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16 Amazing Alternatives Of Tomato Sauce For Your Recipes

There are few things more frustrating as an eager cook than deciding on a dish, having your heart set on it, and then discovering that you don’t have a vital ingredient when taking a closer look at the recipe.

6 Of The Best Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is one of the key ingredients for a wide number of dishes, whether you’re making pasta, chicken, fish, and so on. It not only provides a delicious, fresh taste, it also perfectly compliments other flavors.

However, there’s no need to panic if you don’t have any tomato sauce on hand, as there are plenty of tomato-based alternatives you can use instead.

This guide will take a detailed look at six of the most effective substitutes for tomato sauce, including all the information you need to know about their taste, texture, and the quantity needed for the replacement.

We’ll also take a look at the easiest way to make the perfect homemade tomato sauce, as well as some of the frequently asked questions related to using and replacing the popular ingredient.

Best Alternatives To Tomato Sauce

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 gm)
Canned Tomatoes32
Tomato Paste82
Tomato Passata32
Tomato Juice17
Fresh Tomatoes18
Tomato Soup30
Tomato Ketchup112
Eggplant puree33.3
Tomato Puree38
Stewed Tomatoes26
Crushed Tomatoes32
Pasta Or Pizza Sauce221
Marinara Sauce51
Tomato Powder302
Sun-Dried Tomatoes213
V8 juice21

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are the first substitute on our list, mainly due to the fact that they’re able to give you a similar taste and thickness to the tomato sauce that you’re trying to replicate.

Just be mindful that because this ingredient is packed into cans with a considerable amount of liquid, you’re best off straining the juice and just using the tomatoes solid.

In terms of the quantity you’ll need when using canned tomatoes as a direct replacement, the recommended amount is two tablespoons of canned tomatoes for every tablespoon of tomato sauce.

How To Substitute

If you are looking for a substitute for tomato sauce, you can use canned tomatoes. It is an excellent option and can be cooked in any way. With intense flavor, it gives the same tomatoes goodness and texture to the recipe.

Tomato Paste

Following on from the previous substitute, tomato paste is more concentrated than canned tomatoes, making it one of the best and easiest replacements for tomato sauce.

However, because tomato sauce is also less concentrated than tomato paste, you’ll probably need twice as much just to achieve the right depth of flavor.

Therefore, when substituting tomato sauce with tomato paste, for every two to three tablespoons of tomato sauce, use just a single tablespoon of tomato paste.

If, however, you want your tomato paste substitute to provide the same thickness as tomato sauce, you can mix one cup of water to a ¾ cup of tomato paste to achieve the desired thickness and texture.

How To Substitute

Tomato paste is a thick concentration used in recipes and is a great substitute for tomato sauce. Tomato paste is a thick, pasty mixture of crushed tomatoes, which is often used as a cooking ingredient in pasta sauces and pizza.

Tomato Passata

This next substitute is essentially pureed tomatoes, but with their skins and seeds removed. Tomato passata is easily available in most grocery stores and is renowned for providing a unique fresh tomato flavor.

While the texture of tomato passata can vary between chunky and smooth depending on the brand you choose, it’s generally more like tomato puree than tomato paste.

Therefore, when substituting the ingredient for tomato sauce, the recommended ratio is one to one.

If, however, you’re looking for a more concentrated tomato flavor in your dish, you can reduce passata by simply simmering it in a pan.

This should be done until the passata is roughly ⅓ of its original volume, resembling more of a paste-like substance.

How To Substitute

Tomato paste can easily be replaced with tomato passata and the paste is thinned with little water. It is simple pureed and sieved tomatoes. It is best for those who do not like chunks.

RELATED: 7 Of The Best Chili Sauce Substitutes

Tomato Juice

If you’re looking for one of the best fresh substitutes for tomato sauce, there are few options better than tomato juice.

Made from freshly crushed or squeezed tomatoes, they’re packed full of flavor, and don’t contain any of the preservatives or additives that many of the other alternatives do.

Just keep in mind that because tomato juice is typically used fresh, there’s the downside that it can turn bad much at a much quicker rate than the other substitutes on this list.

In terms of quantity, every half cup of tomato sauce and half cup of water can be suitably substituted with one cup of tomato juice. Moreover, you can also add some salt and sugar to balance out the flavor.

How To Substitute

Tomato juice can also be used in recipes that call for tomato’s sweet and earthy flavor. It is versatile and relishes to run out with alternatives.

Fresh Tomatoes

The best overall substitute for tomato sauce is using fresh tomatoes. Not only is making your own tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes a lot healthier, it also allows you to know exactly what you’re putting into your dish.

When using freshly picked tomatoes, it’s important to peel them and remove all of the seeds before cooking.

You’ll also need to simmer them until they’re reduced by around half, and then get rid of any of the excess liquid that you don’t need for your sauce.

In terms of deciding on how many fresh tomatoes to use, the recommended amount is one large tomato for every tablespoon of tomato sauce. If you follow this ratio, you’ll be just fine.

How To Substitute

There are two ways to think about the taste of tomatoes. Some people find tomatoes tart and slightly acidic, while others prefer them sweet and slightly bitter. Aroma is also a major factor when it comes to tomato taste.

Tomato Soup

The final tomato sauce substitute on our list, and by certainly no means the least, is tomato soup.

While it isn’t used as commonly as many of the other alternatives on this list, it still remains a valid replacement in terms of all-round flavor.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that tomato soup often provides a sweeter taste than most traditional tomato sauces. Therefore, it’s important to adapt the taste so it suits your specific recipe.

When using tomato soup as a replacement, you should use one can of soup for every cup of tomato sauce and ¼ cup of water.

If you follow these measurements closely, your dish will be just as tasty as if you’d used tomato sauce.

How To Substitute

Its warm, delicious flavor and thick texture is the perfect dish for a cold day. The problem is, it’s also one of the most difficult dishes to make.

Tomato Ketchup

You may substitute tomato ketchup for tomato sauce in many recipes.

Tomato sauce is typically made with tomatoes, spices, and a liquid. On the other hand, tomato ketchup is made with tomatoes, a liquid, and sugar.

Tomato ketchup is a tomato-based condiment made from tomatoes and various spices. It is famous as a dipping sauce for french fries, fried foods, and a sandwich topping.

It is also used as a marinade for meats, such as hamburgers.

How To Substitute

Swap out the tomato sauce for tomato ketchup in the same amount your recipe calls for.

Eggplant Puree

Eggplant Puree is a healthy and versatile way to use any leftover eggplant. The consistency is perfect for sautéing, and the flavor is a beautiful blend of sweet and savory.

Eggplant puree is an excellent alternative to tomato sauce and nutritious food. It’s also a rich source of dietary fiber and vitamin C.

How To Substitute

You may use eggplant puree as a tomato substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Tomato Puree

Tomato puree is a product made by boiling tomatoes until the liquid evaporates. When this happens, the tomato’s water-soluble parts, such as sugars and acids, dissolve into the boiling liquid. The tomato is then pureed to create a smooth consistency.

Tomato Puree is a versatile and easy-to-use tomato product used in various dishes. You may use this product as a sauce or soup base and store it for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Tomato puree is a sauce that is made from tomatoes. It is used in various dishes, such as pizza and spaghetti.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of tomato puree to substitute one teaspoon of tomato sauce to get a similar taste profile.

Stewed Tomatoes

Tomato sauce is one of the most common sauces used in cooking. It’s the classic red, smooth, thick sauce made from tomatoes, onion, and garlic.

For those who want to avoid the processed and artificial ingredients found in most tomato sauces, there is a solution: stewed tomatoes.

Stewed tomatoes are made by simmering fresh tomatoes with herbs, spices, and other seasonings for an extended period.

The flavor is much more intense, and the process takes much less time than it would make a traditional tomato sauce.

How To Substitute

You may use one teaspoon tomato sauce for stewed tomatoes. However, it would be best to remember that stewed tomatoes are prepared by simmering with herbs, so you might need to alter other ingredients.

Crushed Tomatoes

Tomato sauce is one of the most popular foods used in the kitchen. However, it is also a prevalent cause of food poisoning.

It is because tomato sauce is not cooked at a high enough temperature to kill all the bacteria in the raw tomatoes.

So, the best way to avoid this is to make your tomato sauce with crushed tomatoes instead.

Crushed tomatoes are chunky than whole tomatoes. However, they are more flavorful and easier to use in soups, sauces, and casseroles.

The main difference between whole and crushed tomatoes is that crushed tomatoes are blended with a bit of water before being cooked. 

How To Substitute

To substitute for whole tomatoes, use one cup of whole tomatoes, blended with one cup of water, in a recipe that calls for one cup of tomato sauce.

Pasta Or Pizza Sauce

Tomato sauce is a traditional and delicious way to flavor pasta or pizza. When you don’t want to use tomato sauce, substitute pasta or pizza sauce for a quick and easy meal.

Pasta sauce is made with tomatoes, so if you’re craving spaghetti and meatballs, make sure to include tomato sauce. For a different flavor, try pizza sauce instead.

Tomato sauce is a staple in Italian cooking, but sometimes it can be too heavy and overwhelming.

So to deal with it, you may use pizza sauce to give the dish a light, zesty flavor without sacrificing flavor or texture.

How To Substitute

Substitute tomato sauce for pizza or pasta sauce in a 1:1 ratio.

Marinara Sauce

Tomato sauce is a thick, red sauce that contains tomato purée, sugar, herbs, and spices. Marinara sauce is made from tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, and bay leaves.

To switch from tomato sauce to marinara sauce, replace the tomato sauce with marinara sauce in your recipe.

Marinara sauce is a tomato-based sauce that typically contains herbs, garlic, and olive oil. It is often used in Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, and lasagna.

How To Substitute

Swap out one teaspoon of tomato sauce for one teaspoon of marinara sauce.

Tomato Powder

Tomato Powder is a powder made from dehydrated tomatoes that can be added to soups, sauces, and stews for a rich tomato flavor without acidity.

Since they are prepared with tomatoes, it is one of the most popular substitutes for tomato sauce. It can also make vegan, gluten-free, paleo tomato sauce.

You can find tomato powder in the grocery store, but it can be pricey. So instead, you can make your tomato powder by pulsing fresh tomatoes in a food processor or blender.

How To Substitute

You should use 1 part of tomato powder with 1 part of water to replace tomato sauce in your recipe.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-Dried Tomatoes are a versatile and delicious alternative to tomato sauce.

Sun-dried tomatoes are a unique type of dried tomatoes that have been preserved in the sun for a long time. As a result, they have a deep, rich flavor and can be used as a condiment in any recipe.

You may use them to substitute tomato sauce in many recipes to add flavor and reduce the amount of sodium in the dish. 

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto sauce is an easy way to make a fresh, healthy pesto that is gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. It is an excellent choice for pasta dishes, pizza, or as a dip for crudités.

How To Substitute

Use 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes with two cups of water to make the paste. Once it is ready, you may use it in a 1:1 ratio.

V8 juice

Tomato sauce is made from crushed tomatoes, a high-fructose, high-sodium food. V8 juice, on the other hand, is made from a blend of oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and a touch of sugar.

Since it is vegetarian and vegan, it is an excellent choice to use V8 juice. In addition, the beverage has a sweet flavor that will help to make your dish more flavorful.

V8 juice is a cheaper option to substitute tomato sauce.

How To Substitute

Use V8 juice in a 1:1 ratio to substitute tomato sauce.

Making A Homemade Tomato Sauce

Making A Homemade Tomato Sauce

There are few things more important to learn in a kitchen than knowing how to make a delicious homemade tomato sauce.

Therefore, listed below are the main ingredients and the basic cooking method you should keep in mind when trying to create the perfect homemade tomato sauce for your dish.

What You Need

  • Whole peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped onion
  • Crushed garlic
  • Carrot and celery (optional)
  • 2 x tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x tbsp chopped parsley and basil
  • Appropriate seasoning (salt, pepper, etc)

Cooking Method

  • To begin with, heat your pan over a medium heat with the olive oil in it, and then add the onion, celery, and carrot. You can stir this occasionally for the first couple of minutes, before covering and leaving for another 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
  • Next, you should uncover the pan and add in your garlic. Turn up the heat once you’ve done this, and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Then, add your tomatoes and the juice into the pan with the rest of the ingredients. If, however, you’re using fresh tomatoes, it’s a good idea to boil them for a minute or two before doing this.
  • With all the ingredients cooking in the pan, season the sauce and add some of your basil and parsley. Bring it to the simmer for around 15 minutes until the sauce thickens, and then it’s ready to add to your dish.

How To Substitute

Mature and flavorful, these tomatoes are the perfect pick-me-up for a hot summer day. These tomatoes are harvested fresh from the garden, and are absolutely bursting with flavor. They can be eaten fresh, or you can cook them up in a variety of ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Tomato Ketchup Be Used As A Replacement For Tomato Sauce?

The vast majority of people have tomato ketchup in their fridges, and it can be used as a suitable substitute for tomato sauce in a number of dishes.

In terms of consistency, ketchup isn’t quite as thick as tomato paste, but it provides a thicker sauce than fresh tomatoes.

Just keep in mind when you add ketchup to your recipe that it also contains vinegar, sugar, and a number of other spices. So, try not to add more than you need because there’s every chance that it’ll change the flavor of the dish.

As a rough estimate, one tablespoon for every spoon of tomato sauce should be enough for most recipes.

Can Beets And Carrots Be Used As A Tomato Sauce Substitute?

If you want to try out a non-tomato-based alternative, beets and carrots are a great option.

Most recipes using beets and carrots first saute the vegetables in some olive oil, before braising them in water with a combination of balsamic and white vinegars.

The end result is a paste-like substance, similar to a proper tomato paste, with a sweet and tangy flavor.

Combining one part of this beet and carrot puree with another part of water will produce the same amount of tomato sauce for you to use in your recipe.

How Can You Tell If Tomato Sauce Has Gone Bad?

More often than not, your senses will give you the best indication of whether it’s okay to eat or not. So, take a smell of the sauce and have a thorough inspection.

If the tomato sauce has an odd smell, or the appearance of the sauce looks different to usual, you should throw it away immediately. Also throw away any packages or cans that are leaking or rusting.

Are Tomato Puree And Tomato Sauce The Same Thing?

While the two share many of the same similarities, there’s a couple of differences to keep in mind. These are mainly related to flavor and culinary use.

For example, tomato puree is best used as a recipe ingredient due to the fact that it blends so well with other flavors, while tomato sauce is typically
used as it is.

What Can I Substitute For Tomato Sauce In Lasagna?

Some of the most popular substitutes for tomato sauce in a lasagna are zucchini and eggplant. However, you can use pretty much any vegetables so long as you cook them correctly.

All you need to do is roast the vegetables, then use either an olive paste or tapenade (in place of the tomato sauce) in between the layers for a similar, pungent flavor.

If you’d prefer a milder flavor, you can always use bechamel sauce instead.

Can I Use Pizza Sauce Instead Of Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce is always tomato-based, whereas pizza sauce can often be cream-based or pesto-based. Therefore, while tomato sauce can be added to a wide range of dishes such as meat, pasta, and vegetables, pizza sauce is only really suitable for pizza.

Why Is Rao’s So Good?

Rao’s is one of the most popular tomato sauces in the world. This is mainly due to the fact that it uses high quality tomatoes and olive oil without the interference of any added preservatives or coloring.

As a result, you’re left with a well-balanced sauce that’s made solely from tomatoes, garlic, and onion.

What Tomatoes Does Rao’s Use?

Rao’s homemade tomato sauce uses certified organic whole plum tomatoes. These are imported from southern Italy and are served in tomato puree with basil leaf.

16 Of The Best Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

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This list of 6 substitutes for tomato sauce will help you find a tasty alternative to your favorite pasta sauce.


  • Canned Tomatoes

  • Tomato Paste

  • Tomato Passata

  • Tomato Juice

  • Fresh Tomatoes

  • Tomato Soup

  • Tomato Ketchup

  • Eggplant Puree

  • Tomato Puree

  • Stewed Tomatoes

  • Crushed Tomatoes

  • Pasta Or Pizza Sauce

  • Marinara Sauce

  • Tomato Powder

  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • V8 Juice


  • 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