How-To: Soaking and Softening Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Now I know this whole soaking thing is not brain surgery, but I post this as a reminder to myself. Softening sun-dried tomatoes as well as any dried fruit, is very easy.

I like to heat water in a small pot–not to boiling. Then I soak the sun-dried tomatoes for about 20 minutes. After that I dry them off with a paper towel and pick over them to remove any damaged parts or big stem areas. Then they are ready for chopping, slicing, packing them in olive oil with garlic and herbs, or whatever your little heart desires.

And here are they are all soft and warm out of the soaking water.


You may also like


  1. it makes me happy to see you posting again, even if it’s recipes instead of funny stories, it’s all good when it comes from you.

  2. Kelly–

    Not a dumb question at all. Um….I don’t know really, other than it’s a texture thing and every time I’ve seen them used in a recipe or on a cooking show they do it.

    I have used them out of the bag, and they have been a little too chewy, tough, and maybe even a bit dry. But, that being said, sometimes in recipes that would be okay if there were liquid in the recipe to help soften them up–say in a risotto, or in polenta, a pasta sauce. For the pesto, I think they need to be softened or they wouldn’t, for lack of a better word, incorporate into a smooth sauce.

    But, I preface all cooking advice or answers with this: I am a total amateur and still learning. Do what works best for you.

    1. I have just done mine after reading the above.
      I put mine in a small pot an poured boiling water over them. I found that they only need 10 min to soften. Meanwhile I made a mixture
      of mixed herbs salt and garlic.
      I tossed the tomatoes one the dry mixture
      And the covered with olive oil. I added a bit more mixed herbs to get to the correct taste. Bottled and put int the fridge. They taste

  3. Re to question about using sun-dried tomatoes straight out the bag… You have to soak them otherwise they are very chewy and hard to eat. I also recommend soaking them in cream overnight in the fridge – – absolutely delicious when added to pasta or anything! so bad for you, yet soooo good!

  4. My dehydrated tomatoes seem to be too dry to soften in olive oil?? I have had them in oil for over 2 weeks. they are tasty but still really tough. Is there anything I can do at this point?

    1. Sorry, but throw them out!; they will never hydrate in olive oil (I threw out a batch after keeping the sun dried tomatoes in olive oil) for two months. To hydrate means restoring water to something that lost it, as a sun dried tomato. Oil does not allow water to penetrate the tomato. Hydrate in warm water (boil for 2 minutes) or let it soak en lukewarm water for 20 minutes or so; then let them dry before you bathe and store in olive oil and herbs and or spices of you choice.

  5. Hi Leslie!

    How frustrating! You could try chopping them up smaller, or you could drain off the oil and reserve it. Then soften the tomatoes in hot water. I think that will probably do the trick. Or you could use them in a cooked sauce of some sort and I bet they will soften up.

    Thanks for the comment!

  6. all of the comments on soaking sun dried tomatoes I found very helpful…thanks to all the readers regarding same…..made my day

  7. Hi Lindey!
    I just love to store my sun dried tomatoes in olive oil,
    but as Leslie has mentioned even after 2 weeks they are still pretty hard to chew.
    I understand that covering them with really hot water makes them softer,

    but is it possible to make them soft first, before I store them in oil?

    If yes, does that procedure reduce the time they can be preserved in oil,
    compared to doing it the other way round?
    Thank you for taking the time to reply to all of us!

    1. Hi Thanos!

      Yes, soften the tomatoes first in warm water, then pat them dry, chop or julienne and store in olive oil with garlic and herbs.

      I think as long as you keep them in the fridge, they should last a good while. Not 100% sure how long. Mine are never around very long because we use them so quickly! I hope this helps a bit. I think it’s time for me to revisit this!

      1. Thanks Lindsey,
        That is the exact reply I needed. Thank you so much. Besides garlic, and Italian spices, what do you add to the sun-dried tomatoes in jar with olive oil for Spaghetti Sauce?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.