How to Cut Designs Out of Tomatoes

Updated April 17, 2017

Decorating a dinner plate with carved fruits or vegetables adds an element of creativity and elegance to any dish. Cutting designs into tomatoes is simple way to add that touch of elegance and impress dinner guests, friends and family. The traditional Thai-style tomato rose, the tomato goldfish and the ladybird tomato are some of the simplest culinary decorations used by chefs of all skills levels. Explore your culinary creativity: transform an ordinary tomato into an exquisite decoration.

Choose a plump, round red tomato from the grocery store or market.

Insert the pointed end of the knife into the top of the tomato about half an inch from the centre. Cut horizontally into the top of the tomato stopping just before the entire top is removed (to form a flap).

Cut around the circumference of the tomato from one end of the flap keeping the knife as close to the skin as possible. Gently turn the tomato in your hand as you cut the skin off in a single strip.

Cut the skin off of the tomato once you reach the bottom. You are now left with the skin of the tomato in a single spiral piece.

Hold the small end of the spiral and curl it toward the large end piece.

Curl the skin completely and adjust to form the tomato rose.

Hold the tomato vertically as you slice it half lengthwise with a sharp knife.

Cut the skin off of the tomato in three strips staying as close to the skin as possible. Cut one strip down the middle and two on the sides leaving them slightly attached on the back of the tomato.

Fold the three strips to make them look like goldfish fins. Cut small V-shapes into the ends of each strip if desired.

Cut three small round slices of thin carrot. Place two of the slices on the sides of the tomato for eyes and one on the bottom centre for the mouth.

Cut one large round slice of thick carrot. Cut the slice in half placing one slice on each side of the tomato to look like goldfish fins.

Cut off one third of a plump round tomato using a sharp knife.

Cut thin slices into third of the tomato without cutting the slices completely off. The end of the tomato should now have a flap. Cut a triangular shaped wedge from the slices underneath the flap.

Cut a medium sized slice from the remaining 2/3 of the tomato. Cut off the top third of the slice. This will be the head of the ladybird.

Cut the skin off in two thin strips from the remaining piece of the slice. Arrange the two thin strips on the top third piece from Step 3 to look like antenna (half moon shapes).

Place the sliced tomato piece from Step 2 on top of ladybird head and fan out the slices to look like legs.


Firm round tomatoes are easier to cut and hold the shape of the rose and ladybird better than ripe ones. Tomato roses are ideal for salads or side dishes. Soak tomatoes in a lime juice and water mixture to prevent them from browning. Use a knife with a sharp pointed end for best results.


Use a sharp knife and cut slowly and gently to avoid injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Tomato
  • Thin carrot
  • Thick carrot
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About the Author

Based in Colorado, Gisela Chavez has been writing and editing since 2004. Her editorial experience ranges from editing technical documents to editing for “The Bloomsbury Review.” She earned a professional writing certificate from the University of Colorado, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish.