Instant Pot Stewed Tomatoes – Sweet and Sour Recipe

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These Instant Pot stewed tomatoes are garden-fresh and on the table in 30 minutes. Vine-ripened tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions are cooked in brown sugar and vinegar and then topped with fresh herbs. This recipe is what summer gardens were made for!

Instant Pot stewed tomatoes in decorative bowl, displayed with fork, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and blue kitchen towel

It’s July, which means one thing and one thing only—tomatoes! I had high hopes for my tomato garden this year, but our garden has had a rough run, so I haven’t had many fresh tomatoes.

However, that’s nothing a local farm can’t fix! Last weekend, we took a mini-road trip to Maple Hill, North Carolina, and purchased about 125 pounds of tomatoes.

And yes, that means there are buckets of Instant Pot sweet and sour stewed tomatoes in my future.

This is one of my all-time favorite summer recipes because it features garden-fresh produce and a few simple ingredients from the pantry. Then, it magically transforms into the most delicious summer dish ever.

Put away your stock pot and slow cooker because this easy recipe is made in an Instant Pot pressure cooker and is done and ready to devour in 30 minutes.

Quick, easy, and delicious…these are the best stewed tomatoes I’ve ever had! And who doesn’t love a simple Instant Pot recipe? These sweet and sour stewed tomatoes prove that scratch cooking can be simple, quick, and easy!

About This Recipe

This recipe is inspired by Vivian Howard’s Community Organizer tomatoes in her cookbook This Will Make It Taste Good (affiliate link). I added a touch of fresh basil and parsley for more garden freshness.

The most significant change is in the process. Rather than cooking it on the stove, I adapted it into an Instant Pot version. Pressure cooking speeds up the process and turns a 2-hour recipe into a 30-minute one.

Instant Pot insert with cooked, stewed tomatoes inside and text overlay that says, "Instant Pot sweet and sour stewed tomatoes"

Why You Will Love Instant Pot Stewed Tomatoes

  • Use up garden harvests – By mid-July, most gardens have gone wild. If you are wading through a sea of red tomatoes, this is a great recipe for using them up.
  • It’s good on EVERYTHING – These sweet and sour stewed tomatoes are delicious as a side or piled high and deep on just about anything. My favorite way to serve them is with white rice and sourdough fried chicken.
  • Easy to double or triple up – If you have a large Instant Pot, you can easily batch prepare this recipe.
Decorative bowl with cooked tomatoes and peppers, garnished with fresh basil

Tips for Making Instant Pot Stewed Tomatoes

  • Don’t worry about peeling the tomatoes (unless you want to) – Many stewed tomato recipes call for peeling the tomatoes. I don’t worry about it because the skins don’t bother me. But if you prefer to peel the tomatoes, boil them for about a minute, then plop them into an ice bath. The skins will slip right off. You can watch how to peel tomatoes on my canned tomatoes tutorial on YouTube.
  • Cook them down to your preferred consistency – Boil the stewed tomatoes longer if you want a thicker consistency. I let my sweet and sour stewed tomatoes cook down for about 10 minutes, but you can let them go longer.
  • Use what you have – Don’t get too wrapped up in precise measurements or ingredients. Any color bell pepper will work. Feel free to use a different vinegar (apple cider vinegar is a great choice). Skip the herbs if you don’t have them.
Two homegrown heirloom tomatoes with garlic, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs in the background

How To Serve Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Stewed Tomatoes

  • Soup – Toss some in a soup for added flavor. Swap the fire-roasted tomatoes in garden vegetable soup for sweet and sour stewed tomatoes. Or toss in a little stew meat or leftover pot roast for a hearty tomato soup.
  • Tomato toastSourdough toast is a perfect vessel for Instant Pot stewed tomatoes. Or add some on a grilled cheese sandwich (y’all know I love a grown-up grilled cheese!).
  • Dip – Warm some stewed tomatoes in a small bowl and dip mozzarella sticks or crostini.
  • Pizza – Use as a topping on your favorite pizza or transform it into a tomato sauce for a pizza base.
  • Add to your favorite meals: Toss some into just about any recipe, such as Instant Pot Hawaiian Pork and Gravy, Homemade Sloppy Joes, or Homemade Cheeseburger Helper.
  • Flatbread toppings – Add these Instant Pot stewed tomatoes on sourdough flatbreads.
  • Sauce – Use an immersion blender to turn this into a tangy tomato sauce.
Stewed tomatoes in a stainless steel pot

Tools You Will Need

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  • Instant Pot – This recipe is fast because it uses a pressure cooker. I use an Instant Pot, but any electric pressure cooker will work.
  • Knife – Grab a sharp knife for slicing. A tomato knife makes dicing the tomatoes much easier. I use a Cangshan tomato knife, and I love it!
  • Cutting board – Use a cutting board that can handle a sloppy, wet tomato mess. I prefer an end-grain cutting board.
  • Garlic press – A good garlic press makes life easier. I press the garlic right into the Instant Pot to keep it simple.
  • Spoon – Any large spoon for stirring will do.
Image of ingredients: brown sugar, basil, parsley, red wine vinegar, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and garlic

Ingredients

  • Butter – I use a dollop of butter to sauté the veggies and add richness. Olive oil is also a good option.
  • Onion – Yellow onions are a pantry staple for me. However, you can use any onion for this recipe.
  • Bell peppers – I opted green peppers because they grow abundantly in our garden and are more affordable at the grocery store. Green pepper is more bitter, so choose yellow, orange, or red for added sweetness.
  • Ripe Tomatoes – Use whatever ripe tomatoes you can get your hands on. Roma or plum tomatoes are good because they contain less water. Juicy tomatoes might need to cook down a little more at the end. You could also toss in a handful of cherry tomatoes if you have them.
  • Dark brown sugar – This Instant Pot stewed tomatoes recipe has a sweet and sour spin, so this is where the sweetness comes in. The added sugar creates a richer flavor than white sugar. Feel free to add more or less sugar to taste.
  • Red wine vinegar – Red wine vinegar adds a sour, tangy flavor. If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, use what you have.
  • Fresh basil – Basil adds freshness and even a hint of sweetness. I used freeze-dried basil from my garden, which is used in a 1:1 ratio. If you don’t have fresh or freeze-dried basil, use 2 teaspoons of regular dried basil.
  • Fresh parsley – Parsley highlights the other ingredients in the dish and adds an earthy flavor that balances the sweetness. If you don’t have fresh, substitute with 1 teaspoon of dried parsley.
  • Salt and pepper to taste – Always.
Decorative bowl filled with stewed tomatoes

How To Make Instant Pot Stewed Tomatoes

  1. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to sauté mode.
  2. Heat the butter in the Instant Pot. Then, add the onions and green peppers. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic (I like to use a garlic press to speed up the process) and cook just until aromatic, about 1 minute. Burned garlic turns bitter, so don’t overcook it!
  4. Pour in the tomatoes (including all their juice), brown sugar, and vinegar.
  5. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and change the setting to pressure cook. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  6. Switch the quick release to the venting position and open the Instant Pot.
  7. Return the Instant Pot to the saute function and bring the tomatoes to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to your liking, stirring frequently to prevent any burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  8. Stir in the fresh basil and parsley. Then, add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy every bite!

How To Store and Reheat Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container or in mason jars in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat leftovers on the stove over medium heat.

Fresh tomatoes, garlic, and brown sugar

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make Instant Pot Stewed Tomatoes with canned tomatoes?

Yes! Fresh tomatoes will definitely yield the best result. But canned tomatoes will work if that is what you have on hand.

How do I make stewed tomatoes thicker or thinner?

To thicken your stewed tomatoes, boil them longer so they can cook down more. If they cook down too much, add a little water, chicken broth, or beef broth to thin the sauce.

Is it safe to can Instant Pot stewed tomatoes?

No, this is not a tested recipe. I recommend canning only tested recipes from The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) or Ball Canning. You can learn about canning tomatoes on the NCHFP’s website. And Ball has a great library of canned tomato recipes.

What are the best types of tomatoes to use?

Any tomato will work! Beefsteak, heirloom, Roma, and San Marzano tomatoes (just to name a few) are good choices. I even like to add a few cherry tomatoes in the mix if I have them.

Paste tomatoes like Roma will not have as much liquid, so just keep that in mind when you cook them down.

More Recipes You’ll Love

If you tried this recipe and loved it, leave a comment or review!

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Stewed Tomatoes

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Stewed Tomatoes

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

These Instant Pot stewed tomatoes are garden-fresh and on the table in 30 minutes. Vine-ripened tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions are cooked in brown sugar and vinegar and then topped with fresh herbs. This recipe is what summer gardens were made for!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 10 medium tomatoes, cored and diced (about 8-10 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to sauté mode.
  2. Heat the butter in the Instant Pot. Then, add the onions and green peppers. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic (I like to use a garlic press to speed up the process) and cook just until aromatic, about 1 minute. Burned garlic turns bitter, so don't overcook it!
  4. Pour in the tomatoes (including all their juice), brown sugar, and vinegar.
  5. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and change the setting to pressure cook. Cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Use the quick release and open the Instant Pot.
  7. Return the Instant Pot to sauté and bring the tomatoes to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to your liking, stirring frequently.
  8. Stir in the fresh basil and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy every bite!

Notes

  • To make your stewed tomatoes thicker, boil them longer so they can cook down more. If they cooked down too much, add a little water or broth to thin the sauce.
  • Fresh tomatoes will definitely yield the best result. But canned tomatoes will work if that is what you have on hand.
  • Use whatever tomato you can get your hands on. Roma or plum tomatoes are good because they contain less water. Juicier varieties might need to cook down a little more at the end.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g

Nutrition is auto-calculated and may not reflect your final product.

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