Top 24 Favorite Tomato Varieties for Home Gardeners

Woman harvesting ripe tomatoes from the garden and placing in a bright blue bucket.
My Garden Life
February 19, 2024
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Growing tomatoes can take a considerable investment of time and effort so it’s important that the tomato varieties you select will be worth your while months down the road. But with literally hundreds of different tomato varieties to pick from, just how do you decide which tomatoes to grow; confident that they will deliver great flavor and harvests, and not disappointment?

We asked our My Garden Life community of Facebook followers that same question, “what are your favorite tomato varieties?” Then we compared their recommendations to a list of the top varieties grown for retail garden centers. We wanted to know how easily you might find these favorite tomato varieties as seedlings vs. having to grow your own plants from seeds.

With that information, we came up with the following list of tomato favorites that should be easy to find at many garden centers across the United States. These varieties are all popular enough that you should also be able to easily find the seeds if you prefer growing your own plants.

Favorite Tomato Varieties for Home Vegetable Gardens

Whether you have the space to create a large garden plot, or you’re an urban gardener utilizing a small pocket of space or containers on a balcony, you should be able to find at least one variety among those listed here that offers you the joy of flavorful homegrown tomatoes. Click on any variety to learn more about its days to maturity and additional growing information.

Slicing Tomatoes

These are the varieties that are especially prized for eating fresh or placing one big slice on a burger. They’re the ideal tomato for making the ultimate summer BLT sandwich or a caprese salad, but they’re still versatile enough to use in many other ways.

Tomato slices are great for topping a pizza or making a tomato tart. Since many slicing tomatoes are on the larger side, they’re good for stuffing and baking. Otherwise, slicing tomatoes can always be cut up for garden salads or cooked in soups, stews, or chili. Just remember they tend to be very juicy and you’ll want to avoid adding so much that your completed dish becomes too watery. 

Tomato ‘Big Beef’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato ‘Big Beef’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The name says it all! Huge, meaty globes are produced continuously until frost on the sturdy indeterminate vines. ‘Big Beef’ is quite vigorous, and should be given plenty of room in the garden for the best results.  Indeterminate vines will produce a continuous supply of fruit right up until frost. This popular variety was the winner of the All-American Selections award in 1994.
Tomato ‘Better Boy’ (Lycopersicon hybrid)

Tomato ‘Better Boy’ (Lycopersicon hybrid)

‘Better Boy’ tomato is an all-around consistent performer, trusted by home gardeners for its productive crops and resistance to disease, as well as high quality fruits. The indeterminate vines will produce a continuous supply of tomatoes right up until frost. Whether you enjoy fresh or cooked tomatoes, there are countless recipes to make use of your flavorful and abundant harvest.
Tomato ‘Celebrity’ (Lycopersicon hybrid)

Tomato ‘Celebrity’ (Lycopersicon hybrid)

‘Celebrity’ tomato produces large, glossy tomatoes with light green shoulders. The determinate vines of this award winning selection produce one large crop of juicy, full-flavored tomatoes. ‘Celebrity’ was an All America Selections winner in 1984 and is still a popular favorite among home gardeners. This one is as easy to grow as it is to eat!
Tomato ‘Early Girl’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato ‘Early Girl’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Early Girl’ produces large tomato harvests early in the season making this variety a favorite for anyone anxious for the first homegrown tomatoes of the summer! The disease resistant plants produce large clusters of meaty fruit and perform well in almost any climate. Give this vigorous selection plenty of room in the garden, and cage or stake plants for the best results. Indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of tomatoes right up until frost. ‘Early Girl’ is a good choice for beginners and expert gardeners alike!
Tomato ‘Big Boy’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato ‘Big Boy’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Big Boy’ was first introduced in 1949 by W. Atlee Burpee Company and has been one of the most popular tomato varieties ever since! Disease resistant, indeterminate vines carry a continuous supply of huge, beefy tomatoes for several months in the summer, right up until frost. Give this vigorous selection plenty of room in the garden, and cage or stake plants for the best results. Thick-cut slices are perfect for hamburgers or sandwiches!
Tomato ‘Beefsteak’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato ‘Beefsteak’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Beefsteak’ is the largest variety of tomatoes and, consequently, they are ideal for slicing and stuffing. Caging or staking the plants is highly recommended. This will provide the stems much needed support to hold the large, meaty tomatoes off the ground. Indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of fruit right up until frost. Harvested tomatoes retain their flavor and ripen best when stored at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.

Paste Tomatoes

If you love to make tomato sauces, paste, salsa, or bruschetta you’ll want to include one of these Roma or plum-type varieties in your garden. The ‘Little Napoli’ variety is a dwarf version suitable for growing in pots so that even those with small-space or balcony gardens can enjoy fresh Roma tomato flavor! “Paste tomatoes” tend to be a little less juicy with little pulp which results in thicker, smoother sauces.

Plum Tomato ‘Viva Italia’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Plum Tomato ‘Viva Italia’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Viva Italia’ is one of the first Italian “paste tomato” hybrids and still one of the best for sauces, soup, and ketchup. Plants offer good disease resistance, set fruit well in heat, and provide a bountiful harvest. The determinate plants produce one large crop of tomatoes over a short period of time making this an excellent choice for those who like to can tomatoes.
Heirloom Tomato ‘Amish Paste’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘Amish Paste’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The earliest origins of the ‘Amish Paste’ tomato are hazy, but it was discovered being grown by Amish communities in Wisconsin back in the 1870’s and has remained in seed production ever since. The tomatoes are deep red and flavorful, with meaty flesh and few seeds. An exceptional tomato for canning and sauces. Indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of fruit until frost.
Plum Tomato ‘La Roma’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Plum Tomato ‘La Roma’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘La Roma’ tomatoes are a classic example of an Italian paste-type tomato. Known for its vigor and uniformity, this disease-resistant variety produces thick and meaty, plum-shaped fruits. With fewer seeds and lower moisture content than other types of tomatoes, the fruits are perfect for creating rich pastes and sauces. The determinate vines produce one large crop of tomatoes in a short period of time so you’ll get a lot of tomatoes ready for canning at the same time. 
Tomato ‘Little Napoli’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato ‘Little Napoli’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Little Napoli’ produces small, plum-shaped tomatoes that are perfect for cutting into small chunks that hold their shape when used in salsa or bruschetta. The determinate vines produce one large crop of tomatoes making this a good choice for anyone interested in canning or drying tomatoes. This is also a great selection for urban gardeners interested in growing a potted tomato on a balcony, terrace, or any small-space garden setting.
Heirloom Plum Tomato ‘San Marzano’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Plum Tomato ‘San Marzano’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Prized by chefs the world over, ‘San Marzano’ is considered a premiere tomato for paste and sauces. The variety originated in the San Marzano region of Italy where it was grown for commercial production in the late 1800’s and may have been cultivated in the Campania region as early as the 1700’s. Fruits are low in moisture with dense flesh, few seeds, sweet flavor, and they’re easy to peel. Indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of fruit right up to frost.
Tomato ‘Roma’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato ‘Roma’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Roma’ produces thick-walled tomatoes with fewer seeds, a combination that results in thick tasty sauces, rich with color, flavor and vitamins. Prepared sauce can be frozen for future use. Plants are disease resistant and are less likely to be affected by verticillium and fusarium wilt. Can also be eaten fresh off the vine and sliced for salads and sandwiches.

Cherry and Grape Tomatoes

For the earliest tomato harvest possible and a steady flow of tomatoes through the growing season, cherry and grape tomatoes really deliver! These little tomatoes are perfectly sized for fresh snacking, tossing in a leafy-greens salad, or lightly cooking with oil and seasoning and mixing with your favorite pasta. Cherry and grape tomatoes are a must-have for Northern gardens with short growing seasons and many are favorite tomato varieties for small space gardens or growing in pots on a deck, terrace, or balcony.

Grape Tomato ‘Red Grape’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Grape Tomato ‘Red Grape’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Deliciously sweet ‘Red Grape’ cherry tomatoes are oval shaped and produced in dense clusters just like bunches of grapes. The petit fruits are perfectly sized for plucking right off the vine for a snack or tossing into a leafy salad. The indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of fruit until frost. Can be eaten fresh off the vine or used in salads and cooking. Perfect for use in sauces and pastes.
Cherry Tomato ‘Sunsugar’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Cherry Tomato ‘Sunsugar’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The beautiful golden-colored cherry tomatoes produced by ‘Sunsugar’ are very sweet and resist cracking. The plants display good disease resistance and you can expect the indeterminate vines to produce a continuous supply of tomatoes right up until frost. Locate this bite-sized treat near the kitchen door where its always in easy access to grab a quick snack! A colorful addition to a salad, veggie tray, or shish kebabs.
Cherry Tomato ‘Supersweet 100’ (Lycopersicon hybrid)

Cherry Tomato ‘Supersweet 100’ (Lycopersicon hybrid)

‘Supersweet 100’ produces sugary, cherry-sized Tomatoes over a long season and in great abundance. This selection is a more disease resistant relative of ‘Sweet 100’, and consequently is less susceptible to soil-borne illness. The indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of tomatoes right up until frost.
Cherry Tomato ‘Sweet Million’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Cherry Tomato ‘Sweet Million’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The durable, disease-resistant plants of ‘Sweet Million’ produce large, grape-like clusters of flavorful, sweet, cherry tomatoes. The indeterminate vines keep growing and producing for non-stop harvests right up until frost. Eat fresh for a delicious and nutritious snack. Perfect for grilling on shish kebab skewers. Serve with dip on a vegetable tray.
Cherry Tomato ‘Sweet 100’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Cherry Tomato ‘Sweet 100’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Sweet 100’ is a very vigorous cherry tomato variety that bears long branched clusters of 100 or more sweet cherry tomatoes! The juicy fruit is very high in vitamin C. The indeterminate vines keep growing for non-stop production until frost. Fresh-picked tomatoes are great for adding to salads or vegetable trays.
Cherry Tomato ‘Sungold’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Cherry Tomato ‘Sungold’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Sungold’ produces a continuous supply of super sweet, orange-colored cherry tomatoes on indeterminate vines. You may want to locate this bite-sized treat near the kitchen door for easy access to a quick snack! In addition to thriving in a traditional vegetable garden bed, this variety grows well in large patio containers or in upside-down tomato planters.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that have not been hybridized. They are open-pollinated and naturally occurring. Once discovered, heirloom varieties were often kept going by generations of family members that saved the seed from year. Many are now available through commercial seed sellers as the appreciation for the unique forms, flavors, colors and history of heirloom varieties rises among home gardeners. Heirloom tomatoes come in so many unique shapes and flavors you’re sure to find a few to add to your list of favorite tomato varieties.

Heirloom Tomato ‘Brandywine’ Sudduth Strain (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘Brandywine’ Sudduth Strain (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The original ‘Brandywine’ seed was obtained from Mrs. Doris Sudduth Hill who grew up near the Brandywine River in Chester County, Pennsylvania where her family cultivated this tomato for years. Seeds became commercially available somewhere around the early 1900’s. Since that time the Sudduth strain is praised by tomato aficionados as the original ‘Brandywine’ with the most exceptional flavor. This is a potato-leaf plant with indeterminate vines.
Heirloom Tomato ‘German Johnson’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘German Johnson’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘German Johnson’ is a pink heirloom tomato variety with historic roots in West Virginia and North Carolina. This variety remains popular in Southern states because it grows well in hot climates. Fruits are mild and meaty and contain few seeds. The beefsteak-type tomatoes can grow as large as 1.5lb (680g). Indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of tomatoes right up until frost.
Heirloom Tomato ‘Black Krim’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘Black Krim’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The ‘Black Krim’ tomato, also known as ‘Black Crimea’, originates from the Isle of Krim in the Black Sea. Krim is off the coast of the Crimean peninsula near Ukraine. The color is really more of a brownish-red than black, but the unusual coloring blends through the meat of the fruits creating a beautiful variation from the standard red tomato. The flavor offers a unique salty-sweetness. Indeterminate vines produce a continuous supply of fruit until frost.
Heirloom Tomato ‘Mortgage Lifter’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘Mortgage Lifter’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

The name ‘Mortgage Lifter’ goes back to the breeder and avid gardener, Marshall Cletis Byles of Virginia. He cross-pollinated tomatoes until he came up with one of the biggest, most flavorful tomatoes in existence. He sold the plants for $1 each and would later say the profits paid the $6,000 mortgage on his house. Introduced in the 1930’s, ‘Mortgage Lifter’ is still one of the best tomatoes ever developed with fruits typically weighing at least a pound. Indeterminate vines provide fruit up to frost.
Heirloom Tomato ‘Oxheart Red’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘Oxheart Red’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

‘Oxheart Red’ is a popular heirloom variety. It originated in Kentucky and was passed down through generations of a single family for over 100 years before becoming available commercially. Produces heart-shaped, meaty red fruits with few seeds. Great for slicing! Indeterminate vines provide a continuous supply of fruit until frost.
Heirloom Tomato ‘Cherokee Purple’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Heirloom Tomato ‘Cherokee Purple’ (Lycopersicon esculentum)

This beloved variety is one of the original “black” tomatoes. The unusual, deep purple-red color and delicious flavor elevated ‘Cherokee Purple’ to popularity in the 1990s, but this heirloom tomato reportedly dates prior to 1890. This is a must-have slicing tomato to include among the assortment of different tomatoes in your home vegetable garden.

Choosing the Right Tomato Varieties for Your Garden

There are a few things to consider when you are trying to decide what tomato varieties to grow. Here are some tips on how to select the right tomato varieties:

1. How do you want to use your tomatoes?

If you have the space for it, the ideal would be to plant a number of different types of tomatoes for different uses. For example, a slicing variety for sandwiches, cherry tomatoes for snacking and salads, early varieties because you just don’t want to wait months for a fresh tomato! But if your space is limited or you just want a manageable number of tomatoes to feed yourself or your family, you have some decisions to make.

Once you decide how you want to use your tomatoes, you’ll want to decide if you prefer a determinate or indeterminate type of tomato. Determinate tomato varieties produce a large crop of tomatoes in a relatively short period of time. You might prefer a determinate variety if your goal is to prepare canned tomatoes, sauce, or salsa. Your work will be made simpler by being able to can one large batch of tomatoes.

Vines loaded with ripe red Roma cherry tomatoes ready for harvest.
Determinate type of tomato

Because determinate tomato varieties typically have a shorter range of days to maturity, these can also be great choices for Northern gardens or those at higher elevations that experience short growing seasons. The shorter growing season of many determinate varieties also means the plants are a bit shorter and may be better suited to small-space gardens.

Indeterminant tomato varieties keep producing tomatoes over a long season, right up to frost. They generally start blooming a little later than determinate varieties but will increase in productivity through the season. The vines can get quite long, and indeterminate vines often require caging, staking, or pruning to help support the plant, especially if you’re growing a large tomato variety, such as a beefsteak type, with fruits that will weigh down the vine as they grow.

Tomato plants in a UK garden with lots of indeterminate type tomatoes in various stages of ripeness.
Indeterminate type of tomato

2. How much space do you have for tomato plants?

Some tomatoes are well suited to growing in a pot. If your only “garden” space is on a deck, patio, or balcony, you can still grow many tomato varieties in large pots. You’ll want to stick with varieties that are more compact if you are growing in pots or other containers, such as grow-bags. Use the projected mature plant height as your guide for which tomato varieties might be best for your growing situation. For example, in a small garden space you may want to choose a bush-type rather than a vine that requires a cage or staking.

Be sure to consider your level of experience and how many tomatoes you realistically need before jumping in with too many plants. 

A tidy raised garden bed with rows of staked tomato vines.

3. What is your growing climate for tomatoes?

Tomatoes grow naturally in warm, tropical regions of South America where they are perennial plants. Unless you live in a region free of winter frosts, you should treat your tomato plants as annuals. Potted plants may be brought indoors and placed by a sunny window for the winter, but otherwise expect tomato plants to die with the first hard freeze of winter. 

4. Evaluating tomato disease resistance

You may want to do a little research on tomato pests and diseases common to your area. More and more tomato hybrids are being introduced with improved resistance to specific diseases. By selecting resistant varieties right from the start, you improve your chances of maintain strong, healthy plants through the growing season.

A hand holding a ripening tomato on a vine that has developed a black rotten area on the tomato skin.

Best Temperatures for Growing Tomatoes

While tomatoes are easy to grow, they can be a little fussy under certain conditions, particularly when it comes to temperature. In extended periods of temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, tomato plants may drop blossoms or fail to produce them altogether. In high temperatures fruits may not set and existing fruit may fail to fully ripen. Tomato plants also prefer night temperatures no lower than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cherry tomatoes are a little less particular and seem to be able to tolerate a wider range of temperatures.

Tomato Plant Water Needs

It’s important for tomato plants to get sufficient and consistent watering. This is especially true if you garden in a region that is known for seasonal drought or frequently windy conditions that will steal water away from your plants through evaporation. Be sure to situate your tomato garden where you can easily access it with a watering hose, irrigation system, or rain barrel. This will be less work for you and help ensure that your tomatoes are kept well-watered.

A hose end sprayer watering the base of a young tomato plant in the garden.

Best Light for Tomato Plants

For the best productivity, tomatoes need at least 6-8 hours of full sunlight each day. Any less than that can result in weak, spindly growth and lower harvests. If you’re growing plants in pots or grow-bags in full sun, you may need to water your tomato plants daily during long stretches of sunny, hot weather.

Get the Most out of Your Tomato Plants

Tomatoes are among the most popular plants for home vegetable gardens. No matter what your favorite tomato varieties are, the goal is to encourage the growth of fruits with maximum flavor and abundant harvests. Learn more about how to Max Out Your Summer Tomato Harvest with our five simple tips!

A basket filled with favorite tomato varieties, from cherry to paste to slicing types.

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