11 Best Tomato Sauce Substitutes You Should Try!

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There is no doubt that tomato sauce is a must-have in a kitchen! There is a multitude of dishes that use this sauce as its base. Be it Asian or Western cuisines, tomato sauce has its place! So if you are out of it, do not worry; try because we are here to discuss some tomato sauce substitutes. 

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce might be a common ingredient in many dishes. But it has a unique taste to it. So if you are out of try, make sure to compensate for it with substitutes with a flavor and texture profile similar to tomato sauce. 

Many people often mistake tomato paste for tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is a different ingredient, with its unique taste and texture. Consistency-wise, it is thicker than tomato juice and lighter than tomato paste. 

So what all could work as good tomato sauce substitutes? Tomato paste, fresh tomato, canned tomatoes, tomato soup, ketchup, pureed eggplant, bell pepper, and pureed beet & carrots are good tomato sauce substitutes.

Tomato sauce is not something new for us. We have heard it many times if not used it. However, some of my readers are still confused regarding tomato sauce. If you are one of them, the next session is for you.

Quick Peek: Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce is the perfect ingredient to add to all your favorite Italian dishes. It adds so much taste to your dish. Not just that, tomato sauce is a great addition to cooking meat and vegetable dishes. But what exactly is this tomato sauce? Let’s see.

What Is Tomato Sauce?

Just as its name suggests, tomato sauce is a condiment made from tomatoes. It is not often used as a dish but as an ingredient. Tomato sauce is an ingredient that has a consistency somewhat between tomato juice and tomato paste. 

Tomato sauce can be simply cooked from fresh tomatoes. However, it is often cooked with some added spices. It is often made from pureed fresh tomatoes and comes in a jar when bought from a store.

Tomato sauce is an umbrella term for several sauces that use tomato as their main ingredient. Other than tomatoes and spices, it may also contain other ingredients like garlic, chilies, and onions. 

Describing Tomato Sauce: Flavor and Texture

Tomatoes are one such vegetable that is a very common thing in many kitchens. Hence tomato sauce isn’t something the commercial industry developed. It has been here for a really long time. 

Tomato sauce has a very mild flavor profile. It doesn’t contain the intense tomato taste of tomato paste or ketchup. Tomato sauce tastes so much like fresh tomatoes.

As they are watery, tomato sauce is often seasoned to enhance their flavor. 

Tomato sauce, as you can imagine, has a bright red color to it. The consistency of tomato sauce is slightly loose, and it has a very grainy texture to it. This grainy texture comes from cooking tomatoes for a long time. 

Uses Of Tomato Sauce 

Tomato sauce is something very handy, and I think everyone must have a bottle of tomato sauce in their kitchen. They are extremely easy to make at home, or if you want, you could get some bottles from the supermarket. 

There are so many ways in which we could use tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is most commonly used in Italian dishes. It is a common ingredient for most pasta and pizza sauces. It brings a slightly sweet and tart flavor to your dishes. 

Moreover, since tomato sauce comes in bulk and in liquid form, it can be used to cook many meat and vegetable dishes.

Also, adding some tomato sauce might help resolve your issue without compromising its flavor if your curry gets a little dry. 

Tomato Sauce On The Health Radar! Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

There are numerous health advantages to tomato sauce. The majority of its advantages come from the fact that it is mostly made of tomatoes. This is one of the healthiest forms of processed tomato that is currently accessible.

Support Heart Health: Lycopene, a vitamin A family member, is abundant in tomato sauce. Lycopene consumption lowers the risk of blood clots and heart disease.

Improve Skin Health: Vitamin C is abundant in tomato sauce. As you may already be aware, vitamin C is a fantastic source of antioxidants and is also excellent for increasing collagen formation. Thus having tomato sauce can help you have healthy, beautiful skin. Moreover, vitamin C aids in repairing skin damage from the sun.

Zero calories: Add tomato sauce to your dinner without hesitation if you’re on a diet and want to enjoy a wonderful dish. Pure tomato sauce is almost calorie-free and aids in enjoying your food to the fullest.

Why Use A Substitute For Tomato Sauce?

You must have thought about this issue at least once, am I right? Although this is a valid concern, you might wish to substitute another ingredient for the tomato sauce in your recipe for a few reasons.

The most obvious possibility is that you are allergic to tomatoes and tomato-related items; in that case, you must use a tomato sauce substitute for the original tomato sauce in order to compensate for the flavor.

Even though the majority of you enjoy the flavor of tomato sauce, some of you might not. Tomato sauce tastes so much like raw tomatoes. Thus, if that describes you, you need an alternative to tomato sauce.

Finally, there will be instances where tomato sauce runs out. Rushing to the supermarket to buy food won’t always be possible.

An excellent tomato paste substitute is useful in such a case. I hope I’ve provided enough justification for trying a tomato sauce substitute.

Now, look at some of the best tomato sauce substitutes without wasting your time.

11 Best Tomato Sauce Substitutes

Now that we have talked so much about tomato sauce, it’s time for us to get into the crux of the article: tomato sauce substitute.

Most of the tomato sauce substitutes given in this section are easily available and have similar flavor profiles. 

Tomato Based Substitutes 

Tomato sauce, as we all know, is made from tomato. Hence the best substitute which could reproduce the taste of tomato sauce will be condiments made from tomatoes.

Hence before moving to any other tomato sauce substitutes, let’s learn about tomato-based ones.

1. Tomato Paste 

Tomato paste

Tomato paste is often made by thickening the tomato puree until it gets a paste-like consistency. It doesn’t contain any added flavor.

Tomato paste is nothing but concentrated tomatoes. Hence it can work as a great tomato sauce substitute. 

However, tomato paste is much more flavorful than tomato sauce. Tomato sauce has a mellow flavor, but tomato paste has a very intense sun-dried tomato taste.

Moreover, some tomato sauce holds a mild sweet taste which is absent in tomato paste.

Another thing is the consistency; tomato paste has a very thick consistency. But if you make some small changes, you can easily use tomato paste as a tomato sauce substitute.

If you want a mellow tomato flavor, just add a spoonful of tomato paste to the dish. You can also use it by mixing it with water to replicate the consistency of the sauce.

Also, if you miss the slight sweetness, add some sugar to balance the flavor. Tomato paste works well in most dishes that need tomato sauce. 

2. Canned Stewed Tomatoes 

Canned Stewed Tomatoes

Tomato sauces are made from pureed canned tomatoes. Thus if you have some time at hand, you can easily make some tomato puree from canned stewed tomatoes. Thus, canned stewed tomatoes work well as a tomato sauce substitute.

Canned stewed tomatoes are cooked tomatoes in canned form. Thus if you have them, pour them into a blender and blend well. If you want, you can add some sugar or spices to adjust its flavor.  

Make sure to add flavors only after blending it, as some canned tomatoes come flavored. While using canned stewed tomato puree as a tomato sauce substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.

3. Fresh Tomatoes


The main ingredient in tomato sauce is fresh tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are one of the best substitutes for tomato sauce if you are out of it.

Similar to tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes provide your recipes with a sweet, delicious, and umami flavor.

Fresh tomatoes taste incredibly similar to tomato sauce. Hence, fresh tomatoes are, without a doubt, the finest tomato sauce substitute if your main concern is flavor rather than consistency.

4. Tomato Soup 

Tomato soup

You might have a couple of tomato soup packets lying in your pantry! They are great for making soups on a winter afternoon and work great as a tomato sauce substitute. They have a similar taste and consistency to that tomato sauce.

However, if you are using tomato soup as a tomato sauce substitute, remember that tomato soups have a much sweeter taste than tomato sauce. Moreover, they will have a looser consistency than that tomato sauce. 

Tomato soup is a perfect tomato sauce substitute for cream or sugar dishes. If you make a pink sauce, tomato soup will work just right for you. While using tomato soup as a tomato sauce substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.

If you think tomato soup is too sweet, add chilies or white pepper powder to adjust the flavor. 

5. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup

Even if you do not have a whole bottle of tomato ketchup at your house, you might have a small packet, a great tomato sauce substitute.

Tomato ketchup has a flavor profile similar to tomato sauce and works as a good substitute.

Tomato sauce contains vinegar and sugar as one of its main ingredients. Hence ketchup has a prominent sweet, tangy flavor which is slightly different from that of tomato soup.

Thus, it is not advisable to use tomato ketchup in dishes that use tomato sauce as its primary ingredient. 

6. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce

There are numerous recipes that call for marinara sauce. It is among the top tomato sauce substitutes when used in place of non-vegetarian food products. It imparts a flavor that is similar to tomato sauce.

Tomato serves as the foundational ingredient in marinara sauce. The sauce contains fragrant components like garlic, basil, oregano, and tomatoes.

Make sure to add water and thin out the flavor when using it in place of tomato paste.

7. Pizza / Pasta Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Both pizza and pasta sauces use tomato as the primary ingredient, and both of these sauces somewhat resemble the flavor of tomato paste. Hence they work well as tomato sauce substitutes.

Together with tomato, these sauces have a long list of additional ingredients. As a result, after including these components, taste the dish briefly before adding any further seasonings, such as salt or oregano.

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting pizza or pasta sauce for tomato paste.

Tomato Free Substitutes 

If you are someone who is allergic to tomatoes, none of the above options works for you! I know that, and that’s why I have some tomato sauce substitute that excludes tomatoes.

Feel free to choose the best one according to your convenience.

8. Pureed Eggplant 

Pureed Eggplants

Eggplant is not something everyone loves, but eggplant goes well with most spices we use, along with tomato sauce. Hence if you are looking for a tomato sauce substitute without tomato flavor, go for pureed eggplant.

For making the puree, slice one or two eggplants and bake them. Remove the skin and place them in a blender and blend them well.

Add some oil initially and later add water along with some spices to manage the taste and consistency.

A large eggplant is enough to make 1 cup of pureed eggplant. While using pureed eggplant as a tomato sauce substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio. This can work as a great base for many dishes, especially curries that have gravy.

9. Pureed Bell Pepper 

Red Pepper Paste

If you want the color of the tomato sauce without its taste, then nothing can beat a well-purred red pepper. Hence, red pepper can be considered a good tomato sauce substitute.

To make this puree, wash and remove the bell pepper seeds and cook them until soft. Add them to a blender. Add oil and water to the puree until the puree gets the desired consistency.

Roasted bell pepper tastes even better and is an excellent pasta and pizza base addition. However, bell peppers can cause some inflammation. Hence if you are following an anti-inflammatory diet, avoid using this. 

10. Pureed Beet & Carrots 

Pureed beet and carrot

These two vegetables are a common sight in our household. When roasted and pureed together, they bring a similar flavor profile as tomato sauce and can be used as a substitute.

Add peeled and finely chopped carrots and beets to olive oil to make this puree. Roast them in the oven or on a gas pan until they are soft. Once they cool down, add them to a blender and make a puree out of them. 

This puree has a wonderful flavor and vibrant color, an excellent replacement for tomato sauce in most dishes. To make it more flavorful, don’t forget to add some spices while pureeing them. 

While using pureed beet and carrot as tomato sauce substitutes, follow the 1:1 ratio.

11. No-Tomato Tomato Sauce

Nomato sauce

If you are looking for a sauce to replace tomato sauce without tomatoes, this no-tomato tomato sauce will be ideal.

When it comes to consistency and flavor, it is very much close to tomato soup and hence can be used as a tomato sauce substitute.

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

Short Recap Of Tomato Sauce Substitutes

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

Best Easily Available Tomato Sauce Substitutes:

  1. Canned Tomatoes
  2. Fresh Tomatoes 

Most Suitable Tomato Sauce Substitutes

  1. Tomato Paste
  2. Fresh Tomato

Substitute Options To Consider Last:

  1. Pureed Eggplant
  2. Ketchup

Best Tomatoless Option To Consider:

  1. Eggplant Puree 
  2. Pureed Beet & Carrot

Final Words 

We have come to the end of the article. I hope you had a fruitful reading. Tomato soup is an amazing ingredient and a great base for many dishes.

It has a very mellow flavor, but it greatly affects the dish’s overall taste to which it is added!

So when you are out of it, you cannot totally skip it. Hence in such situations, make use of a good tomato sauce substitute. Most of the tomato sauce substitutes above work well in most dishes that call for tomato soup. 

However, if your dish calls for tomato sauce as its main ingredient, make sure to get some tomato sauce, as nothing can replicate the intricate flavor profile of this ingredient. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use ketchup if I don’t have tomato sauce?

Yes. Ketchup can work as a great tomato sauce substitute.

Can you substitute tomato sauce for pasta sauce?

Yes. Tomato sauce works well as a pasta sauce substitute and vice versa.

Can I use tomato juice instead of tomato sauce in a recipe?

Tomato juice has a very thinner consistency when compared to tomato sauce. However, tomato juice can work well as a tomato sauce substitute.

Is ketchup same as tomato sauce?

No. Ketchup and tomato sauce are two different ingredients.

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