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17 Best Rotel Substitutes For Your Recipes That You Would Love To Use

Rotel’s classic and original blend of diced tomatoes and green chillies is an essential ingredient to many delicious recipes, especially when it comes to Southern ones.

Famous dishes like their cheesy queso dip or tasty tortilla soup get a lot of their heat and flavor from a can of Rotel.

5 Best Rotel Substitutes For Your Recipes

However, Rotel canned tomatoes and green chillies can be difficult to find in parts of America that aren’t the South.

What are you to do? Miss out on all those delicious meals?

Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to! You can still cook the same Rotel recipes but instead use a Rotel substitute.

You might think these won’t taste as good, but give them a try and see for yourself – they’re delicious!

We’ve got the 17 best Rotel substitutes for your recipes explained below.

The 17 Best Rotel Substitutes For Your Recipes

When it comes to some of the most delicious and spicy dishes out there, you will often find that Rotel’s blend of diced tomatoes and green chilies is one of the key ingredients.

Naturally, it gives those meals a lot of their unique character, as well as providing some of the spice.

However, Rotel can be difficult to find unless you’re in the south of the United States, and even then it’s not always easy.

On top of that, some people might find its taste a little too spicy, and feel that they can’t use anything else to replace it in the recipe.

Thankfully, there are a handful of delicious Rotel substitutes out there that can take the place of the famous canned blend, without sacrificing an ounce of taste.

We’re going to look at the 17 best Rotel substitutes now, highlighting what each of them brings to the table.

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 gm)
Diced Tomatoes20.7
Tomato Puree38
Homemade Rotel25
Lemon Pickle300
Can Of Green Chillies21
Fresh Tomatoes18
Tomato Sauce29
Tomato Paste82
Pizza Sauce54
Picante Sauce33
Marinara Sauce51
Tomato Ketchup112
Stewed Tomatoes26
Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes24.3
Chunky Salsa33.3
Enchilada Sauce40
Tamarind Paste288.9

1. A Can Of Diced Tomatoes

A Can Of Diced Tomatoes

The first Rotel substitute on our list is a classic can of diced tomatoes.

This is a staple of so many dishes out there, adding some juiciness and healthiness to so many recipes.

You can guess how this is a worthy substitute for traditional canned Rotel, because one of the main parts of that famous blend is some diced tomatoes.

However, having just the diced tomatoes on their own as a substitute, without the green chilies, actually has a lot of benefits.

For one thing, a can of diced tomatoes will give your recipe exactly the same texture as it would have with a normal can of original Rotel.

The main contributor to the juicy texture of a can of Rotel is, you guessed it, the juicy tomatoes! As a result, you still get all of their plumpness and juiciness.

In fact, you’re likely to get even more tomato than with Rotel.

Since Rotel is a blend, with the other key ingredient being green chilies, you only get half as much tomato.

With just a can of diced tomatoes, you’ll be getting nothing but the good stuff.

This is extra beneficial because tomatoes are packed with healthiness and nutrition.

A good amount of tomatoes in your diet can help keep some diseases away, as well as give you potassium, vitamins C and K, and folate.

On top of those, canned tomatoes are peeled and then preserved in their own juice, which regular tomatoes obviously aren’t.

This gives canned tomatoes added healthiness, as well as a low amount of both calories and sodium. Healthy!

Another benefit to using a can of diced tomatoes as a substitute for Rotel is that some people might not like the spiciness of the chilies in that blend.

With canned tomatoes, you’ll get none of the heat, but all of the juiciness.

As a final bonus, you can find different varieties of diced tomatoes, allowing you even more delicious flavors.

For example, some have garlic added in with the tomatoes, giving the tomato a nutty edge that will make your recipe pop even more.

How To Substitute

When you need a salsa that is both authentic and fresh, a can of diced tomatoes is a great way to go. This product is a canned tomato puree, the liquid extracted from the tomatoes after they are cooked, and contains salt and spices, such as oregano and cumin. It is an easy substitute for Rotel shortening.

2. Tomato Puree

Tomato Puree

You might be thinking that tomato puree isn’t going to give you quite the variety of flavor that you want as a Rotel substitute, but if you add the correct seasoning to the puree then you can give it a flavor that’s just as delicious.

If you aren’t a fan of the taste of original canned Rotel, then using tomato puree as a substitute for your recipes will give you all the tomato goodness, but a taste that is closer to your liking.

How so? Well, you can adapt the tomato puree to taste how you want.

If you want a specific edge of seasoning to it, then add whatever spices or herbs you want.

Similarly, if you want it to be less or more spicy than Rotel, add varying amounts of green chilies accordingly.

On top of that, tomato puree will give you a different texture to Rotel, which can be a benefit.

If you don’t like the juicy texture of canned Rotel in your recipe, then tomato puree is going to give you a very different feel.

You may need to check the recipe carefully, though, to make sure that your tomato puree substitute doesn’t have too much sugar or salt in it that it unbalances the dish.

If it doesn’t have enough, you can add in a bit more.

Better yet, if you’re following a recipe that says you need to cook it for a prolonged period of time, tomato puree is a much more helpful ingredient than a traditional can of Rotel.

Tomato puree won’t go soggy during the long cooking, where other ingredients could have.

How To Substitute

When you need a quick, easy, and delicious way to add flavor to your dishes, there is nothing better than tomato puree. Tomato puree is a common substitute for Rotel in many recipes. You can make it at home with a food processor or blender or buy it at the grocery store in the aisle with canned tomatoes.

RELATED: 8 Options To Substitute Tamarind Paste

3. Your Own Homemade Rotel

Your Own Homemade Rotel

This one is going to take more effort than all the others, but by the end of it you’ll have a skill for making homemade Rotel that you can then use whenever you need it.

You’ll never have to buy real Rotel again! Plus, it’s just fun making your own.

Thankfully, all of the ingredients that you’ll need to make your own Rotel are readily available – you’ll probably even have a few in your cupboards already!

Ironically, the ingredients for your own Rotel are probably easier to buy than a can of Rotel for some.

The other benefit of making your own Rotel-like blend of tomatoes and green chilies is that you can decide on all the little ingredients of it.

Don’t like how spicy the real Rotel is? Simply add fewer green chilies.

Want a more herby flavor? Add more herbs.

We’ve included the recipe for making your own homemade Rotel below:


  • 1lb fresh Anaheim peppers (or spicier variety if you want)
  • 2lbs Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tspn. coriander
  • 1 tspn. black peppers
  • 1 tspn. dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon juice


  • Step 1. Get a baking dish and line it with some parchment paper. Arrange your pound of fresh peppers on the paper, removing seeds if you want the Rotel to be less spicy. Then place the dish under the oven broiler for four minutes, turning the peppers over until both sides are dark.
  • Step 2. Remove each core of your tomatoes, then bring water to a boil and blanch each of the tomatoes for 2 minutes.“Blanching” is when you briefly scald the vegetable with boiling water, then remove it and plunge it into iced water. Scald each tomato for the 2 minutes, then cool them. Finally, remove their skins and dice them.
  • Step 3. Now cook your diced tomatoes, using all the juice that you were able to get. Cook them for 45 minutes over a medium heat, stirring them regularly. After the time has passed, wait for the chilies and tomatoes to cool down.
  • Step 4. Next add your salt, pepper, and spices to all of the tomatoes.
  • Step 5. Then put 2 tbsp. of lemon juice into an empty jar at the bottom, before adding the tomatoes and chilies to the jar too. Leave about half an inch of room over. Take a chopstick and push the vegetables around so that there are no air bubbles left.
  • Step 6. Finally, put the lid on the jar and then place the jar carefully into boiling water. Remove it after half an hour. Leave the jar to cool in some water for 10 further minutes, before wrapping it in a kitchen towel.

Place your cooled jar in the fridge. There you have it! You have a jar of homemade Rotel to use whenever you want in your recipes.

Better yet, you’ve had control over the ingredients and made it as spicy – or not spicy – as you want.

Unopened, your Rotel will last 2 months in a fridge. If you do open it, it will last up to 2 weeks in a fridge.

How To Substitute

If you run out of Rotel, you may try making it at your home. The best thing about making it at home is that you may prepare it as per your requirement. In addition, it will let you decide how spicy you need, and if you want, you may add other herbs to enhance the flavor.

4. Lemon Pickle

Lemon Pickle

Lemon may not be the first thing you think of when you think of the taste of Rotel, but you won’t be surprised after we just used some lemon juice in the homemade Rotel recipe.

Lemon pickle is a great Rotel substitute in your recipes for a number of reasons, especially because it contains a variety of spices that will really make your meal more flavorful.

Some lemon pickle blends will be spicier than others, so pick what you’re most comfortable with.

You should know that lemon pickle will really change the taste of your recipe, but hopefully you’ll think of that as a good thing!

If you love lemon (and who doesn’t?) then it will give your stews or other meals a tangy, bitter edge.

If you don’t like the taste of tomatoes, anyway, then using lemon pickle as a Rotel substitute will be a no-brainer.

Even better, lemon pickle is full of nutrition and healthiness!

How To Substitute

With a citrusy and tangy flavor, the lemon pickle will be your go-to choice to replace Rotel in various recipes. If you don’t like the Rotel, then a lemon pickle is the best choice because that is full of nutrition.

RELATED: Best Substitutes For Tomato Puree

5. A Can Of Green Chilies

A Can Of Green Chilies

Finally, a can of green chilies is a great substitute in your recipes for Rotel.

You can imagine why, since green chilies itself is one of the key ingredients of the classic Rotel blend.

However, when you buy a can of Rotel, you’re getting a predetermined amount of green chilies in the mix.

On top of that, Rotel chooses the variety of chili, not you.

When you use a can of green chilies as a Rotel substitute, you get all the choice! For one thing, you can choose the amount of chilies you’re putting into your recipe.

With Rotel, there is often more tomato than chili. When you use this substitute, though, you can add as much as you want.

Additionally, you can choose the variety of chili. When it comes to green chilies, there are many different kinds, and they all have their own levels of spice.

For example, California peppers will give you a mild spice, while serrano chilies are incredibly hot.

Whether you like things mild or spicy, you can pick exactly how spicy your final dish is going to be when you use this Rotel substitute.

How To Substitute

Rotel is a canned salsa that’s delicious, but many people have found it’s not a healthy option. Substituting Rotel with a can of green chilies is a great way to add spice to your meals. This can of green chilies will add a smoky, spicy flavor to any dish

6. Fresh Tomatoes

The main ingredients in a rotel include tomatoes, peppers, and sometimes other vegetables. Tomato is an easy substitute for rotels.

You can similarly use fresh tomatoes to create a simple and delicious taste in your recipe.

Tomatoes are an easy and healthy substitute for rotel. When you’re craving a Mexican or Greek dish, try using fresh, ripe tomatoes; you will get a similar taste in your food.

How To Substitute

Use fresh tomatoes for Rotel in equal amounts.

7. Tomato Sauce

Make a delicious Rotel substitute that is just as easy to make and tastes as good as the original. All you need is a can of tomato sauce with some spices.

If you want to add more flavor to the sauce, you can add some fresh herbs and garlic. If you make it even more flavorful, add some chicken broth and a pinch of sugar.

Otherwise, it alone can give you an excellent outcome for your recipe.

How To Substitute

Use tomato sauce in a 1:1 substitution ratio for rotel.

8. Tomato Paste

Rotel is a brand of canned tomato products that you can get from most grocery stores. However, you can make the substitution with tomato paste. Tomato paste is a canned paste of pureed tomatoes.

You can use tomato paste for Rotel in any recipe. The sauce is thicker and more flavorful than the spicy sauce in Rotel. You can use it for any recipe that calls for Rotel or serve it on its own as a dip.

How To Substitute

The 1:1 substitution ratio is perfect for substituting tomato paste for rotel.

9. Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce is a delicious tomato sauce, often with oregano, basil, and garlic, which is often used in pizza, pasta, and salad. It can be challenging to find, but if you get one, you can use it as a rotel substitute.

Rotel is a Mexican-style canned tomato sauce, generally tomato-based, with a spicy chili pepper sauce. It is easy to substitute it in recipes with pizza sauce with consistency and flavor.

How To Substitute

Replace one teaspoon of Rotel with one teaspoon of pizza sauce.

10. Picante Sauce

If you are preparing your favorite Mexican dish and don’t want to use there are many substitutions. You can use Picante sauce instead of Rotel when making a Mexican dish.

The flavor of the Picante sauce is very similar to the Rotel sauce. It is a zesty Mexican sauce that is full of flavor. It is often served with tortillas and chips.

Picante sauce is a canned sauce with a white label in a red can. Rotel is made with corn syrup, and Picante sauce is made with sugar. You can easily substitute Picante sauce for rotel in a variety of recipes.

How To Substitute

You may substitute Rotel with Picante sauce in a 1:1 ratio.

11. Marinara Sauce

Rotel is a canned tomato-based sauce that comes in mild, medium, or hot. On the other hand, Marinara sauce is a very versatile sauce that can be used as a pizza topping, spaghetti sauce, or sauce for meatballs.

Marinara sauce is prepared from fresh or canned tomatoes and is often seasoned with basil, oregano, garlic, onion, and a pinch of sugar. You may use it for Rotel in your recipe the way you use Rotel.

How To Substitute

To Get the best results, substitute your Rotel with marinara sauce in an equal amount.

12. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup is a savory, slightly sweet sauce that is the perfect condiment to add to your favorite meal instead of Rotel.

You can enjoy it with various dishes, from burgers to chicken and fish. It is made of tomatoes, salt, sugar, spices, and other natural ingredients.

How To Substitute

Try substituting Rotel with tomato ketchup the same way your recipe calls for Rotel in an equal quantity for better results.

13. Stewed Tomatoes

Rotel is a canned tomato product with a creamy consistency popular in Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. To substitute Rotel, you may use stewed tomatoes.

Stewed tomatoes are a classic comfort food made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices. It’s been around for a long time and makes an excellent substitution for Rotel in various recipes.

How To Substitute

Replace one teaspoon of stewed tomatoes with one teaspoon of rotel.

14. Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes

Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes are a great way to add a burst of flavor to your favorite Mexican dishes. These tomatoes are dried and then roasted over a fire to develop a deep, smoky flavor.

You may use the fire-roasted diced tomatoes to replace the Rotel, giving you a similar flavor in your recipe.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace the Rotel with fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

15. Chunky Salsa

Chunky Salsa is made with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice. It is a more rustic salsa that has few additives. Chunky Salsa is the perfect substitute if you still need to get rotel.

The Salsa has a delicious flavor, and it is easy to mix. The Chunky Salsa is made from high-quality tomatoes and fresh ingredients that are ground in a food processor. This process also prevents the Salsa from spoiling.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of chunky Salsa for one teaspoon of Rotel in your recipe.

16. Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Sauce is a tomato-based sauce seasoned with garlic, onion, and cumin. You can use enchilada sauce as a dip for tortilla chips or other dishes.

There are many different types of enchilada sauces. You may use it in your recipe for a traditional, medium-heat, depending on your recipe.

How To Substitute

For best results, you may replace Rotel with enchilada sauce.

17. Tamarind Paste

Many people need to realize that they can substitute the ingredients in their favorite recipe to make it vegan, gluten-free, or sugar-free. For example, if you’re using a Rotel, you can use tamarind paste instead of a can of tomatoes.

Tamarind Paste is an acidic fruit paste made from tamarind fruit. It is used as a souring agent in many dishes.

How To Substitute

Use ½ teaspoon of tamarind paste for one teaspoon of Rotel as it is deep and has an intense tangy flavor.

Picking Your Rotel Substitute

We’ve looked at the 5 best Rotel substitutes for your recipe, and each of them has their own benefits.

We’re going to highlight those so that you can find your favorite.

If you love the juiciness of the tomatoes in Rotel, but not the spice, then a can of diced tomatoes is the perfect substitute.

On the other hand, if you love tomatoes but don’t love the texture that diced ones bring, use tomato puree instead.

If your favorite part of Rotel is the spiciness, rather than the tomatoes, a can of green chilies is your ideal substitute.

Alternatively, you can make your own homemade Rotel, where you get to add as many or as few tomatoes and chilies as you want.

Finally, using lemon pickle is a daring substitute for those who want a completely new – and completely delicious – tangy edge to the recipes.

Final Thoughts

If you can’t get Rotel, these 17 brilliant substitutes will make your recipes just as tasty – if not more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Salsa In Place Of Rotel?

Of course, we can use salsa in place of Rotel. Salsa is a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, onion, and chili peppers and is typically served with chips or on top of a burger. It can also be used as a marinade or a condiment for meats, chicken, and vegetables.

Are Rotel And Queso The Same Thing?

No, they are not the same. Queso is a Mexican dish made from melted cheese, with flavorings and other ingredients added. Rotel is a canned Mexican food item made from tomatoes, green chilies, and herbs.

Is Rotel The Same As Tomato Sauce?

Rotel is a canned tomato sauce with various flavors, including original, Picante, and original hot. It’s an excellent option for any meal, including spaghetti, pizza, and even scrambled eggs. So, tomato sauce will work if we substitute it for Rotel.

17 Best Rotel Substitutes For Your Recipes

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If you want to cook a frozen chicken in a crock pot and ensure that it is cooked thoroughly, then check out this helpful guide


  • A Can Of Diced Tomatoes

  • Tomato Puree

  • Your Own Homemade Rotel

  • Lemon Pickle

  • A Can Of Green Chilies

  • Fresh Tomatoes

  • Tomato Sauce

  • Tomato Paste

  • Pizza Sauce

  • Picante Sauce

  • Marinara Sauce

  • Tomato Ketchup

  • Stewed Tomatoes

  • Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes

  • Chunky Salsa

  • Enchilada Sauce

  • Tamarind Paste


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith