Tomato Puree Substitute — The Best Options on the Market

Are you looking for a tomato puree substitute? We’re here to help. We’ve found the best alternatives, and we’ll show you exactly how you can use them. 

Don’t worry about not having the right ingredients. You’re bound to have at least one of these in your freezer or pantry. Here’s what else we’ll cover:

  • What Is Tomato Puree?
  • Best Substitutes for Tomato Puree
  • Non-Tomato Alternatives
  • How to Make Your Own Tomato Puree
  • What Recipes Use Tomato Puree?

What Is Tomato Puree?tomato puree in a jar with fresh basil

Tomato puree is a classic essential for every kitchen. It’s thick and has a basic flavor that adds a delicious taste to soups, pasta, and pizzas. Rice dishes also use tomato puree, particularly those with seafood and meat. 

You may want to immediately substitute tomato puree for canned tomatoes, but don’t grab the tin just yet.

Tomato puree is best made from fresh tomatoes like Roma or Plum. What makes it so unique is the consistency. It’s smooth but still packs a serious punch of flavor. 

Recipes cook the tomato puree until soft and puree it until smooth, without the seeds or skins to preserve the consistency. But we’ll get to the details shortly.

Best Substitutes for Tomato Puree

What do you do when you don’t have tomato puree? Let’s see some of the top replacements. 

Tomato Sauce

One of the top choices to substitute tomato puree is tomato sauce. While the consistency is a little thinner, the taste is pretty much on par, particularly if you’re making both at home and adding your own spice mix. 

If you want almost the same consistency, simmer the sauce in a saucepan to increase the thickness.

You can use tomato sauce in the same dishes as tomato puree, including pizza, pasta, rice dishes, and fish. And like tomato puree, you can find basic tomato sauce at your grocery store for convenience. 

Speaking of convenience, it substitutes one for one in your recipe, so there’s no need to measure. 

Tomato Paste

Another popular substitute for tomato puree is tomato paste. The two ingredients are quite similar in taste.

Both are pantry staples, so they’re perfect replacements for each other. Chefs recommend making them at home to get the perfect blend for your taste. But either way, you can also find them at the store. 

The two differ in consistency. Tomato paste is a lot thicker, so you might need to add some boiling water to make the consistency right.

Pizza Sauce

Cutting board with ingredients for pizza sauce A simple tomato puree replacement is pizza sauce. It’s thick and boasts a rich taste, adding flavor to any dish. It’s an excellent addition to pizzas, but it also works well for any dish using tomato puree. 

We recommend checking the consistency as each dish requires its own level of thickness. Generally, a one-to-one ratio is suitable when using pizza sauce as a replacement.

Note that there’s a difference in spices. Unlike a basic puree, pizza sauce has seasonings like garlic, salt, and pepper. 

Marinara Sauce

A similar alternative is marinara sauce. Some think it’s the same as pizza sauce, but there are a few differences. 

The marinara sauce has some unique flavors and seasonings like herbs, red peppers, and garlic, so consider that when using it as an alternative. 

We recommend tasting the marinara before using it. Usually, you can use the same amount as your would with tomato puree.


Passata is a less common cooking substitute for tomato puree that’s basically uncooked tomatoes run through a strainer. There are no other additives, except for salt in some recipes. 

It’s a little thicker than puree and doesn’t have the same seasonings, so give it a taste before using it. You may need to add some water to reduce the thickness and make it look more like a puree. 

Fresh TomatoesWhole red tomatoes in a white bowl

If you’re looking for a fresh substitute, raw tomatoes are your best bet. But remember that fresh ingredients usually take longer to prepare as you can’t just add them to your dish. 

When it comes to raw tomatoes, you should cook them whole until soft before pureeing them in a blender. But note that the acidity will be quite sharp compared to store-bought purees. Also, you need to add spices and other condiments to your taste, including salt, pepper, herbs, and garlic. 

Canned Tomatoes

A convenient tomato puree substitute is canned tomatoes, as you can buy them from the store. 

The consistency differs depending on the brand and type of canned tomatoes. But if it’s too thick, simply pop the contents of the entire can into the food processor, and off you go.

Stewed tomatoes are also similar. If a recipe calls for them and you don’t have any, check our top alternatives for stewed tomatoes.


If you’re really in a bind, you likely have ketchup. But while both consist of tomatoes, ketchup is more of a condiment. It has quite a lot more sugar, so it can change the whole flavor of your dish. 

You’ll need to adjust the seasoning depending on the ketchup you use. We recommend finding one with more tomatoes than other additives. 

Keep in mind that ketchup isn’t a good choice for soups or stews.

Non-Tomato Alternatives

If you don’t have any tomato-based ingredients, there are some other alternatives. 

Red Pepper

Red pepper being cut on a wood board If you need a substitute for tomato puree in a curry, red peppers are an excellent choice. 

You simply cut the peppers, cook them, and puree to your desired consistency. While the taste differs, they’ll add flavor and thicken the dish. Plus, the red color is pretty similar. 

Carrot and Pumpkin

Carrots and pumpkin are good substitutes because they add the right consistency when pureed. The orange veggies also bring some great flavors to your dish. We recommend using them when you need a replacement for soups and smoothies. 

While they’re far from the best substitute for tomato puree, carrots and pumpkin are super nutritious and suitable for weight-loss diets. And if you’re on a mission to shed a few pounds, see if Veestro is good for you. It offers ready-made meals with some serious results.

Green Salsa

One of the last things you’d imagine is green salsa. But the popular Mexican dish is a fabulous substitute. 

Green salsa is made from tomatillo, which has a similar taste to baby green tomatoes. So, the flavor won’t differ much, but you won’t get that red color. The salsa may be a little more spicy and bitter, so we recommend tasting it before adding it to your dish.

How to Make Your Own Tomato PureeTomato puree ingredients in a basket

So, what can you substitute for tomato puree? You have a wide choice, but have you considered making original tomato puree at home?

First, you’ll need to wash your tomatoes properly. Give them a good rinse under fresh water. We recommend using a collider to make it easier, and you can remove excess water with a cloth or paper towel. 

Then, you’ll have to remove the skin. A veggie peeler is always a good choice, or you can boil the tomatoes for a minute and place them in ice-cold water.

The skins will start coming off, but you should leave them for about five minutes. They’ll look shriveled like other tomato puree substitute recipes.

Once the skin is off, cut the tomatoes in half and spoon out the seeds and pulp. Next, chop and place them in a skillet on medium heat until they boil. 

Once soft, let the tomatoes cool and blend in the pot or use a food processor. 

That’s basically it. You can add salt or spices to your preferences. Also, you can freeze the puree in airtight packaging like a ziplock bag. 

If all this sounds a little too much work, food subscription boxes can save you the trouble of cooking.

What Recipes Use Tomato Puree?

So, what is a good substitute for tomato puree, and what dishes use that? You can use anything from sauce to canned tomatoes. Lost of recipes include tomato puree, including:

  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Dips
  • Wraps
  • Stews
  • Soups

The options are endless with this awesome ingredient. You can use it for any dish requiring a tomato base

But if you’re not that into cooking, read our breakdown of Freshly for a ready-made meal option. 

Our Final Thoughts on Tomato Puree Substitute

The loved puree has many substitutes, and some of our top picks include tomato sauce, tomato paste, and fresh tomatoes. And if you’re looking for something different, you can try the non-tomato alternatives like carrots or green salsa.

In any case, nothing comes close to the homemade tomato puree. Scroll up to see our recipe and do it yourself.

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