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What to Substitute for Tomato Paste in your Favorite Recipes?

Are you trying to make a dish that calls for tomato paste, but you don’t have any? Don’t worry; there are a couple possibilities that would work well as a substitute. Tomato paste is a thick, rich, and gently sweet paste formed from tomatoes that have been simmered for hours until reduced to a thick, rich, and lightly sweet paste. It’s used to make tomato sauces and stews more flavorful. It’s available in two forms: a small, thin can and a squeezable tube (our favorite).

You don’t have time to go shopping? Or maybe you’re cooking and you suddenly discovered you’re missing something? (It occurs all the time here!) Here are some alternatives.

You’re not alone if you’ve run out of tomato paste in your kitchen. Many folks have trouble finding substitute recipes that include it. There are, however, alternative options. Instead of tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, oyster sauce, ketchup, or even cheese. This post will go over the many alternatives available. If you don’t have any on hand, keep reading to learn what you may use in place of tomato paste in your favourite recipes!

What are Some Substitutes for Tomato Paste?

  • Oyster sauce : Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce, 9 fl oz : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Oyster sauce is a sweet and salty condiment prepared mostly from the juices of oysters, salt, and sugar. Umami, a savoury, tangy flavour, is also present. Stir-fries, meat marinades, and dipping sauces are all common uses in Asian cuisines, including Chinese and Thai meals.

In stir-fries like our Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers and Black Pepper Sauce, oyster sauce is widely utilised. It’s also used in Kung Pao Shrimp, Spicy Sichuan Noodles, and other Asian-inspired recipes. A reduction of boiling oysters is used to make the bottled sauce, often known as oyster-flavored sauce.

  • Ketchup

Heinz Tomato Ketchup , 450g : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

You can use ketchup instead of tomato paste if you don’t have any on hand. One tablespoon of tomato paste can be replaced with the same amount of ketchup. When creating stews or other sauces with a sweet component, such as chilli or sloppy joes, this comes in handy. In your favourite dishes, you can also combine tomato sauce and ketchup.

  • Cheese Farmers Market Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Blocks 7oz each (7 blocks) : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Cheese is high in protein and calcium, but it also contains a lot of saturated fat and sodium. This means that consuming too much can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by raising your cholesterol and blood pressure (CVD).

As long as you don’t have lactose or dairy intolerance, eating cheese every day can be part of a balanced diet. Cheese is a fermented food that can provide a rich source of probiotics for a healthy gut and protein and calcium advantages. The key is to take it slowly and enjoy it in moderation.

  • Canned tomatoes

SPC Diced Tomatoes, 400g : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

When you want tomato flavour with a little thickening power, a can of diced or stewed tomatoes works nicely as a tomato paste substitute. You’ll want to drain off the juice and utilise only the solids because these goods are often packed in liquid. Because canned tomatoes, like tomato sauce, aren’t as concentrated as paste, you’ll need to double the amount to achieve the desired flavour.

For every spoonful of tomato paste, use 2 tablespoons of strained canned tomatoes. When you don’t mind adding texture to your recipes, such as in Roasted Eggplant Spread or Southwestern Chicken & Lima Bean Stew, make this substitution.

  • Puréed red peppers

Vini's Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce 375 Grams Pure and extra virgin olive oil basil

Let’s imagine you’re making a recipe that calls for tomato paste to add flavour, but tomato isn’t a key ingredient. (Take, for example, a vegetable tagine with fluffy couscous.) Remove the skins from a jar of roasted red peppers—or roast them yourself if you prefer—and place them in the food processor. Add the red peppers to your recipe after puréeing them until smooth. It won’t give the meal the same thickness, but it will add a depth of flavour that will have your guests guessing what the secret ingredient is. For every spoonful of tomato paste, use 1 tablespoon of red pepper purée.

How do I Make my Own Tomato Paste?

The other alternatives on this list may not be suitable for recipes that require the thickening power of tomato paste. Fortunately, making your own is a breeze! You’ll require: 1 pound fresh paste tomatoes or 1 quart (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

Approximately 10 tablespoons (6 ounces)

Step 1: Peel the fresh tomatoes and remove the seeds and skins.

Continue to the following step if you’re using canned tomatoes. Otherwise, remove the seeds from the tomatoes by peeling them and putting them through a food mill.

Step 2: Blend until completely smooth.

In a high-powered blender, purée the tomatoes until they are completely smooth.

Step 3: Simmer

It’s now all about getting rid of the extra liquid. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the blended tomatoes. Stir often as the mixture comes to a light simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring while the water evaporates to prevent the mixture from burning. Reduce the tomatoes to roughly 2/3 cup, or a third of their original volume.

Step 4: Store

In the refrigerator, homemade tomato paste can last three to four weeks. Place the paste in clean jars, fill with 1/8 inch olive oil, and close the lid tightly after it has cooled. You can can and process the tomato paste in a water bath for extended storage, or you can freeze tablespoon-sized quantities in an ice cube tray.

How can I Thicken Tomato Sauce without Paste?

Don’t toss out your sluggish, watery red sauce! To generate a thicker mixture that DOES NOT REQUIRE TOMATO PASTE, take a deep breath and use one or more of the procedures listed below.

  • Allow It To Simmer.

The simplest technique to thicken sauce is to cook it on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 to 60 minutes, or until the desired consistency is attained. To avoid burning, stir occasionally.

  • Smooth Cooker

This is an extremely simple trick! Transfer the mixture to a crockpot and cook for a few hours to get a thicker consistency if you have the time. Cook for up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • Sauce With Tomatoes

Add a can of tomato sauce to the mix if you have any on hand. This is one of the most straightforward techniques to thicken a sauce while also adding flavour. Stir and cook for 5 minutes on the stove top, or until thoroughly blended and warmed through.

  • Slurry With Corn Starch

Adding a corn starch slurry to a sauce is a quick and easy technique to thicken it. Simply add 1/4 cup each of cornstarch and water in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sauce after whisking until smooth.

  • Pasta Water

Along with your sauce, you’re probably preparing a pot of noodles. After they’ve completed cooking, keep the water in which they cooked. This water contains starch, which can be used as a thickening agent.

  • Roux

Roux is a flour-fat thickening agent commonly made using butter but can also be made with other oils. 1/4 cup butter, melted in a separate pan or skillet over medium heat Whisk together equal amounts of all-purpose flour until smooth. Stir into the sauce until everything is well blended and heated. When you want a creamy texture, flavour, and a great glossy sheen, this is a delicious method to use.

  • Heavy Cream

Provide up to 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to the mixture to add creaminess on top of thickness. Gradually add more until you reach the desired thickness.

  • Potatoes, Mushed

The addition of mashed potatoes to the sauce will give it a rich, creamy texture that everyone will like.

What does Tomato Paste do?

Tomato paste is made from tomatoes that have been simmered for several hours and then squeezed into a thick, red concentration. Tomato paste is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine. It’s used to thicken, colour, and flavour tomato sauces and other semi-liquids such soups and stews at a low cost. Be careful not to overdo it, since this can result in an overbearing tomato flavour or a cutting edge to the sauce.

Tomato paste is available in tubes and cans. The no-fuss tubes of tomato paste are more convenient than the cans. Check the labels of cans and tubes to ensure that tomatoes are the only ingredient. Imported double-strength tomato concentrate can be found in Italian delis and other specialised stores if you want a more robust flavour. While tomato paste is now nearly exclusively produced commercially, it was once made in Italy and the Mediterranean homes.

To prepare tomato paste, the tomatoes are boiled for many hours to eliminate moisture, then filtered to remove the seeds and skin before being reduced to a thick, rich concentration.

What is the Difference Between Tomato Paste and Ketchup?

Tomato paste is a thick, highly concentrated substance that is used to improve flavour in cooking. When we have pizza, spaghetti, or other dishes, the tomato sauce is rather liquid, which gives us a delicious flavour.

Tomato paste contains only tomato paste and salt, whereas tomato ketchup contains garlic, onion, salt, sugar, and chilli, among other components. Tomatoes, sugar, vinegar/acetic acid, and spices make ketchup. On the other hand, Tomato sauce is created using tomatoes, oil, meat or vegetable stock, spices, and no vinegar. Furthermore, ketchup is a chilly condiment that is never served hot, but other sauces are. To put it another way, ketchup is created with various spices, whereas the sauce is typically made without them. Another significant distinction is that sauce often does not contain sugar, but ketchup contains a precise amount of sugar and other sweet seasonings.

The name ketchup comes from koechiap, which means “fish brine” or “hot sauce.” The word sauce comes from the Latin word salsas, which means “salted.” Ketchup was thought to have been originated in the seventeenth century and was based on a sauce with key ingredients of fish brine, herbs, and spices. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the word was applied to all sauces with vinegar as a key ingredient. It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that it became connected with tomato juice.

What are Some Recipes in Which Tomato Paste is Used?

Stir a spoonful of tomato paste into store-bought marinara sauce.

To store-bought marinara sauce, add a teaspoon of tomato paste.

Jarred marinara sauce lacks the richness of homemade marinara sauce. “I add tomato paste to store-bought marinara sauce to amp up the taste profile,” says chef and dietitian Cindy Chou of Healthy Feels, if you’re in a time crunch and need to utilise store-bought marinara.

Use it to make your own barbecue sauce.

Making homemade barbecue sauce is a great way to get creative with tomato paste. To prepare your base, all you need is a can of tomato sauce and tomato paste, and then you may add spices, sweeteners, vinegars, and even fruit. The technique is simple, and the end result is far superior to anything you might buy at a store.

Combine tomato paste and spices to make a marinade.

Chef Nikolaos Kapernaros of Avli in the Park in Chicago believes that “A superb piece of beef marinated in spices and tomato paste is my personal favourite secret technique to use tomato paste. After the meat has marinated, add the veggies, red wine, and herbs and roast it slowly in the oven.” The marinade is balanced by the sweetness and acidity of the tomato paste, resulting in a flavorful cut of meat.

In a ragù, use instead of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.

Use tomato paste in a traditional Bolognese ragù as a substitute for tomatoes or tomato sauce to introduce tomato flavour to a meat sauce without losing its richness or texture!


Tomato paste is one of those ingredients that is difficult to come by. When you want to add tomato flavour to a meal without thickening it, these canned goods are the easiest tomato paste substitutes. Tomato sauce is a little thinner than tomato puree, but both can suffice. When using these items as a tomato paste substitute, you’ll need at least twice as much as tomato paste to get the same amount of tomato flavour.