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My Southern Tomato Pie recipe is an irresistible combination of sweet seasonal tomatoes, fresh herbs, and gooey melted cheeses sitting in a buttery, flaky crust.
Tomato pie is a classic savory and cheesy summer treat. This non-dessert pie recipe is pretty versatile, too. Serve it up as the main dish with a crisp and nutritious side salad. Or make it a side dish for a filling meal with BBQ chicken or burgers.
This recipe is a hit even for those who aren’t huge tomato fans! The cheesy goodness, fresh greens, and seasonings create a unique flavor that just about anyone will enjoy. Plus, who doesn’t love pieces of salty thick-cut bacon?
On that same note, it is an excellent dish to introduce to people who aren’t typically tomato lovers. This flavorful, savory, and gooey pie absolutely has the potential to change their minds!
Tomatoes and basil are both in peak season in the heat of August, so what are you waiting for? Add some southern charm to the dinner table before summer slips away.
Key ingredients & substitutions for this Tomato Pie recipe
- Flour — Classic all-purpose flour is the main ingredient for your flaky, homemade tomato pie crust.
- Parmesan cheese — You want finely shredded parmesan for a cheesy-flavored crust. You can either grate a block of parmesan cheese or purchase a quality finely shredded bag of parmesan. Asiago or Romano cheese also work well for this recipe.
- Ground black pepper — I like to use freshly ground black pepper for authentic flavor. However, you can absolutely use pre-ground black pepper if you prefer.
- Unsalted butter — To form the pie crust with perfect texture, keep your unsalted butter cold and cut it into cubes.
- Ice water — You’ll use chilly ice water to moisten the dough.
- Tomatoes — Pick out the sweetest ripe tomatoes you can find. You can use just one type or a mix of different tomato varieties — beefsteak tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and more.
- Sharp cheddar cheese — My recipe specifically calls for sharp white cheddar cheese, which pairs beautifully with acidic, fresh tomatoes. However, if you prefer, you can swap the white cheddar for yellow cheddar cheese or Colby cheese.
- Gruyere cheese — Mild and nutty gruyere cheese brings this gooey cheesy recipe to the next level. You can also use Swiss cheese or fontina.
- Bacon — Not all southern tomato pie recipes include crispy, chopped bacon. However, I highly recommend it!
- Mayonnaise — Mayonnaise will moisten the pie filling and combine the melty cheeses. It’s a staple for this southern savory dish.
- Egg — One large egg gives the mayo layer the structure it needs to slice perfectly and with ease.
- Green onions — Thinly sliced green onions with a subtle sharp and peppery flavor mix into the cheeses and mayo. You may also use other onion varieties, like yellow or white onions.
- Dijon mustard — Boost the flavor of this tomato pie with a bit of tangy Dijon mustard. Stone-ground mustard and yellow mustard achieve a similar effect as well.
- Basil leaves — Fresh basil leaves are another staple in a classic tomato pie.
- Oregano leaves — While basil is a little sweeter, fresh oregano leaves present a more bitter, peppery, and earthy flavor.
- Cornmeal — Just a spoonful of cornmeal will be used to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. You can also use breadcrumbs or cornstarch.
How to make Summer Tomato Pie
STEP 1 | Prepare the pie dough
Start your buttery pie shell by adding the flour, shredded parmesan cheese, and black pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Then, pulse briefly until the ingredients are combined.
Next, toss in cubes of cold butter over the mixed ingredients and pulse for just a couple of seconds to break up the pieces.
Sprinkle the chilly ice water on top and process just until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to come together. Be careful not to over-mix your pie dough with whatever method of mixing you use. That way, you get the best crispy texture in your final result.
Empty the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag and seal it tightly. With the palms of your hands, press the dough into a thin, flat, even disk. Pop the dough into the refrigerator to cool and set a timer for at least 30 minutes.
STEP 2 | Form pie crust and bake
Preheat the oven as directed, so it’s ready to go once it’s time to bake. Lightly toss flour onto a clean surface and spread it around evenly.
With a rolling pin and slight pressure, roll the pie dough to a 13-inch circle. Then, use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and gently press it to fit against the sides.
Before placing the pie crust into the oven, there are just a couple more steps for a traditional and stunning pie appearance. Fold the delicate outer edges of the dough under and crimp with the tines of a fork.
Then, blind bake the crust lined with parchment paper and pie weights for about 20 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown color.
Remove from the oven and discard the pie weights, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork all over to prevent bubbles, and return the crust to the oven. Continue baking until the bottom is lightly golden.
- Chill, chill, chill. If you have time, it’s best to chill the formed pie dough again — about 30 minutes should be good — to solidify the butter before baking.
- No soggy crust! Just a spoonful of cornmeal will prevent the crust from becoming soggy from any extra tomato juices. You can also use a few breadcrumbs or cornstarch.
- What is blind baking? Blind baking simply means pre-baking a pie crust before the pie filling is added. It’s especially important with this tomato pie
- No pie weights? Instead, you may lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the unbaked crust and fill it with dry beans or rice — whichever you have handy.
STEP 3 | Slice the tomatoes
Line two large baking sheets with a double layer of paper towels for the sliced tomatoes to drain. Then, slice the fresh and juicy tomatoes into 1/4-inch sections and lay only a single layer on the paper towels for proper draining.
Too many tomato juices in the pie filling will produce a soggy pie. So, you certainly don’t want to skip this crucial step.
- A serrated knife makes slicing tomatoes easier as it penetrates the skin without crushing the tomato.
STEP 4 | Season and drain tomato slices
Lightly sprinkle the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and allow the slices to rest for 30 minutes for draining. If you notice the paper towels becoming soaked with tomato juice, replace the paper towels midway through the process.
Use extra paper towels to pat the tomatoes dry — you want to remove as much liquid as possible to avoid a soggy pie!
STEP 5 | Combine cheese mixture
Chop the bacon, green onions, and fresh herbs, then grab a large bowl and a rubber spatula.
Thoroughly mix together all the cheeses, mayonnaise, one large egg, green onions, crispy bacon, Dijon mustard, basil, oregano, and ground black pepper.
STEP 6 | Begin layering ingredients
Retrieve your cooled pie crust and sprinkle some cornmeal over the bottom to further prevent a soggy pie crust. Then, spread a third of the cheese mixture and add a layer of your thoroughly drained tomatoes.
Next, spread another third of the cheese mixture over tomato slices. Continue creating the layers with the remaining cheese mixture and tomato slices. End with a layer of tomatoes for a picture-perfect dish.
STEP 7 | Bake, cool, and serve
Slide your completed pie into the preheated oven and bake until the cheese peeking through the top is nice and golden.
Once baked, allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature for the best flavor!
Garnish this stunning summer tomato pie with additional fresh basil leaves, other herbs, and extra bacon crumbles sprinkled on top. Oh, and perhaps a dollop of sour cream — YUM!
Frequently asked questions
A frozen pie shell is excellent for this recipe if you are short on time. Also, pie crusts can undoubtedly be challenging to perfect for those with less experience. Perhaps you aren’t too confident in your pie crust skills. In that case, a pre-made shell is an ideal solution.
You sure can! There are some alternative ingredients you’ll want to use and other tips for creating a delicious gluten-free tomato pie:
1. Swap the typical flour for the gluten-free option.
2. Grate the cheese yourself, rather than buying a bag of shredded cheese. For those with severe gluten allergies, the powder used to prevent the pieces from sticking together in store-bought shredded cheeses contain gluten and can cause a reaction.
3. Find the gluten-free alternatives for the bottled spices and seasonings you use.
You can bulk the recipe up by adding several other vegetables. I recommend sweet corn kernels, spinach, and diced eggplant. You can also add any extra herbs you have on hand, like parsley, dill, and rosemary.
Behind the recipe: Southern Tomato Pie
The southern tomato pie has roots in Italian cuisine. However, the southern variation of the Italian original has many differences and a unique flavor of its own.
In fact, it is the state pie of South Carolina and a classic dish all over the southern United States. It’s a beloved pie worldwide, with many countries having their unique twists on the savory, cheesy recipe.
Southern Tomato Pie
- 9-inch pie plate
- Pie weights
- Serrated knife
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespooons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
- 5 tablespoons ice water
- 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon fried crisp and chopped fine
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves optional
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- Add the flour, parmesan cheese, and black pepper and to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for just a second to combine.
- Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for 2 to 3 seconds to to break up the pieces of butter.
- Sprinkle the ice water on top and process just until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to come together — do not over mix.
- Empty the dough into a large lock-top plastic bag, seal, then press into a flat disk. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough to a 13-inch circle. Use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and gently press to fit against the sides.
- Fold under the dough and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown.
- Remove the parchment paper and discard the beans. Return the crust to the oven and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until the bottom is lightly golden. Cool before adding the tomato pie ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line two large baking sheets with a double layer of paper towels. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices and lay in a single layer on the paper towels.
- Lightly sprinkle the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and allow to rest for 30 minutes to drain. If needed, replace the paper towels midway through.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, egg, green onions, bacon, Dijon mustard, basil, oregano (if using), and black pepper with a rubber spatula.
- Use extra paper towels to pat the tomatoes dry — you want to remove as much liquid as possible to avoid a soggy pie!
- Sprinkle the tablespoon of cornstarch over the bottom of the pie crust. Next, spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture and add a layer of tomatoes.
- Spread another third of cheese mixture on top of tomato slices. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture and tomato slices, ending with a layer of tomatoes.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until cheese peeking through the top is golden. Cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- If you have time, it’s best to chill the formed pie dough again — about 30 minutes should be good — to solidify the butter before baking.
- Just a spoonful of cornmeal will prevent the crust from becoming soggy from any extra tomato juices. You can also use a few breadcrumbs or cornstarch.
- No ? Instead, you may lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the unbaked crust and fill it with dry beans or rice — whichever you have handy.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.