Substitute For Tomato Paste: Your 5 Best Choices

Tomato paste is one of those ingredients not everyone has and not everyone knows where to buy.

Sure, you can learn to make tomato paste, but when you’re planning on cooking a quick recipe that happens to have tomato paste in it, the last thing you want to do spend extra time cooking an ingredient from scratch.

It’s because of moments like that, where you need tomato paste but you simply can’t make it / can’t buy it, that we’ve compiled this list of substitutes for tomato paste that can help you out of that situation.


4 Substitutes For Tomato Paste

1. Canned Tomatoes

substitute for tomato paste - Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are already a crucial ingredient in tomato paste, which means that you can use them as a quick substitute.

All you need to do is drain the excess liquids as much as possible before placing your canned tomatoes on a pan and letting it simmer for a while.

The objective is to reduce the tomatoes so that they acquire a similar consistency to tomato paste.

If you’d like, you can also add herbs and spices in order to improve the flavor.

2. Pureed Tomatoes

substitute for tomato paste - Pureed Tomatoes

Just like canned tomatoes, the goal is to reduce the tomatoes in a saucepan to give them a consistency similar to that of tomato paste.

As in the previous entry, feel free to add spices and herbs to improve the taste.

Keep in mind that reduced pureed tomatoes will also shrink in size, so keep a 3:1 margin in mind.

3 tablespoons of reduced pureed tomatoes will give you an equivalent of 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Adjust your recipe accordingly.

3. Tomato Sauce

substitute for tomato paste - Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce can be used as replacement for tomato paste in two ways:

If you don’t care all that much about the texture and consistency, you can use the tomato sauce as it is. No changes needed.

If you’d like to make your tomato sauce feel a bit more like tomato paste, go ahead and reduce it just like you would do with pureed or canned tomatoes.

The only big difference here is that most tomato sauces are already seasoned so there’s no need to add anything to the sauce unless you bought plain.

Keep in mind the 3:1 ratio used with pureed tomatoes.

4. Ketchup

substitute for tomato paste - Ketchup

Not the best tomato paste substitute but by far the most readily available, ketchup is the kind of substitute you should use only in an absolute emergency.

As with the previous items on this list, the main goal is to change the consistency to something resembling tomato paste, which means simmering it until it reduces.

To improve the flavor and texture, go ahead and puree some fresh tomatoes and mix the with the ketchup.

If you do the later, you can add herbs and spices to change the overall flavor, but make sure to do a taste test first because ketchup already has a very noticeable flavor on its own.

(+1 Extra) How To Make Tomato Paste At Home

How To Make Tomato Paste At Home

As you can see, finding tomato paste substitutes is rather simple, but you’ll be pleased to know that making tomato paste from scratch can be just as easy.

Because of that, we’re including a short and simple tomato paste recipe, so you never run out of this delicious ingredient:


  • Tomatoes, 10 lbs.
  • ​Citric acid, ½ tsp.
  • Olive oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Salt, 2 tps.


- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. (see the best countertop convection oven)

- Slice your tomatoes into tiny dices.

- Heat up a saucepan and add your olive oil. (read the cookware buying guide before buying a saucepan)

- Add your tomatoes and bring them to a simmer, cooking until all the tomatoes are soft and the skins start to peel.

- Stop simmering once the skins have detached from the dices.

- Use a food mill to separate the skin and seeds from the tomatoes. If you don’t have any, then you’ll have to puree the tomatoes with your blender. (It’s not the same, but it’s the second best thing)

- Season the pulp with the salt and citric acid and mix thoroughly.

- Spread your mix over baking sheets and place them in the oven.

- Let them bake until they reduce, stirring the mix every 30 minutes.

- Take out the paste once it becomes a dark red. This should take anything between 3 to 4 hours.

- Scoop out of the baking sheets and store, preferably in glass jars.

While this recipe doesn’t include any seasonings other than salt and citric acid, you can add any herbs and spices you feel will bring the paste’s flavor closer to your preference.

And there you have it, now you know 4 great substitutes for tomato paste and a simple recipe you can use whenever you have the time.

Thank you for reading. We hope you found this article enjoyable and informative.

If you liked this article, don’t forget to leave a comment.

Emma Claire

I’m Emma, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of 3 kids, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way.

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