer. I promise you won’t go back to using a grill!
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I don’t really know why it is so common to plonk half a barely cooked and often under-ripe and tasteless tomato onto so many classic British grill dishes. But it is. Whether its on the side of a mixed grill alongside a salad garnish, grilled mushroom and onion rings or served with a breakfast, I think we can do better.
And we can. I tested and I proved it. There are two things you can do to infinitely improve any halved grilled tomato regardless of if you are going to air fry it or not.
Secondly, make sure to cook them for long enough to actually soften the tomato flesh the whole way through. Ideally the cut side and skin will be slightly charred. This makes eating them so much more pleasant than cutting into a 80% hard and cold tomato that has barely been waved over a candle.
Benefits of Air Frying over Grilling Tomatoes
The benefit of air frying the tomatoes is that the cooking is so much more even. And you don’t even need to flip them or touch them at all during the whole cooking time.
The other benefit is that if you prefer or can only get hold of cheaper, less ripe, less tasty tomatoes, the quick blast of even cooking in the air fryer will really make the absolute most out of what you have. I used standard supermarket “salad tomatoes” in these images and you can see that they look pretty decent and I can tell you that they actually tasted good too.
How to Serve
I have no time for a cold grilled tomato. They’re not a salad ingredient so I want them served hot and fresh.
I’ve already mentioned a couple of really common ways that grilled tomatoes are served in the UK. They’re perfect on the side of classic grill type meal; steak and chips, gammon and chips, sausage and chips and of course a bumper mixed grill…with chips.
I often throw some roasted tomatoes onto the side of a meat/potatoes/veg type meal. They’re also great as a BBQ side. I often create a middle eastern inspired theme with a green salad, fluffy bread and a selection of other sides.
And then of course there is the English breakfast. I don’t care for arguments about whether breakfasts should have beans or tomatoes on them or if the tomatoes should be tinned (canned) or grilled.
Honestly a breakfast should include all the elements that you want to eat regardless of anyone else’s opinion. If grilled tomatoes are your jam, then obviously you’re in the right place. Personally I cannot abide tinned tomatoes and I will only have a grilled tomato if it is nowhere near my egg!
I’ve talked above about not all tomatoes being created equal. You really can use this cooking method on the cheapest tomatoes available. In the UK they’re often marketed as “salad tomatoes”. They’re the last thing I’d ever put into a salad or sandwich raw but ironically you can get away with grilling them.
The size is however important. I’ve used what I would consider medium sized regular tomatoes. I can be more specific, they were 80g each or just under 3oz. Not cherry, not beefsteak and not plum. Just a little bigger than a golf ball in size.
You can absolutely use this cooking method for other size tomatoes but you just need to know that starting point as you will need to reduce or increase the cooking time accordingly.
A little spray of oil just gives the cut half of the tomato a little encouragement to blister and char rather than dry and shrivel. You only need a little. I prefer to use just a neutral vegetable oil especially when cooking breakfast.
But if you are serving them with a more Mediterranean style meal, by all means use olive oil.
If I am making air fried tomatoes for breakfast, I am simply going to add a small sprinkle of sea salt flakes on each cut side. This is what I have included in the recipe.
If you want to you can add any other spices or seasonings you fancy. Some garlic salt and paprika is a very simple combo that I use a lot for just a touch extra flavour. You can go as wild as you like.
This recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Grilled Tomato
I tested a few different cooking times and temperatures and I settled on 10 minutes at 200c/390f.
This was for my 80g/3oz tomatoes so you will want to increase the cooking times for larger tomatoes and decrease it for smaller tomatoes.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Cooked air fried tomatoes can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing them as they’ll largely lose their shape and just end up as cooked down mushy tomatoes.
To reheat you can simply put the tomatoes back into the air fryer for 4 to 5 minutes at the same temperature.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
Come on over to Facebook and join my community discussing all things air fryer. Get involved in sharing your experiences and trials, help out others and find out what wonderful things everyone is cooking in their air fryers!
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve borrowed this air fryer for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Air Fry Grilled Tomatoes
- 4 large Salad Tomatoes - circa 80g/3oz each
- 8 sprays Vegetable Spray Oil
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- If your air fryer requires pre-heating, Start this setting now.
- Prepare your dish for in the air fryer. I prefer to use aluminium foil to create a tray just slightly smaller than my basket. Whatever you use, it should be thin so heat is easily conducted and it should have low sides to contain the butter.
- Slice 4 large Salad Tomatoes into half horizontally.
- Once heated, add the tray and the tomatoes halves to the air fryer. Position the tomatoes cut side up.
- Give each tomato half a couple of sprays of Vegetable Spray Oil and sprinkle over roughly ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Cook for 10 minutes at 200c/390f.
- The tomatoes do not need to be turned. Cook for longer if you prefer a softer/more browned tomato.
- This recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can comfortably cook 6 large tomatoes halved in the basket at one time.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.