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Options for Measuring Tomatoes

Written by:
CK Kochis

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When the recipe you are preparing calls for a pound or a cup of tomatoes, it's good to know how many you will need before you begin cooking. What are the various options for measuring tomatoes?

Equivalent guidelines of whole tomatoes to weight, whole tomatoes to cups, and canned to whole tomatoes and cups will make the measurement conversions quick and easy.

Refer to these helpful charts when the recipe specifies pounds and you need to know how many to buy or pick from your garden. Please note there may be variances based on your definition of the tomato sizes. When it comes to canning, it's better to have one or two too many tomatoes than not enough.

1 large tomato a little less than 1 pound
3 medium globe tomatoes 1 pound
4 large Roma tomatoes 1 pound
8 small plum or Roma tomatoes 1 pound
15 to 20 cherry tomatoes 1 pound


Converting weight to cups of chopped or pureed tomatoes:

1 pound 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
1 pound 3 cups pureed
2.5 pounds 3 cups chopped and drained
2 cups chopped 1 pound
2.5 pounds 2.5 cups seeded, chopped, and cooked


Perhaps you made a last-minute decision to make a certain dish that calls for canned tomatoes, and you would prefer to use the fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes:

1 cup canned tomatoes 1.5 cups fresh, chopped, cooked tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can 2 cups undrained, 1 cup drained
1 (28-ounce) can 3 cups undrained, 2.5 cups drained
1 (35-ounce) can 4 cups undrained, 2.5 to 3 cups drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can 5 to 6 small tomatoes or about 1 pound


Kitchen Tips - Fresh Tomatoes

  • If your recipe requires more tomatoes than you have, you can use canned tomatoes in addition to the fresh tomatoes.
  • There are three ways to determine the ripeness and quality of the tomato: appearance, feel, and smell.
    • Appearance: does it have a deep, bright red color? Vine-ripened tomatoes can be the best options since most commercially raised tomatoes are harvested when they are still green with the intent to ripen in transit.
    • Feel: how heavy does it feel in your hand? A firm, heavier tomato means it's ripe and juicy inside. One that is soft may indicate it is over-ripe (depending on the variety).
    • Smell: how does it smell? That's a trick question. The skin is a protective layer and smelling the tomato is difficult. If the tomato still has the stem attached, lightly brush it with a finger and smell. The stem of the fresh picked tomato will still smell like the plant itself.
  • Check for any blemishes (such as black spots). It could signal the inside has begun to rot.
  • If you don't enjoy growing your own tomatoes, it's recommended that you purchase them in season from a local farmer or at the farmer's market. Most commerically grown tomatoes are harvested prior to ripening by exposure to the sun's rays.


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