This savory Southern Tomato Pie is made with summer-ripe tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and topped with a tasty cheese & mayo topping!

If you have lots of ripe tomatoes in your garden this year, be sure to also try our Pico de Gallo, Tomato Basil Bruschetta, or this wonderful Georgian Chicken Stew with Tomatoes & Herbs!

A slice of tomato pie on a plate.


The Best Tomato Pie Recipe

I wish I could hand you a slice of this savory southern tomato pie to enjoy while you read this post. The flaky crust encases thick slices of tomatoes, layers of  chopped basil leaves and green onions, and a cheesy topping made with freshly grated mozzarella and cheddar cheeses mixed with tangy mayo.

It might sound like a strange dish if you haven't tried it before, but Tomato pie is such a beloved dish in the South that it shows up on many lists of foods that are iconic or well known from the Southern states, which is why Southern tomato pie is the first recipe representing Alabama in a new series I am calling American Eats. This is where I plan to explore the USA through some of it's most popular regional foods, one state and one plate at a time.

An image of a slice of tomato pie, popular in Alabama and other southern states, with the rest of the cheesy southern tomato pie behind it.

American Eats: Favorite Foods from the 50 States

I have a bucket list goal that probably many of you have as well, or have at least thought about, to one day visit every state in the USA. I'm actually well on my way, since I was born in the Midwest (Nebraska), and have lived on both coasts (California and New Jersey), with moves to Idaho, Utah, and Missouri along the way and lots of roadtrips and other travel in between.

The unique perspective that comes with having lived in these different areas of the country has really influenced my cooking in a lot of ways and I had this idea that I could share some of the most well-known, iconic foods from each of the 50 states as a way of exploring America from the comfort of my kitchen, even if I haven't been able to travel there in person yet!

The goal is to share 3-5 of the most popular foods that are beloved by each state, starting with Alabama and ending with Wyoming. America is a delicious country, and I will be making and baking my way through some of America's favorite foods trying to knock off a couple of states each month.

This is what America eats, and it's going to take me a while to get through every state, but I'm super excited about this project and hope you will be excited to follow along and try some of these dishes too, even if they are new to you.

First up:  ALABAMA!

An image of a classic tomato basil pie in a buttery pie crust with vine ripe tomatoes and basil next to it.

What is Tomato Pie?

One of the best parts about summer eating are the loads of fresh homegrown tomatoes that ripen on the vine and have almost a natural sweetness to them. They are so juicy and flavorful all on their own, and I'm always looking for ways to enjoy them at their best, like in a grilled caprese panini, but I think this tomato pie might be my new go-to recipe for those first amazing tomatoes of the summer!

When I was researching the foods Alabama is known for, I kept coming across Tomato Pie. It's actually made throughout much of the South (like many dishes, you will find that they cross state-borders and are attributed to more than one state), but it seems like Alabamans have a particular love of this dish.

It's a lot like a savory tart, except deep-dish style since a classic tomato pie is made in a pie pan.

You could make an heirloom tomato pie using summer heirloom tomatoes, or just use Roma or Beefsteak tomatoes if that is what is growing in your garden. As long as they are fresh and flavorful, any variety of tomato will work.

We served this delicious cheese and tomato pie as a side with grilled chicken for dinner, but it would be great as a light lunch served with a salad on the side.

What makes Tomato Pie Southern?

No one really knows where this recipe originated. Some speculate it is a mash up of recipes being passed down using the abundance of summer tomatoes found in the South.

Now don’t confuse this with tomato pie which is more Italian style and cooked in a deep dish. Southern tomato pie uses good southern ingredients like peak-of-the-season tomatoes, good classic mayo, herbs, buttery pie crust, delicious cheese blend, that all come together for a perfect summer potluck meal.

An image of a cheese and tomato pie with one slice removed and set on a white plate next to summer-ripe tomatoes and fresh basil.

Ingredients needed for this recipe for Tomato Pie

  • Unbaked pie crust - this is the BEST pie crust and so easy!
  • Tomatoes - Nothing beats fresh garden tomatoes but Heirloom, roma, plum, or beefsteak tomatoes will be fine to use, especially if they are growing in your garden. As long as the tomatoes are fresh and flavorful, any variety will work.
  • Salt
  • Fresh Basil Leaves - I love keeping this pie easy and classic with just a handful of fresh basil leaves to give it a nice herby flavor.
  • Green onions - Really the onions could be optional (some wouldn’t dare leave it out) and you could use any onion really but I loved the combination of flavor with the green onions and tomatoes.
  • Minced garlic clove
  • Cheese - Grated mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese are the perfect combo for a cheesy ooey gooey layer.
  • Mayonnaise - To make a true Southern tomato pie, use Duke’s Mayo. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Duke’s mayo is not widely available nationwide so any type of real mayonnaise will work. We like Hellman's Best.
  • Fresh ground black pepper

How to make Southern Tomato Pie

  1. Use an unbaked pie crust to line a deep dish pie plate (affiliate link) You can make a pie crust from scratch or just use a store-bought one if that's easier for you, then par-bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. to help prevent against a soggy crust bottom once the tomatoes are added to it.
  2. Slice the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with a little salt to draw out excess juices.  After 10-15 minutes of draining on paper towel, blot the tomato slices with more paper towel to remove additional moisture, then they are ready to go into the pie without creating a puddle of water at the bottom that would result in a soggy crust.
An image of the ingredients for a tomato pie - pie crust, tomatoes, cheese, mayo, green onions, and basil.
  1. Alternate layers of sliced tomatoes with a mixture of chopped green onions, fresh basil leaves, and a little garlic.  Some recipes call for bacon or other herbs besides basil, but I think this simple, classic approach is perfectly delicious.
  2. Top with a mixture of shredded cheese and mayo.  Really, you could use just about any cheese - fontina, gruyere, or colby jack would all be good - but I stuck with half mozzarella and sharp cheddar.
  1. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.  The cheese will get all melted and start to brown on top and the crust edges should turn golden brown so you know it is done.

What to serve with Tomato Pie (Southern style)

Southern tomato pie can be served as the main dish or set right alongside broccoli salad at a summer potluck. If tomato pie is supporting a main dish, things like fried chicken, pulled pork, or shrimp would go great. You can also serve it with fresh green beans, a nice green salad, grilled corn on the cob, fettuccine alfredo, baked beans, fresh bread, and the list could go on! So many good things!

An image of a par-baked pie crust with layers of tomatoes, green onions, and basil, for a southern tomato pie.

How to store Southern Tomato Pie

Like most pies, this one is best served the same day. If it sits too long the crust can get a bit soggy. You can store the leftovers in the fridge covered with tin foil or plastic wrap for up to three days. Just remember the longer it sits, the soggier it will get.

How long is tomato pie good for?

This southern tomato pie is best when served the same day. Similar to other pies, the longer it sits the soggier the crust can get. I would recommend eating this pie the day it is served or storing it no longer than three days.

Can you freeze tomato pie?

Personally, I would not recommend freezing this pie. The tomatoes can get mushy and the mayo mixture can start to “break” apart. The crust will also get soggy once thawed. Some pies freeze great, this one does not.

Tomato Pie Recipe Southern FAQs

What's the difference between pizza and tomato pie?

When you search for tomato pie, most often the results will be Italian tomato pie or pizza pie. There are so many different variations of tomato pie but traditionally it’s baked on soft, crusty, thick focaccia bread in a square pan and topped with a tomato sauce seasoned with Italian herbs. Now Southern tomato pie is completely different. In contrast, it’s baked in a pie shell with layers of tomatoes and onions topped with a mayo, cheese layer. So good!

What's another name for tomato pie?

A tomato pie by any other name would taste just as delicious but you could get away with calling this a savory tomato tart, but this dish is not to be confused with pizzas sometimes referred to as Italian tomato pie farther north in states like Philadelphia or New Jersey.

A cheesy slice of tomato pie on a white plate with forks.

More tomato recipes

I hope you will join me on this culinary tour of the USA. Leave a comment below with a shout-out to your home state and let me know if you have suggestions for regional dishes you think I should cover!

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

Stay in the know

Tomato Pie Recipe (Southern Style)

4.84 from 183 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
This savory Southern Tomato Pie is made with summer-ripe tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and topped with a tasty cheese & mayo topping!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 4-5 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels.  Slice the tomatoes and lay on the paper towels in a single layer, then sprinkle with the salt to draw out the tomato juices.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then use fresh paper towels to pat-dry the tomatoes and remove move of the excess juice so the pie doesn't turn out soggy.
  • Roll out pie crust and use it to line a pie plate.  Crimp the edges and poke holes in the bottom of the crust using the tines of a fork.  Par-bake the crust for 10 minutes.  Since this won't bake all the way before being filled, it shouldn't shrink too badly, so there is no need for pie weights in my experience.
  • While the crust bakes, combine the basil, green onion, and garlic in a bowl and stir.  In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and season with freshly ground black pepper.  Stir to combine.
  • When the pie crust has baked for 10 minutes, layer half of the tomatoes on the bottom of the crust, then sprinkle with half of the basil-onion mixture.  Layer the remaining tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the remaining basil-onion mixture.  Spread the cheese mixture over the top of the pie.
  • Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, then return the pie to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese begins to get lightly brown on top.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve warm.

Video

Notes

Any tomatoes will work, but depending on the size you may need more or fewer tomatoes.  

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 552mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 681IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa • KansasKentuckyLouisiana • MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkOregonPuerto RicoSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTexasUtahWisconsin

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Question:  Can this pie be baked and reheated later in the day in the microwave?  I'm taking it to someone's house and would love to have the finished product when I arrive.  Thanks!

    1. It's really best fresh, right out of the oven, but if you are going to make it in advance and reheat, I would recommend reheating in the oven rather than the microwave. Just reheat at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until hot all the way through.

  2. What do you think about deseeding the tomatoes; it would reduce the moisture. You might have to increase the tomato, but that’s a good thing! 

  3. Wonderful pie!! I have tried several cheese combinations and they all work—!  Going to attempt transport to Ks. to my Mom’s as think she would also like it—-it reheats nicely in the microwave.  You are a NE girl—I am by re-location!!  Go SKERS!!   (Not necessarily based on last nights game—!)

  4. I'm a native to Alabama, I love tomatoes and I love pies but I have never had or even heard of a tomato pie before. I'm wondering where in Alabama this recipe came from. It looks delicious. I'll have to give it a try next summer when the tomatoes are in season.

  5. My first encounter with a tomato pie was in the summer of 2009 in Kentucky from a dear friend of my mother. She shared it with my siblings and me at my mother's repast. It was unheard of, yet it was so comforting at a time when we felt our world was spiraling out of control. It was delicious and quickly became something we ate with great pleasure. The love that was extended to us through that pie was something we desperately needed to help us heal from a devastating loss. I searched for that recipe for a very long time. Years even. I found it last summer 10 years later and made it many times last year. I have not made it yet this year but look forward to doing so this summer at first opportunity. Thank you for sharing your treasured find. The Tomato Pie will always have a special place in my heart. Eager to try your recipe. Much admiration from Tennessee.

    1. Food has an amazing way of helping us remember, cope, and heal. Thank you for sharing your story about this recipe! It absolutely made my day!

    1. Technically, yes, but it wouldn't slice out very well since the crust gives the structure to hold the tomatoes.

  6. Never met a bad tomato pie. I’m a real bacon pieces guy with Sharp white Cheddar, and mozzarella man. Always use real mayo. No lite. No salad dressing. 
    My wife took slices in a baking dish with that topping. Same great dish but much smaller quantity. 

  7. Baked this tomato pie for dinner last night it was “fabulous”I’ll be baking it over and over it’s simple and something you can prepare on Sunday and eat during the week with baked chicken breast and fish on Friday I love it. Thanks

  8. JUST this with some fresh tomatoes from the garden. Wow! Just wow!  Very, very good. We ate over half of it for lunch. Was a tiny bit runny but it was still hot (waited over 10 minutes) and I was able to keep the slices on a spatula. We went to a restaurant a couple of weeks that this signature dish but had run out for the night. Ugh! Right. . 
    So this has been on our mind since. Got those tomatoes and decided to make it. To be truthful, I didn’t think I would like it. I thought the basil would be way to overpowering. The mayo really mellowed it out. In fact, next time I might even add some. Lol. WIll make again and again. 

  9. We love tomato pie and this looks amazing! I'm definitely making this as soon as my garden gets a few more tomatoes.

  10. how long can I leave it out on counter after cooking?   I would thing all day would be ok.  My house is cool.  

  11. My DH who is quite picky, actually lived this recipe! He said it tastes like pizza. I added caramelized onions between the layers of tomatoes and it added a beautiful hint of sweetness and depth of flavor. It was gone in no time! I will definitely make this again.

  12. Just made the ATP..tasty!!..pretty soggy in bottom..will make again with adjustments..Single person household so will do crustless and use ramikins for individual servings (leftovers keep better w/o crust)..serve with hard toast/bread/crackers...basil a little too strong.

  13. We love tomato pie and this looks fabulous! Bookmarking this I will definitely make this. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I have been wanting to try Tomatoe Pie. I looked it up and yours is the one I clicked on. So excited I did, because now I will be trying your other State recipes. My tomatoes are almost ready. Can't wait. BTW... I'm from Ohio. I see you haven't posted from here yet. We love us some BBQ here.😁

    1. Thank you, Phyllis! I'm already looking forward to Ohio and makin Cincinnati Chili and Buckeyes! If you have other recommendations, I'm all ears! 🙂 Enjoy those summer tomatoes!

  15. I made the Alabama Tomato Pie yesterday - excellent!! One question, though: is there a way to have it slice as pictured above? Mine did not slice nicely and rather fell apart. Hoping for a suggestion. Thanks!

    1. It's not easy to get really clean slices of this pie but my best suggestions are to really, really drain the tomatoes well with the salt and paper towel approach. My other suggestion is to let the pie cool longer before slicing. In fact, if you want REALLY clean slices, let the pie cool completely then chill in the fridge. Reheat in the oven the next day until warm, THEN slice it.

  16. Hi! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It is absolutely a favorite here in our house. Right now I am drowning in tomatoes from our garden. I was wondering if I could make this recipe ahead of time and then freeze it? Would love to have something like this in winter when it’s gloomy.  Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad you love this as much as we do! That's such a great question about freezing it, but I have never tried that approach either. I have my doubts about how well it would work though - I imagine no matter what you tried the pie would be pretty soggy.

  17. 5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE this recipe and have several times. What a great use of garden tomatoes. Thank you so much for sharing! It is a home run in my home, for sure!

  18. 5 stars
    This is delicious but recommend using a deep dish pie plate. Cheese bubbled out all over oven. I doubled the garlic and used my very ripe tomatoes and was still soupy even though i used 20 paper towels to soak up the juice😲😲🤷‍♀️

  19. Absolutely wonderful! My 'not fussy about tomatoes' Hubby loved it, wants me to make it again tomorrow! We have a garden full of tomatoes so I'm fine with that...and tomato bread! I didn't change a thing, unusual for me, but used a purchased shell for lunch convenience. Thank you for an amazing recipe!

  20. Hi Your Alabama tomatoe pie is just insane ,it is a family favourite ,I made it again today as my garden is in full bloom….I used San marzano and heirloom tomatoes with fresh green onions and basil…..thank you for sharing your amazing talent with the world

    1. It can be either. I think it's perfect for lunch with a side salad, but when we serve it for dinner we usually serve it as a side with some grilled chicken.

  21. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! No mention of tomato slice thickness was given but thinner seemed better. Just yummy and a fun dinner entree. Glad I made it!

  22. Would there be a substitute for mayo? I really want to make this mother's day but my mom doesn't like mayo.

    1. Hmm yes I am sure you can substitute mayo for something else! I have seen versions with pesto, cream cheese, adding different types of cheese, a blend of goat cheese and cream cheese (which actually sounds amazing). So yes I think you could totally make this without mayo!

  23. This was delicious. I’m from Alabama and like another commentator, I or no one else I know, has ever heard of tomato pie. Then I moved to TN and now live in GA. Again, no one has heard of this. Must be a relatively new “thing” and someone called it southern but I’m glad they did.

    1. 5 stars
      I’m a 55 year old lifelong Alabamian and I grew up eating this pie along with all my friends and family. This recipe is a staple with one exception - I’ve always baked my tomatoes while pre-baking the crust. This step solves the soggy crust issue and provides clean, beautiful slices.

  24. This was delicious, but very decadent. Next time I’d either halve the amount of Mayo or maybe do a 50/50 split with Greek yogurt (or maybe both). I did add Ritz crackers to the bottom of the pie crust to soak up some of the juices, as well as a smidge of of pepper, garlic pepper and onion powder to the Mayo mixture. Thanks for a new family favorite way to enjoy our delicious southern tomatoes!

  25. 5 stars
    Great combination of what I've grown up with, however a true southerner would have polished their silver before taking the photo 😉

    1. Lol, I love this comment so much. It's true. I was trying to be artistic and use purposefully old vintage silverware for their "patina". Sometimes it's hard photographing polished silverware because there are reflections of the camera in it!

  26. 4 stars
    First, the crust did shrink, it has so much fat in it. And I used home grown juicy tomatoes, so there was too much liquid even with a half hour draining beforehand. But the topping with the basil and tomatoes has an excellent flavor. We just had to eat it with a spoon. Next time I will use my old crust recipe, and use fewer tomatoes.

    1. Yes sometimes I have to make adjustments depending on the tomatoes and if you have a favorite crust recipe, use the one you like! I will say there is nothing better than a homegrown juicy tomato! For the pie crust, If you do find it shrinking you can use pie weights. I also make sure the dough is still pretty chilled when I cook it. It tends to shrink more if it has warmed up too much before baking.

  27. I have tried several tomato pie recipes, but this one beat the band in preparation because: I did not have to weight the piecrust before I precooked it; I didn’t have to peel the tomatoes; and I could combine the cheeses and Mayo rather than make layers. I also loved the addition of green onions and julienned basil leaves between the tomato layers.

    But the test is in the eating. I could not attend the party, but a week later I am getting…not only compliments…….but RAVE reviews about this recipe! I have a feeling that I will be pressured to bring this pie whenever a covered dish event occurs, which is monthly………but I will caution that summer tomatoes are absolutely necessary for the pie to turn out the way it did last weekend!

    1. Oh wow! I am so glad everyone enjoyed the recipe! You must have made one amazing tomato pie! Way to go! And yes, nothing beats summer garden tomatoes! Now I want some tomato pie!

  28. I made this last night. Used Blue Plate mayonnaise because it is my favorite. I used home grown tomatoes which may have been a little juicier than need be. I did all the things to dry them but the pie was still a tad soggy. It was delicious, though, and I will make again. My daughter wants the recipe.

  29. I make this pie or should I say several of these each year with my home grown tomatoes it’s absolutely delicious everyone loves them. Great way to use up your excess besides making relish