Don’t have tomato paste, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best tomato paste substitute to use in recipes.

Tomato paste substitute

Making a recipe that calls for tomato paste and don’t have it? Don’t worry, there are few options that are perfectly suited as a substitution. Tomato paste is a paste made from tomatoes that are cooked for hours until they reduce into a thick, rich and lightly sweet paste. It’s used for enhancing tomato sauces and stews. It comes in a very small, thin can: or you can also find it in a squeezable tube (our favorite).

Don’t have time to shop for it? Or cooking and just realized you don’t have it? (It happens often, over here!) Here are some substitute ideas.

Best tomato paste substitute

1. Tomato puree or sauce

The best substitute for tomato paste? Canned tomato sauce or tomato puree. These sauces are not nearly as thick as tomato paste, and they don’t have the lightly sweet flavor either. To make up for both, use this substitution ratio:

  • For 1 tablespoon tomato paste, use 2 tablespoons tomato puree or sauce mixed with ¼ teaspoon sugar, and remove 1 tablespoon of other liquids in the recipe.

2. Ketchup

Don’t have tomato sauce or puree? No problem. The next best tomato paste substitute is ketchup! Ketchup has a consistency similar to tomato paste, but it has a saltier, tangier, and sweeter flavor. Most recipes use tomato paste in small quantities, so using a 1:1 substitution should not affect the integrity of the recipe too much. If the recipe calls for large quantities of tomato paste or if the vibe doesn’t lend itself to ketchup flavor, you should not use this substitution idea.

Here are some recipes where you could use this tomato paste substitution:

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Tomato paste substitute

Quick Tomato Paste Substitute


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: 1 tablespoon 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Don’t have tomato paste, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best tomato paste substitute to use in recipes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree or sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar 

Instructions

  1. Mix the tomato puree or sauce with ¼ teaspoon sugar. When you’re cooking, remove 1 tablespoon of other liquids in the recipe.
  2. Alternate method: you can also use ketchup as a 1:1 substitute for tomato paste. 
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Tomato paste substitute

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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