Tomato Puree vs Paste: What are the differences?

Many of us have not known the difference between tomato pastes and purees at some point or another. However, it’s easy to learn the differences.

These two products certainly seem similar in both sound and texture. There are some crucial differences that you need to know about.

Read on to find out.

Tomato Puree vs. Tomato Paste

Note: There may be slight differences in the definitions between other countries. (Our breakdown is based on the differences you should know about if you live in the United States.)

Tomato Puree is a canned or tubed liquid sauce made of reduced and strained tomatoes. The standard consistency of tomato puree is 7-24% total soluble solids. Sometimes tomato puree will contain added water.

Tomato puree is more of a sauce than a paste

Tomato Paste is a thick paste that is cooked twice to reduce the liquids further. Traditionally produced in Southern Italy, Malta, and Sicily, tomato paste is one of the most critical ingredients in dozens of loved recipes. 

Related: What’s The Best Tomato Paste Substitute?

Tomato puree and paste differ because puree is a sauce, and paste is, well, a paste. The thickness of consistency is far different, with paste being very thick due to the cooking method. Paste is made by cooking tomatoes for hours to reduce the water contents, straining the liquid, and then cooking the liquid again. On the other hand, tomato puree is not cooked a second time. This difference is one crucial thing that makes such a big difference in the consistency of the two. In terms of taste? Tomato paste is far richer and has more profound, more complex flavors than tomato puree.

They make handy substitutes for one another.

Because of how similar these two products are, you can substitute them for one another. Here’s how you can do so easily.

1. To use paste instead of puree: Mix equal parts of tomato paste with water to create the desired amount of puree. So for one cup of puree, you would use ½ cup of paste and ½ cup of water.

2. To use puree instead of paste: Use double the puree amount as you would paste. Add in ¼ teaspoon of sugar per 2 tablespoons of tomato puree. Then remove a tablespoon of liquid from your recipe per tablespoon of tomato puree.


These are the primary differences between puree and paste. So now you should know they aren’t all that different after all – the main difference is in the cooking method. Additionally, you now know how to use one or the other depending on what’s available in the kitchen.