How to Make Tomato Powder

To make the most flavorful tomato powder, cook a batch of well-seasoned tomato sauce first. While dried tomatoes can be ground into powder, too, they won’t include the built-in taste that you can simmer into a sauce.

Homemade Tomato Powder

Photo: Homemade tomato sauce powder.

The main ingredient in tomato powder is, of course, tomatoes. Roma and San Marzano tomatoes are meaty and make good sauce. Since it is often hard to find ripe tomatoes at the store, this sauce was made from canned diced tomatoes.

Canned tomatoes used to make tomato powder.

Photo: Canned diced tomatoes.

Main Tomato Powder Ingredient:

Six 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes)

Blending the tomatoes.

Photo: Canned tomatoes blended into sauce.

Step One: Blend the Tomatoes

Run diced tomatoes through a blender to a smoothie-like consistency. It will take two fills.

Tomato sauce before cooking.

Photo: Blended tomatoes before cooking.

Step Two: Season the Sauce


Transfer sauce to a stock pot and add all seasonings.

  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes *
  • 1½ Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

* Red pepper flakes give this sauce a bit of heat. Use less if you desire a more mellow sauce.

Step Three: Cook the Sauce

Bring sauce to a light boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for sixty to ninety minutes. Sauce will thicken as liquid evaporates. Once the sauce it nice and thick, allow it to cool.

Thickened tomato sauce after cooking.

Photo: Thickened tomato sauce after cooking.

Step Four: Dehydrate the Sauce into Tomato Sauce Leather

This recipe yields five to six cups of thick sauce, which can be dried on five Excalibur dehydrator trays. Remove bay leaves. Spread between one and one-and-a-quarter cups of tomato sauce thinly on each dehydrator tray covered with a non-stick sheet. Caution: Spreading too much sauce on a tray will make a thick leather that will take longer to dry and won’t reduce to tomato powder as well.

Tomato sauce on Excalibur dehydrator tray.

Photo: Tomato Sauce spread thinly on Excalibur dehydrator tray covered with non-stick sheet.

Dehydrate tomato sauce at 135°F (57°C) for approx. ten hours.

After about six hours, the tomato leather should be dry enough to remove the non-stick sheets. Flip the non-stick sheets over onto the mesh sheets and peel the non-stick sheets away from the leather. Finish drying on the mesh sheets.

The drying time to make leather that will be ground into tomato powder is a couple hours longer than the time required to dry tomato leather that will be used as is. When completely dry, you should be able to easily snap or tear it into smaller pieces.

Dried tomato sauce ready to be reduced to tomato powder.

Photo: Tray of dried tomato sauce ready to be blended into tomato powder.

Step Five: Blend Tomato Leather into Tomato Powder

Tear leather into smaller pieces and reduce to tomato powder in a blender. Work with small quantities so as not to overheat your blender.

Tomato sauce leather on left, tomato powder on right.

Photo: ⅓ cup of tomato leather reduced to 2½ tablespoons of tomato powder (25 grams)

The backpacking recipes in Recipes for Adventure, which include tomato sauce leather, call for either ¼ or ⅓ cup of tomato sauce leather, depending on the serving size. The chart below shows the equivalent amount of tomato powder to use.

Leather to Tomato Powder Conversions

¼ cup leather = 2 Tbsp. powder (20 grams)
⅓ cup leather = 2½ Tbsp. powder (25 grams)

The total yield of this tomato powder recipe, which starts with six 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes, is approximately twenty-four tablespoons of tomato powder, enough for ten to twelve backpacking meals that call for sauce.

Reconstituted tomato sauce (left) made from tomato powder (right)

Photo: 2½ tablespoons of tomato powder (right) back into thick sauce (left) with ½ cup boiled water.

Home Use: How to Reconstitute Tomato Powder

Combine ¼ cup (40 g) tomato powder with 1¼ cups of water. Bring to a light boil and then remove pot from heat. Wait fifteen minutes or longer. Sauce thickens with time. Add more water a tablespoon at a time for a thinner sauce. Stir in a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil if desired. This amount will be enough for two to three servings of pasta, depending on how saucy you like your pasta.

Backpacking Meal made with tomato powder. Macaroni with ground beef, bell peppers, and olives.

Photo: Macaroni with Beef & Vegetables in Tomato Sauce. Made from 100% dehydrated ingredients.

Backpacking Recipes with Homemade Tomato Sauce Powder

Macaroni with Beef & Vegetables Recipe

One Serving


Water to rehydrate: 1½ cups

Pack all ingredients in a Ziploc bag for trip. Optional: Include a packet of parmesan cheese for a topping.

Preparation: Combine all ingredients with water in pot and soak for five minutes. Light stove, bring to a boil, and continue cooking with the lid on for one minute. Place pot in an insulating pot cozy and wait ten to fifteen minutes. Top with parmesan cheese when serving, if desired. Extra Virgin Olive oil can be added also.

Vegetarian Unstuffed Peppers

Photo: Add 1 Tbsp. of tomato powder to this meal to give it a delicious sauce. See the recipe: Vegetarian Unstuffed Peppers.

Explore More...

Recipes with Dehydrated Tomato Sauce

Dehydrating Food Table of Contents

Recipes for Adventure Books

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