It is no secret that tomatoes are one of the most versatile foods, widely used all around the world. Originally from the American continent, this fruit (yes, you’ve heard us right) has made its way to many different cuisines, becoming a key ingredient to a plethora of dishes. Can you image pizza or shakshouka without the use of tomatoes? We certainly can’t. But tomato varieties come in so much more than just cherry or beefsteak.
With over more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes, there are many ways you can use them to elevate your cooking. Some types of tomatoes are best eaten fresh, while others are perfect for pickling. Some are used in stews and soups, and others can even be breaded and fried. Undoubtedly, one thing is clear – the world as we know today wouldn’t be the same without tomatoes. The Bloody Mary cocktail would certainly have an identity crisis without its key ingredient – tomato juice.
That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to show you a glimpse of the immense diversity of this plant. We’ve created a list of 30 most popular tomato varieties, with all their different characteristics and ways to use them. And we couldn’t resist in adding a few recipe suggestions as well. So, if you’re a tomato lover like us, dig in!
1. Roma tomatoes
Also known as plum tomato, or Italian tomato, Roma tomato has an oval shape and a tangy, yet sweet flavor. Its firmness makes this tomato variety perfect for sauces and pastes. It is also commonly used for canning. But all that doesn’t mean you can’t slice up a fresh Roma tomato and put on your sandwich or add to your salad!
It is believed that the Roma tomatoes were created by careful breeding techniques in the United States in the early 20th century. Тhey were developed with the desire to create a tomato suitable for canning, sauce making, and paste production. Those endeavors were a huge success and have made Roma tomatoes widely recognized for their versatility in the kitchen.
2. Grape tomatoes
One of the most popular varieties of Roma tomatoes are grape tomatoes. Smaller in size, they are the perfect healthy snack. Grape tomatoes come in different hues of orange and yellow, not just red. Their sweetness and fun coloring make them a great addition to any salad. With a thicker skin, this tomato is also suitable for roasting in the oven. So, if you feel like having bruschetta, don’t be afraid to mix things up with some delicious and colorful grape tomatoes.
3. Juliet tomatoes
A hybrid variety of grape tomatoes, Juliet tomatoes are small, sweet and juicy. Because of their smaller size and shape, they are also known as “mini Roma tomatoes”. This tomato variety goes great with salads. It can also be eaten raw, as a snack.
Juliet tomatoes thrive in warm and sunny conditions. So, if you’re interested in gardening, make sure your Juliet tomatoes receive at least 6-8 of direct sunlight every day. Consistent watering is also essential, especially during the flowering and fruiting stages. Try to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged.
4. San Marzano tomatoes
Another well-known variety of Roma tomato is the San Marzano tomato. This tomato variety has a pointy shape and a meaty texture. Its sweetness of flavor provides a great balance to different pizza toppings and marinara sauces. Much like the Roma tomato, San Marzano is widely used for canning and processing.
The name of this tomato variety comes from the region which it originated from – San Marzano sul Sarno, a small town near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. These tomatoes have a long history, dating back to the 18th century. They are traditionally grown in the volcanic soil of the Agro Nocerino Sarnese area, known to provide optimal conditions for tomato cultivation. The combination of the volcanic soil, Mediterranean climate, and meticulous cultivation practices contributed to the unique traits that have made the San Marzano tomatoes famous.
5. Campari tomatoes
Regarding their size, Campari tomatoes are somewhere between the cherry and the Roma tomato. Their vibrant red color and round shape make these tomatoes easy to handle and incorporate into many dishes. Campari tomatoes are also loved because of their sweetness and a touch of tartness that create the prefect harmony of taste. This tomato variety is especially versatile and can be used in salads, sandwiches and wraps. Their natural sweetness makes them a favorite for fresh salsas and tomato-based pasta sauces.
6. Cherry Tomatoes
A variety of tomato that comes in different colors such as bright red, orange and yellow is the snappy cherry tomato. Smaller in size, with a round shape, these tomatoes really do resemble their namesake – cherries. Despite their smaller size, cherry tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as different antioxidants which are known to provide various health benefits. They are one of the most versatile breeds of tomatoes and can be eaten fresh, cooked, grilled or dried. And what better way to use them, than with delicious and creamy tagliatelle? If you want a colorful and heathy meal that you can just pop in the oven, check out our baked trout recipe.
Cherry tomatoes can grow both in outdoor gardens and in containers. Before planting them, make sure that the soil is well drained. It should always be moist, but not waterlogged. These tomatoes thrive in full sunlight and need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
7. Sweet 100 tomatoes
These tiny, round tomatoes give you a burst of sweetness in every bite. Named after their incredible flavor, Sweet 100 tomatoes are a popular choice for snacking, salads, and garnishes. Like their parent variety – the cherry tomatoes – they are smaller in size with a bright red hue.
If you’re thinking of planting Sweet 100 tomatoes, there are a couple of things you should know. These tomatoes enjoy soil that’s constantly moist and full sunlight. They need their space, so at least 45cm between each plant is recommended. They can grown very tall, so make sure to provide sturdy stakes or cages to keep the plants upright and the fruit off the ground.
8. Yellow pear tomatoes
Another tomato that resembles a well-known fruit is the Yellow pear tomato, a.k.a. Yellow teardrop tomato. This tomato variety has a similar juicy texture to cherry tomato, but a sweeter taste. Yellow pear tomato is extremely versatile – it can be eaten as snack, served raw in salads, roasted, grilled and cooked. Because of their unique color and tangy flavor, yellow pear tomatoes are often used for picking. Threaded onto skewers with other vegetables and protein, these tomatoes make a great addition to kebabs.
If you’re planning to grow this tomato variety, make sure you provide it with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Regularly check your plants for pests and treat them with organic or chemical remedies as necessary. Make sure the soil they’re growing from is moist, but not overwatered to avoid fungal issues. The plant can also grow very tall, so it’s best to provide it with sturdy support that will hold it upright.
9. Sungold tomatoes
Sungold tomatoes have a vibrant, golden-orange color and an irresistible sweet and tangy flavor. Their smaller size makes them perfect for snacking. They’re also widely used in salads, pastas and salsas.
Sungold tomatoes are a true favorite among gardeners. These tomatoes enjoy full sunlight which enhances their sweetness. They can grow very tall and require the right support for the plant. Тhis tomato craves moist soil and space. So don’t overwater it and allow at least 45 cm between each plant.
10. Green zebra tomatoes
The green zebra tomato has a distinct dark green and yellow striped skin. This tomato variety is known for its subtle sweetness that comes with just the right amount of zest. The green zebras bring a delightful twist to light summer salads and salsas. Medium in size, they are widely used and loved because of their striking appearance.
If you’re considering gardening this tomato, make sure you provide the plant enough sunlight, space and water. The green zebra tomatoes need consistent moisture levels in the soil, a balanced fertilizer and sturdy support.
11. Heirloom tomatoes
What makes heirloom tomatoes special is their genetic diversity. Unlike many other tomato varieties that have been grown for their specific traits, heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated. That means that they are the result of natural pollination either by wind or insects, without human intervention present. Their seeds have been passed down from generations to generations of farmers.
The heirloom tomato is an extremely versatile variety, well-loved by both professional chefs and amateur cooks. Our personal favorite dish that uses heirloom tomatoes boldly is this amazing sweet and savory summer salad. The juiciness and rich colors of heirlooms tomatoes in it will blow you away!
12. Marglobe tomatoes
Marglobe tomato is a classic heirloom variety that has been a part of many extraordinary dishes and gardens for more than a hundred years. Тhese tomatoes were bred in the early 1900s by Frederick J. Pritchard, a plant breeder working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Pritchard was aiming to create a tomato variety that would be resistant to a fungal disease known to affect tomato plants. After many years of careful research, his endeavors were successful and a new tomato was born. The name “Marglobe” is a combination of two words: “Maryland” and “Globe”. It pays respect to both the place where this variety was developed in and its round shape.
The Marglobe tomato is of medium size. Its meaty yet firm texture which makes it ideal for slicing and cooking without becoming too juicy and mushy. The vibrant red color of these tomatoes makes them stand out in salads, sandwiches and bruschetta. Marglobe tomatoes are known to have a perfectly balanced sweetness and acidity.
If you feel like having a taste of history in your own garden, make sure that Marglobe tomato plant has enough sunlight each day. So a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight is a must for the plant to grow. Since this tomato variety was developed to be resilient to fusarium wilt, it can be a great choice for growing in an area prone to this disease. The soil should be constantly moist, but not overwatered.
13. Black cherry tomatoes
Like their namesake, black cherry tomatoes are smaller in size with purple skin and dark-red flesh. With a sweet and rich taste, they can either be enjoyed raw as a snack, or in a salad. Black cherry tomatoes are a variety of the heirloom tomato. That means that their seeds can be collected and planted next season.
This tomato variety is suitable for growing both outdoors and in greenhouses. Before planting them, make sure they have all the space they need to spread out freely. Like most plants, black cherry tomatoes thrive in sunny weather. Be prepared to protect them from heavy rain, since the delicate fruit might burst from impact.
14. Black Krim tomatoes
Also known as Black Crimea or Noire de Crimé, this tomato variety originates from the Crimean Peninsula. With a sweet and rich flavor, Black Krim tomatoes are very popular in the US and can be found in many markets across the West Coast. They are of medium size and have a dark reddish-purple color.
Since this tomato is very sensitive to cold weather, it’s best to first plant it indoors, at least six weeks after the last frost in spring. Like many tomato varieties that grow on vines, Black Krim tomatoes need approximately 1 to 1.5 meters spacing between each plant. For this tomato variety to thrive, the plant has to have the minimum of 6 hours of sunlight a day.
15. Mortgage lifter tomatoes
One of the top-favorite tomato varieties, the Mortgage Lifter tomato is known for its large size and balanced flavor. With pinkish-red hues, this tomato is widely used fresh – as a sandwich topper and in salads, canned or processed, for salsas and relishes, and even roasted. In perfect conditions, this heirloom variety can weigh up to 1,8 kg (4lb).
The Mortgage Lifter tomato was developed by Charlie Byles, from Logan, West Virginia in the 20th century. Because of the Great Depression, Charlie was unable to pay off his mortgage with just his job – repairing and selling car radiators. His job earned him the nickname Radiator Charlie. In order to stay afloat, Radiator Charlie turned to his passion – gardening. After several years of cultivating and crossbreeding, he finally developed a tomato he was satisfied with. This new tomato was not only larger, but also more flavorful than any previous variety he worked on. It quickly became very popular with customers. Charlie Byles was able to sell each fruit for 1$, which was an unusually high price for that era. And with that, he was able to pay of his mortgage. That is how the Mortgage Lifter got its name.
16. Cherokee Purple tomatoes
Another well-loved heirloom variety, Cherokee Purple tomato was named after the Cherokee people, who first cultivated it somewhere in the beginning of the 19th century. With a sweet and smoky taste, this tomato variety is widely used on top of sandwiches, in salads, salsas and different appetizers. Cherokee Purple tomatoes are medium to large in size. Their shape is slightly flattened and irregular, adding to their rustic appeal. But it’s their dusky purple shade that makes them stand out in any dish or garden.
17. Moneymaker tomatoes
The Moneymaker tomato is an English heirloom variety that dates back to the early 20th century. It was developed by a gardener named William Raworth in Hertfordshire, England. William Raworth wanted to create a tomato that was flavorful, but also productive enough to provide profit for gardeners. After careful selection and crossbreeding, a new tomato variety came to life. He decided to name it “Moneymaker”. The name reflected the idea that the tomato could be a lucrative choice for commercial tomato growers. Not only was the Moneymaker a commercial success, but it also showed great performance in home gardens.
With a mild sweet flavor, Moneymaker tomatoes are a go-to choice for Caprese salads, salsas, pasta sauces and tomato-based soups. Their round and slightly flattened shape makes them perfect for slicing. Even though they thrives in sunny places, the Moneymaker tomatoes can withstand cold weather and high altitudes.
18. Chocolate Stripes tomatoes
With a stunning combination of deep red and chocolate-brown stripes, Chocolate Stripes tomatoes certainly live up to their name. This tomato variety is usually of medium to large size, with a round shape. Their sweetness of flavor, with just the right amount of tanginess, makes Chocolate Stripes tomatoes extremely versatile in the kitchen. They go great on sandwiches, burgers and appetizers. They are also excellent for creating vibrant salsas and rich pasta sauces.
19. Jaune Flamme tomatoes
When translated to English, Jaune Flamme means “Yellow Flame”. The name certainly suits this French heirloom tomato variety, known for its vibrant deep yellow and orange color. This fruit is usually small to medium-sized and round. Jaune Flamme tomatoes are known for their sweetness, which is balanced by a subtle acidity. Their juicy texture brings an unusual freshness to any dish they’re a part of. These tomatoes are a great addition to any salad, especially the mighty Caprese salad. Or you can slice them up and mix them with garlic, basil, olive oil, and a touch of balsamic vinegar. And there you have it – a perfect bruschetta! Their fruity flavor and juiciness make Jaune Flamme tomatoes an interesting choice for creating unique salsas and pasta sauces.
20. German Johnson tomatoes
Contrary to popular belief, German Johnson tomatoes do not have German roots. This heirloom variety is originally from Southern United States, or more accurately from the Appalachian region. It is believed that name might have resulted from a mispronunciation or mistranslation of the original name of the tomato variety.
Because of its larger, beefsteak-like size, this tomato is cherished by professional chefs, amateur home-cooks and gardeners. The fruit can even reach up to 450g (1 pound) in weight! German Johnson tomatoes usually have a pinky or rosy hue and a smooth, slightly ribbed skin. They are a very versatile breed and can be used as sandwich and burger toppers. If you feel like creating some home-made pasta sauces or marinaras, grab a couple of German Johnson tomatoes and prepare to be amazed!
21. Pruden’s Purple tomatoes
This rare heirloom variety was named after Tom Pruden, a passionate tomato enthusiast, involved in developing the Pruden’s Purple tomato. Because of its smooth and meaty texture, this tomato is perfect for slicing. It is also often used as a sandwich topper and in Caprese salads, since its larger size make this variety ideal for showcasing.
Like many tomato varieties, Pruden’s Purple likes bathing in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day (us too, tomatoes!). Because of their size, they need additional support that will keep the fruits off the ground and the branches from breaking. Make sure you provide the plants with enough space and do not overwater the soil.
22. Pink Brandywine tomatoes
Seeing as it’s Barbie season, we couldn’t help but mention one of the prettiest varieties (at least in our opinion) of heirloom tomatoes – the Pink Brandywine tomato. Sometimes weighing over half a kilo (or one pound), this tomato breed is loved by many not only for its size, but for its lush taste and fresh flavor. And what a better way to use Pink Brandywine, than with some creamy mozzarella and fresh basil. Just sprinkle your favorite olive oil, add dash of salt and pepper, and there you have it – fresh Caprese salad.
23. Yellow Brandywine tomatoes
The Yellow Brandywine is a highly valued heirloom variety, loved for its exceptional flavor and unique characteristics. Like the name suggests, it is a yellow version of the well-known Pink Brandywine tomato. It is believed that the whole Brandywine variety had originated in the late 1800s in the United States. Like its pink relative, the Yellow Brandywine is of larger size and can weigh over 450g (1lb). Because of its beautiful golden-yellow color, this tomato variety makes a great addition to a number of dishes. The Yellow Brandywine tomatoes are often used in salads, tomato sandwiches and as bruschetta toppings. Having the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, with a smooth and meaty texture, they certainly elevate any dish they’re added to.
24. Amish Paste tomatoes
There probably isn’t a tomato variety more suitable for making fresh sauces, pastes and tomato-based dishes than the Amish Paste tomato. They’re named as such because of the association with the Amish community, known for preserving traditional agricultural practices, and their use in paste-like dishes. Their meaty and firm texture make them perfect for cooking. They are also ideal for canning and preserving. This heirloom variety is often used in cooked dishes, like casseroles, stews and soups. So if you’re craving a little something to warm you up, adding an Amish Paste tomato can make a tremendous change to your favorite dish. Even though these tomatoes are most commonly used for cooking, they can also be enjoyed fresh, on sandwiches and in salads.
25. Globe tomatoes
Well known for their mild flavor, globe tomatoes are widely used raw – in salads, sandwiches and burgers. Because of that they are also known as slicer tomatoes. Their round, globe-like shape and medium size make them one of the most uniform looking tomato varieties. Some of the popular breeds of Globe tomatoes include the Beefsteak, Early Girl, Better boy and Celebrity.
26. Beefsteak tomatoes
When you take a look at the Beefsteak tomato, you’ll understand that there’s no other name more fitting for this large-sized tomato variety. With its meaty texture and impressive size, it really does have some similarities with the popular beef cut. The name emphasizes the tomato’s potential for being a substantial and satisfying component of various dishes.
Beefsteak tomatoes often have an irregular shape with deep ridges that make them stand out. Because of their juiciness and a mild, perfectly balanced flavor, Beefsteak tomatoes are a great addition for numerous dishes. Their subtle flavor is what makes them a great topping for hamburgers. Or any type of sandwich, for that matter. They’re also amazing when sliced and served on their own as a refreshing side or appetizer. These tomatoes perform very well grilled or roasted, their usually sweetness taking on a more caramelized flavor. You can also stuff them with a number of fillings, like grains, cheese or ground meat.
27. Early Girl tomatoes
This tomato is known to be the first one to produce fruit in the growing season. For that reason, the variety got the name “Early Girl”. This hybrid variety combines together desirable traits like well-balanced flavor, disease resilience and of course, early maturity. Early Girl tomatoes are typically medium-sized, round, and uniform in shape. They have a vibrant red color when fully ripe, which can add a burst of color to both gardens and dishes. With a sweet and tangy flavor, juicy and meaty texture, Early Girl tomatoes are a popular choice for sandwich toppers, salsas and salads.
28. Better Boy tomatoes
Better Boy tomatoes are a crossbreed between the Big Boy and the Early Girl tomato varieties. The name “Better Boy” suggests that the hybrid tomato is an improvement in comparison to its “father” variety.
There’s no doubt that Better Boy combines all the best traits of both its parents. These tomatoes are reliable, disease resistant and have an exquisite flavor. Their typically larger size and round shape make them ideal for slicing. They’re often used in salads, sandwiches and burgers. Better Boy tomatoes are also used to make fresh salsas that are just divine paired with crunchy chips, tacos, and grilled meats. This versatile tomato variety makes a great addition to baked dishes like casseroles and gratins, where their flavor and texture shine when exposed to heat.
29. Celebrity tomatoes
Reliability, uniformity in size, good flavor and disease resistance is what made this tomato variety a success among home gardeners. It is probably the reason why it was named “Celebrity”.
Celebrity tomatoes are known for their consistent performance and the ability to provide a bountiful harvest of flavorful and visually appealing fruit each season. Their vibrant red color and mild flavor make them a versatile choice for a range of recipes. From fresh vegetable salads, to pasta salads, sandwiches, wraps and burgers, Celebrity tomatoes help numerous dishes shine.
If you decide on planting this tomato variety, make sure it receives 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. You really have to find middle ground with watering, as Celebrity tomatoes don’t perform at their best when underwatered or overwatered. Make sure you provide the plants with enough space to ensure that air circulates freely to reduce the risk of disease.
30. Pineapple tomatoes
If a contest for the most beautiful tomato was ever to be organized, Pineapple tomatoes would surely win one of the top three prizes. With a unique blend of colors, ranging from shades of yellow to red and orange, often with streaks of green or golden hues, this tomato variety is a sight to behold.
Precisely because of its appearance and exotic flavor, Pineapple tomato was named after the well-known tropical fruit. But don’t be fooled – this tomato doesn’t actually taste like a pineapple. Even though its sweetness is astonishing, like for many other tomatoes, it comes with a touch of tanginess. Pineapple tomatoes are typically larger in size and can weigh up to 500g (around 1lb). They have a smooth skin and a juicy texture, which make them great for slicing and using in various dishes. Their colorful appearance and rich flavor make them a great option for Caprese salads, fresh salsas and sandwiches.
Which Tomato Varieties are the Best?
Bear in mind that the popularity of different tomato varieties may vary depending on personal preference and region. We wholeheartedly encourage you to recreate some of the recipes we’ve listed. What will also make cooking easier and more fun is figuring out what oils go best with the dishes you’re making. So be sure to check out our smoke point of oils table as well. We promise you are in for a treat!
Be sure to check out our other lists with useful info, great tips and recipe ideas: