What Are San Marzano Tomatoes + What Does DOP Certified Mean?

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Playing Why Does Rach Like DOP San Marzano Tomatoes For Cooking? | Q & Ray + J

Canned tomatoes are a pantry staple, perfect for use in pizza sauce, pasta and soup recipes.

And you may have noticed that Rachael often calls for canned Italian tomatoes in her recipes, or more specifically, DOP San Marzano tomatoes. So, what are San Marzano tomatoes and what does DOP mean? Rach breaks it down, but it's not as complicated as it sounds. Basically, it's about making sure you actually get what you pay for!

DOP stands for the Italian Denominazione d' Origine Protetta, which roughly translates to "protected designation of origin" in English. 

"That just means that it went through the controls of that region of Italy," Rach explains. "All that DOP means is it went through the regulations and the Italian government says, 'These are authentic Italian tomatoes.' There's nothing wrong with buying our tomatoes. America grows delicious tomatoes."

Rach says if you are using canned tomatoes from the U.S., though, you might want to add a pinch of sugar. "San Marzano tomatoes are specifically bred to be very sugary, to have a very high sugar content," she says. "And their color, the red color, is very deep. So the sauce will be a little redder and a little sweeter when you use Italian tomatoes."

"But I really just say Italian tomatoes because I want people to notice on the can, just to make sure that you're getting your money's worth," Rach continues. "You should pay less money for domestic tomatoes. And if you're buying a nice San Marzano tomato, just make sure that it's actually from Italy. And that's what that symbol means on the can and in the wording on the label, is that the Italian government says these are the real thing."

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