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4 Best Tomato Paste Substitutes You Need to Try

It is so annoying when you are home cooking and you suddenly realize that you are missing an ingredient. If this happened to you and you find yourself out of tomato paste and looking for a substitute we have you covered.

Tomato paste is a useful ingredient that’s needed to enrich the flavor of a variety of Italian dishes, soups, and stews. It’s a thick, concentrated paste that takes a lot of preparation. It can be prepared at home or bought from stores. 

If you’re making tomato paste from scratch, you’ll need to cook the tomatoes for quite a long time, adding minimal or no water. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have a can of tomato paste at hand, there are many amazing substitutes you can consider that can bring about the desired taste and consistency. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at four tomato paste substitutes, how to use them, and how you can prepare your very own tomato paste at home.

For every tablespoon of tomato paste that’s required, you need to substitute around 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce. 

Even though tomato sauce is a lot thinner in consistency and has added sugars, it can still be used as an alternative for tomato paste. 

The trick is to reduce it first as it contains a substantial amount of water. All you need to do is put it over low heat on the stove and let it simmer until it thickens. 

If the recipe requires water, you can skip this step and add it directly. 

2. Chopped or Canned Tomatoes

If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, you can use the same quantity of chopped or canned tomatoes.

Using fresh, chopped tomatoes or canned tomatoes in a recipe will alter the flavor, which is why you need to increase the simmering time in order to get the desired thickness and taste. 

Since chopped tomatoes can significantly change the texture of the recipe, it’s advisable to use only the recommended amount.

3. Stewed Tomatoes

For every tablespoon of tomato sauce, you can substitute 4 tablespoons of drained stewed tomatoes. 

Stewed tomatoes are undoubtedly the best substitute you can find for tomato paste. They’re the closest in terms of flavor and thickness because they’re both prepared in a somewhat similar way. 

The only thing that makes stewed tomatoes different is that they’re pre-seasoned. They also contain extra liquid that needs to be reduced or drained. 

It’s important to note that sauces prepared with these types of tomatoes are chunkier, unlike sauces made with other substitutes, but they’re a lot richer in flavor.

4. Ketchup 

For every tablespoon of tomato paste, it’s recommended that you substitute 2 tablespoons of ketchup. 

If you have none of the substitutes listed above in your pantry, chances are you’ll still have ketchup. Even though it has a super thin consistency and a high amount of preservatives, it can still be used as a substitute for tomato paste. 

It’s ideal to pair it with tomato sauce for the best result, as it can be difficult to thicken ketchup on its own. Combining these two ingredients will result in the bold flavor you’ve grown to expect from tomato paste. Since they’re both watery, you need to reduce them by letting them simmer for some time on a stovetop.

Final Words

You may not always have store-bought tomato paste in your pantry, but if you’re smart, you can always whip up your own at home or use any of the substitutes we’ve mentioned above to get as close to the desired taste and thickness as possible. Don’t forget to use the substitutes in the recommended proportions to avoid altering the flavor profile of your final dish.