The Best Substitute for Tomato Paste in Your Kitchen You Need to Know

Tomato paste is like my best friend. It goes easily with most of my favorite dishes, and be tasty and healthy at the same time. However, have you ever ran out of tomato paste in the middle of a cooking session and just simply to be lazy to shop again at the store? Let’s me tell you, my dear. You can have more than one substitute for tomato paste by collecting several ingredients around your kitchen.

Keep reading as this article is created to make your life more comfortable.

What is Tomato Paste?

Tomato paste is made purely by tomato, chopped into small pieces and cooked in hours until it compressed to get the thick paste. You can find it in many types of containers such as in a bottle, in a can or a tube. Depends on your reference and the producers, the one in the bottle is less concentrated than in the can and the tube.

What Are the Benefits of Tomato Paste?

Tomato paste is considered as a condensed tomato. One can of 300 ml tomato paste is made by more than 50 tomatoes. And no one can deny the nutrition that tomato can bring to our health, right?

Different from tomato sauce, tomato paste doesn’t contain sugar or spice, which keeps the taste more natural and easy to cook. It also can last longer.

One more thing is to save time and energy. Can you imagine how long it takes to cook the amount of tomato to have the quantity you want, plus the power you use to cook also.

What Foods Are Good with Tomato Paste?

Tomato paste is good with any kinds of food, and it is a necessary ingredient to make pizza, all sorts of pasta, soup, stew and even bread.

These dishes are easy to cook daily, satisfy with adults and kids and full of nutrition. The tomato flavor is a combination of sweet and sour taste. The texture is smooth and easy to blend. Its color on food can catch our attention as well.

Then What is the Problem Here?

No matter how many cans of tomato paste do you stock at home, from time to time, there will be a chance that it’s gone when you need it the most.

I hate to be in this situation.

I have to turn off all the cooking devices, stop my cooking process and especially ruin my mood, to run out buying just a small ingredient. What if my house is far away from the supermarket, what if it’s raining outside?

I know you will say "Stock more next time" or "Don’t forget to buy more when your kitchen is empty". Besides these narrow "lessons", I find out my way to make a the substitute for tomato paste by using simple things around our kitchen only.

Let’s get cooking!

4 Best Substitutes for Tomato Paste

1. Tomato Sauce or Tomato Puree

This one is super easy. All you have to do is to cook tomato sauce or tomato puree until it vaporizes enough, to leave you a condensed paste. It is recommended to cook under low heat not to burn your sauce as the sauce might contain sugar.

The original amount of tomato sauce is also reduced significantly after cooking. Keep in mind for the desired quantity in case you also don’t have much tomato sauce at home. You can mix a bit of water and let cook for a longer time. This trick is good when you need to present a lot of tomato paste, but the taste is not fully authentic anymore.

Tomato sauce is normally flavored, so be careful with this. Otherwise, it can affect to your food with a different taste of paste.

For those you want to know the difference between tomato paste and tomato sauce:

2. Cannted Tomato

Canned tomato is tomato stored in a can. Even though it is well-known for unhealthy chemical, people still accept it as its convenience. There are two types: peeled and unpeeled. If what you have is the unpeeled one, you should do one more step to peel it. But don’t worry as the canned tomato is soft already, just take a second to do it.

The process is also very easy. You need to take out the liquid from the can as much as possible. Then chop the tomato into small pieces. If you have a grinder machine, it would be better.

Similar to the sauce, cook over low heat until you get the thick texture that you want. With canned tomato, you probably need more time. Stir it evenly, simmer until bubbles come out. Lower down the heat and then stir again.

3. Fresh Tomato 

If you have a garden or a farm with tomato, why not make something to create a substitute for tomato paste yourself? I know many women make several batches at the same time and stock in the fridge or give away tomato paste as presents.

This is for sure that different kinds of tomato will create a different quality of the paste. It is ideal that you have ripped tomato. The softer it is, the easier for you to peel and take the seeds out.

Yes, you have to do it.

However, the oven was born to make the process less painful. Follow step by step, and you will surprise with the result:

  • Rinse your tomato with cold water to get rid of the dirt
  • Dry and put them into the tray
  • Open the oven between 150 to 200 degree and wait for five mins until the oven is hot enough
  • Spread a thin layer of olive oil on over of your tomato
  • Bake for 3 minutes or until you see the tomato cover has wrinkles
  • Take them out and let it cool down for 30 minutes
  • Peel the cover
  • Cut into two pieces each, use the spoon to take all the seeds out. This process should be done carefully as there is no way to can make the seeds disappear while cooking the paste
  • Cut the rest into small pieces
  • Cook again with the pan and olive oil over low heat until it reduces the liquid and becomes the texture you want
  • Transfer them to the jar and use from time to time.

You can watch this video to have more information and see things more visualize:

How to Choose the Best Fresh Tomato for Tomato Paste?

Don’t think that the good tomato can produce high-quality tomato paste. Yes, it can. But you should know how to choose the suitable ones. Here are some factors you might want to keep in mind:

  • Heavy and juicy
  • Shining and smooth cover
  • Soft and yield to touch
  • No blemishes or deep cracks
  • Several fine cracks are fine as you should look for a ripped one
  • Look for a fragrant tomato as it is ripped, the aroma will spread nicely, but not too much
  • It doesn’t matter about the size

Now you know how to substitute your tomato paste, it is time to play around with it. I am more than happy to share with you four home-made tasty tomato paste recipes, besides the original ones above.

4. Simple Tomato Pastes

Veggie Tomato Paste



  • 40 tomato
  • 3 sweet red pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 onion, also chopped small
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, chopped small
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1-2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped


  • Cut all ingredients into finest pieces. If you have the blender, blend them all. If not, spend more time cutting them
  • Cook them in a pot without additional water, under low heat about an hour
  • Press through a fine sieve, then cook slowly about 2 and a half hour. Stir frequently to keep it condensed evenly.
  • Pour through the sieve again and cook 15 more minutes

You will have the combination of sweet and sour tomato paste, together with the smell of basil and oregano. The sweet pepper and onion make the tomato paste special as well.

You can divide the finished pastes into the small amount and stock them in a frozen.

Red Wine Tomato Paste


  • 800 gram ripped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon of red wine


  • Boil tomato until it is soft and easy to peel.
  • After peeling, chop them all into small pieces
  • Heat the pot with olive oil and cook tomato for 30 minutes, add garlic and wait for 5 more minutes
  • Add the rest of ingredients, except red wine and keep stirring until getting the thick texture you want
  • Pour red wine and cook for 20 more minutes. Then it is done

You can add extra olive oil at the end to make it smoother. The aroma of red wine matches perfectly with tomato. I believe everyone will love it.

Italian Tomato Paste


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped thinly
  • 3 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 litter of tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoons of salts and dried oregano
  • A spin of black peppers


  • Cook onions and garlic together with olive oil under medium heats in 3 minutes, until it is soft
  • Slowly pour tomato puree and the rest of ingredients
  • Stir and wait for it to be simmered for 5 more minutes

You can add pasta and cook until it tenders. Then there you go! You have a quick Italian meal.

Spicy Tomato Paste


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 minced gloves of garlic
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 2 cans of crushed tomato
  • 2 tablespoon of seasoning
  • Sugar, salt, and black pepper


  • Heat the pan with olive oil and then cook red pepper, onion, and garlic together
  • Add wine and stir until the liquid reduces half
  • Add tomato and another seasoning to be tastier
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes to get it concentrated

The spicy taste combines with the wine is perfect pasta or even bread spread.

The Most Creative Food from Tomato Paste

I am very excited even to write it right now. I believe every one of you might also have your secret. Mine is PEPPERONI PIZZA BISCUITS. I found out this recipe is the best combination and the most creative dish from tomato paste.


  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Your tomato paste
  • 1 box dried biscuits mix
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley


  • Mix cheese, pepperoni, and tomato sauce together.
  • Slowly pour the dried biscuits mix and other herbs
  • Work with the dough in 10 minutes, add more tomato paste and water if necessary for the color
  • Let the dough cool for 2 hours
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, then you can have your wonderful biscuits from pepperoni biscuits

It is sour, sweet and meaty, also the smell of cheese. I am sure it will be your favorite snack.

What Nutritions Can Tomato Paste Bring to Your Health?

Everyone talks about tomato paste and how important it is. Regardless of its taste, let’s discuss the nutrition facts.

Tomato paste is normally 0% of fat, contains sodium which is good for enzyme operations and muscle contraction, potassium which can relief stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system, Vitamin A and Vitamin C for antioxidant to improve immunity and tissue repair.

As it is a non-fat type food, it is recommended to use daily without any harm.

How to Store Your Homemade Tomato Paste?

Put it into ice cube trays or plastic containers with the amount of one-time use and freeze it. When it gets frozen properly, it can last 3-4 months.

This is some tricks and storage tips for tomato paste:

What to Do When You Have Too Much Tomato Paste?

Besides trying to stock as much as possible, sometimes you have to run after the expiration. And I know it’s very stressful. You have spent a lot of time and effort to make the substitute; you will not want to waste it. Here are some ideas maybe can help:

  • 1. Enhance the flavor faster

With the sour and sweet taste, tomato paste can fasten the slow cook dishes significantly. For example with Spanish-style giant bean salad with smoked paprika, celery, and tomato paste. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare, rather than over an hour to simmer your tomato.

  • 2. Assist to tender braises and stews

Let’s take beef stew as an example. You have to spend hours to get it soft and tender. What do you use to do it? Cook with beef broth? It will take a lot of materials, and the flavor is not nice. Tomato can do that, as it vaporizes slower.

  • 3. Color food

You can mix with dough to make colorful noodle or pasta. You also can mix with butter or mayonnaise to have attractive sauce. The technique is simple, but keep it in mind that tomato paste has its flavor. It might affect to your food as well.


Tomato paste is amazing and good with almost every dishes from soup, pasta to bread and pizza. I fall in love with the thick texture, the color and the taste. With some tricks and recipes above you can know how to make a substitute for tomato paste in your kitchen without any hassles. Playing around with these ingredients also brings me a lot of fun.


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