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Substitute for Tomato Paste

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We all had had that moment when we ran out of tomato paste while preparing a meal in the kitchen either because we forgot or maybe the one we had left was not enough, and I have had a fair share of that experience. So I had to figure out a way to complete my meal with an alternative because it did not seem possible to get another can or sachet of tomato paste.

Tomato paste is an important ingredient and surely gives your meal a better texture and taste. However, it is great to be in touch with other substitutes just in case you run out of it, or you probably have some reservations about using them in your recipes. For example, alternatives such as tomato sauce or tomato puree could come in handy.

What is Tomato Paste?

Substitute for Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a super-concentrated tomato sauce. It is prepared by cooking tomato down, straining the skin and seeds from the mixture, and then cooking the sauce until it forms a thick consistency. This produces tomato paste. This industrial production includes stabilizers like citric acid and salt, and sometimes herbs and spices. Some make double-concentrated and triple-concentrated tomato paste as well.

Tomato paste is one great ingredient needed in your pantry. It is loved for its deep tomato flavor without extra water, making it an excellent choice for recipes where you dont want a ton of liquid-like meatloaf or taco filling. Instead, it imparts a deep tomato flavor to various dishes such as pasta, soups, and fish sauces. Tomato paste infuses that natural umami flavor found in tomatoes.

To get the best out of your tomato paste, you should introduce it early in your cooking to achieve that caramelization. You can also use tomato paste in your chili, salsa, beef stew, and pizza sauce. Tomato paste has a thick texture that balances any meal used, and its rich, velvety color makes it a delight in many meals.

Tomato Paste Uses in Recipes

Substitute for Tomato Paste

The versatility of tomato paste makes it a regular stock in the pantry. Many recipes, both traditional and intercontinental meals, use tomato paste in their cooking. Its deep flavor and tangy feel make you appreciate your meals even better. Some of the recipes that find the use of tomato paste includes:

  • Sauces
  • Pasta
  • Stew
  • Ketchup
  • Rice meal
  • Marinara Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Korean dishes
  • Vinaigrette
  • Ragu
  • Marinade
  • Meatballs in curried sauce
  • Butter Chicken
  • Sausage Rolls
  • Shredded Beef
  • Eggplant Parmigiana
  • Lamb Shanks

Tomato Paste Substitutes

While making your sumptuous meals, you dont have to dash out to the store if you run out of tomato paste. There are quite some handy substitutes you can use in place of tomato paste, and the substitutes can also ass the rich tomato flavor and thickness to your recipe. Examine it out.

Canned Tomatoes

Tomato sauce can be substituted with the thin tomato juice in canned tomato, which may be diced, crushed, or whole and used in the same way as tomato sauce. For every tablespoon of tomato paste needed in a recipe, you can use three tablespoons of canned juice. After adding, you should keep constantly stirring until the juice has reduced and thickened, and it gives the same great flavor.

Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh tomato is another great substitute for tomato paste. To use this, puree until it is liquefied and then follow the same formula for adding the paste. For every tablespoon of tomato paste, use three tablespoons of the fresh juice. You can add it along with a pinch of salt, then keep constantly stirring until the liquid is reduced and thickened.


I bet you didnt know that ketchup lying on your shelf can come in handy in place of tomato paste, right?. Yes, ketchup can come to your rescue when out of tomato paste. So you have to tweak a little as ketchup has more sugar than tomato paste and a tangier zing. So if your recipe calls for sugar or vinegar, you may want to reduce the amounts to accommodate what the ketchup brings to the meal. Ketchup can be added in equal amounts to tomato paste.

Tomato Sauce 

Tomato sauce can be your go-to if you run out of tomato paste, and it is a great substitute and gives that umami taste to your meal. You can add three tablespoons of tomato sauce in place of 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, constantly stirring until your sauce thickens.

Tomato Puree

You can also use tomato puree as a worthy replacement for your tomato paste, and you will have a similar deep and savory flavor. For every one tablespoon of tomato paste, use three tablespoons of tomato puree in your cooking and stir until it thickens.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

What is the same as tomato paste?

Both tomato puree and sauce can serve as your tomato paste. However, tomato puree is a canned sauce made of cooked, strained tomatoes with a thinner consistency than tomato paste.

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

You can use other tomato paste substitutes such as canned tomatoes, cornstarch, and roux sauce, which have flour content and thicken your meal while leaving some flavor behind.

Can I use diced tomatoes instead of tomato paste?

Absolutely. A can of diced tomatoes works just as well as tomato paste, especially when you want your tomato flavor with a touch of thickening power.


You can now explore varying options as substitutes for tomato paste. No doubt, tomato paste comes with a distinct taste and flavor to your meal. Still, when you cannot lay hold on it, there are also worthy alternatives you can add to your meal to make it just as good. I hope you find some useful information here.


What happens if you use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste?

Tomato sauce is slightly thinner than tomato puree, but either one will work. Because these products are less concentrated than tomato paste, you’ll need at least twice as much to get the same amount of tomato flavor when using them as a tomato paste substitute.

How do you make tomato paste?

Bring tomatoes to a boil, then lower your heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft. Place simmered tomatoes into a blender and blend at high speed until fully pureed (including the skins and any seeds that didn’t get squeeze out).

Can I substitute cornstarch for tomato paste?

Tomato paste is great as a thickening agent, but have no fear if you find yourself short on tomato ANYTHING. You can thicken your soup with: Cornstarch – This works great to thicken a hot liquid, and you don’t need to dissolve it beforehand. Just carefully sprinkle the cornstarch into the soup so it doesn’t clump.

Can I use marinara instead of tomato paste?

As an alternative to tomato paste, try marinara sauce.

Marinara sauce has a similar consistency to tomato paste already, but this should only be used in recipes where the rest of the ingredients in the marinara sauce—especially Italian seasonings—won’t interfere with or overpower whichever recipe you’re preparing.

How to make tomato paste from tomato sauce?

To transform your sauce into a paste, simply heat tomato sauce in a pan. Let it simmer and stir it constantly until it is reduced by half. This should take around 10 minutes and produce about 7 ounces of paste from a 15-ounce can of sauce.

Is there a big difference between tomato paste and sauce?

Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce the water content, resulting in a thick, intense paste. But tomato sauce has a thinner consistency and often contains extra ingredients, such as onions, herbs, and spices. Tomato sauce is often used as-is in dishes like spaghetti or lasagna.

What is the purpose of tomato paste in recipes?

Why Use Tomato Paste in a Recipe? One of the main purposes of using tomato paste is to help build a rich tomato flavor and give an umami punch to a wide range of dishes. Using tomato paste in combination with tomato sauce, tomato purée, or canned tomatoes can go a long way in making a meal with multidimensional flavor.

What is the main ingredient in tomato paste?

A: Tomato paste is concentrated tomatoes. Yep, it’s really just tomatoes that have been cooked down, then had the seeds and skins strained out, and then cooked down some more until it becomes super dense and, well, paste-like.

Can you make tomato paste out of?

Tomato Paste Substitute From Canned Tomatoes

You can also use a can of whole or diced tomatoes to make tomato paste. Blend a 14.5-ounce can of tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour the tomato mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

How do you thicken sauce if you don’t have tomato paste?

Adding a corn starch slurry is an easy way to thicken sauce quickly. Simply combine equal parts cornstarch and water (start with 2-3 tablespoons of each) in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth, then stir into the sauce.

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