What Can I Substitute for Tomato Puree? 10 Options to Try

image of replace tomato puree
In Hurry – What Can You Substitute for Tomato Puree?

In a pinch, you can use tomato paste. It’s thicker than tomato sauce or tomato puree, so it might give your dish a slightly different flavor and texture. But it will still add the necessary acidity and sweetness to balance out the savory flavors in a dish.

If you’re looking for something with a more neutral flavor that will work in any recipe, you can try using chicken or beef broth as a substitute for tomato sauce or puree. Just make sure the broth is unsalted so you don’t end up making your dish too salty.

Tomato puree is an important ingredient in sloppy joes, tomato soup, and homemade spaghetti sauce. So, panicking when you don’t have this ingredient is understandable. However, it is not necessary.

Luckily, there are various substitutes out there to take the place of tomato puree. And in this article, we are going to give you ten of the top examples. 

image of Tomato Puree

What is Tomato Puree?

You have likely had and enjoyed tomato puree at some point. It is a popular ingredient in soups and sauces. And, if you are a fan of minestrone, you know it is the rock star of that dish.

But do you know what tomato puree is… really?  Like tomato paste and tomato sauce, the puree is 100% tomato goodness. 

To make tomato puree, you will have to cook the tomatoes, just a bit. Then you liquidize them, creating a thin broth. 

What do You Use it for?

Although puree has a different consistency compared to juice or paste, you can use it in almost any of the same recipes. 

Tomato puree is a wonderful ingredient in Italian dishes, hearty soups, stews, or Mexican cuisine.

This ingredient makes a good base for many main meals or can be the main dish all on its own.

10 Great Tomato Puree Substitutes to Try

Sometimes tomato puree doesn’t feel like the right fit. Other times you can’t use this ingredient because you simply ran out. Either way, we have your back if you need an alternative to tomato paste.

Here is a list of the top 10 tomato puree substitutes you must try.

1. Tomato Paste is the Best Option

Tomato paste is a great tomato puree substitute because it is made the same way. Keep in mind that paste is much thicker than puree. For that reason, you need to add extra liquid to the recipe. If you are looking to keep the same consistency. 

Tomatoes paste is also a bit sweeter than puree. This is the perfect substitute for pasta sauces and chili. You know, anything that can use a little extra in the flavor department.


  • Offers a bold tomato flavor 
  • Sweeter and thicker than puree
  • Great for soups and drinks

Learn more: 6 Great Tomato Paste Replacements When You’re In a Pinch

2. Have You Considered Tomato Sauce?

A lot of people automatically think of spaghetti sauce when they hear tomato sauce. But…this is not what we mean. Tomato sauce is a thicker version of puree. This ingredient is often used as a base for other sauces or dressings.

If you are cooking up homemade spaghetti sauce or salsa, this is a good option. The sauce forms a great texture, offering you the perfect tomato taste.


  • Has a thicker consistency than puree
  • A good base for sauces and salsa
  • Often flavored with spices and herbs

3. Tomato Soup Can Do the Trick

Most of us always have a can of tomato soup in the cupboard, right? Well, when you run low on puree, pull that can out. 

This option can be a good solution to your troubles in many recipes. While it might not be the most common or best for all dishes, it is handy in a pinch.

Most tomato soups will have other ingredients already added, changing the flavor profile. It is important to read the label before adding it to your dish.


  • Best as a last resort
  • Has a similar consistency as puree
  • Already flavored and ready to use

4. Have You Tried Tomato Juice?

Another popular substitute for tomato puree is tomato juice. To get tomato juice, blend tomatoes down with salt. Tomato juice will have a thinner consistency than puree. You also must remember that its acidity levels are going to be high. 

To make juice, salt is typically added during the juicing process. This helps break down some of the flavor and acidity. But can have a large effect on the recipe you add it to. In the end, your dish can get a little watery this way.

Tomato juice is usually served on its own as a healthy drink. Or, you can mix it in with alcohol for a fabulous Bloody Mary cocktail.


  • Best for drinks and thin bases
  • High concentrated flavor
  • Very acidic

Learn more: What Can I Substitute for Tomato Juice? (12 Ingredients to Try)

5. Grab Your Favorite Jar of Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce is another quick and easy item to use in place of tomato puree. Spaghetti sauce is easily obtainable and affordable. Most people already have this item in bulk in their pantries.

If you decide to use spaghetti sauce as a tomato puree substitute there are some things to remember. Spaghetti sauce already has a ton of additives to give it a palatable taste. Always look at the ingredients before mixing them into your recipe.

Spaghetti sauce will also be thicker than puree, so you might have to water it down. 


  • Already flavored with other ingredients
  • Thicker than puree
  • Easy to find and affordable

6. Fresh Tomatoes: A Fabulous Super Food

Fresh tomatoes do not have the same shelf life as the other items on our list. Granted, this option is one of the healthiest, but they sadly don’t stay fresh for long.

We love using fresh tomatoes instead of puree whenever possible. Why? Because it gives you a better flavor profile. If you can get away with adding tomatoes into your dish in chunks, do it. You will get a juicy snap in every bit that is guaranteed to provide the taste you love.

On the other hand, if you do need a puree, you can make it yourself with fresh tomatoes.  Simply boil them down and toss them in a blended.


  • Fresh tomatoes have a deeper flavor
  • Full of antioxidants and other health benefits
  • Great in soups and salsa where large chunks are okay

Learn more:

7. Pizza Sauce Can Work in a Pinch

Pizza sauce is another great choice if you are desperate. This option might not work for every dish but can be perfect for some. 

Pizza sauce is always flavored with heavy spices and can contain chunks of veggies or meat. Some dishes could actually benefit from these ingredients while others can be ruined.

Pizza sauce is thicker than tomato puree, so use it sparingly. Even cutting the amount used in half should work well as a substitute.


  • Full of added ingredients
  • Thicker than puree by at least two times
  • Pizza sauce should only be used in emergencies

8. Ketchup (Wait Don’t Freak Out)

The last thing you probably think about using as a tomato puree substitute is ketchup, right? I mean, ketchup is high in sugar, vinegar, and salt. Not to mention the boatload of preservatives.

While all of that is true, this ingredient can work well in some recipes that require tomato puree. Because it is much thicker, you will have to water it down. To cut out some of the sweetness, you can always water it down with broth or lemon juice instead of water.

Ketchup is not going to work for all recipes. However, you can use it as a base for chili, soups, or stews.


  • Ketchup has a high sugar content
  • You can take away some of the sweet flavors with lemon juice
  • Ketchup won’t work in all recipes, especially ones where puree is the main ingredient.

Learn more: The Best Ketchup Substitute (#11 TASTE VERY SIMILAR)

9. Pureed Veggies for a Non-Tomato Option

Veggies are a good substitute if you are allergic to tomatoes or just don’t like the taste. Many people will replace tomato puree with pureed carrots, beets, and red bell peppers.

If you want to keep vegetables as the main ingredient without having to use puree, do it. We love this option in most dishes because it still offers various health benefits. It is also a good way to change up the dish’s flavor in a positive way.


  • Veggies are a healthy alternative
  • You can use them in almost any dish
  • There are tons of options to choose from

10. Cheese Sauce for the Win

In a situation where puree is required in sauces, soups, bases, etc. You can always opt to use melted cheese or cheese sauce. This is especially popular in Italian dishes or chili and casseroles.

When substituting puree with cheese sauce remember cheese is going to be sweeter. You can even out the taste with a little bit of lemon juice. If the puree was being used in spaghetti sauce or something that can be sweet, don’t add anything. You may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe in this situation though.


  • Cheese sauce will provide a very sweet taste
  • The cheese sauce is good on spaghetti or soups
  • This is a great alternative for those allergic to tomatoes


What is the Best Tomato Puree Substitute for Soups and Stews?

If your soup recipe calls for puree and you don’t have any you can use juice or paste. If you use paste, remember to water it down a little.

Are Tomato Paste and Puree the Same Thing?

While tomato paste and puree are similar, they are not the same. Tomato puree is the result of boiling down tomatoes lightly and juicing them. Tomato paste goes through a rigorous process and is thicker.

Can You Make Tomato Puree at Home?

Yes, you can make your own tomato paste at home. You need tomatoes, a blender or food processor, a stovetop, and boiling water. Here is a great recipe from allrecipes.com you should try. (*)

Up Next: The Best Common Vegetable Substitutes

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