13 Best Tomato Puree Substitutes

Tomato Puree

Tomato puree is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking. It is simple, thick, and adds an excellent flavour to the dish. Tomato puree can be added into soups and many sauces, and it is also used as a thickener. It is also a good base for homemade barbeque sauces.

What if you find yourself in a situation where you are out of tomato puree, but your recipe requires it? Or maybe you just want to change the recipe, and use something else instead. Can you use an alternative?

  • Crushed Tomatoes: Whether from a can or freshly prepared, crushed tomatoes make a simple and effective alternative to tomato puree. If a smoother consistency is required, blend or process them accordingly.
  • Tomato Sauce: Thinner than tomato puree, tomato sauce can be a suitable replacement. Adjust the quantity to attain the desired thickness in your recipe.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes: Puree canned diced tomatoes for a quick and easy alternative. Keep in mind that this may result in a slightly chunkier texture, so adjust as necessary.
  • Fresh Tomatoes: Opt for a homemade touch by blending fresh tomatoes to create a substitute for tomato puree. Modify the quantity to align with your recipe’s flavor intensity.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes and blend them with water or broth to craft a flavorful and rich alternative.

When making substitutions, consider both the consistency and flavor requirements of your dish, adjusting quantities as needed.

In this article, you’ll find the easiest recipe, and everything else that you need to know about tomato puree, so just scroll down to find out more.

Tomato Puree Substitutes

Even though tomato puree is a very common ingredient that can be easily made at home, it is something that you can always substitute. There are plenty of other tomato-based options that will help you make the best meal possible.

Just take a pick from our list below, and find out more about each option.

1. Tomato Sauce


Tomato sauce can always be used as a substitute for tomato puree. Put it in a pan and cook it to reduce the volume, or just to thicken it a bit. This will compensate for its thin consistency.

Also, keep in mind that most tomato sauces are seasoned and spiced, and this can be a bit of a problem since the puree is plain.

You can substitute equal amounts of sauce for puree. Make sure when substituting to reduce the seasoning levels to keep them from overshadowing the other ingredients.

2. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste

This is another substitute for tomato puree that is a good match for texture and taste. Tomato paste is concentrated and comes in large volumes. Do not add any spices or seasoning to the recipe when using tomato paste.

You can use ⅓ cup of tomato paste and ⅔ cups of water as a replacement for tomato puree. This will give you approximately the same texture and thickness as tomato puree.

3. Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

This is a very thick and rich sauce that is normally used as a pizza topping, or as a dipping sauce. It can also be used with many other recipes like meatball subs, chicken, eggplants or just a dip sauce for breadsticks – it is an all-purpose ingredient.

You can substitute pizza sauce for tomato puree in equal amounts, and as long as the spices work with your recipe, this will make an excellent substitute.

4. Fresh Tomatoes


Since fresh is always better, if you have a big batch of tomatoes it’s a great idea to make them into tomato puree. Chop the tomatoes, toss them in a large pot, bring them to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Let them cool down and then pulse the mixture through a blender until it is smooth. Roma tomatoes are an excellent option but really you can use whichever tomatoes you have available.

Use four cups of tomatoes to substitute one cup of tomato puree in a recipe.

5. Canned Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

Another good substitute that will do the job right is canned tomatoes. This is one of the most practical options, and something that can be easily found in stores. You can always blend them and remove any excess liquid. Do not add any seasoning, spices or salt because puree is often unseasoned.

Use equal amounts to substitute.

6. Ketchup

Tomato ketchup

This is maybe not the best substitute, since tomato puree is unspiced and unseasoned and ketchup has plenty of herbs and spices, but it will do the job as long as you like its flavour. All you need is a dash of tomato ketchup.

7. Passata

Tomato passata

Passata isn’t that common in the US, but you can still find it in some specialty food and grocery stores.

If you find passata, you can successfully replace tomato puree with it and save your recipe.

Tomato puree and passata have a similar taste and texture. Therefore, you can use them as a substitute for each other in a 1:1 ratio.

However, remember that passata is thicker than tomato puree, so you should add a little water before using it.

8. Red Bell Pepper

Red Bell Pepper

Choose red bell pepper if you’re looking for another vegetable to replace the tomato in your recipe. You can also use yellow or orange bell peppers since they all have a similar sweetness to tomatoes.

However, remember that bell peppers lack the acidity of tomatoes, so if you prefer a more acidic flavor, you can add a little vinegar.

You can even prepare Romesco, a sauce made of cooked and pureed bell peppers. It’s similar to tomato puree and doesn’t take too long to complete.

Cook your bell peppers, blend them with olive oil, and you have a perfect substitute for tomato puree.

9. Tomatillo Salsa

Usually, green salsa consists of tomatillo, a cousin of tomatoes with a similar acidic flavor. However, they’re slightly more acidic and less sweet than tomatoes.

Nonetheless, you can still use tomatillo salsa instead of tomato puree in your recipe. To help neutralize the acidity, you can add sugar.

Furthermore, cooking tomatillo salsa can help reduce the sharpness and make this substitute blend into your dish better.

Lastly, don’t forget that some tomatillo salsas contain other ingredients, such as hot peppers or garlic, so search for a simpler tomatillo salsa if you need a substitute for tomato salsa.

10. Ragu

If you’re looking for a unique substitute for tomato puree, look no further than Ragu. It’s a meat-based Italian sauce that’s best served with pasta dishes.

The sauce typically consists of ground or minced meat with a liquid base of tomato, stock, wine, water, and broth. It’s a rich and yummy sauce that can save your recipe if you don’t have a tomato puree on hand for bolognese or other dishes.

11. Rotel Tomatoes

Rotel tomatoes can also replace tomato puree in your recipes and provide a similar result. They’re a type of canned tomatoes that can replace tomato puree in a recipe because they’re pre-seasoned with green chilies, onions, and garlic.

So, if you pick Rotel tomatoes, you will save time and effort when cooking your dish. You can use Rotel tomatoes as a substitute for tomato puree in a 2:1 ratio.

12. Pumpkin or Squash Puree

Pureed Pumpkin

Pumpkin and squash belong to the gourd family.

They’re preserved in a can, the same as tomato puree, and have a strong flavor and thicker consistency.

You can use pumpkin or squash puree as a tomato puree substitute in your recipes. They don’t contain much juice, so they have a drier texture than puree, but you can water your pumpkin or squash puree with oil or water.

For 1 cup of tomato puree, you should use 1/2 cup of pumpkin or squash puree.

As for the flavor, both pumpkin and squash have a similar, subtle flavor to tomatoes enhanced by other spices and flavorings.

So, you won’t notice a big difference in the final result.

13. Roasted Tomatoes

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

You can make a homemade tomato puree with roasted tomatoes. They have a rich and intense flavor that will make your final dish unique and tasty.

Therefore, if you have the time and patience, toss a few tomatoes with a little oil and salt and roast them in the oven.

After, blend them to your preferred consistency and use them in your recipe instead of regular tomato puree in a 1:1 ratio.

What is Tomato Puree?

Tomato puree is a thick sauce that is made from briefly-cooked tomatoes which have been strained to remove the skin and the seeds. It is usually used to thicken sauces and also to add flavor to soups and stews.

It is an ingredient that is commonly used as a base for pizza or marinara sauces. Tomato puree is thicker than a tomato sauce and usually, it has no other ingredients (like spices or salt) added to it.

There are many other sauces such as hot and sweet sauces, which are a perfect dip for many dishes including nachos, breadsticks, or pretty much anything that you want. By adding tomato puree, you’ll make the sauces even better. If you are using it to thicken your sauces, you can always add additional flavors too.

Homemade Tomato Puree

If you are unable to buy tomato puree, or if you simply have lots of fresh tomatoes at home which you don’t want to throw out, there is always the following option.

Use your fresh tomatoes to make an excellent homemade tomato puree. Nothing will go to waste and the result will be a perfect tomato puree.

All you have to do is follow these instructions. Make sure you have a large pot, cutting board, knife, peeler, blender, quart zip-top bags, and – of course – a bag filled with fresh red tomatoes.


  • First, you’ll have to wash the tomatoes under cool water and then pat them dry. Next, peel the tomatoes with a sharp, serrated vegetable peeler and trim away any spots. Remove the core of the tomatoes.
  • You can use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and any other watery pulp. Then chop the tomatoes.
  • Once the tomatoes are all cleared out and chopped, add them to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Just put them over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to boiling point and then reduce to medium heat. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the juices are released and the flesh has become tender.
  • Remove the tomatoes from the heat and let them cool down for 5 to 10 minutes. Blend them until the mixture is smooth.
  • Divide the pureed tomatoes into portions and fill the zip-top bags. Press out the excess air and freeze the bags for future use.

Useful tips:

  • Remember that when using either fresh or canned tomatoes, the flavour will be different. This is because of the freshness of the tomatoes or the way the canned ones are stored. Increasing the simmering time will mean the puree will be thicker and the taste will be more intense.
  • You can always smash the tomatoes once they have been chopped, and sometimes that is a better idea for some recipes.
  • Tomatoes give a very good flavour and change the texture of a recipe. It is advisable to substitute and use in accordance with the recipe, so you don’t lose the primary flavour.
  • If you are making a marinara sauce with a tomato paste, keep in mind that the paste has more spices and herbs, and make sure to substitute an appropriate amount.

Related questions:

Is tomato sauce the same as tomato puree?

Puree is a thick liquid and the difference between the paste and the puree is in the consistency. Tomato puree has a thicker consistency and has a much deeper flavour than the sauce.

Does tomato puree thicken sauces?

Yes. You can always use tomato puree to thicken sauces. Cook the sauce for a few minutes and then add to your stock. You’ll have a perfect sauce in no time.

Can I use diced tomatoes instead of tomato puree?

Yes, you can. Tomato puree is usually cooked to provide thickness to the dish. Despite the differences, the two can be substituted for each other and be successful in many recipes.

What Do You Use Tomato Puree for?

Tomato puree is used for making sauces and dips, including Italian sauces, such as pizza sauce, and basic tomato cream sauce for pasta.

You can also mix tomato puree, salt, sugar, and vinegar and yield a delicious sauce for your french fries or wraps.

Do You Add Water to Tomato Puree?

Tomato puree consists of cooked, strained tomatoes. It’s a canned sauce with a thin consistency because it’s made with tomatoes and water. So, there’s no need to add extra water to your tomato puree.

You can find tomato puree in 10-15-ounce cans. However, if you’re making tomato puree and it’s thick, you can add extra water.

Can You Make Tomato Puree From Canned Tomatoes?

You can make tomato puree from canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or frozen ones; hence, you can use tomato puree instead of canned tomato sauce or paste, crushed tomatoes, or diced tomatoes in almost any recipe.

Can I Use Crushed Tomatoes Instead of Tomato Puree?

You can use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato puree in all recipes and vice versa because they’re similar in flavor and texture.

You can see a slight difference in the consistency of the sauce. Nevertheless, your sauce will turn out amazing.

However, remember to add tomato paste or sauce since tomato puree and crushed tomatoes have a thin consistency.

Is Canned Tomato Sauce Just Pureed Tomatoes?

Canned tomato sauce isn’t just purred tomatoes. They share a similar consistency, but canned tomato sauce is thinner.

Moreover, canned tomato sauce consists of tomato puree, water, and seasonings for extra flavor. The extra ingredients in most canned tomato sauces include basil, oregano, garlic, and onion.

In a nutshell, they’re similar but different products you can use interchangeably in a recipe and obtain fairly identical results.

What’s the Difference Between Tomato Sauce and Tomato Puree?

In the US, tomato sauce represents a product that sometimes contains sugar. It’s a smooth and sweet sauce.

In contrast, tomato puree is made of cooked and then pureed tomatoes.

Additionally, tomato puree has a thinner consistency than crushed or whole canned tomatoes.

Although they’re made differently, tomato sauce and tomato puree can be used as a substitute for each other in almost any recipe.

  1. you were very helpful I was given a 6 lb 11 oz can of tomato puree and knew not what to do with this much puree since it is just me. You have answered all my questions and not a oz of puree shall go to waste. Once again thank you

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