The Best Substitute for Tomato Paste You Can Use

Let me share with you one experience I had one Sunday afternoon. I was giddy cooking as my family waits, only to realize that I was running out of tomato paste and my recipe calls for one. Honestly, I totally freaked out! Do you have the same experience?

Well, I was so happy to know that there are different substitute for tomato paste that I can use to my desire.

Do you want to know what these are? Well, in this article, I have collected the great alternatives for tomato paste. So please keep on reading below!

What is Tomato Paste and The Different Ways to Use It

Tomato paste is one of the items that can be regularly found in everyone’s pantry. It often comes in a can or in tubes and is packed efficiently to make sure its thickness, as well as the tomato concentrates, will be kept on. Tomatoes were cooked to reduce its juice content and to take out its skin, including its seeds; it is then reheated to reach its heavy and dense mixture.

This product is widely being sold in the market today from different brands coming from various places. But if you’re adventurous like me and want more fun, then you can actually just make tomato paste by yourself. It is quite easy to do, plus you can be extra sure that it has been made from the best and fresh tomatoes.

Anyway, when it comes to its uses, you might be surprised to know how big role it places into culinary arts. Here are the various ways on how to use it.

  • Pizza sauce. Of course, how can anyone ever enjoy pizza without tomato sauce?
  • Dips. Tomato dip is just so delicious when paired with salsa, chips or even vegetable finger foods, no wonder why it is so popular.
  • Broth. Nothing is better than hot tomato broth during a cold afternoon.
  • Soup. Tomato soup has always been regular in every buffet and they're so comforting
  • Marinade. You can use tomato paste to add flavor to any type of meat for grilling
  • Flavor and color enhancer. Tomato paste is a safe way to give your dish a good kick of taste and make it appealing to the eye.

5 Ideas That Can Be The Best Alternative to Tomato Paste

#1. Tomato Sauce

Of course, tomato paste has been created from tomatoes. So it would only make sense that the closest substitute we would consider is also something made out from tomatoes and this is no other than tomato sauce.

So how are we going to transform the sauce into a paste? Here’s what you will need to do:

  • Pour out the tomato sauce into a saucepan. But you have to remember that tomato is a fruit and it contains natural sugar, so you have to make sure that your saucepan has a thicker bottom; we don’t want to scorch your tomatoes.
  • Use medium heat to warm the sauce until it briskly simmers; wait for about 7 minutes or until you get your desired thickness or the consistency similar to paste. 

You will also begin to see the original amount of the sauce reducing to at least two-thirds. Take note that in every two to three tablespoons of tomato sauce that you simmer, you will be able to produce one tablespoon of tomato paste.

#2. Tomato Puree

Unlike tomato sauce, puree is a whole lot thicker choice making it even a better alternative. Its consistency is even much easier to work with.

To make tomato puree into a paste, you can simply follow the method done for the tomato sauce mentioned above, but only in a shorter period of time. You will also have to consistently stir the puree to avoid burning the tomatoes.

#3. Can of Diced Tomatoes

If you have a can of diced tomatoes, then there's totally no need to worry if tomato paste is not available in your pantry. Here's how to quickly make a paste out of your can of diced tomatoes:

  • Pour out the tomatoes into the saucepan. Pour out everything including its liquid.
  • Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Unlike tomato sauce, diced tomatoes will quickly breakdown since the can already has a fair amount of liquid and it will even release more liquids.
  • Keep on stirring the mixture to avoid the tomatoes including the liquids from getting scorched or taste like a burnt sugar. Do this for about 10 minutes or until the contents will be reduced by two-thirds.

I suggest you use a big can of diced tomatoes or at least 14.5-ounce can as this will approximately yield about 6 ounces of thickened paste.

#4. Mixture of Tomato Sauce and Ketchup

I know both tomato sauce and ketchup are commonly found in every pantry, so both make a convenient alternative to creating a tomato paste. Actually, this is the easiest substitute for tomato paste. All you have to do is to mix the ketchup and tomato sauce and that’s it, you now have a tomato paste!

But you have you to be extra keen when it comes to the ratio to achieve the thickness you really need. If you think there’s something wrong with the mixture’s consistency, you might want to try cooking it the way we did with the pure tomato sauce recipe.

#5. Stewed Tomatoes

Here’s another tomato paste substitute that is very easy to do. By stewing tomatoes, we will be able to let the liquid evaporate. However, this may have chunkier tomatoes than the paste itself, but it will be enough for the dish to acquire a tomato taste and even add texture to it.

Anyway, here’s how you can make stewed tomatoes at home. You will need:

You will need

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. accent seasoning
  • Pepper and salt

Here’s how to do it!

  • 1
    Soak the tomatoes in hot water to loosen the tomatoes' skin; this should peel off around a minute.
  • 2
    Gently pull the skin of tomato to peel
  • 3
    Now that you have peeled tomatoes, place them in a large pot and add all the other ingredients.
  • 4
    Cover the pot and boil everything for about 15 minutes. This should soften the tomatoes after to be used as tomato paste.

Why You Should Use Tomato Paste

Do you know that your tube of tomato paste does not only make your recipes flavorful, but it also comes with health benefits? Well, here are some of the benefits.

  • It is full of nutrients. Tomato paste is absolutely fat-free and comes with a very low level of calorie. It is highly rich in vitamins like Vitamin A, B, C, and K. It provides potassium, iron and other several minerals.
  • It is antioxidant. Tomato paste comes with antioxidant that is bioavailable, plus it has lycopene that can help you minimize the risk of prostate cancer.
  • It even helps you avoid sunburn. Do you know that as simple as eating a dish with tomato paste is enough to get protected from flushing that you will get from getting exposed to ultraviolet rays?

What To Do With Tomato Paste Leftover

I have to admit how many tomato pastes I have wasted ever since I learned how to use it. Keep it in the fridge only means I will be throwing it out a few days after. So I look for ways on how to save it.

  • Freeze the tomato paste. Freezing the tomato paste will help you store the paste for up to 3 months. Just place the paste in a small container or freezer bags and put it on freeze
  • Make tomato sauce as many as you can. Since the paste is more concentrated, you can transform it into a sauce and use for your other recipes.
  • Cook another recipe that requires tomato paste. Clearly, the easiest thing to do is to find another recipe that requires tomato paste. There are various ways to use leftover tomato paste. You can whisk it into your salad dressing for instance; tomato paste will add extra sweetness to your vinaigrette. Then you can have another meal that is rich with the goodness of tomato.

Final Thought

I hope you enjoyed reading different substitute for tomato paste. Tomato paste really makes a great ingredient when cooking soups, sauces and other dishes. I like how this simple item from the kitchen makes any dish more flavorful. 

Isn’t it comforting to know that there’s no need to freak out whenever you find out that you are running out of tomato paste in your pantry? Feel free to use any of the substitutes I mentioned above to get your desired results. 

How about you, what substitutes do you use for tomato paste? Do you have other options that I missed to mention above? Share it with me in the comment section below; I’ll be glad to hear from you. And oh, please don’t forget to share this article with your friends too!


Hey there, I'm Nancy, founder and editor in chief here at TOMYCook, and I’m absolutely in love with food and health blogs. I'm on a mission to share my insider cooking, food and health tips with all of you...

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