Tomato Sauce Substitute: Top 5 Best Choices For You

tomato sauce substitute

Did you know?

In Italy, where tomatoes are served with almost every meal, people can go through up to 30 pounds of fresh tomatoes each month?

The average American only uses 6.5 pounds throughout the year!

Tomato sauce is a staple in Italian culture and it has become an important part of certain dishes like Spaghetti al Pomodoro, Insalata Caprese (mozzarella cheese salad), and bruschetta (tomato on toast).

However, if you’re not able to find quality canned Italian plum tomatoes or aren’t huge fans of cooking sauces from scratch, there may be another option for you.

And in this post, we will take a look at some of the best tomato sauce substitutes you can use.

Read more: What To Do With Leftover Anchovies?

Best tomato sauce substitutes for your recipes

tomato sauce substitute

Tomato paste

This is a good substitute when you are cooking.

Mix together tomato paste and water with a 1:1 ratio until well blended. Season the tomatoes to taste with herbs, garlic, and onion. Add olive oil or sugar if you want to make your sauce better.

Canned tomatoes

To make your own sauce from canned tomatoes, pour out the liquid from the can.

Then put the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. You can use any type of canned tomato that you have on hand. If it is too wet, then just drain off some of the liquid and cook it down so that it becomes thicker.

Canned tomato products can have spices in them or not. You can taste the sauce and add salt, oregano, basil, or any other spices you want.

Cook it until it is warm. Or cook it until it is darker and thicker to make a jarred sauce consistency. If the sauce gets too thick, add some of the liquid you reserved from earlier.

Tomato soup

Tomato soup can be used as a substitute here. It is liquidy as well, but it does not have any flavor of its own.

You will need to add more salt, garlic cloves, or other flavors before using it in your recipe. Use one can of tomato soup to replace one cup of tomato sauce in your recipe.


Ketchup is not good for some recipes. Ketchup has sugar and vinegar, among other things. These ingredients are not good for savory food.

So, ketchup is best used in recipes with a sweet flavor. But if you have no sauce, then ketchup can be used as a substitute here for cooking dishes.

Fresh tomatoes

Making your own thing is better than using store-bought products, right?

It is healthier because you know what you are using in your dish, and it has less water and fewer seeds which can make it taste better. You will need to peel the fresh tomatoes before simmering them until they are reduced by half.

Then just remove the extra liquid that you don’t need, and to prevent the sauce from being too watery, for every tablespoon of tomato sauce using one large cooked chopped or whole peeled tomato.

An easy DIY tomato sauce recipe

Remove the skin and seeds from fresh tomatoes. Take five pounds of tomatoes to make 2 ½ cups. (A pro tip is to soak them in hot water for several minutes.)

Put tomato pulp in a pot. Add olive oil. Add seasonings. Boil the mixture until it is half of its original size. Then put it on low heat and simmer for a while before tasting to see if it needs more salt or not.

What exactly is tomato sauce?

It is not as thick as tomato puree, but it is thicker than tomato juice. It usually has flavorings like herbs, spices, onion, and garlic. This makes it taste better. It can be bought in a store or canned at home.

Is tomato sauce the same as pasta sauce?

It is a type of pasta sauce. Pasta sauce is made from tomatoes and it has salt, pepper, and other seasonings added to it. You can also make your own pasta sauce or use it as a substitute for regular pasta sauce in dishes.

What can I substitute for tomato sauce?

You can use many different things here: canned tomatoes, tomato puree made from fresh tomatoes, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and any spaghetti sauce.

Is tomato sauce basically ketchup?

No, they are not the same. Ketchup is a product made from sugar, vinegar, tomatoes, and some spices.

Tomato sauce, on the other hand, is a product made from tomatoes mixed with meat, vegetable, oil, and, of course, spices. You won’t find vinegar in tomato sauce, though.

Is tomato sauce the same as pizza sauce?

The one for pasta is cooked, while the pizza sauce is uncooked. This means the pasta sauce has less water and is thicker. It helps keep the dough from getting too soggy while the food cooks. (source)

Can I substitute crushed tomatoes for tomato sauce?

Yes, you can replace canned products in a recipe with other things. Blend a can of crushed tomatoes and use that instead.

What can I substitute for tomato sauce in Lasagna?

In Lasagna, you can use vegetables instead of tomatoes. Roast the vegetables first and then put them between the layers of lasagna. Use olive paste or tapenade for pungent flavor, or bechamel sauce for a milder flavor. (source)

Can I substitute tomato soup for tomato sauce?

Yes, you can substitute 10 ounces of tomato soup for 1 cup of sauce in any recipe. It is good to use the soup when you are cooking if you want it in your meal.

Which is better tomato ketchup or tomato sauce?

There is not much of a difference between these two. They are both sauces. Tomato Ketchup is a sauce that has more complex flavors because it has more spices in it.


In summary, here are the top 5 best tomato sauce substitutes you can use:

  • Tomato paste
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Tomato soup
  • Ketchup
  • Fresh tomatoes

Although everyone has a different opinion on which one tastes better, we would suggest trying them all and seeing which works for your palette.

If none of these substitutes work out for you or if they don’t taste as good as fresh tomatoes, then maybe it’s time to try making it from scratch.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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