What’s A Good Substitute For Tomato Paste? Everything You Need To Know

Tomato paste is common in everything from pasta sauce to meat marinades. When you realize that you don’t have any tomato paste at home, you might be compelled to run to the store.

Don’t grab your keys just yet - you may have a substitute for tomato paste in your cupboard!

Since tomato paste is used for flavor and thickening, there are substitute ingredients that can work in your tacos, chili, or pasta.

I’ve been here before, and I know what works. Let’s run through the basics of cooking with tomato paste and choose the right substitute for your needs!


What Is Tomato Paste?

We use it all the time to add depth of flavor and some acidity, but do you know how tomato paste is usually made?

Typically, tomatoes are cooked to remove some moisture before blended and strained to get rid of the skin and seeds. Then, the pureed mixture is reduced until it becomes a thick, paste-like concentrate.

Tomato paste then provides the full flavor of a large number of tomatoes without adding too much volume to the recipe, which is essential to prepare many dishes.

Uses Of Tomato Paste

Spaghetti With Tomato Sauce And Basil

Tomato paste is used in many ways, but some of the most common ways that home and restaurant chefs make use of this great ingredient are:

  • Creating pasta sauce
  • Making delicious chili
  • Adding flavor to meat for meatballs, meatloaf, and more
  • In the base for pot roasts
  • To add dimension to stews or stocks
  • ... and in many other ways!

Tomato paste is a huge part of so many ingredients, so what can you do if you don’t have any?

The Best Substitution For Tomato Paste Is….Tomato Paste

It might sound ridiculous, but the best substitution for tomato paste is to actually make an at-home tomato paste from other tomato ingredients.

The basic recipe to make your own tomato paste always goes like this:

  • Choose your base (tomato sauce, puree, canned tomatoes, red pepper puree, etc.).
  • Boil over medium heat, stirring, as the water evaporates reduce until you have a paste.

Let’s go through the three most popular base ingredients to use to make your own tomato paste: canned tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, and canned tomatoes.

How To Make Tomato Paste Out Of Tomato Sauce

If you have canned or jarred tomato sauce at home, you can make a tomato paste substitute out of it! If your recipe calls for tomato paste and liquids, you can simply add 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce for every 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Then, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons to account for the volume difference.

You can also make your own tomato paste! All you need is some tomato sauce and a heavy-bottomed saucepan so that the tomato sauce won’t burn.

  • Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce in the saucepan for every one 1 tablespoon of tomato paste that you need.
  • Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes or longer until the sauce reduces by two-thirds.

Viola! You’ve just made your own tomato paste.

Make Your Own Tomato Paste From Fresh Tomatoes

If you’re a gardener or you just have a lot of tomatoes, you might want to try making your own tomato paste.

It’s not difficult; it simply takes time to reduce enough moisture out of fresh tomatoes to create a delicious tomato paste:

While this process is easy to follow, you’ll want to make sure you have a food mill at home before choosing this method.

After you reduce and puree the tomatoes, you’ll want to process them in the food mill to remove all chunks and seeds before finishing the reduction. Otherwise, you’ll have seeds in your tomato paste, and that won’t be very appetizing!

Make Your Own Tomato Paste From Canned Tomatoes

The next option you can use as a base is a can of tomatoes! Many recipes for tomato-heavy foods such as pasta sauce or chili call for canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Why? Because these three ingredients are different varieties of the same base: tomatoes.

Canned tomatoes can be turned into tomato paste in less than an hour. First, dump the entire can into a saucepan and reduce the moisture out of the mixture for at least 10 minutes.

Next, remove from heat and use a food processor or hand blender to puree the mixture. If you have a food mill, you’ll want to strain out any seeds now so that you have a smooth consistency.

Then, put the mixture back on the stove and heat over medium-high heat until it reduces to a paste-like consistency.

A Tomato Paste Substitute Without Any Tomatoes

Via thissydneylife.files.wordpress.com

Some people need a good substitute for tomato paste because they are allergic to tomatoes.

Thankfully, there are other options that don’t have any tomatoes in them!

The first is a brand called “Nomato” which makes sauces, pastes, and more specifically for people who do not or cannot eat tomatoes. You can use their Nomato sauce instead of tomato paste in many recipes.

You can also make your own version of a no-mato sauce at home using red pepper puree or squash puree. Follow the same steps - reduce until it’s paste-like - and then use the nomato paste as your tomato paste substitute!

Get The Best Tomato Paste Substitute

Do you feel more confident in your ability to find a great replacement for tomato paste at home now? I hope so!

There’s nothing more that I hate more than having to go to the store for one missing ingredient, so I hope this explanation of how to replace tomato paste in a recipe effectively saves you a frustrating trip to the grocery store.

If this article has helped you out, make sure to leave a comment below about your experience. Then, like and share it with your friends so that they, too, can find the substitute for tomato paste that they need!

Sophia Gardner

I'm Sophia, food blogger, dog lover, homemade cooking and travel passion. I really hope you enjoy my blog, i'll do my best to share great recipes, healthy living tips and just general 'food' thoughts!

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