Tomato Puree Substitute

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Tomato Puree

Tomato puree is a useful ingredient, but don’t sweat it, if it isn’t one of the canned tomato products that you keep in your pantry. Here more information about what it is, and what you can use in its place.

What is Tomato Puree?

Tomato puree a thick sauce made by briefly cooking tomatoes, and then straining out the skins and seeds. It’s used to thicken sauces and flavor soups and stews. It’s also used as a base for things, like pizza sauce and marinara sauce. Tomato puree is thicker than tomato sauce, and doesn’t typically have any added ingredients.

Tomato Puree Substitutes

If you don’t have any tomato puree, here are several things you can use instead.

Tomato Sauce

Replace the tomato puree called for with an equal amount of tomato sauce. If you have time, pour the sauce into a saucepan, and cook it to reduce the volume, and thicken it slightly. This will compensate for the slightly thinner consistency.

Tomato Paste

Combine 1/3 cup tomato paste and 2/3 cup water, and use in place of one cup of tomato puree. This will give you a good approximation of both the texture and thickness of canned puree.

Pizza Sauce

Use pizza sauce as a 1:1 replacement for tomato puree. It’s often just tomato puree with added spices. So, as long as the spices work with your recipe, it makes an excellent substitute.

Fresh Tomatoes

Have ripe tomatoes on hand? Use them to make a quick batch of tomato puree. Just roughly chop the tomatoes (you’ll need 1-1/2 lbs. for every 2 cups of tomato puree). Then, toss them in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Let cool; then, run through a food mill or sieve to remove the seeds and peels. Finish by pulsing your puree in a blender, to give it a smooth, consistent texture. If your puree seems too thin after doing this, return it to the stove, and cook it down further. Different tomatoes contain different amounts of water. For the best results, use a plum tomato variety, like Roma. But don’t sweat it, if you only have another type of tomato on hand.

How Much Should I Use?

If your recipe calls for one 28-oz. can of tomato puree, use four cups of your chosen substitute in its place.

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Tomato Puree

Tomato Puree Substitute

If you aren’t in the habit of buying tomato puree, use one of these substitutes when you come across a recipe that calls for it.

  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: Varies


  • Tomato sauce, tomato paste, pizza sauce or fresh tomatoes


  • From Tomato Sauce: Substitute with an equal amount. If time allows, heat it on the stove to thicken it slightly.
  • From Tomato Paste: Combine 1/3 cup tomato taste + 2/3 cups water, to replace 1 cup puree.
  • From Pizza Sauce: Replace 1:1
  • From Fresh Tomatoes: Roughly chop 1-1/2 lbs tomatoes for every 2 cups of tomato puree called for. Toss into a pot, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down. Let cool; then, run through a food mill or sieve to remove the seeds and peels.  Pulse in a blender, until smooth. If your puree doesn’t seem thick enough, return it to the stove, and cook it down further. For the best results, use a plum tomato, like Roma. Other tomatoes will work too, but may require additional cook time.


(1) 28-oz. can = 4 cups tomato puree.

*Nutrition facts are based on using no-salt added tomato sauce as the substitute.

Keywords: tomato puree substitute, tomato puree substitution

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