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Substitute Tomato Sauce for Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes for hours to reduce their water content. The seeds are skin are strained out after which the liquid is cooked again to arrive at the thick red paste you know. The rich tomato flavor can be used to make stews, pasta, meat, and soups. The closest alternative to these rich ingredients is tomato sauce. As you read on, you will see how tomato sauce can be substituted for tomato paste in a recipe.

Substitute Tomato Sauce for Tomato Paste

What Does Tomato Paste Do in a Recipe

Pasta, pasta sauce, soups, stews, and braised meat all require tomato paste to make. Tomato paste imparts its intense flavor in these dishes. Imagine making pasta sauce without tomato paste in it. It will not taste like the pasta sauce you are used to. A lot of other recipes that require tomato paste to add its intense flavor to them exist and some of them include;

Party Sausage Roll

Lamb shanks

Eggplant Parmigiana

Braised Steak and Onions

Beef Stragnot

Spaghetti Bolognese

Tomato Sauce Nutrition Facts

Tomato Sauce Nutrition Facts

Substituting Tomato Sauce for Tomato Paste

Tomato paste comes in handy when preparing pasta sauce or any other recipe that calls for a touch of tomato flavor. But what do you do when you run out of tomato paste? Since tomato paste is made out of tomatoes, your first go-to substitute should be tomato sauce because it is also made from tomatoes and they share the same flavor.

Knowing the content of tomato paste and tomato sauce is vital when substituting one for the other. Here are a few things to note; tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes for hours after which its seeds and skins are drained and then the liquid cooked again till it gets thick i.e. the concentrated red paste we use. While tomato sauce on the other hand is made by cooking tomatoes with olive oil and salt then simmered till it loses its raw savor taste. Tomato paste is concentrated and has a stronger flavor while tomato sauce is less concentrated and has less flavor.

How to Substitute Tomato Sauce for Tomato Paste

One thing is clear between tomato sauce and tomato paste and that is their consistency. You should keep in mind the difference in consistency when substituting tomato sauce for tomato paste. While tomato paste has been simmered to a thick paste which makes it concentrated, tomato sauce is not as thick as it.

To get the same texture and flavor as tomato paste when substituting it with tomato sauce, use two tablespoons of tomato sauce for one tablespoon of tomato sauce. This substitution ratio will keep your recipe intact. But you can also simmer your tomato sauce to reduce the water content so that it thickens like tomato paste. By doing this, you can use the one-to-one substitution ratio.

Tomato Passata

CENTO FOODS Crushed Passata Tomatoes, 24 OZ


Tomato passata is tomato paste that is not consistent i.e. it is watery when compared to tomato paste but they taste similar. This inconsistency might be or not be a problem to your recipe. Where the extra moisture is going to mess up your recipe, it is advised that you simmer the tomato passata until it thickens. When it thickens, it will be similar to tomato paste which means you can use a one-to-one substitution ratio. But where the extra moisture won’t be a problem to your recipe, you can substitute two tablespoons of tomato passata for one tablespoon of tomato paste.

Tomato Puree

Hunt's Tomato Puree, 10.75 oz, 12 Pack


Although not as thick as tomato paste, tomato puree can be substituted for tomato paste in your recipe to achieve the same effect. It will lack the exact flavor but with the appropriate substitution ratio, that can be taken care of. Use two tablespoons of tomato puree to substitute one tablespoon of tomato paste.


Organicville - Organic Ketchup - 24 oz.


Tomato ketchup is sweeter than tomato paste. It comes with extra flavors of vinegar, sugar, and other spices used in making it. The consistency is a bit similar to that of tomato paste so a one-to-one substitution ratio can be used. One tablespoon of ketchup for one tablespoon of tomato paste.

Canned Tomatoes

Del Monte Original Recipe, Canned Stewed Tomatoes, 14.5 Ounce (Pack of 12)


Canned tomatoes are tomatoes packed in cans with a lot of liquid. They can be substituted for tomato paste because they can provide the flavor and thickness of tomato paste when used appropriately. All you have to do is strain the juice it comes with. Canned tomato is not as concentrated as tomato paste so you will have to use double the amount when substituting. For each tablespoon of tomato paste, substitute two tablespoons of canned tomatoes.

Fresh Tomatoes

Making your tomato paste from fresh tomatoes is not such a bad idea although you cannot get the exact thing. Fresh tomatoes can be used to substitute for tomato paste. Fresh tomatoes contain seeds and the skin. You will have to remove both by chopping and simmering them till they thicken like tomato paste. If you don’t simmer it, you’ll be left to battle with the liquid which can spoil your recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What can I use if I don’t have tomato paste?

You can use tomato sauce if you don’t have tomato paste. Do this by substituting 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

What is the difference between tomato paste and tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is made by cooking tomatoes with olive oil and salt. The end product is not as consistent or concentrated as tomato paste. While tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes and removing the seeds until it becomes a very thick red paste.

Can I use tomato paste instead of tomato sauce in chili?

Yes, you can use tomato paste instead of tomato sauce in chili although they do not have the same level of consistency. What you need to do is add water to your tomato paste to give it the same texture as tomato sauce.


These substitutes will give you a similar flavor to that of tomato paste when you use them as substitutes. You should note that there is a need to exercise care when substituting because they have different levels of consistency. Ketchup, canned tomatoes, tomato puree, and tomato passata all have more liquid compared to tomato paste. With these affordable and easy to prepare substitutes, you have no cause for worry when you are in a pinch for tomato paste.