10 Best Plum Tomato Substitutes

Plum tomatoes are the ultimate ingredient for any chef that’s passionate about Italian cooking, specifically when it comes to making tomato sauce.

They are excellent for preparing tomato sauce due to their low water content, which is perfect for making tomato paste and a sauce with good consistency. 

The best substitutes for plum tomatoes are Canned tomatoes, Regular tomatoes, Tomato paste, Sun-dried tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, Grape tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes, and many more. 

Plum Tomatoes Substitutes

Plum tomatoes are distinguished by their unique egg-like shape and few seeds, making them the ideal tomato to use when making a rich tomato sauce. They are also great for canning and roasting in the oven to release their flavor.

However, if you do not have them at hand, opt for some of the next plum tomatoes substitutes and you will save your recipe.

1. Canned tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are the best substitute for plum tomatoes for cooking. They will work for salads, however, they are perfect for cooked recipes like tomato sauce. You can easily find them in supermarkets, as well as being a pantry staple.

If you’re using canned tomatoes, use about 1 and a half cups of canned tomatoes for each pound of fresh. This will ensure that you still have the same texture for your sauces or stews, as well as a great flavor. Canned tomatoes are a perfect substitute for all fresh tomatoes in any cooking recipe.

2. Regular tomatoes


Plum tomatoes can be a little more difficult to find in some supermarkets. They are not always available year-round, but regular tomatoes always are. So if you’re in a pinch and really need tomatoes, regular can be a good substitute for plum tomatoes.

The advantage of using regular tomatoes is that they can be used in both cooking recipes, as well as salads and fresh recipes.

Keep in mind that regular tomatoes are more watery and contain more seeds. So, you may have to use less or add in some tomato paste to make sure the texture is right. Make sure to get rid of some of the seeds as well, before adding the tomato to your pan or pot.

3. Tomato paste

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is quite similar to plum tomatoes as it is super thick and flavorful, so if you can’t find plum tomatoes, tomato paste is a great option for a substitute. It will still yield a great flavor and good consistency.

You will need a few tablespoons to substitute, but the best thing to do is add a little at a time and see how much you need, as it will vary depending on each recipe. Tomato paste cannot be substituted in salads.

4. Sun-dried tomatoes

Sundried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are usually found in cans of oil. But you can buy them fully dried in the spice section of your supermarket. They last a long time in the pantry. Therefore, they can be an incredibly useful ingredient.

When using sun-dried tomatoes, reconstitute them in hot water for about an 1 first, then use them accordingly for any cooked dish including sauces and stews. They also have great flavor and chewy consistency, so they are a good substitute for plum tomatoes.

5. Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are similar in size to some plum tomatoes. So, they can be substituted for them in both cooked and raw recipes, so this will work for sauces and salads.

They also have more seeds than plum tomatoes. Therefore, it would be a good idea to de-seed them before adding them to sauces. They are also a little more watery, so you may need to add some tomato paste to thicken it up.

6. Grape tomatoes

Grape tomatoes

Grape tomatoes are smaller than cherry tomatoes, about half the size, and don’t contain a lot of water. So, they are a brilliant substitute for plum tomatoes.

You may need to buy a lot more as they are much smaller, but grape tomatoes also have a great flavor profile and will work in different sauces, stews, and salads. You can cook them the same way you would prepare plum tomatoes and add them to your dish or salad.

7. Beefsteak tomatoes

Beefsteak tomatoes

If you can find beefsteak tomatoes, they are a great substitute for plum tomatoes. These tomatoes are large tomatoes that are incredibly sturdy, and hold their shape well when sliced.

They are commonly used in burgers and salads for their rich flavor and sturdy shape. But their water content makes them great for sauces.

8. Heirloom tomatoes

There are varieties of heirloom tomatoes and their availability varies depending on the season. But if you can find fresh heirloom tomatoes at a farmers’ market or your local supermarket, they are also a good substitute for plum tomatoes.

These tomatoes also come in a range of colors, from yellow, green, and red, and look nice on salads. They can also be cooked down and provide a rich flavor, and are described to have a sweet and deep taste compared to regular tomatoes.

You can prepare them the same way as plum tomatoes and will deliver the same results in any of your recipes.

9. San Marzano tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes are possibly the most popular type of tomato to make sauces with, and they come from Italy. Their flesh produces flavorful, thick sauces and if you can’t find plum tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes are the ones to go for.

You can also buy them canned if you can’t find them fresh. Fresh San Marzano tomatoes can be used in salads or cold dishes as well, as they produce a great flavor.

10. Peppers

Orange bell peppers

If you’re in a pinch and don’t find any tomatoes at all, you can use peppers as a substitute in salads and in some sauces.

You will not get a tomato sauce, but if you buy red bell peppers and roast them before adding them to a sauce you can still make an incredibly flavorful, slightly sweet sauce that can be used on meat and pasta.

Peppers also have a good crunch to them and will go well on salads too. If you really need a substitute for plum tomatoes, you can use bell peppers.


Are Roma tomatoes and plum tomatoes the same?

Plum tomato is the umbrella term for many varieties of tomato, and Roma tomato is one of them. It is a fairly popular type and is also commonly found in supermarkets.

Roma tomatoes yield a rich flavor and low water content, making them perfect for sauces. They also have fewer seeds than other tomatoes, so they are perfect for sauces. Roma tomatoes are also sometimes called plum tomatoes.

Can you substitute cherry tomatoes for plum tomatoes?

As mentioned above, yes, you can substitute cherry tomatoes for plum tomatoes. They are still flavorful and especially good to use in salads.

However, because they are more watery and contain more seeds, you will have to remove some of the seeds if you’re cooking with them. Also, add a bit of tomato paste to the recipe to ensure that the consistency doesn’t change too much.

What is the difference between plum tomatoes and regular tomatoes?

The difference between plum tomatoes and regular tomatoes is that plum tomatoes have lower water content. They also do not have as many seeds, making them perfect to make thick and flavorful sauces for pasta or meat.

Plum tomatoes also have a deeper, richer flavor than regular tomatoes and tend to yield a more flavorful dish overall. This is why many chefs will opt for plum tomatoes in their recipes.

Can I use chopped tomatoes instead of plum?

Chopped tomatoes are widely available in the canned selection of stores. You can use them as a substitute for plum tomatoes as they are very flavorful. They can only be used in cooked recipes such as sauces and stews, and not for salads.

One thing to be careful of is that chopped tomatoes contain more water. So you may either need to use less of these tomatoes or add tomato paste to your dish to ensure it keeps a thicker consistency.

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