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9 Simple Ways to Substitute for Tomato Puree

Here are 9 easy ways to substitute for tomato puree when you’re in a pinch, plus an easy method to make your own and recipe ideas.

Tomato puree is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking. It’s a thick sauce of pureed, briefly cooked tomatoes with skins and seeds removed. This tomato blend typically has no additional herbs or seasonings with the exception of salt in some cases.

But, what happens when you run out or can’t find any in your grocery store?

Fortunately, tomato puree has lots of “doppelgangers” and this post has them all. So, here are the best ways to substitute for tomato puree, plus how to make your own.

Tomato puree in glass bowl next to fresh tomatoes and basil leaves.

Common Ways to Substitute for Tomato Puree

Here are several common ways to substitute for tomato puree that are readily available in stores, plus some homemade ideas that make great replacements.

NOTE: One 16 ounce can of tomato puree = 2 cups.

1. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce in sauce pan with basil leaf stem on top sits on wood table.

Tomato sauce is a close replacement option for puree. Keep in mind, tomato sauce may have other added ingredients like vinegar and herbs. Adjust the other ingredients in your dish to compensate as needed.

Tomato sauce also has a thinner consistency than tomato puree. Add it to a saucepan and simmer on low until some of the water cooks out. You can then use it as a 1 to 1 substitute.

2. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste in open tin can next to garlic cloves and spoon covered in the paste.

Tomato paste makes a great puree substitute. It’s made from highly concentrated tomatoes with a deep and sweet flavor. Simply mix 1/4 cup tomato paste with 1/4 cup water and you’ll have 1/2 cup of tomato puree substitute.

3. Pizza Sauce

Close up photo of pizza sauce with seasoning on top in white bowl.

Pizza sauce may seem like an unusual puree substitute, but it works well in a pinch. These sauces are basically a tomato puree with added seasonings and flavors.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute and adjust the other ingredients in your dish as needed.

4. Marinara Sauce

Close up photo of marinara sauce in mason jar with basil leaves on top.

You can use marinara sauce to replace tomato puree in a dish the same way you would pizza sauce.

Substitute 1 to 1 and adjust the other seasonings and herbs in your dish accordingly.

5. Passata

Tomato passata in orange dish next to vine ripened tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.

Passata is a less common product in the United States, but can still be found in some grocery stores and specialty food stores. If you happen to have some on hand, it makes a great stand-in for tomato puree as they are very similar in taste and texture.

Puree is a little thinner than passata, though, so you may need to add a little water before using as a 1 to 1 substitute.

6. Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes on vine sitting on wood table.

If you have a garden or recently bought some fresh tomatoes, they can be used as a tomato puree substitute with a little work. You’ll need 1-1/2 lbs. for every 2 cups of tomato puree. See recipe instructions below.

7. Roasted Tomatoes

Various size roasted tomatoes in white dish on wood table.

Roasted tomatoes can create a homemade tomato puree substitute with a rich and intensified flavor. If you have the time and want to have a depth of flavor to your dish, toss some tomatoes with oil and a little salt and then roast them in the oven.

Blend them to your desired consistency and use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

8. Canned Tomatoes

Unlabeled canned tomatoes spill out onto white dish.

Canned tomatoes are basically a less blended version of tomato puree. Just add them to a food processor, excess liquid and all until you get a smooth consistency.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

9. Ketchup

Heinz ketchup bottle on wood table in a restaurant.

If you’re really in a pinch, you can use ketchup to replace tomato puree in a dish. Keep in mind ketchup has a strong flavor. Use in recipes where only a small amount of puree is needed.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

Make Your Own

Homemade tomato puree in food processor next to fresh tomatoes and wooden spoon.

Here’s how to make tomato puree in a snap. You’ll just need two ingredients and a blender or food processer. It takes about 40 minutes to complete.


  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes
  • Salt, optional


CUT your tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and pulp.

ADD your tomatoes to a large stockpot full of water and bring to a BOIL. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the tomatoes are soft (about 10 minutes).

CAREFULLY remove the tomatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and add them to a bowl of cold water. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes.

REMOVE the peel from the tomatoes and add them to a food processor or blender. Add a few dashes of salt if desired and PUREE the tomatoes until smooth.

Recipes with Tomato Base

Here are several delicious, tomato-based recipes you can use to try out your favorite way to substitute for tomato puree.

Healthy and Delicious Lasagna Zucchini Boats

Dinner table with three lasagna stuffed zucchini boats on cream plate.

Authentic Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs

Fork in bowl with Italian spaghetti and meatballs on white table.

Best Ever Lasagna Made With Cottage Cheese

Baking dish of lasagna with cottage cheese on white dinner table.

Easy Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (aka Cincinnati Chili)

Close up of Cincinnati chili over spaghetti and topped with sour cream.

Italian Ground Turkey Patties With Vegetables Provencal

Full frame photo of ground turkey patties with Italian seasoning on white platter.