8 Best Tomato Paste Substitutes You Can Try!

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Tomato paste is something great to have in our kitchen. It brings a slightly sweet taste and can be added to multiple cuisines. But what should we do when we are all out of it? I would say look for the best tomato paste substitutes!

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a unique ingredient. It brings a light sweetness without any tartiness, so we have to be careful when choosing the tomato paste substitute. Confused regarding what to use instead of tomato paste? Then this article is for you!

Tomato paste is nothing but highly concentrated pure tomatoes cooked for hours. It has nothing else: cooked tomatoes without the skin and seed. Since the tomatoes are cooked for too long, they will lose all their water content and become extremely flavorful.

That’s why you only need half a teaspoon of tomato paste instead of one whole tomato. This intense flavoring of tomato paste is hard to recreate but possible. Some ingredients can be used as tomato paste substitutes.

Wondering what the best tomato paste substitutes are? Well, tomato sauce, canned tomato, ketchup, and tomato soup are some of the most reliable tomato paste substitutes. If you have any of these with you, you can use them as a tomato paste substitute.

Quick Peek: Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste

If you are someone who loves Italian dishes, you would know the importance of tomato paste in cooking. A little amount of this ingredient can bring a whole new flavor to most dishes it is added to.

There needs to be more information regarding this simple ingredient. In this section, let’s read and understand tomato paste in detail. Let’s understand what it is, its taste, its health benefits, and much more.

What Is Tomato Paste?

As its name suggests, tomato paste is a condiment obtained from tomatoes. Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes for too long without its seed and skin. The cooking hour is too long as we have to reduce the amount of water in it too low to get a thick texture and smooth consistency.

Even though many people may consider tomato paste similar to tomato ketchup, they are two different things. Ketchup comes with many artificial flavors, whereas tomato paste is nothing but the tomato in its pure form.

As you may know, tomato paste is the main ingredient in Italian cooking and is often used as the primary ingredient for pasta pizza sauce and also for braised meat. Not just Italian, you can add tomato paste to almost all dishes that use tomato as one of their ingredients.

Tomato and tomato puree is good. But tomato paste is extremely convenient to use. It has a thick consistency, and a little goes a long way. You do need to waste it, peel it or remove the seeds; squeeze the tube and use it! 

Describing Tomato Paste: Flavor and Texture

Tomato paste is not something the food industry developed. The early form of tomato paste was made in a fun way. The women of Malta and Southern Italy were the first ones to use tomato paste. They used to sun dry the tomato sauce and used it as tomato paste to bring in the tomato paste flavor.

Tomato paste has an extremely delicious taste to it. It brings the exact flavor of tomatoes to our dishes without the extreme tartness it offers when used in raw form. Tomato paste tastes so much like dried tomatoes. 

The texture of tomato sauce is extremely thick in nature. The consistency varies from one to another depending upon the hours it has been cooked. It is smooth and has no chunks or pieces in it. These pastes are made by removing the seeds and skin of the tomato. Hence it will have a velvety texture to it.

Uses Of Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is one such ingredient that can be found in most of our house pantries. It is extremely easy to find at most supermarkets, and since it’s too easy to use, we can use it in multiple dishes.

Tomato paste is most used in Italian dishes. It can be used in making pasta/ pizza sauce as well as for marinating chicken. It brings a tangy sweet flavor to the dish. Moreover, since it is concentrated, we will only need a little of it to bring the tomato flavor to our recipe.

Even though tomato pastes are good in general, there are some tips chefs use to make them tastier. One of them is this: tomato paste is added at the beginning of the cooking. This will help caramelize the paste and bring a much sweeter taste to the recipe.

Tomato Paste On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Pure tomato paste has so many health benefits to it. It’s nothing but tomatoes in a much more concentrated form. Hence tomato paste has nutritional benefits similar to that of tomatoes. This is one of the healthiest versions of processed tomato available to us.

  • Helps With Heart Health: Tomato paste is a great source of lycopene which belongs to the vitamin A family. Including lycopene helps to reduce the chance of having heart issues and blood clots.
  • Boosts Skin Health: Tomato paste is a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin c, as you may know, is a great source of antioxidants and is also great for boosting collagen production. Thus including tomato paste in your diet can help you have good glowing skin. Vitamin C also helps to resolve the sun damage your skin has from UV rays.
  • Contains Zero Calorie: If you are on a diet, and want to have a tasty meal, add tomato paste without a second thought. Pure tomato paste has nearly zero calories and helps you eat your dish in all its glory.

Why Use A Substitute For Tomato Paste?

This question, I’m sure, must have crossed your mind at least once. While this is a good question, there are a few reasons why you might want to use something other than tomato paste in your recipe.

First and foremost, you could be allergic to tomatoes and their products; if that’s the case, you need to use a tomato paste substitute in place of the original tomato paste to compensate for the flavor.

Even though most people love the taste of tomato paste, some of you may dislike its intense taste. Tomato paste has a stronger flavor than tomatoes. Hence, If you are somebody like that, then you need a tomato paste substitute.

Lastly, there will be times when running out of tomato paste. Running to a grocery store will only sometimes be convenient if you are ever in such a situation. Hence in such situations, a good tomato paste substitute comes in handy.

I hope I have given you enough reasons why to try a tomato paste substitute. So, without wasting your time, let’s look into some of the most suitable tomato paste substitutes.

8 Best Tomato Paste Substitutes

Some of the best tomato paste substitutes are given in this section. Along with their substitution ratio, let’s also look into how each substitute can be suitably used in place of tomato paste.

1. Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is one of the best alternatives to tomato paste. Like tomato paste, tomato sauce has a little thicker texture and can be used as a substitute in most dishes.

Tomato sauce isn’t as sweet as that tomato paste. Therefore, while used as a tomato paste substitute, use two tablespoons of tomato sauce for one tablespoon of tomato paste. To bring the exact flavor, add ¼ teaspoon of sugar to the tomato sauce while used as a tomato paste substitute.

Tomato sauce is an ideal tomato paste alternative when it comes to making pasta sauces. While used as a substitute, cook the tomato sauce a little longer in the heat and get a similar consistency as that of tomato paste.

2. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup

Tomato ketchup uses tomato, sugar, and vinegar as its primary ingredient. It has a sweet and tangy flavor similar to tomato paste and can be used as a substitute in many dishes.

Since tomato paste has a higher concentration of tomatoes, most recipes call for a small quantity in the recipe. Hence while replacing tomato paste with tomato ketchup, follow the 1:2 ratio. That is for one teaspoon of tomato paste; use two teaspoons of ketchup.

3. Canned Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

The next best substitute you can use in place of tomato paste is canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are easy to find and are comparatively cheap. Thus if you cannot find tomato paste, go for canned tomatoes.

Since canned tomatoes are also tomatoes, their taste is very similar to that of tomato paste. It is a little tangy in nature, but when used in the right amount, it adequately brings the tomato paste flavor to the recipe.

Canned tomatoes are much more watery and sour when compared to that tomato paste. Therefore, when used as a tomato paste substitute, make sure to drain all the water before adding it to the recipe.

While substituting canned tomatoes for tomato paste, use two tablespoons of canned tomatoes (drained) for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. If you need some sweetness, add 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavor.

4. Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh Tomato

Fresh tomatoes are the base for tomato paste. If you are out of tomato paste, you can use fresh tomatoes as one of its alternatives. Just like tomato paste, fresh tomatoes bring in the sweet, savory, and umami flavor to your recipes.

However, using tomato in place of tomato paste can be a little job. Tomato paste doesn’t contain any skin or seed. Thus we use tomato as a tomato paste substitute, making sure to remove both skin and seeds to get a similar taste.

5. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce

Marinara sauce can be used in many recipes. It is one of the best tomato paste substitutes when used for non-vegetarian food items. Using marinara sauce instead of tomato paste works well for marination.

The marinara sauce uses tomato as its base ingredient. Other than tomatoes, the sauce also has some aromatic ingredients like garlic, basil, and oregano. When used as a tomato paste substitute, use 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

6. Pasta / Pizza Sauce 

Pasta Sauce

If you do not have tomato paste but have some pizza or pasta sauce, I would say you are good to go! Both pizza and pasta sauces use tomato as their main ingredient, and these sauces, to an extent, mimic the flavor of tomato paste.

But these sauces come with a list of added ingredients along with tomato. Therefore after adding these ingredients, do a quick taste test before adding any other ingredients like salt or oregano to your recipe.

While using pizza/ pasta sauce as a tomato paste substitute, use 2 tablespoons of pasta/ pizza sauce in place of 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

7. No Tomato Tomato Sauce

No tomato tomato paste

If you are allergic to tomatoes in general, you’ll find this article of no use. Most of the tomato paste substitutes we have here are tomato based only! But can we recreate a no-tomato-based sauce that can be used as a tomato paste substitute? Yes!

Combine carrot, onion, garlic, and white vinegar and blend it. Pour this over a saucepan and cook it for some time. Once perfectly sautéed, add a teaspoon of sugar to bring the sweetness. Your no tomato- tomato sauce is ready to serve.

8. Pureed Red Pepper

Red Pepper Puree

Pureed red pepper brings in a similar color and acts as a thickening agent similar to tomato paste. Hence if you have other tomato flavors in your dish, you can use this to bring color and texture to your recipe.

For making this recipe, buy some red peppers and blend them in a blender. This can be used in sauces and dishes which require a little spiciness. If you think it’s too spicy, add a little honey or sugar to tone down the chili flavor.

While substituting red pepper puree in place of tomato paste, add 1 tablespoon of red pepper puree instead of one tablespoon of tomato paste.

How To Make Tomato Paste At Home?

Tomato paste is something we all love. However, there will be times when we need help finding it in our nearby grocery store. But if you have some time on your hand, you can make a batch of homemade tomato paste.

Cooking our own batch of tomato paste is a fun activity, to do. The ingredient list for making the tomato paste is very little; it’s just tomatoes. If you cannot find tomato paste, grab some tomatoes and head back home!

Once you have the tomatoes, remove all their skin and seed. We don’t need any of those in our paste. Cut them into small pieces and give them a good blend. Pass the puree through a strainer to get smooth tomato juice.

Pour the strained tomato juice into a saucepan and put it on a medium flame. Simmer it once the puree starts to boil. Stir it until it gets a thick paste-like consistency. Your homemade tomato paste is ready to use.

Short Recap Of Tomato Paste Substitutes

After going through the list of tomato paste substitutes, I’m sure you must have chosen one for yourself. However, if you are still perplexed regarding what to choose from these, allow me to further break it down for you.

Best Easily Available Tomato Paste Substitutes:

  1. Canned Tomatoes
  2. Tomato Ketchup

Most Suitable Tomato Paste Substitutes

  1. Tomato Ketchup
  2. Marinara Sauce

Substitute Options To Consider Last:

  1. Raw Tomato
  2. Pureed Red Pepper

How To Use Tomato Paste Substitutes In A Recipe

Tomato Paste

8 Best Tomato Paste Substitutes You Can Try!

Tomato paste is a unique ingredient. It brings a light sweetness without any tartiness, so we have to be careful when choosing the tomato paste substitute.  Confused regarding what to use instead of tomato paste? Try our tomato paste substitutes.
5 from 1 vote


  • Pureed Red Pepper
  • No Tomato Tomato Sauce
  • Pasta/ Pizza Sauce
  • Marinara sauce
  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Ketchup
  • Tomato Sauce


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Thoughts 

Tomato paste is sweet and tangy and can be used in a lot of dishes. Just a spoonful of it can bring the desired tomato flavor to your dishes.

It’s cheap and is widely available. However, there will be times when we will be out of it. In such a situation, these tomato paste substitutes will be useful.

Hence, we really hope that whatever you choose from the list works well for your recipe. If you succeed or have a better alternative for tomato ketchup, do let us know in the comment section below! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I substitute cornstarch for tomato paste?

If you want to use cornstarch as a thickening agent similar to tomato paste, that will work. However, cornstarch would not replicate the taste of tomato paste.

What happens if you use tomato sauce instead of paste?

Tomato sauce has a more watery content than that tomato paste. Moreover, tomato sauce has many other ingredients than that tomato paste. But in most cases, tomato sauce works well as a tomato paste substitute.

What can you use if you don’t have tomato paste?

If you don’t have tomato paste, you can substitute some tomato paste like tomato ketchup, tomato sauce, canned tomato, or marinara sauce.

Can you substitute tomato paste with tomato ketchup?

Yes. Tomato ketchup can be used as a tomato paste substitute.

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