Tomato Puree Substitutes

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tomato puree substitutes

Tomato puree is a fixture in the pantries of many homes in the U.S. and an integral ingredient in many Italian dishes such as meat-based sauces, fish recipes, soups, and of course, that favorite Italian classic pizza.  


However, what do you do when you have your heart set on a particular recipe and find you don’t have any tomato puree available. Well, you scurry around in the kitchen to find a substitute, of course!


So, what are the best substitutes for tomato puree?  Our top picks are tomato paste and tomato sauce.  


Read our list below for more options, and more importantly, we will tell you how to substitute each option for tomato puree.

What Is Tomato Puree

Tomato puree is made by cooking tomatoes briefly and straining the mixture. The result is a thick liquid. Tomato puree usually consists of only tomatoes; however, some processed versions of tomato puree might have seasonings added to the puree.

Tomato Puree vs. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is best known as the base for pizza. Tomato sauce is simply a thinner version of tomato puree. Tomato sauce may include seasonings and other flavorings; this sauce can be used in other dishes or as a base for sauces.

Tomato Puree vs. Paste, Is Tomato Paste the Same as Tomato Puree?

Tomato paste is not the same as tomato puree. Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes for several hours and then straining the mixture. The result is a thick, rich tomato concentrate. Tomato paste is sometimes referred to as tomato concentrate.

Tomato Puree vs. Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes consist of diced tomatoes in tomato puree or paste. Tomato puree does not have diced tomatoes; instead, you have a thick liquid.

Best Substitutes for Tomato Puree

1) Tomato Paste 

Tomato paste is thicker than tomato puree. Add an equal amount of water to substitute tomato paste for tomato puree. For example, ½ cup of paste + ½ cup of water.


2) Tomato Sauce

The similarities between the two make tomato sauce one of the best substitutes for tomato puree. Tomato sauce is simply a thinner version of tomato puree. 


If you want to make the texture of the tomato sauce closer to tomato puree, simmer the sauce until it thickens. It is best to use plain tomato sauce; however, if the sauce has other ingredients, adjust your recipe’s ingredients accordingly. You can use tomato sauce as a 1-to-1 substitute.


3) Passata

Passata is uncooked tomato puree that has been strained to remove the skin and seeds. It is commonly used in Europe in pasta sauce, pizza sauces, soups, and stews. Passata is sometimes labeled as tomato puree.


4) Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce is tomato puree with spices and seasoning added. You can use pizza sauce as a substitute for puree. Adjust your recipe ingredients to compensate for the spices and herbs added to the sauce.


5) Fresh Tomatoes 

If you don’t have tomato puree on hand, you can make your own. It’s pretty easy to do, and I don’t know about you, but making my puree from scratch is usually so satisfying. You can find more detailed instructions below.


6) Crushed Tomatoes

The main difference between crushed tomatoes and puree is that crushed tomatoes have a chunky texture.  


7) Canned Tomatoes

It’s pretty easy to make tomato puree from canned tomatoes. Simply blend the canned tomatoes, liquid, and all in a blender or a food processor until you get a smooth consistency.


8) Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce can be used as a substitute for tomato puree. However, keep in mind it contains spices and seasonings, so adjust your recipe accordingly.


9) Ketchup 

Ketchup should be a last resort to replace tomato puree since it has a distinct flavor.

How To Make Tomato Puree (Easy Tomato Puree Recipe)

  1. You can use any type of tomato available. However, it is ideal to use Roma tomatoes.
  2. You will need around 5 lbs. of tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, a sharp knife, a saucepan, and a blender.
  3. Wash the tomatoes making sure you rinse all the dirt and debris. You can peel the tomatoes, however, note this step is optional.
  4. Chop the tomatoes into large pieces. Chopping the tomatoes will ensure they cook quickly.
  5. Place the chopped pieces in a saucepan. Please note that you don’t need to add water since the tomatoes will release their own liquid as it is heated up.
  6. Remember to stir the mixture frequently for around 10 minutes. You will find that the tomatoes start to break down and will be left with a mushy sauce.
  7. Remove the tomatoes from the heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Put the mixture in a blender or food processor and process until the mixture is a smooth liquid/
  9. Strain the liquid to remove any seeds or skin that might not have been processed. If the liquid is too watery, you can put it back on the stove, so the liquid thickens.

FAQ Questions

Can I substitute fresh tomatoes for tomato puree? 
Fresh tomatoes are not an exact substitute for puree. Follow our recipe above to make your own puree.

Can I substitute crushed tomatoes for tomato puree?
Yes, you can use crushed tomatoes for tomato puree. To ensure the texture is similar to puree, run the crushed tomatoes and their juices through a blender or food processor.

Can I make tomato puree from canned tomatoes?
Yes, you can make tomato puree from canned tomatoes.

Is tomato puree the same as crushed tomatoes?
No tomato puree is not the same as crushed tomatoes. The main difference is that crushed tomatoes or a bit chunky, while tomato puree consists of a smooth liquid.

Can I make tomato puree from diced tomatoes?
Yes, you can make tomato puree from diced tomatoes,

What is a substitute for tomato puree in chili?
You can use tomato sauce or paste.

What is a substitute for tomato puree in curry?
You can use tomato sauce or paste.

Recipes That Use Tomato Puree

There is nothing like a luscious bowl of soup when you are seeking some comfort food.  However, the main draw of this recipe is the cheese croutons on top of the soup.

Personally, I could eat prawns (shrimp) morning, noon, and night.  Yes, I like them that much!  It’s hard to go wrong with prawns (shrimp) and pasta, however, this spicy tomato sauce takes it to the next level.

This creamy tomato coconut pasta is perfect for vegans.  An added plus is this recipe is quick and easy to make. 

One Last Thing

Well, there you have it: a detailed overview of the best substitutes for tomato puree. Happy cooking!

About Me


Hi, I am Charms, a self-confessed smoothie fanatic!  Here I will share some of my favorite smoothie recipes, tips and guides and gear reviews.   Learn more .