As one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking, it is extremely likely that at one point or another you have used or will need to use tomato puree to elevate a recipe to the next level.
Tomato puree is a beautifully thick sauce made from delicious pureed, cooked tomatoes that have had their seeds and skins removed.
Usually, this blend of tomatoes has no seasonings or additional herbs, with a pinch of salt occasionally being the only exception.
Used to thicken dishes and add an instant burst of flavor, tomato puree is an awesome base for many recipes, including a wonderful BBQ sauce, but what do you do if you run out unexpectedly?
Fortunately, there is a wide range of excellent tomato puree substitutions we can use instead. To help you the next time you run out, here is our list of the 9 best tomato puree substitutes.
The Simplest Substitutes For Tomato Puree
Below you will find our comprehensive list of the best alternatives when you run out of tomato puree.
The beauty of this list is that you are almost certain to have everything you need to make at least one of these substitutions already. Our substitutions are great replacements for tomato puree so be sure to try them out.
1. Tomato Sauce
The closest replacement you will find to tomato puree is a lovely tomato sauce. It is worth noting that most tomato sauces contain more ingredients than regular tomato puree, so you may need to adjust your recipe to compensate for the extra flavors. These additional ingredients could include herbs and vinegar.
Tomato puree is also a lot thicker than tomato sauce, so you will need to simmer the sauce in a saucepan on low heat until some of the water has cooked out.
This will help to make the sauce thicker. Tomato sauce can be used as a 1 to 1 substitution.
2. Pizza Sauce
Pizza sauce is a thicker substitute that is normally used to top pizzas. It is also commonly used as a dipping sauce. A lot of people also choose to use pizza sauce in meatball recipes, eggplant dishes, or a fresh dip for their breadsticks.
Though it may seem like an odd tomato puree substitute, pizza sauce is a great alternative if you’re in a hurry. The sauce is essentially a type of tomato puree with added flavorings and seasoning.
This substitute can also be used as an equal substitution. You might need to alter your other ingredients slightly to deal with the extra flavors though.
3. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is easily one of our favorite tomato puree substitutes. Made using only the very best, highly concentrated tomatoes, tomato paste delivers a beautifully deep, sweet flavor similar to that of the puree.
If you use ¼ cup of tomato paste and ¼ cup of water, you’ll have a puree similar in texture and thickness to ½ cup of tomato puree. We advise not adding any more seasonings or spices to your dish when using tomato paste.
4. Tomato Passata
Tomato passata isn’t as common in America as it is throughout Europe, but you should still be able to find some in your local grocery store.
If you already have some in your cupboard and have run out of tomato puree, you have a great substitute at your disposal.
These two forms of tomato share a very similar texture and taste, making the passata an easy alternative.
Tomato puree is actually thinner than tomato passata, so you might want to add some water to the tomato before using it in your recipe. You can then use the tomato passata as a 1-1 substitute.
5. Fresh Tomatoes
We like to think that fresh is always better so if you have a batch of fresh tomatoes leftover in your kitchen, why not make a wonderfully fresh tomato puree.
Making tomato puree out of your fresh tomatoes couldn’t be any easier. Simply chop the tomatoes, throw them into a large pot, and boil them on a low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once they have boiled, let them cool before pulsing the mixture through your blender. Do this until they are smooth. If your recipe needs 1 cup of puree, use four cups of your fresh tomatoes as a substitute.
6. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are another great substitute that will get the job done. This is probably one of the most practical options on our list because canned tomatoes are basically just a version of tomato puree that hasn’t been blended as much.
All you need to do with your canned tomatoes is blend them more in your food processor. Once blended, remove any excess liquid until you’re happy with the consistency of the tomatoes. They should be quite smooth.
Again use this substitute on a 1 to 1 basis. You might also want to avoid adding any extra spices and herbs to the rest of your recipe.
7. Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a great substitute for tomato puree because it can be used in the exact same way. Marinara sauce is usually made using tomatoes, herbs, onions, and garlic, so you will have to make some adjustments.
By making some simple adjustments to the other ingredients in your recipe, you can easily add the marinara sauce to your dish with no problems. You can use this sauce as a 1-1 substitution.
8. Roasted Tomatoes
If you have a bunch of fresh tomatoes waiting to be used, why not roast them to make a fantastic homemade tomato puree.
This substitute gives the puree a richer and more intense flavor. If you have enough time and want a deeper flavor, this substitute is a good choice.
Place your tomatoes in a dish, drizzle oil over them, add a pinch of salt, and then finally roast them in the oven. Once the tomatoes have been roasted, blend them until they reach your desired consistency.
Once again, you can use a 1-1 substitution.
Ketchup may seem like a ridiculous substitute but if you’re really strapped for time and need a quick alternative it can come in extremely useful.
Ketchup has a much sweeter, stronger flavor than tomato puree, so you should try to only use it when your recipe requires a small amount of puree. Again, use the sauce as a 1-1 substitute.
Hopefully one of our tomato puree substitutes gets you out of a pickle next time you unexpectedly run out. All the substitutes we have discussed offer a quick and easy way to solve a problem.
Tomatoes are a versatile food so, luckily for us, no matter which tomato substitute we choose from the list, we can make it work.
Now you have our tomato substitutes at your disposal, pick the one that suits your recipe best and give it a try. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.