spanish tomato bread

Spanish tomato bread: An easy and delicious Spanish tapa

Spanish tomato bread is one of the simplest dishes you can try in Spain, it is a hit all over the country.

Why? Because tomatoes are a huge staple in Spain cuisine and this dish proves just that. If you don’t feel like reading, make sure to watch my video on Spanish tomato bread here:

spanish tomato bread: quality tomatoes

Simplicity is ideal from time to time, especially when it comes to preparing food. Who doesn’t love an easy dish? This recipe will be ready within minutes.

If you get to visit Spain, you’ll notice this special tomato bread being offered in restaurants, cafes, and other eateries. Depending on the area you are in Spain, you’ll notice this can be offered as tapas and/or breakfast.

Tomato bread comes from the northeast region of Spain in Cataluña, however, you’ll notice the different variations throughout the country.

As with every dish, there are different ways to make this, but today we will be going over the most traditional.

Tomato bread history

spanish tomato bread - grated tomato

Spanish tomato bread has a few different names. In Castellano/Spanish its called “Pan Con Tomate” or in Catalan, its named “pa amb tomaquet” which stands for bread with tomato in English.

In other areas of Spain it’s called “Pan a la Catalana,” which means Catalan bread.

To make this you only need 5 ingredients. Don’t worry, it’s nothing fancy. You most likely already have them in your kitchen. 🙂

You’ll need a rustic style loaf of bread, garlic (optional), tomatoes, olive oil, and salt if you use it.

So what do you eat Spanish tomato bread with? You can eat it by itself or with salads, soups, a cocktail, orange juice, or even gazpacho (tomato soup).

Keep reading because next, we are going to be talking about some variations on how to make it.

Grated Spanish tomato bread vs Rubbed

dining out and eating spanish tomato bread in barcelona

There are loads of recipes on the internet for Spanish tomato bread. However, they only give you the ingredients. They don’t properly explain the difference between grated tomato vs rubbed spanish tomato bread.

This is important because if you were to actually visit Spain, you’d probably see the difference first hand. And there is a huge difference.

However, whether you will or won’t visit, I wanted to explain this.

In Cataluna, they rub the tomato and the garlic on the rustic bread. As you can see in the picture above (which is at a Barcelona restaurant), the bread has just a little bit of tomato on it.

This is why you need rustic bread to absorb the tomato so it doesn’t go soggy.

The most common bread that is served within Cataluna is called “pan de cristal” or crystal bread in English. It’s thin, it’s crunchy, and it’s the perfect thing to get the job done hehe! The usual routine for this is they bring a basket of bread out with rustic bread, the tomato, and the garlic.

It’s so simple haha but people LOVE it, including me.

You don’t really see the grated tomato as much in Cataluna. Since this dish comes from that part of Spain, they make it the authentic way which is what I just explained.

Grated Spanish tomato bread

If you were to visit any part of Spain outside of Cataluna, you would see the grated tomato served on the bread or in a cup, bowl, or even a wrapped disposable container. It doesn’t come with garlic on the side.

As you can see in the picture, the tomato is not on the bread prior to serving. This varies by restaurant, some places serve it on but usually, you’ll organize your toast, your way.

The grated tomato was either strained or not too watery, to begin with. You should definitely try Spanish tomato bread if you ever visit Spain, no matter the region.

How to make Spanish tomato bread

Spanish tomato bread - chibata and tomatoes

Now for the fun part on how to make the infamous tomato bread!! Some people eat this for breakfast, some people eat it for a tapa. That’s your choice! Either way, making this is so simple.

For the tapa version of this, I think it’s appropriate to add garlic. If you are making this for breakfast, I’d personally pass, but if you like garlic early, feel free to leave it in! You do you boo.

The ingredients

catalan bread
  • Serves 10
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • 2 large quality tomatoes, halved
  • 1 loaf of bread, sliced (ciabatta is great on anyt other rustic bakery bread)
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • olive oil garnish
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Cut your loaf of bread to ideal thickness. 1/2-3/4 inch is good. You don’t want to go too thin because you don’t want the bread to get soggy.
  2. Next, perfectly toast your bread to be crispy and golden.
  3. You can also put it in the oven for 3 minutes or until golden brown. If putting in the oven first, garnish toast with olive oil at around 180c or broiling option.
  4. Grab your garlic clove, halve them and rub it all over your crispy toast. Garlic- especially raw, is quite intense. Be mindful of that if you’re not into intensity.
  5. Now for the tomatoes. The traditional way is to cut the tomato in half and rub the tomato juice onto the bread (cut side down) while gently squeezing the peel to get a good amount out.
  6. The other common way in parts of Spain outside of Cataluna is to grate an entire tomato with a grater and get tomato pulp. If it’s watery, use a strainer so it’s an actual spreadr. Lastly, another uncommon way is to use a hand blender.
  7. Garnish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste.
  8. Serve and enjoy. Don’t wait, the bread can get soggy quick and if this is for a party dont serve until guests arrive.

Feel free to add whatever you want on top. Lots of people put cheese and ham. If you do not add that, then this is a completely vegan tapa. If Gluten-free, opt for a loaf of GF bread.


You’ll quickly notice that food for locals in Spain is a very serious topic. Luckily for you, I have allllll the good things coming your way on this website.

Today you learned how to make this classic Spanish tomato bread and the different variations that come with preparing this dish. The Spanish regions do it differently and I wanted to inform my readers on that.

Make sure you tag me if you make this and enjoy!

Have you ever heard of this classic Spanish tapa or is this the first time you’ve ever heard of it? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading.

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