Easy Southern Tomato Pie is a savory classic full of fresh summer tomatoes and melted cheddar and parmesan cheeses. It also has a rich buttery crust, made with a surprise ingredient, Ritz crackers.
And, it’s the ultimate summer brunch, lunch, or dinner, to let your fresh tomatoes shine.
One of the best things about summer is fresh homegrown or locally grown tomatoes. Other than appearance, they don’t bear any resemblance to their counterparts, grocery store tomatoes.
You know the kind, they have been bred to withstand shipping and have lost their flavor in the process. They look good on the outside, but when you slice into them, the inside is all grainy and has absolutely no taste.
What is it?
Inspired by Italian tomato pie, a type of Sicilian pizza, Southern Tomato Pie is a relatively new kid on the block that first became popular in the ’70s.
At its very core, tomato pie is a versatile, flavor-packed masterpiece, with layers of ripe tomatoes and cheeses baked in a pie crust.
What tomatoes are best?
Summer homegrown or locally grown tomatoes are juicy and flavorful with a magical tomato taste all their own. Beefsteak, Better Boy, and Roma varieties are great and, if you are lucky enough to find them, heirloom tomatoes are even tastier.
What about the crust?
This recipe has a fun twist, and it’s in the crust. If you have a pie crust recipe you love, feel free to use that, or you could save time and buy a premade pie crust, and the finished dish will still be delicious.
But why not try this easy recipe? It couldn’t be simpler or more delicious, and the crunchiness of the buttery crackers will elevate your pie to the next level.
Here’s what you will need:
For the filling, you will need fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sharp cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Plus, you will need some fresh basil for garnish.
For the pie crust, you will need Ritz crackers, parmesan cheese, and unsalted butter.
Here’s how to make it:
When you are ready to make your pie, gather your ingredients, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the pie crust by adding the crackers to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until they are fine crumbs.
Add the melted butter and process until the butter and crumbs are combined. Pour this mixture into a nine-inch pie plate.
Use your hands or the smooth bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press the mixture down evenly and up the sides of the pie plate.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the crust is baking, thinly slice the tomatoes (no need to blanch or peel them).
Place the tomato slices in a single layer on folded up paper towels. Top with just a bit of kosher salt and let the slices drain for at least 20 minutes. Blot the tops of the tomatoes with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
When the crust is cool, sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheddar cheese over the bottom. Add a layer of sliced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Repeat with another layer of cheddar cheese and tomatoes and top with the rest of the grated cheese. You should have three layers of cheese and two layers of tomatoes.
Mix the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and use a knife or offset spatula to spread it evenly over the top of the cheese. (Don’t worry if some of the shredded cheese gets mixed in with the topping. It won’t hurt anything.)
Bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the mixture is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Let the pie cool for at least 35 minutes before slicing it.
This recipe is delicious as is, but feel free to change it up and make it your own by adding any of the following:
- Different combinations of cheeses; think Gruyere, provolone, Fontina, mozzarella, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a Mexican or Italian blend.
- Add a handful of chopped up, cooked bacon, or prosciutto.
- Use several different varieties or colors of tomatoes or mix in some cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Add different combinations of fresh herbs in addition to the basil; think thyme, chives, oregano, parsley, or rosemary.
- How about throwing in a cup of fresh summer corn?
- Or, you could add a thin layer of basil pesto, olive tapenade, or caramelized onions.
- One last crazy thought, substitute my garlic-herb butter for the regular butter called for in the crust recipe to ramp up the flavor.
This dish is best served fresh the day you make it. I prefer it at room temperature, but it can also be eaten cold or warm.
Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. I do not recommend freezing them.
If you don’t have Ritz crackers, try substituting saltine crackers or cheese crackers instead.
Don’t skip the step of letting your tomato slices drain and make sure to remove as much moisture as possible by blotting them with paper towels. If not, your pie will be soggy.
Don’t have a food processor? Place the crackers in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to crush them into fine crumbs.
If you are using a regular pie crust, be sure to follow the directions to prebake it first and let it cool completely before adding the filling.
For the best results, let the finished pie cool for at least 35 minutes to give it time to set up a bit before you cut into it.
If you love tomatoes as I do, you also might want to check out these popular recipes: Cherry Tomato Pie, Green Tomato Pie, Fried Green Tomatoes, Baked Tomato Casserole, Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal Cheddar Biscuits, and Muffin Pan Tomato Tarts.
And, if you like Southern-Style recipes, I know you will love these favorites: Southern Potato Salad, Southern Pecan Praline Cake, Southern-Style Crab Cakes, Southern Field Peas, Traditional Southern Cornbread, and Southern Pimento Cheese Spread.
Intrigued? Check out, here is a link to all of my Southern Recipes.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it! Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Southern Tomato Pie Recipe
Tomato Pie Filling
- 4 tomatoes large, or 5-6 medium
- 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese 2 cups
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cracker Pie Crust Ingredients
- 1.5 cups crushed Ritz crackers about 45 crackers
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the pie crust add the crackers to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until they have broken down into fine crumbs.
- Add the melted butter and parmesan cheese and process until everything is combined. Pour this mixture into a nine-inch pie plate. Use your hands or the smooth bottom of a glass to press the mixture down evenly and up the sides of the pie plate.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- While the crust is baking, slice the tomatoes (no need to blanch them or peel them). Sprinkle with a little salt and let the slices drain on a paper towel for at least 20 minutes. Blot the tops of the tomatoes with a paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
- When the crust is cool, sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the bottom. Add a layer of sliced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of cheese and tomatoes and top with the rest of the grated cheese. Top with any remaining salt and pepper. (You should have three layers of cheese and two layers of tomatoes.)
- Mix the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and spread evenly over the top of the cheese using a knife or offset spatula.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the mixture is bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Let the pie cool for at least 35 minutes before slicing it.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe was originally published on June 1, 2017. It was republished on August 11, 2020, with expanded tips, suggestions, FAQs and directions, plus a “how-to” video and slight tweaks to the original recipe.