Answered: Tomato Paste Substitute

Tomato Paste is a popular and tasty ingredient that is used in recipes for lunches, dinners, and even baking. It is a thick paste that is made by slow-cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce the water content to create the thick, rich flavored concentrate that is then used in pasta sauces, soups, and more.

Sometimes you’ll find a recipe that requires tomato paste, or you’ll find yourself needing a substitute for one reason or another.

In this article, we will explore the best tomato paste substitutes for every situation. Read on to find out what you need to know.

What Is Tomato Paste?

Tomato Paste is made from refined tomatoes that are slow-cooked and reduced. Once they have finished cooking and have cooled down the skins and seeds are removed through straining.

This process creates delicious concentrated flavors which have made tomato paste one of the most important ingredients in the kitchen for hundreds of recipes.

Tomato Paste has a thick texture that can be watered down for sauces or used as it is to thicken other sauces for pizza bases. It is most often used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews while also enriching the flavor inexpensively.

What Can You Substitute For Tomato Paste?

Substitute:Good For:
Tomato SauceStewed tomatoes, sauces, and soups.
Tomato PureeSoups, Chili, Lasagna.
Crushed TomatoesThickening sauces, soups, and beef stews.
Marinara SaucePasta dishes that require a sauce.
Nomato SaucePeople with tomato allergies.

1. Tomato Sauce

Real tomato sauce is a recipe that is used to create delicious dishes for pasta, stews, and more. It makes an ideal tomato paste substitute in those situations.

Tomato sauce often implements tomato puree or paste to help thicken the sauce, but you can always use something like cornstarch to help thicken up the sauce.

The other option would be cooking tomato sauce for longer when making it at home. Slow-cooking tomatoes is a crucial part of the process when making tomato paste to allow the water content to reduce.

2. Tomato Puree

Also sometimes known as passata, tomato puree is right up there when it comes to substitutes for tomato paste.

To use puree instead of paste: Use double the amount of puree as you would tomato paste. Remove a tablespoon of water from your recipe per tablespoon of tomato puree.

Related: Tomato Puree vs. Paste: What are the differences?

Tomato puree is more liquid than tomato paste, but it still has an intense tomatoey flavor that makes it suitable as the base for lots of sauces and for thickening things like soup.

3. Crushed Tomatoes

You can make crushed tomatoes at home in about five minutes if you have some canned diced tomatoes or canned plum tomatoes in the pantry.

  • Open 2-3 cans of canned tomatoes.
  • Blend them in a food processor or crush them manually.
  • Strain them into a pan.
  • Slow cook this mixture for as long as possible to create a crushed tomato alternative to the tomato paste.

If you would like to make crushed tomatoes with fresh tomatoes then check out this video.

You can use either canned or fresh crushed tomatoes as a substitute for tomato paste. Fresh is almost always better when it comes to cooking, but canned is still a good alternative.

4. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a much-loved, famous Italian sauce that is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and oregano.

The sauce is medium-thick in consistency and has a lot of texture because of all the ingredients. However, it does make an excellent tomato paste replacement for spaghetti and other pasta dishes.

One added benefit to using marinara sauce is that it is extremely tasty and adds a lot of depth of flavor to your dish compared to a simple tomato paste.

5. Ketchup

While ketchup can sometimes be a good substitute for tomato paste, you should keep in mind that it is a condiment. This means it’s not ideal for cooking as it isn’t an ingredient.

You can use ketchup as a tomato paste substitution for spaghetti when you need something inexpensive in a hurry.

6. Nomato Sauce

Nomato Sauce is a perfect substitute for tomato paste for anyone with a nightshade allergy. In fact, lots of people who can’t have tomatoes don’t even know about this fantastic sauce.

You can make this sauce with beets, onions, garlic, carrots, white wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. You then sautée this in a little oil. Once cooked to the right consistency you puree the mixture in a good processor.


There are many reasons why you might need a replacement for tomato paste. No matter what the situation, you’ll find one of the substitutions above to be a good alternative for tomato paste in any recipe.