6 Best Substitutes for Tomato Sauce (Quick & Easy Fix)

tomato sauce

Whether you are making pasta, pizza, chicken, pork, or other types of meat or fish, tomato sauce is the basis that you need to make these dishes. This sauce gives a good texture and more flavor.

This is a classic in Italian cuisine, but this ingredient is used very often in many dishes in many other cuisines around the world. However, you are probably wondering if this common ingredient has its substitutes when cooking. What can I use instead of tomato sauce in recipes?

The best substitutes for Tomato Sauce are Tomato Paste, Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Tomato Ketchup, Tomato Soup, and Fresh Tomatoes.

Read further on the article, as you’ll find the recipe for the best homemade tomato sauce and I’ll try to help you how to use these substitutes in recipes. Also, you’ll find here the best replacements for tomato sauce in lasagna.

Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

As previously mentioned, tomatoes are flexible and have tomato-based substitutes when used in recipes. Read below to find out what are the substitutes for tomato sauce.

1. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste

This tomato paste adds tomato flavor to your dish and it’s a good and the easiest substitute for tomato sauce. Because tomato sauce is less concentrated than tomato paste, you’ll need twice as much just to get to the right flavor.

How much do you need?

For every 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce use a tablespoon of tomato paste when cooking. If you want to have the same thickness as tomato sauce, add one cup of water to three-quarters of a cup of tomato paste so you can get the same texture and thickness.


Use this tomato paste instead of tomato sauce when you are cooking chicken in slow-cooker like Ropa Vieja or Moroccan Chicken.

2. Canned Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes

Can tomatoes be another substitute for the tomato sauce? They fit very well in your recipe, the flavor and its thickness give the tomato flavor that you need. Because these diced tomatoes are packed in cans with a lot of liquid, you’ll need to strain the juice and use the tomatoes solid. These canned tomatoes aren’t concentrated as the paste, so you’ll have to double the amount.

How much do you need?

You’ll need 2 tablespoons of canned tomatoes for every tablespoon of tomato sauce, when cooking.


If your recipe requires tomato sauce and you are using canned tomatoes, you don’t have to worry about the texture or the taste in your dish. You can use this substitute when cooking: Roasted eggplant spread or Chicken bean stew.

3. Tomato Juice

Tomato juice

Tomato sauce is the best fresh substitute that you need. It’s made from freshly squeezed or crushed tomatoes and it contains no preservatives or additives. So when using tomato juice, be aware that it might turn bad quickly than the other substitutes.

How much do you need?

For every ½ cup of tomato sauce and ½ cup of water can be replaced with 1 cup of tomato juice and also you can add salt and sugar.


Basically, you can use the tomato juice as a substitute in all recipes that require tomato sauce. The only difference is in the freshness as the juice is freshly squeezed.

4. Tomato Soup

Tomato soup

It’s actually not so commonly used, but the tomato soup can be a great substitute for tomato sauce. Another thing that is important to know when you use tomato soup is that its flavour is sweeter than the tomato sauces, so make sure that you adapt the taste to your recipe.

How much do you need?

1 can of tomato soup can substitute 1 cup of tomato sauce and ¼ cup of water. These adjustments can easily make your dish as tasty as you have used tomato sauce.


Actually you can use the tomato soup when making spaghetti or chili sauces. It’s easy to make and it gives the dish a very good taste.

5. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato ketchup

We all have tomato ketchup in our fridges, it’s easy to find and works perfectly in your dishes instead of tomato sauce. The ketchup is not as thick as tomato paste, but it’s thicker than the sauce of fresh tomatoes.

When you add ketchup in your recipe, you have to keep in mind that the tomato ketchup contains vinegar, sugar, and spices in its texture. So, when you cook add the amount that you need not more because it’ll change the flavor of the dish.

How much do you need?

One tablespoon of ketchup for every spoon of tomato sauce. It goes really well in most recipes.


You can swap ketchup in recipes that are already sweet like pork dishes: spicy pulled pork or sweet and sour ribs.

6. Fresh Tomatoes


Fresh tomatoes are the best substitute you can use. Making your own tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes is the best thing that you can do. It’s healthier and you know what you are making and using in your dish. Use paste tomatoes, because they have less water and fewer seeds.

If you are using freshly picked tomatoes, then you’ll need to peel them off and you need to get rid of the seeds. Simmer the tomatoes until they are reduced by half and remove the extra liquid that you don’t need.

How much do you need?

One large tomato for every tablespoon of tomato sauce. It’s fresh, healthy and way better than any other sauces.


You can easily adapt the freshly squeezed tomatoes in your recipes, especially if you are cooking pasta. This home-made fresh tomato sauce can also be a good substitute when making creole or other meat with mushrooms.

How to make the best home-made tomato sauce:

The perfect tomato sauce is one of the main things that anyone should know. There is nothing better than successfully preparing the perfect sauce with tomatoes.  Easy, home-made tomato sauce is what you need.

I would like to share with you one of the best recipes on how to make the basic, but the most delicious tomato sauce. It’s easy to prepare and it does not take too much time to cook this sauce.

All you need is:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil,
  • finely chopped onion and crushed garlic
  • You can add celery and carrot, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and you can also add basil for better taste
  • Whole peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes, the juice is included
  • Finally, add the good-old salt and pepper duo, as much as you like.

Cooking method:

  1. Firstly, heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add the onions, carrots and celery. Stir occasionally and then cover the pan and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  2. Then, you should remove the cover and add the garlic and increase the heat. Cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes and the juice into the pan. It’s important to know that If you are using fresh tomatoes, first you need to boil them for a minute and then add them to the pan. Also, add basil and season it with salt and pepper. Bring go a low simmer and low cook. Uncover until the texture gets thicker for about 15 minutes.
  4. After all, this is done, your sauce is ready for your dish.

Substitute for tomato sauce in lasagna:

Lasagna is the most common Italian dish that has tomato sauce as one of its main ingredients when cooking. However, you are probably asking yourself is there something else to use instead of tomatoes, is there another ingredient to make this dish a bit more different.

Of course, you can. If you are out of tomatoes or tomato sauce, don’t worry I have the best substitutes that you’ll need.

  • Eggplant, zucchini are some of the most common vegetables that can be used as replacements. Also, instead of tomato sauce in between the layers, you can easily adapt an olive paste or tapenade.
  • Meaty mushrooms also work as a replacement as you’ll have a very vegetarian and tasty lasagna. In this recipe use bechamel sauce (butter, flour, and milk) and add the mushrooms with wine and cook the mixture.
  • Spinach is a very common replacement as you will eat a very healthy and green looking lasagna. Bechamel is also used in this combination.

Related questions:

Is tomato puree the same as tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce and tomato puree are actually very similar. The only difference between them is in their flavor and culinary uses. If you use tomato puree use it as a recipe ingredient as it’ll blend with the other flavors, whereas the tomato sauce is used as it is.

How can you tell if tomato sauce is bad?

Smell it and take a look at it. If the sauce has an off odd flavor and appearance, even mold, then definitely you should throw it out. Throw out all cans or packages that are leaking or rusting as they are for sure gone bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like