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Tomato Aspic

Old fashioned Tomato Aspic with fresh tomatoes, celery, and parsley in gelatin. Serve your guests this most classic of recipes for a real treat.

Okay, go ahead and call me old-fashioned. I can take it. Really.

A serving of tomato aspic with a dollop of mayonnaise on top.

Yes, I’m going way back in time today with this recipe for Tomato Aspic. It’s one of those classic recipes that you rarely see anymore, but one which I wish more people would serve.

I remember many, many ladies’ luncheons, bridal showers, and other occasions over the years where Tomato Aspic was an important part of the menu. It was served as either a side dish salad or as the first course and usually atop a few butter lettuce leaves. And always with a tiny dollop of mayonnaise. Always.

Some cooks make aspic with tomato juice, but I’ve always liked this recipe using halved tomatoes that keep their shape in the finished dish. I most often mold the aspic in a loaf pan because I typically serve it in little squares, but it’s also pretty in a ring mold and served with the center filled with chicken salad.

It’s also a nice touch to make a flavored mayonnaise for the garnish. Aioli is great with tomato aspic. As is a shrimp-flavored mayo or just a simple lemon and herb mayonnaise. The aspic would also be very pretty with a variety of heirloom tomatoes of different colors.

Ingredient Notes

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  • Ripe Tomatoes – You’ll need tomatoes that are “dead ripe” for this recipe. That means tomatoes that are so ripe you’re afraid they’ll go bad soon if you don’t use them 😉.
  • Gelatin – Plain, unflavored gelatin such as Knox brand.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – Just a tiny bit of Worcestershire brings out the ripe tomato flavors.
  • Fresh Parsley and Celery Leaves – The delicate herby flavors are perfect with tomatoes.

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Want a Truly Old Fashioned Aspic? You’ll Need Time and Patience

I wish I had the time (and the inclination) to make a tomato aspic the really old-fashioned way using lovely beef bones that are roasted and then slow-cooked to make a gorgeous, delicious gelee. Ripe tomatoes and finely chopped aromatic vegetables are placed in the gelee and chilled in a mold. I’ve only had the really old-fashioned aspic a few times and it is truly luscious.

Maybe when I retire (for the second time!) I can spend two days making tomato aspic, but for now I’ll use this recipe with its gelatin method. It’s very good, too.

How to Make Tomato Aspic

  1. You’ll need 4 or 5 very ripe, juicy tomatoes. Peel and core the tomatoes and cut them in half.
  2. Put the tomatoes in a measuring cup and press down firmly so that the tomatoes fill all the air spaces in the cup. You want about two cups of halved tomatoes.
  3. Spoon out about two tablespoons of the tomato juice into a small bowl. Add the gelatin and mix it well with the juice.
  4. Put about half of the tomatoes along with the gelatin into a medium saucepan and bring it just to a boil, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, parsley, and celery leaves. Stir to combine well.
Aspic mixture in a loaf pan.
  1. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan or small mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Finished aspic ready to cut into squares.
  1. To serve, dip the mold into hot tap water for just 3 or 4 seconds. Invert the aspic onto a serving dish or cutting board. Serve the aspic sliced into about 2-inch squares with a scant teaspoon of mayonnaise as garnish.
A serving of tomato aspic with a dollop of mayonnaise on top.
Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

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A serving of tomato aspic with a dollop of mayonnaise on top.

Tomato Aspic

Old fashioned Tomato Aspic with fresh tomatoes, celery, and parsley in gelatin. Serve your guests this most classic of recipes for a real treat.
5 from 9 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Appetizers, Side Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 28kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 5 very ripe medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh celery leaves
  • 8 teaspoon mayonnaise

Instructions

  • Peel and core the tomatoes.
  • Cut them in half and press them into a measuring cup. You should have two cups of firmly packed tomatoes with their juice.
  • Spoon out about two tablespoons of the tomato juice into a small bowl. Add the gelatin and mix it well with the juice.
  • Put half the tomatoes and the gelatin into a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, parsley and celery leaves. Stir to combine well.
  • Pour into a loaf pan or small mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • Serve the aspic sliced with a scant teaspoon of mayonnaise as garnish.

Notes

  • Store, closely covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Serve with a tiny dollop of plain mayonnaise of aioli.

Nutrition Information

Calories 28kcal | Carbohydrates 4g | Protein 2g | Fat 1g | Saturated Fat 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Monounsaturated Fat 1g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 1mg | Sodium 188mg | Potassium 203mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 2g | Vitamin A 745IU | Vitamin C 12mg | Calcium 12mg | Iron 1mg

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 healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on August 5, 2011. It has been updated with additional information.

5 from 9 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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46 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is divine!! Thank you for posting it, I’m curious if you have a recipe you could share for the “truly old fashioned” tomato aspic using the beef bones instead of box gelatin? I LOVE recreating long-cook recipes and would love to try it. I’ve google searched and have not come up any recipes that use that method. If you have one to share I would be so grateful. Thank you again for your wonderful recipes :)

    1. Hi Traci – I’m so glad you enjoyed the tomato aspic! The true long cooking one is a recipe that I still have never had the time to create, but hopefully one day soon!! I’m almost certain I saw Julia Child demonstrate it years ago, so her recipes might be a place to start looking.

  2. I have a recipe for Shrimp Paste which is pressed into molds and refrigerated. The recipe suggests serving it with tomato salad. I got to thinking a little mold of shrimp paste on top of a serving of tomato aspic might be a tasty combination. Have not had tomato aspic for years I had to look around for a recipe and found yours. I especially like the idea of tomato solids in it instead of everything being strained. I noticed your comments about the old fashioned way of preparation using beef bones and while I know this would not be the same I wondered if a bit of Better than Beef Bouillon would bring it a little closer to your fond memories of that method? I really look forward to making this aspic.

  3. Linda Story says:

    5 stars
    It is truly delicious. It reminds me of my childhood.

  4. Finn Gannon says:

    I ate tomato aspic for the first time today at a birthday brunch prepared by a dear friend and an excellent cook. The recipe was her grandmother’s, and my friend is 89 this week, so it is an old recipe. Delicious. She served it on butter lettuce with a tiny dollop of homemade mayonnaise. Looking for recipes to see if I can give it a try in my own kitchen.

    1. I hope this recipe comes close to being as good as your friend’s, Finn. It’s a really old one, too. Tomato aspic is such a great, classic recipe and people don’t make it very often these days.

  5. I’m having a ladies luncheon for my garden club meeting. I just recently received a copy of a dear friend’s recipe for tomato aspic. She and I taught school together. She was also the first president of this garden club some 60 years ago. I am honoring her memory by serving tomato aspic. Now I need a menu to go with it. Do you have suggestions?
    I though about a pasta salad, vegetable sandwiches(grated carrot, onion, pecans and cream cheese), lemon muffins, (or cheese straws) and strawberry or homemade coconut cake.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Your menu sounds delicious, Shirley. I often serve aspic along with chicken salad, deviled eggs, and a tossed green salad.

  6. Prudence Mathews says:

    I love Tomato Aspic. It was always served at our home on special occasions. This was in my grandmother’s generation. I served it at a Bridal Luncheon. Of course, the young ladies didn’t know what it was! It was served cut into a square on several lettuce leaves with a dollop of mayonnaise.
    My children still call it “Tomato Jello” and have never given it a chance.
    Our recipe calls for the contents to be strained. I pour it into a flat pyrex dish and then cut it into squares to serve.
    Thanks for posting your recipe. It puts me in the mood to make some soon!

  7. I have these beautiful little molds, hold about 1/2 cup. My question: how is best way to grease molds? I have my mother in law’s recipe. Am making 100 tomato aspic molds for my grandson’s wedding rehearsal supper..

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’d probably try spraying them with cooking spray – like Pam.

  8. KC from Cayce says:

    I made this delicious recipe for Christmas and a couple of times since. Instead of mayonnaise, I mixed together cream cheese and sour cream. WOW!

  9. Showed this to my daughter (13 yrs old). She laughed and said, “It’s a jellied Bloody Mary!” I had to agree with her, laughing all the while. This is a great basic Aspic recipe. Makes me want to make up some sinfully rich shrimp salad (maybe lobster, if I feel flush), and serve it with a scoop of the seafood salad on top. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re right, Dawn, this aspic would be wonderful served with a seafood salad! It’s a classic recipe that I always enjoy making in warm weather.

  10. Lana! It’s Lana. :)

    My mother used to make tomato-juice based aspic every Thanksgiving and I loved it as a child. I’ve made it a few times as an adult, but I confess it’s never really caught on with my 20-something-aged friends. I’m happy to see a version using whole tomatoes in a smaller size that I could enjoy myself over a few days. The mayo topper sounds like a win too! I am enjoying pouring over your recipes and website.

    Cheers!
    Lana in Seattle

  11. Lavonne Gould says:

    Is there anywhere I can buy aspic? I used to get it from the grocery store, but can’t find it anymore. It came in a can. Thank you.

    1. Sorry, but I don’t know. I’ve never purchased aspic in a can – I just make it from this recipe.

  12. Tom from Florida: says:

    Any information on origional tomato aspic and where to purchase the Royal tomato aspic type gelatin, will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  13. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective says:

    Truth be told, I’ve never made an aspic. Gelatin sort of weirds me out, BUT upon your recommendation, I’ll give it a try. :)

  14. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    So fun! I haven’t made this since culinary school but the tomatoes are really ripening so maybe it’s time to go for it again.

  15. Thanks for this recipe, can’t wait to try it out.

  16. Tres Delicious says:

    Never heard of an aspic but I would definitely go with this tomatoes brilliantly prepared.

  17. well I’ll be…. this is such a classic, a real ringer… the real deal in other words… I am not a big fan of tomato aspic as some folks serve it up, all shaped in cute little molds with tart, tangy overtones in a base of beef bullion… but reads and looks to be the best aspic I have seen… got get to making it soon… gonna tell everyone my Georgian cousin gave me the recipe…

  18. claudia lamascolo says:

    This is truly elegant what a amazing looking aspic, just perfectly done. I love these flavors in this!

  19. Oh my, you’re so going to shoot me, but I cannot abide tomato aspic. When I was young, my Mother used to make tomato aspic & other gastly veggie molds a lot, as my Father loved them. We, my brother & I who disliked them, had to eat them as there was no such thing as not eating what was put in front of you.
    If we dared to refuse eating the food on our plates, my Fathers rule was we had to sit at the table (sometimes for hours) until we finally gave in and ate what was now, a horrid looking mess.
    That’s my memory of tomato aspic & any other jellied veggie dish. *shudder!*
    But, even though I’m not a fan, I bet you’ll have many readers who will be, after trying your recipe!

    1. Well, Jocelyn – “to each his own” as they say.

      1. Oh I have a feeling you might have taken my post the wrong way Lana. I truly didn’t mean to offend. I saw your aspic and it brought back an old memory I’d not thought about in years. Hence my explanation of my mothers obsession with aspic. I do apologize if what I said upset you.

        1. Not at all, Jocelyn. Not everyone is going to like every recipe. No problem!

  20. I have an old church recipe book w/ something similar to this in it. That recipe calls for a can of tomato soup *gag* but THIS version looks delightful! :D

    1. Brenda – Yes, during the mid-century timeframe tomato aspic got a really bad name from the use of tomato soup or vegetable juice instead of nice ripe, juicy tomatoes. I much prefer this recipe – it’s a lot older than the tomato soup/veggie juice versions :-)

      1. it’s nice to have your pics as my mental image when I come across that recipe next time…Thanks for sharing!

  21. Alice Beth says:

    while searching the web for a particular cake pan for my sister, I found the site fantes….oh my, I could waste so much time and money there, but they have ……aspic cutters…..never heard of them before, though I have eaten my share of tomato aspic.

    1. That’s a really great site, Alice Beth. I had not seen it before so thanks for letting me know about it.

  22. Lucy@acookandherbooks says:

    This is old-fashioned in the best way! When we cleaned out my grandmother’s house after she passed away, I got the aspic molds. Tiny tin molds held together with a green rubber band. I’ve never made aspic – you’ve inspired me to get out the molds and try!

    1. Aspic molds are one of the few kitchen things that I don’t have, Lucy. I’ve seen them many times in antique stores but never brought them home with me. Maybe I’ll pick up a set next time.

  23. Lizzie in LA says:

    My Mom used to make something very similar to this. She would now be 104, so I guess it’s really old fashioned. But then again so am I. Thank you so very much for this memory-provoking recipe. You’ve got to season the mayo!!

    1. Hi Lizzie. I did suggest several different versions of seasoned mayonnaise that you could use. However, the classic presentation is with a very good, usually homemade, plain mayo.

  24. This is really lovely! Guess I’m in the old fashion club too! Happy weekend to you!

    1. Thanks, Kathleen. A great weekend to you, too.

  25. Mari @ Mari's Cakes says:

    It is a beautiful recipe, it is new to me. I am glad I visited your blog today.

    Have a great weekend ;)

    1. Hi Mari – I’m glad I could share something new with you. I’ve visited your beautiful blog, too, and found so many wonderful recipes there! I’ll be trying some soon.

  26. sippitysup says:

    Call me old fashioned too. That is so beautiful. GREG

    1. Thanks, Greg. Aspic does always look so pretty on the plate, doesn’t it?