Substitute For Tomato Paste

How annoying is it to want a delicious stew or pasta dish, decide that you want to make it, and realize that you are out of tomato paste? You have gathered all the other ingredients and suddenly realized that one of the unique ingredients is missing, and you don’t want to go to a grocery store for just a tiny can. So this is why I have made a list of a possible substitute for tomato paste!

As an aspiring cooking expert, you should be aware of the substitutes for different ingredients. Situations always arise where you will need to make do, so knowing possible substitutions will definitely come in handy.

Though this is all about substitutes, but firstly, let’s have a look into tomato paste and how you can make it at home. You should also check out Psyllium Substitutes, Celery Seed Substitutes, and Lemon Grass Substitutes.

What is Tomato Paste?

Tomato paste is a thick bright red canned substance. It is essential in making many tomato based sauces, stew, and more. Tomato paste is just like tomato sauce, but with a more concentrated consistency. Hence, it becomes a soupy liquid when you add water into it.

How to make Tomato Paste?

You need to cook tomatoes to make tomato paste. First, chop the tomatoes, and remove the seeds and skins of the tomatoes. Continuously cook the tomatoes in a little water until a thick consistency is formed with dark red color. Finally, your tomato paste is ready.

As you see, the total amount of mixture will be reduced. You will require ten pounds of tomatoes to produce 20 ounces of paste. Therefore, usually, most people prefer to procure it through grocery stores.

However, tomato pastes available at different stores aren’t produced equally. Therefore, it’s best to choose plain tomato paste rather than flavored ones. Usually, the manufacturer adds seasonings to flavor the tomatoes, such as stabilizers including salt and citric acid, and sometimes spices and herbs including basil. You can also get options of double and triple concentrated tomato paste which means a more potent form.

Why Use Tomato Paste?

If I have tomatoes, why should I use tomato paste? That’s a compelling question!

Tomato paste is usually employed because of its more potent nature. In addition, it is very thick and pastey, so you can use it in recipes that need a thick consistency, such as taco filling and meatloaf.

Let’s move to our main concern, which is what are the best substitutes for tomato paste.

Top Six Substitutes for Tomato Paste

Tomato Passata

Tomato passata is like canned tomato paste. It’s a tomato paste, but it hasn’t been concentrated. Thus it contains more moisture than canned tomato paste. You can quickly reduce the volume of tomato passata to one-third in a pan. When it’s thick, just like the usual tomato paste, you can substitute it as 1:1, which means one tablespoon of tomato passata in place of 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

However, if you don’t want to be bothered with reducing it to make it as thick as tomato paste, and your recipe is fine with the liquid and won’t be ruined, you can just jump to adding it into the recipe. Add it in a 3:1 ratio, i.e., substitute three tablespoons of tomato passata for one tablespoon of tomato paste.

Crushed Tomatoes

Tomato paste and crushed tomatoes are mixed to produce a sauce for some dishes. If you only have one, then you can choose the one that works best for you. Add water to tomato paste to substitute for crushed tomatoes, or use extra crushed tomato in place of tomato paste. Be mindful that it won’t be as thick as it would be with tomato paste. You may require some extra time on the stove to decrease the liquid. However, if you are not concerned about the thickness and want a tomato flavor, you can use crushed tomato in a 3:1 ratio. You can replace one tablespoon tomato paste tablespoon with three tablespoons of crushed tomato.

Canned Tomatoes

It’s a good choice when you don’t want to spend six hours producing tomato paste from scratch. Still, you need a slightly tomatoey flavor and thickness. So, get a can of tomatoes, drain all the liquid to obtain thickness, then mash them with the spatula while cooking. You can begin with two tablespoons of canned tomatoes for each tablespoon of tomato paste. You can adjust this amount depending on the desired thickness and taste.

Fresh Tomatoes

You can also take fresh tomatoes to substitute tomato paste. The formula is almost the same. First, remove their skin and seeds, then cook them until they become thickened. You can substitute one tablespoon of this thick paste.  Also, you can take three tablespoons of fresh crushed tomato for one tablespoon of tomato paste. You can also add it with a pinch of salt in a recipe that requires tomato paste. Then, cook and stir continuously till the fresh juice has decreased and gets a thick consistency.


Ketchup doesn’t have the same consistency as tomato paste. However, it’s thicker than other tomato products and gives a touch of flavor, since it also has sugar and vinegar. You can try it in recipes that don’t require tomato paste as an exclusive thickener, such as chili. Cook your dish on the stove for more time than typical to obtain accurate thickness because ketchup is thinner than tomato paste. You can take it in 1:1, i.e., one tablespoon of ketchup for one tablespoon of tomato paste in a recipe.

Pureed Red Peppers

That’s a different ingredient! Yes, though, till now, we have been talking about everything that contains tomato.However, if you are cooking a dish that needs a tomatoey flavor, but it’s not the critical flavor included, such as vegetable tagine. You need to make a roasted red pepper jar, or you can roast them. Remove the skins and stick the peppers in a food processor. Add them into the recipe when pureed until smooth. You may not get the same thickness, but it produces a deep flavor. It can get your guests thinking about what that secret ingredient is! Use a 1:1 ratio for the measurement.

Conclusion on Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a significant ingredient in various recipes, especially those that need a thicker consistency. Hence, you need a substituent that has a similar taste. Thus, we have mentioned different substitute options that contain tomatoes except for the one red pepper puree, which is a good option if you want to replace the tomato flavor.

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