The 5 Best Substitutes For Tomato Paste

There is nothing worse than starting a recipe only to realize that you don’t have all the necessary ingredients. Unfortunately, this situation is a common one – especially with rarer ingredients we don’t commonly use. 

The 5 Best Substitutes For Tomato Paste

One such ingredient is tomato paste. Although it is used in cooking, most of us hardly keep it in our kitchen cabinets to add as seasoning. As a result, it’s very easy to run out of tomato paste without even realizing it – so what can you use instead? 

If you need a substitute for tomato paste, this is the place for you. Here are 5 amazing alternatives you can use that taste just the same as the original! 

1. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup

If you don’t have tomato paste at hand, it’s very likely there is at least a bottle of ketchup in your kitchen. 

Although tomato ketchup is thinner than tomato paste, it still works great as an alternative.

You will need to add more to make up for the lack of thickness (usually two to three tablespoons more for every tablespoon of tomato paste your recipe instructs you to add).

However, this will help you achieve the same amount of flavor although with a very slight tang. 

The great thing though is that you will almost always have ketchup at hand to use instead of tomato paste.

You will need to adjust the amount of sugar, spices and vinegar you add to the recipe because these things will also be included in ketchup (see also ‘12 Best Substitutes For Ketchup‘). So be cautious when using this substitute but it is easily the most accessible method for cooks! 

2. Tomato Puree

Tomato Puree

Another common substitute to tomato paste is tomato puree (see also ‘11 Tomato Puree Substitutes‘). It is thicker in consistency and texture than tomato ketchup, which also means that it also features a deeper tomato flavor.

Despite this, it is still thinner and less flavorful than tomato paste so you will have to use an additional tablespoon of puree for every tablespoon of tomato paste the recipe instructs you to use. 

3. Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

Yes, you read that right – tomato soup is actually a great substitute for tomato paste! It has all the flavor although many find it much sweeter and more viscous due to the additional ingredients used to make tomato soup. 

However, it’s much easier to source a can of tomato soup than tomato paste which is why many end up using this alternative ingredient.

However, you will have to reduce the quantities of your other liquid ingredients. If you do end up using tomato soup as your substitute, then reduce other liquid ingredients by a quarter to half a cup.

This will help prevent your meal from becoming too runny. 

4. Canned Tomatoes 

Canned Tomatoes 

Canned tomatoes can come either diced or stewed but both versions work great as substitutes for tomato paste. You will first have to strain out the liquid otherwise your meal will become soggy.

All you need is the solids – add a touch of thickening powder and two tablespoons of canned tomatoes for every tablespoon of tomato paste you should have used. 

This method is super easy and still contains all the delicious flavor you need without including any additional ingredients like vinegar. Make sure you have removed the skins and seeds too! 

5. Fresh Tomatoes 

Fresh Tomatoes 

This method is a bit tricky but it is possible to use fresh tomatoes as a substitute for tomato paste.

You will have to skin the tomatoes and deseed them, and then simmer them in a saucepan to remove the excess liquids and juices from the tomates. 

You will only need to use one large tomato as a substitute for every tablespoon of tomato paste so for most recipes, you will only need to use one fresh tomato. However, this will depend on the recipe itself. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Difference Between Tomato Paste And Tomato Puree? 

Although very similar to tomato paste, tomato puree is different in concentration and texture.

This is because it is much thinner than tomato paste due to the higher amount of liquid in its recipe. This makes it more sauce-like in texture but also less concentrated in tomato flavor. 

Actually, tomato puree is closer to tomato sauce/ketchup in texture and concentration than it is to tomato paste but both work great as substitutes. 

What Is In Tomato Paste?

Tomato paste is basically concentrated tomatoes! They are tomatoes that have been peeled, deseeded, strained, and cooked until they become a dense paste.

You can even make your own tomato paste at home although this method does take some time and a lot of effort – so check out substitutes you can use above!

The 5 Best Substitutes For Tomato Paste

The 5 Best Substitutes For Tomato Paste

Recipe by Jenna

There’s nothing worse than finding out you don’t have the ingredient you need for a recipe. Check out the best substitutes for tomato paste here!

Course: Substitutes
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  • Tomato Ketchup

  • Tomato Puree

  • Tomato Soup

  • Canned Tomatoes

  • Fresh Tomatoes


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjo

Recipe Video

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