Hear Us Out: You Need to Stop Buying Canned Chopped Tomatoes

Hear Us Out: You Need to Stop Buying Canned Chopped Tomatoes

I have never understood the point of canned, chopped tomatoes.

In my honest opinion, they’re just a worse version of the whole tomato. They rarely taste as good as their whole, peeled brethren, and they never break down fully while cooking, keeping their cube-like shape long after all other ingredients have turned to mush.

Maybe you want hot chunks of oddly firm tomato floating in your stews and sauces, but I do not. I want my tomatoes to melt and meld.

Plus, using the whole, peeled guys means I only have to keep one type of tomato stocked.

What I prefer, instead, is to take full, peeled tomatoes and spend a few moments chopping those babies up.

How do I chop up my tomatoes?

Chopping slippery, peeled plum tomatoes may seem like a messy task, but it’s actually easy to contain. Just take a pair of clean kitchen scissors, stick it directly into the can (as shown above), and chop the tomatoes to your desired dice size before adding them to your soup, stew, or sauce.


If you desire chunks of discernible tomato, that is also achievable without sodium chloride. Simply reserve some of the tomatoes you chopped yourself, and add them a little later in the cooking process. They’ll be chunky, but not disquietingly firm, and your sauce will taste noticeably better for it.

(And if you want crushed tomatoes? Use your hands. It’s messy, yes, but oddly cathartic.)

Just remember — say no to your old habit of buying canned, chopped tomatoes in bulk. You’ll thank me for it later.

This article has been updated since its original publication.


    • Capitalism is great, but it can also steer things in the wrong direction. So, the author can jeer at it, without suggesting that they cannot appreciate the good it does for them.
      Its like your tastebuds; they allow you to enjoy delicious foods, but also steer you towards wanting more sugar than you need. So, if I crate a recipe that gives me the same tasteful enjoyment, but bypasses the sugar content, I might say “Take that tastebuds!”. Doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the good they do for me.

  • I heard a maestro chef talking can tomatoes a few months ago. He said only use Italian tomatoes because Ozzy ones are always bitter. We just do not have the right conditions for growing nice tomatoes. I took the chefs advice, and as much as I prefer to by Australian tinned tomatoes, now I buy the good branded Italian.

  • 80c to have a can of a basic commodity in the cupboard always seems to be a far simpler option for me. Most times I cant BF’d worrying about what sort of tomato I’m adding, and just want to get it in there and cooking. As I tend to overcook a little, I don’t end up with chunks of oddly firm tomato anyway.

    I’ve found that the brand doesn’t effect the taste all that much anyway. I get more variety on whether I add a couple of chilli’s or not to be honest. So I always add a couple of fresh finely chopped chilli’s now. Helps to have a bush right outside the door.

    As a side note, I had a wonderful amount of new chili bushes growing this year. Was a day or two away from transplanting them, when the gardener came along and weeded them all out 🙁

    • I find the same. I can’t remember ever using canned tomato and winding up with “square chunks” like the article suggests. That is much more likely if I use fresh tomato and cut them myself.

      I think brand altering the taste is a perception thing. Like how people like a $50 bottle of wine more than a $10 bottle simply because they *think* it should taste better. With a few exceptions I’ve found that most cheap “home brand” type canned vegies taste basically the same as their more expensive counterparts. It is however, worth checking the ingredients though since some of the cheaper brands add more salt or sugar.

  • The mouth of a can of tomatoes also so happens to perfectly fit the head of most home-grade stick blenders, too. Pureed whole tomatoes are never more than a 2-second buzz away.

    • Agree. I transfer mine from the tin to a slightly larger container with a screw-on lid. Then add herbs and spices, whizz it for a few seconds with the stick blender, use some of the sauce on a pizza, drop in a layer of olive oil to cover the remaining sauce, screw on the lid, and put it in the fridge for another dish later in the week.

  • $4 for 500g of fresh tomatoes that last a week in the fridge or 60 cents for a can of diced tomato that lasts a couple of years in the cupboard.

    It sure is a mystery why people buy canned.

  • After carefully reading that that badly written article, I realise the author is not dissing the wonder that is canned tomatoes; just canned CHOPPED tomatoes.
    Its funny how many people missed that.

    • I was about to click the up arrow and then paused. What am I upping?
      “badly written article” – 5 up arrows
      “the author is not dissing the wonder that is canned tomatoes but canned chopped tomatoes” – 1 (sort-of) down arrow. I think the author is. … or got carried away with smugness and lost the plot entirely. And the canned tomatoes.
      And I agree entirely with others:
      – Canned lasts
      – Canned peeled better > Canned diced.
      – Italian cheapies taste better than local not so cheapies.

  • No. They are delicious, cheap and last forever. Everyone should buy and eat as many as they can.

    To be clear, your article is dumb. Please put more effort and forethought into your writing in the future– if it continues like this we’re going to have to hold you back a grade.

  • Nothing beats fresh tomatoes for flavour but if I’m getting tinned ones then of course they will be diced. Lid open, pour into saucepan, job done.

  • Please tells us what dish you are making where you end up with square bits of tomato. I use diced ones exclusively and have never come across this.

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