8 Best Substitutes for Tomato Paste That Complete Your Dishes

The tomato paste is among the components of a well-stocked cupboard or pantry. You usually have this common food ingredient in your kitchen that offers a perfect texture to your home cooked meals.

Furthermore, the tomato paste provides an appetizing burst of tomato flavor to many homemade recipes like creamy tomato pasta and spaghetti with meatballs. Do you want your family to relish that deep tomato flavor for your homemade taco filling or meatloaf?

Then, your go-to ingredient is the tomato paste. It is perfect for your dishes, especially if you do not want tons of liquid or extra water that canned, diced, crushed, or puréed tomatoes feature.

Nevertheless, there are times when you want to avoid using tomato paste. You may also find this product unavailable in your local grocery store or supermarket.

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Best Substitutes for Tomato Paste

You should not worry when tomato paste is not available in your community supermarket. After all, you can always find alternatives for this ingredient.

The following are the highly preferred substitutes for tomato paste. They come as tomato and non-tomato-based replacements:

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Canned tomatoes

canned-tomatoes as a substitute for tomato pasteCanned tomatoes are suggested tomato paste substitutes. Remember that they are more watery as they are usually packed with a lot of liquid and not as concentrated as the tomato paste.

Additionally, canned tomatoes are similar to tomato sauce. You can use strained canned tomatoes properly by applying two tablespoons of them for every tablespoon of tomato paste.

This amount is what you usually need to obtain the proper tomato flavor you are seeking. Strained canned tomatoes are perfect for cooking southwestern chicken, lima bean stew, and roasted eggplant spread.

Extra seasoning

extra-seasoningAdding more salt and even sugar to your homemade dishes is a recommended idea if you cannot or do not want to use tomato paste. The additional seasoning will help you balance your prepared meals’ flavors. You also have the option to utilize your favorite seasoning.

Another benefit of extra seasoning, is that it might remove the acidic flavor of the tomato paste.

Fresh tomatoes

fresh-tomatoDid you know that fresh (diced) tomatoes are among the best substitutes for tomato paste? These organic ingredients are less concentrated, and you can keep or remove their skin and seeds.

Fresh tomatoes are always available as well. You can simmer them to thicken and obtain your desired texture. Fresh tomatoes are ideal when cooking smoky quinoa with mushrooms and corn okra creole.

Olives

olivesOlives are the tiny fruits of olive trees. You may find them having a different taste with tomato paste, but they are actually among the recommended non-tomato-based replacements for the latter.

Olives incorporate umami flavor into your meals. “Umami” is also known as monosodium glutamate that enhances and deepens a specific dish’s taste. As a suggested choice when avoiding using tomato-related ingredients, olives can complete your cooking.

Tomato ketchup

tomato-ketchupThanks to the omnipresent tomato ketchup, you will not find it difficult to search for the best substitutes for tomato paste. Refrigerators have them as a staple component.

Tomato ketchup features more herbs. Plus, it is sweeter and more concentrated than tomato paste.

You can get the best cooking results by using a ratio of 1:1 or using the tomato ketchup according to your recipe. However, you should remember that this tomato paste replacement is not as thick and includes spices, vinegar, and sugar.

Thus, you can expect tomato ketchup to alter the flavor profile of your favorite homemade recipes. It is ideal for preparing tangy and sweet dishes like sweet and sour ribs and slow cooker sweet-and-spicy pulled pork.

Tomato passata

tomato-passataTomato passata is basically similar to tomato paste, except that it is not concentrated. Moreover, texture-wise, it is more watery than tomato paste.

Tomato passata can give you the best results by using three tablespoons of it for one tablespoon of tomato paste, or adjusting it based on your recipe. If you need this tomato-based ingredient to be thicker, you can let it simmer for a bit longer.

Tomato sauce

tomato-sauceThe tomato sauce is among the best substitutes for tomato paste. This ingredient is used in nearly every recipe, such as slow-cooked Moroccan chicken and easy slow-cooker chicken ropa vieja, which is the Cuban-American diet’s mainstay.

Tomato sauce is not as thick as tomato paste, making it less concentrated. Thus, when using tomato sauce as a tomato paste alternative, you will need twice as much or 2 to 3 tablespoons of it for every tablespoon of tomato paste to obtain the same amount of flavor.

Tomato soup

tomato-soupThe tomato soup is a perfect tomato paste substitute, as both have the same flavor. Your mushroom hunter’s sauce and garden vegetable beef soup will be complete with this option.

The tomato soup is also a fine alternative to tomato paste when you prepare Tortellini soup, Italian chickpea soup, or Minestrone. Nevertheless, it would help if you remember that the tomato soup is sweeter than the tomato paste.

It also significantly contains more liquid. Hence, you will need to decrease the other liquid ingredients in your recipe to prevent the tomato soup from making it runny.

As you can see, even without the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, extra seasoning, fresh tomatoes, and olives can perfectly add the needed tomato flavor to your homemade dishes.

Besides, tomato ketchup, tomato passata, tomato sauce, and tomato soup can work wonders for your favorite meals when the tomato paste is unavailable, or you merely want to do away with it in the meantime.

Pricing of tomato paste and its substitutes

Tomato paste itself is not very expensive, and luckily all the substitutes we’ve found are also on the cheap side. Walmart sells tomato paste for less than $0.05 per ounce.

Here is an overview of the pricing of the substitutes (per ounce):

  • Canned tomatoes: $0.10
  • Extra seasoning: $0.01 – $0.05
  • Fresh tomatoes: $0.10
  • Olives: $0.20
  • Tomato ketchup: $0.10
  • Tomato passata: $0.05
  • Tomato sauce: $0.05
  • Tomato soup: $0.10

As you can see, none of the substitutes really break the bank and are all priced pretty similar. Still, if you’re looking for the cheapest substitute, try out adding some extra seasoning as you probably already have this in your cupboard.

Nutritional information of tomato paste and its substitutes

Per ounce, regular tomatoes have the following nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 5
  • Protein: 0.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Fiber: 0.3 grams

Almost all substitutes are made out of tomatoes, so their nutrition will be very similar. The only way it can differ, is when you choose to not buy organic products. They will have extra ingredients added for the taste, which could bump up the calorie count.

The only non-tomato substitute, being olives, have 33 calories per ounce, which is a mixture of mostly fats and carbohydrates.


These eight best replacements for tomato paste can keep your home cooked dishes healthy and prevent sacrificing their flavor. Hence, it would be best always to have some or all of them in your kitchen cupboard.

Have a wonderful time cooking today with these amazing substitutes for tomato paste!

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