Recipes » Salad Recipes » Southern Tomato Cracker Salad

Southern Tomato Cracker Salad

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5 from 2 votes
If you like a southern tomato sandwich, then you'll fall head over heels for this 15-minute Southern Tomato Cracker Salad recipe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
A serving of tomato cracker salad on a white plate.

If you enjoy the flavors of the classic southern tomato sandwich, then you’ll fall head over heels for this Southern Tomato Cracker Salad recipe! It takes 15 minutes from start to finish and there’s no cooking at all. Perfect for hot summer days when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

There’s not much better in the middle of summer than a classic tomato sandwich. Two pieces of white bread slathered with mayonnaise and topped with salted and peppered tomato slices. Yum!

A serving of tomato cracker salad on a white plate.

Well, if you’re a fan of tomato sandwiches, then you’ll love their next of kin, the Southern Tomato Cracker Salad! It takes the same flavor profile and transforms it into a crunchy, creamy salad that’s great for family dinners or entertaining.

This combination of ripe tomatoes, creamy mayonnaise, and saltine crackers is a great side dish to serve with burgers, grilled chicken, or steaks. It’s a southern summer classic recipe that has been around for decades.

A serving of tomato cracker salad on a white plate.

Why We Love This Recipe


  • It’s a great way to use fresh summer tomatoes!
  • Tastes like a tomato sandwich in a bowl.
  • It’s one of those great old southern heritage recipes that people still enjoy.

About the Ingredients


Ingredients needed to make cracker salad.

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  • Ripe Fresh TomatoesLook for medium sized tomatoes that are completely ripe. They should be very bright in color but with no bruising or soft spots. I often use Romas for this recipe because they’re less “juicy” than other varieties. Heirloom tomato varieties make a really beautiful salad but they’re more expensive unless you grow them yourself.
  • MayonnaiseHomemade mayonnaise is always best but, of course, most of us purchase it. I recommend Duke’s brand in the south and Hellman’s if you don’t have access to Duke’s.
  • ShallotI love the flavor of shallots in this recipe. They’re like a mild, sweet onion with a hint of garlic. However, they can be a bit pricey so feel free to substitute with red onion if you like.
  • Saltine CrackersYou’ll need one “sleeve” (that’s about 40) of plain old Nabisco saltines. No need to try to be fancy with this recipe.
  • Chives Cut the chives very finely. You can also substitute very finely chopped green onions.
  • Kosher Salt and Black PepperYou won’t need much salt because of the crackers. I like quite a bit of ground black pepper for this.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Southern Tomato Cracker Salad


Prepare the Tomatoes

Tomatoes being prepared for the salad on a wooden board.
STEP 1-2.
  1. Start by removing the core (or stem end) of the tomatoes and then cut each in half through the middle or “waist.” 
  2. Working over a medium bowl or into the sink, press each tomato half gently to get rid of most of the seeds and juice.

TIP:  You don’t have to remove everything, but try to extract most of the juice to keep the salad from being soggy. It also helps to leave the tomato halves to drain with the cut side down on a paper towel for a few minutes.

  1. Dice the tomatoes. Place the diced tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Remove a few tablespoons of diced tomatoes for garnish and set them aside.
  2. Into the bowl with the diced tomatoes, add the minced shallot, half of the chives, black pepper, and mayonnaise. Fold together gently to combine.

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Crumble the Crackers and Mix the Salad

  1. Crumble the crackers creating mostly large pieces for the best texture.

TIP: Notice the size of the cracker pieces in the photo? You want them to be fairly large pieces. If you crumble them too small the whole salad will turn out mushy. That’s not what you want :-) 

  1. Add the broken saltine crackers to the bowl with the tomato mixture and fold gently to combine.
  2. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Garnish and Serve

Garnish added to top of cracker salad.
STEP 8.
  1. Garnish with the reserved tomatoes and remaining chives.
  2. Serve immediately.

For best taste and texture, this salad should be mixed and served immediately. 

A serving of tomato cracker salad on a white plate.

Suggestions/Variations


  • Some cooks include a few chopped, hard boiled eggs in the recipe.
  • You can easily substitute the shallot and chives with finely diced green onions if you like.
  • Use halved cherry tomatoes.

FAQs and Tips


Can I make cracker salad ahead of time?

Because this salad wilts and becomes soggy pretty quickly, it’s best when eaten within minutes of being made. You can, however, prepare all the ingredients ahead of time and combine them when you’re ready to serve.

How do I store leftover tomato cracker salad?

It’s best to make the quantity of salad that you think you’ll need for one meal. Leftovers simply don’t keep well.

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Recipe

A serving of tomato cracker salad on a white plate.

Southern Tomato Cracker Salad

If you like a southern tomato sandwich, then you'll fall head over heels for this 15-minute Southern Tomato Cracker Salad recipe!
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 shallot finely minced
  • 40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Start by removing the core, or stem end) of the tomatoes and then cut each in half through the middle or “waist.”
  • Working over a medium bowl or into the sink, press each tomato half gently to get rid of most of the seeds and juice.
  • Dice the tomatoes. Place the diced tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Remove a few tablespoons of diced tomatoes for garnish and set them aside.
  • Into the bowl with the diced tomatoes, add the minced shallot, half of the chives, black pepper, and mayonnaise. Fold together gently to combine.
  • Crumble the crackers creating mostly large pieces for the best texture.
  • Add the broken saltine crackers to the bowl with the tomato mixture and fold gently to combine.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Garnish with the reserved tomatoes and remaining chives.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

This salad is best mixed and served immediately. Leftovers do not store well.
When preparing the tomatoes, try to extract most of the juice to keep the salad from being soggy. It also helps to leave the tomato halves to drain with the cut side down on a paper towel for a few minutes.
Make sure that the pieces of crumbled crackers are fairly large to keep the best texture in the salad. Crumbling them too small will result in a mushy salad.
Look for medium sized tomatoes that are completely ripe. They should be very bright in color but with no bruising or soft spots. I often use Romas for this recipe because they’re less “juicy” than other varieties. Heirloom tomato varieties make a beautiful salad but are more expensive.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 750mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 873IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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