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What Can I Substitute For Tomato Sauce?

If you wonder what I can substitute for tomato sauce, here are a few options to help you save money while enjoying delicious food. You can also use Marinara sauce or fresh tomatoes. But you can also try Ketchup or Tomato paste. You may find that one of these alternatives is too sweet for your taste. Try a combination of both for the best results! And don’t forget to taste the dish first to ensure that the sauce is the right one.

What Can I Substitute For Tomato Sauce


Tomato Sauce Nutrition Fact

What is Tomato Sauce?

A tomato product is thicker than tomato juice but not as thick as tomato puree. Herbs, spices, onion, and garlic are frequently added to enhance the flavor. Tomato sauce is available in cans in most grocery stores, and it’s used in various dishes as a base for other sauces. Tomato paste’s texture and flavor depth, tomato puree, and tomato sauce differ. The deeper the flavor, the thicker the consistency. The consistency of tomato paste is the thickest, the puree is thinner than the paste, and the tomato sauce is the thinnest.

How is Tomato Sauce Made?


  • plum tomatoes, 4 pound (or two 28-ounce cans of whole peeled plum tomatoes)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 peeled and cut in half medium yellow onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
  • 114 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tblsp. sugar
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
  1. Begin by making an X on one end of the tomatoes. Don’t go too deep — a quarter-inch should suffice.
  2. Cook the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the skins peel away. If you cook the tomatoes for too long, they will become soft and difficult to handle.
  3. Place the tomatoes in an ice-cold water bath to stop the cooking process.
  4. Remove the skins from the tomatoes and place them on a cutting board.
  5. Tomatoes should be cut into 1/2-inch chunks.
  6. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, combine the chopped tomatoes, all of their seeds and juices, and the butter, olive oil, onions, garlic, salt, and sugar.
  7. Bring the water to a gentle boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the sauce has thickened and is no longer watery.
  9. Remove and discard the onion. To make a slightly chunky and thick sauce, smash any large chunks of tomatoes or garlic with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
  10. Stir in the basil just before serving.
  11. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for 3 months in an airtight container.

Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

1. Marinara sauce

Canned tomatoes are an excellent substitute for tomato-based sauce. Canned tomatoes are usually already processed into a smooth texture but can be seasoned with herbs, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to create a similar texture. A delicious substitute for tomato sauce is alfredo sauce. Canned tomatoes may also be pureed into a smooth sauce, but they are not similar.

If you don’t have any tomato sauce at home, you can use ketchup instead. It has a similar consistency and plenty of tomato flavor but lacks the special seasonings of traditional marinara sauce. Tomato ketchup can be spiced to match the flavors of your dish. For an authentic marinara-style taste, you can simmer the ketchup for longer to reduce the liquid and make it thicker.

2. Fresh tomatoes

Tomato sauce is a thick, sour soup made from chopped or pureed tomatoes, spices, and herbs. This versatile condiment is commonly used as a base or sauce for many dishes. In Italian cuisine, tomato sauce is a vital component of pasta. On the other hand, fresh tomatoes can be substituted for canned ones. You may also use a fresh tomato paste instead of tomato sauce in a recipe.

Instead of making a sauce from scratch, try substituting a can of tomato soup for 1 cup of tomato sauce. This substitute has the same consistency and flavor as tomato sauce but lacks the savory seasoning of a marinara. You can also season this substitution by adding minced garlic and additional salt. Using tomato paste will also result in a more authentic Italian tomato flavor. Once the tomato paste is cooked, add it to the sauce, and stir well to combine.

3. Tomato paste

Tomato paste is a thicker and more concentrated form of tomato sauce. Tomato paste is made from pureed or chopped tomatoes that have been strained of their skins and seeds, and it has a slightly different flavor and consistency than tomato sauce. In cooking, tomato paste is often substituted for tomato sauce, and it can thicken stews, soups, and other recipes that call for sauce.

In some cases, you may not want to use tomato paste altogether. However, there are other ways to substitute tomato sauce. You can add a little miso, a traditional Japanese condiment, to your recipe to give it a richer flavor and color. Miso paste is a popular ingredient in Italian cooking, and you can find store-bought brands in most grocery stores. It has a similar flavor profile to tomato sauce but is sweeter and less salty.

4. Ketchup

Substitute tomato sauce for ketchup for any food where catsup is used. A good substitute will replicate the prominent flavor of ketchup without requiring any cooking or pre-cooking. It can be made with tomato paste or by turning a jar of prepared tomato sauce into its purest form. Good homemade ketchup will have more depth and flavor. You can also use it as a marinade or barbecue sauce.

Among the many ketchup substitutes, the most healthy is classic American mustard. This plant-based condiment boosts metabolism, prevents cancer, and strengthens bones. You can opt for Sriracha or other hot sauces for a kick of heat. Depending on your taste, tomato sauce is often bland compared to ketchup, and the choice is entirely up to you.

5. Beets and Carrots

Beets and carrots as a substitution for tomato sauce are a delicious and healthy alternative to the traditional sauce. Beets add a natural sweetness and flavor and are packed with nutrients; and they also lower blood pressure and are heart-healthy due to their high nitrate content. All our recipes are oil-free and vegan. This pasta sauce is the perfect choice for those who don’t want to sacrifice the taste and color of their favorite pasta dish.

Beets and carrots are excellent alternatives to red tomato sauce because they have rich earthy flavors. Simply roast them and puree them in a blender for a rich sauce. You can also use the pureed beets and carrots in pasta sauce, and the beets and carrots will cook down to a thick sauce. You can also add a splash of olive oil to your mixture to achieve a smooth consistency and give it an extra touch of flavor.

6. Tomato Juice

To substitute tomato juice for tomato sauce, simply use the same amount of pureed tomatoes. You can either use a whole can of tomatoes or strain out the juice. Or, you can use tomato soup, which has a similar flavor to tomato juice. Either way, you should use only a tiny amount of tomato juice for the rest of the recipe. Tomato sauce is widely available and can be substituted in many dishes.

You can make your own tomato juice by adding water to the tomato pulp. The juice should have a perfect liquid consistency and taste, so add salt and sugar. You may want to experiment with different ratios to determine the best substitution. You can also use fresh tomatoes, but you’ll have to wash them, peel them and blend them. If you use fresh tomatoes, remove the seeds and use the juice in the recipe.

Some Tomato Sauce Recipes

My Chili

Because of the tomato sauce, ground beef, and kidney beans, this chili has a rich and hearty flavor. To balance out the spicy chili powder, add a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of cheese on top.

Basil Tomato Soup

This soup is silky smooth and comforting, with fresh flavor from herbs like oregano and basil. Serve with a slice of garlic bread to clean out the bowl, and dress it up with croutons.

Tomato Sauce Poached Eggs

Make this poached egg dish instead of scrambled eggs or an omelet for an impressive brunch. Cook them in a fragrant tomato sauce with herbs like parsley, oregano, and red pepper.


The star of this recipe is  Fideo, a thin Mexican noodle similar to angel hair pasta. It’s simmered with cumin, garlic, and chili powder in a tomato broth. As reviewer Rosemary did, for an extra decadent dish, top with shredded cheese.

Why would you Use a Substitute?

There are several reasons why you might want to avoid using traditional tomato sauce. You might not have it on hand, for one thing. Even though canned or jarred tomato sauce is convenient to keep on hand, you will eventually run out. You can make a substitute from the options below instead of canceling your dinner plans and ordering takeout or making a last-minute trip to the grocery store.

There are also some health reasons why tomato sauce should be avoided. Anyone who is allergic to tomatoes, for example, should avoid eating tomato sauce. Anecdotal evidence suggests that tomatoes can cause gout, but studies have yet to confirm this.
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family of foods and spices, containing chemical compounds known as alkaloids. Alkaloids can be dangerous in large doses, but the amount in tomatoes is minimal.

Tomato Paste: Homemade vs. Store-Bought

Making your own tomato paste takes some time, but it’s well worth the effort, especially if you can get farm-fresh tomatoes at the farmer’s market. The ability to select the tomatoes has a significant impact on the flavor profile of the tomato paste, as the flavors become more concentrated as the pasta cooks.

Look for meaty tomatoes like Roma or San Marzano for the best results. Heirloom tomatoes have more water, so while they make a tasty paste, they don’t yield as much final product.

What Quantity of Ketchup to Use for Tomato Sauce?

Yes, ketchup can be used as a substitute for tomato paste. Because ketchup is already quite concentrated, you can use a 1:1 substitution from the bottle (if your recipe calls for one tablespoon of tomato paste, use one tablespoon of ketchup). Remember that most ketchup contains a lot of sugar, so the final product might be a little sweeter than you intended. Because ketchup is much sweeter than tomato paste, it’s probably not the best choice if your recipe calls for more than a tablespoon or two.

Is it Possible to Leave Seeds in Tomato Sauce?

The seeds should be left in during cooking because the center pulp and gel around the seeds contain a lot of the tomato flavor. Use whole, unpeeled tomatoes for the best flavor, and blend once cooked for a smooth consistency.

Can I Make Pizza with Pasta Sauce Instead of Tomato Sauce?

Yes, with some modifications, pasta sauce can be substituted for pizza sauce. For a thicker sauce, reduce the excess water (you can strain it) and cook it longer. If your pasta sauce has large chunks, blend it or process it in a food processor to smooth it out.


You can find an excellent tomato sauce substitute for any situation or recipe with the list above. Give one of these alternatives a try, whether you’re making a simple pasta dish or something more complex.

Keep consistency in mind when using these substitutes. Because ketchup, tomato puree or juice, and fresh tomatoes have more liquid than tomato paste, the liquid in recipes that call for a thicker concentration should be reduced.

The substitutes above are simple to prepare, but they impart the same flavor and texture to food. So, if you’re out of tomato sauce, prepare or grab one of these alternatives, use it in your recipes, and enjoy it with your family.