Best Tomato Paste Substitute

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Tomato paste is one ingredient whose presence is not always visible when tasting a completed meal, but one thing is certain: it never fails to enhance the taste and richness of any recipe to which it is added. You may not notice the tomato taste hiding in the background of a meal, but you will certainly miss it if it is missing!

As a result, it is sadly not so simple to just delete the tomato paste from a recipe if you find yourself short on it, or perhaps without any at all. If you try to leave it out, you will definitely feel a difference!

So, what is the greatest tomato paste alternative if you find yourself in this situation? There are various ingredients to pick from, many of which you most likely already have in your kitchen.

What is Tomato Paste?

Best Tomato Paste Substitute

Many people are aware that tomato paste comes in those adorable, extra-small cans, but they are unsure of what the product is or when you could use it!

To put it simply, tomato paste is tomato concentration. Everything begins with blended fresh tomatoes that have been skinned and seeded before being boiled down to eliminate as much liquid as possible. The end product is a luxuriously smooth, generously thick paste bursting with pure tomato flavor. A punch, for sure. A taste of the stuff is all it takes to realize how powerfully flavored tomato paste is. Its flavor is sweet but acidic, as well as intensely flavorful with umami undertones.

Because tomato paste is so flavorful, there is seldom a need for huge amounts of it at any particular moment. This explains why manufacturers often package this material in a mini-can, or even better, a resealable tube like toothpaste!

What is Tomato Paste Used For?

First and foremost, tomato paste is used to provide very rich, delicious taste to foods! A little tomato paste goes a long way, since one tablespoon is usually enough to fulfill its function in a whole Dutch oven or stock pot full of food.

When sweating veggies for chili or searing meat for a braise, tomato paste is often used early in the preparation while the basic flavors are still being developed. At this point, most of the tomato taste has merged with others, and the resulting dish has savory and acidic undertones, as well as a deeper colour from the tomato paste.

Tomato paste not only helps to build the background tastes of a meal, but it also improves the texture of a dish. Tomato, when introduced early in the cooking process, may act as a thickening factor for any liquids that are later added. This makes tomato paste perfect for a variety of sauces, soups, stews, casseroles, and other dishes.

The Best Tomato Paste Substitutes

Without further ado, here are the finest tomato paste alternatives!

You’ll note that our list of tomato paste replacements is separated into two groups. First, there are tomato-based choices, which are the simplest tomato paste replacements and offer the most identical results to true tomato paste.

However, if you’re seeking for tomato-free tomato paste substitutions, whether due to a food allergy or personal choice, keep reading until the conclusion for some alternatives!

Tomato-Based Tomato Paste Substitutes

The following substitution possibilities all include a lot of tomato components (for superb tomato taste in your recipes!) However, they may range greatly in terms of moisture content and extra additives. It all comes down to what works for you and whatever recipe you have at the time!


Tomato Sauce/Tomato Puree

These goods are an almost ideal alternative for tomato paste! Any form of blended tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes, whether marinara, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or anything else, will work.

When substituting tomato sauce or puree for tomato paste, you have a few choices for how to integrate it into your recipe. You may add the tomato sauce or puree to the recipe at the point where it asks for tomato paste and simmer it for a few minutes longer. You may also omit the additional cook time and just lower the amount of other liquids in the recipe to compensate for the tomato sauce. If you use tomato paste as the foundation of a stew, just lower the quantity of stock you add afterwards to compensate for the additional liquid.

When substituting tomato sauce or puree for tomato paste, you must be aware of any additional tastes that may be present. Many store-bought versions have additional flavorings such as onion, garlic, and herbs, among others. These additional tastes will most likely compliment your dish, but it’s worth considering!

You may also use store-bought tomato sauce or puree to produce your own tomato paste; just skip to the end for advice on how to obtain a product that is most similar to store-bought tomato paste.

How Much to Use:

For every 1 part tomato paste, use 3 parts tomato sauce or puree. If the tomato sauce or puree you’re using is already pretty thick, you may use a 2:1 tomato puree to tomato paste ratio.

Canned Tomato Products

Because they are simply unblended tomato sauce, almost any canned tomato product will suffice here. Canned whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, or stewed tomatoes are all options. Even tomato soup will suffice!

Depending on the sort of canned tomatoes you use, such as crushed tomatoes or tomato soup, you may be able to swap part of the product directly from the can. If you’re using whole or chopped tomatoes, you’ll need to combine some of the tomato pieces first. You may use an upright blender, immersion blender, food processor, or food mill to puree the tinned tomatoes! Once you’ve obtained a beautiful consistent consistency, you may add the result to the recipe at the point where the recipe calls for tomato paste.

Using canned tomato products as a replacement for tomato paste will contribute a lot more liquid than the paste would on its own, so be sure to simmer things for a little longer here to get rid of some of that extra water.

How Much to Use:

Use a 3:1 canned tomato product to tomato paste ratio. For example, use 3 tablespoons canned tomatoes for 1 tablespoon tomato paste in your recipe.


Finally, a purpose for that bottle of ketchup that’s been sitting on your refrigerator’s condiment rack! Ketchup is undoubtedly the most useful alternative for tomato paste since who doesn’t have a half-empty container or a few ketchup packets left over from takeout? The great thing about using ketchup as a tomato paste alternative is that it is prepared from concentrated tomatoes that have been boiled down to a smooth, paste-like consistency.

The biggest difference is in the quantity of seasoning used, since tomato paste is usually just pure tomatoes (except for a touch of salt in certain brands), but ketchup frequently adds a lot of sugar, making it considerably sweeter, more acidic, and sometimes even hot. As a result, you may want to modify the other components in your recipe to account for the taste variances.

Also, although ketchup is thicker than some other tomato paste substitutes, it is not as thick as tomato paste, so incorporating it in your recipe will almost certainly require some extra cooking time.

How Much to Use:

You should use a 1:1 equal parts ratio in this case. While you may be tempted to add additional ketchup to boost the tomato taste, doing so may easily lead your dish to become too sweet or vinegary.

Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes need a little more effort than the other, more processed tomato items we’ve discussed so far. Fresh tomatoes, on the other hand, have a rich taste and may therefore replace tomato paste in your recipe if necessary!

You must first puree fresh tomatoes before using them as a replacement. If you have a food processor, this is a terrific opportunity to utilize it, but a blender or food mill will suffice. Before blending a bunch of tomatoes, think about how much you’ll truly need. Because most recipes only call for a modest quantity of tomato paste, you won’t need more than half a cup of blended fresh tomatoes. As a result, a handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, or one medium-large sized while tomato, should enough.

Blend the fresh tomatoes until they are consistent in consistency. You may also wish to season with salt (or soy sauce to increase the umami element!) Add sugar to enhance the natural flavor of fresh tomatoes and make them taste more like tomato paste. Once you’ve created a homogeneous tomato blend, you can use it as a tomato paste alternative in your recipes; just simmer it for a few minutes longer to burn out all of the surplus liquid provided by those fresh tomatoes.

How Much to Use:

This may seem excessive, however owing to the fully un-concentrated taste of fresh tomatoes, a 4:1 ratio is required! For every tablespoon of tomato paste called for in your recipe, substitute 4 tablespoons (cup) of blended fresh tomatoes.

Tomato-Free Tomato Paste Substitutes

Do you need a tomato paste alternative that doesn’t include any tomatoes? This is the area for you!

If you don’t want tomato taste in your dish, any of the following substitutes will suffice. However, if you are looking for a replacement due to an allergy, always examine the ingredients list of any product carefully since there is always the possibility of concealed tomato components lurking, such as sun-dried tomatoes disguised in pesto or red pepper paste, for example.

Other Types of Pastes

There is a whole universe of pastes out there produced from delectable ingredients! While not all of these have the same depth of flavor or thickening power as tomato paste, they are all worth exploring as an alternative! Miso paste is savory and thick, similar to tomato paste, while pesto and olive tapenade are thinner yet packed with flavor. When seeking for a good alternative for tomato paste, here are a few varieties of pastes to consider:

  • Miso Paste
  • Pesto
  • Red Pepper Paste
  • Olive Tapenade
  • Curry Paste

How Much to Use:

The precise quantity you use depends on the sort of paste you’re using. Miso paste, pesto, and olive tapenade are likely to work well at a 1:1 ratio, however red pepper paste and curry paste are likely to be excessively spicy at this level. Our finest piece of advice? Begin with half the quantity of paste specified in the recipe, then taste and adjust as required. Believe in your taste senses!

Other Vegetable Purees

While not any vegetable puree will do here since many vegetables are just too watery, some vegetables yield a very rich and thick paste when pureed. We’re going for a creamy, velvety texture here, like that of winter squash or pumpkin. Were here to cheer you on if you want to make your own homemade vegetable purees (try our recipes for Healthy Roasted Butternut Squash Puree and Homemade Pumpkin Puree), but if you have a leftover can of pumpkin puree from last Thanksgiving, thatll do just fine as well.

The taste will be different, but other vegetable puree is a fantastic choice if you want to avoid using tomatoes altogether owing to allergies, or if your dish already has a tomato flavor due to other components. The taste of the tomato paste will not be lost in this scenario, and the other vegetable flavors will be rather complementing!

How Much to Use:

Begin with a 1:1 ratio. You may use the same quantity of vegetable puree as tomato paste in your recipe. If you like the flavor, go ahead and add more!

Homemade Tomato Paste

As promised, here’s a simple way for making homemade tomato paste using store-bought tomato sauce or puree! While you may use the sauce or puree as is in your recipe, going the additional mile to make it tomato paste can produce even better results. And! If you have any excess tomato paste, freeze it! You will thank yourself in the future for being so conscientious.

One way is to simmer the tomato sauce on its own first, allowing some of the extra moisture to evaporate and reduce it to a thick puree. To obtain a stronger tomato taste,

How to Make Tomato Paste

Step 1: Combine the Ingredients

Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce (or a dash of ordinary salt), 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to each cup of tomato sauce or puree you want to simmer down into tomato paste. In a small skillet or saucepan, combine everything.

Step 2: Cook the Tomato Paste

Cook, stirring often, over medium heat until the mixture begins to steam. As the water evaporates, the sauce will thicken and may cling to the bottom of the pan, so lower to a low heat and continue stirring until the sauce resembles a paste.

Step 3: Store the Tomato Paste

Remove the tomato paste from the heat after it has reached the desired texture and concentration of tomato flavor. You may either use it right immediately in your recipe or save it for later!

Summarizing the Best Tomato Paste Substitutes

So, if you find yourself unexpectedly lacking on tomato paste to complete that dish you’re working on, just choose one of the above alternatives!

Other tomato products, such as tomato sauce or puree, tomato soup, canned whole tomatoes, or even ketchup, are excellent substitutes. If you don’t want to eat tomatoes, use a paste-style product like miso paste or pesto instead. For a change, put another vegetable in the forefront, allowing purees of winter squash or pumpkin to do their thing in your meal!

If you like, you may quickly make your own tomato paste by combining some store-bought sauce and ingredients. Need some recipe ideas for the tomato paste you’ll undoubtedly have leftover? Try our Vegetarian Chili or Vegan Lentil Meatballs!


What is a good non tomato substitute for tomato paste?

Sauce de Soja

If texture and consistency aren’t a problem, soy sauce may be an excellent substitute for tomato paste in a recipe. It’s less sweet and saltier than tomato paste, so start with a little amount and add more as required.

Can I use marinara instead of tomato paste?

As an alternative to tomato paste, try marinara sauce.

Marinara sauce already has a similar consistency to tomato paste, but it should only be used in dishes where the remainder of the marinara sauce’s components, particularly Italian spices, will not interfere with or overshadow whatever meal you’re cooking.

Can I use diced tomatoes instead of tomato paste?

Tomatoes in a can

When you want tomato flavor with a little of thickening power, a can of chopped or stewed tomatoes works nicely as a tomato paste alternative. Because these items are often packaged with a lot of liquid, you should drain off the juice and utilize just the solids.

What is a less acidic substitute for tomato paste?

While tomato allergies are uncommon, if you suffer from acid reflux, you may wish to use tomato paste. Roasted red pepper puree is a fantastic way to add flavor to your food without adding acidity.

What is a substitute for tomato paste in meatballs?

Tomato sauce is a decent replacement for tomato paste since it is simple to get and inexpensive. However, since it is not as thick as tomato paste, the texture will be different. I recommend boiling down the tomato sauce to eliminate unnecessary liquid before using it in place of plain tomato sauce.

What does tomato paste do?

Tomato paste is often used to thicken sauces or to flavor soups and stews. Tomato purée serves as the foundation for thinner tomato-based sauces and condiments such as salsas, spicy sauce, marinara sauce, and pizza sauce.

What’s the difference between tomato sauce and tomato paste?

The fundamental distinction between tomato sauce and tomato paste is texture, which is a direct effect of the concentration of each product and hence influences how each is utilized in cooking. Both have a strong tomato taste, but tomato sauce is less intense and much thinner.

Why use tomato paste instead of tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is often used on its own in meals such as spaghetti or lasagna. Tomato paste is used to provide depth of flavor to soups and stews as a foundation or seasoning. It is distinguished from tomato sauce by its deeper and more powerful taste, as well as its darker red color.

How much ketchup to substitute for tomato paste?

Yes, ketchup is a surprisingly good substitute for tomato paste! Because ketchup is already rather concentrated, you may use a 1:1 substitution (if your recipe asks for one tablespoon of tomato paste, use one tablespoon of ketchup).

How do you make tomato paste out of tomato sauce?

Simply heat tomato sauce in a skillet to turn it into a paste. Allow it to boil and regularly stir until it has been reduced by half. It should take around 10 minutes to make 7 ounces of paste from a 15-ounce can of sauce.

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