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Savory Tweaks: 7 BEST Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

Have you ever gone to the grocery store only to find that your favorite tomato sauce is sold out?

Or maybe you want to cook something new and creative but don’t know where to start.

Whatever the case, finding a suitable substitute for tomato sauce can be daunting.

Don’t worry though—we’ve got you covered!

From pesto sauce and puréed vegetables, to salsas and different kinds of cheese-based ingredients, we gathered seven different recipes with unique flavors that will leave your taste buds satisfied!

Read on for some interesting alternatives in place of traditional tomato sauces!

What’s Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce is a smooth, thick red sauce made from cooked tomatoes.

It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in all sorts of dishes, from pasta to pizza to chicken.

The sauce likely originated in China or India, and it was brought to Europe by Italian explorers in the 16th century.

The first recorded recipe for tomato sauce was published in Naples in 1692.

This sauce is usually made with just a few simple ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Some recipes also call for adding sugar or herbs like basil or oregano.

The sauce is simmered until it’s thick and smooth.

Tomato sauce can be used in all sorts of dishes.

It’s commonly used as a pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or chicken parmesan sauce.

It can also be used as a dipping sauce or condiment.

7 Best Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

1. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a thick, concentrated form of tomato puree that is made by cooking tomatoes down until they’re very soft and then straining out the seeds and skins.

It’s often used as a base or flavoring ingredient in recipes like soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles.

While tomato paste isn’t as sweet as tomato sauce, it does have a more intense tomato flavor.

If you want to substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce in a recipe, you’ll need to add some water or another liquid to thin it out.

You may also need to add some sugar or other seasonings to balance out the acidity.

2. Canned Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a delicious and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy tomatoes is in sauce form.

However, not everyone enjoys the taste of tomato sauce.

If you’re looking for a substitute for tomato sauce, there are several options available to you.

One option is to use canned tomatoes.

Canned tomatoes have a similar consistency to tomato sauce, but they don’t have the same strong flavor.

This makes them a great option for people who don’t like the taste of tomato sauce but still want to enjoy the benefits of eating tomatoes.

Another option is to use fresh tomatoes.

Fresh tomatoes can be pureed or roasted and then added to pasta or other dishes.

This gives you all the benefits of eating fresh tomatoes without having to deal with the strong flavor of tomato sauce.

Finally, you could also try using sun-dried tomatoes.

Sun-dried tomatoes have a more intense flavor than fresh or canned tomatoes, but they can still be a great option for people who don’t like the taste of tomato sauce.

3. Tomato Juice

Tomato juice is a refreshing and healthy drink that can also be used as a substitute for tomato sauce.

The taste of tomato juice is similar to that of tomato sauce, but it is not as thick or concentrated.

This makes it a good choice for those who want a lighter sauce.

To substitute tomato juice for tomato sauce, simply add water to thin it out.

You can also add other seasonings to taste.

Tomato juice can be used in any recipe that calls for tomato sauce, but keeps in mind that the flavor will be slightly different.

4. Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is a great substitute for tomato sauce.

It has a similar taste but is much thinner and easier to work with.

It can be used in the same way as tomato sauce but is best used as a base for other soups or sauces.

Tomato soup is also a great way to get your daily dose of tomatoes.

Tomatoes are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene.

Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to several health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and improved heart health.

If you’re looking for a healthy, delicious way to add more tomatoes to your diet, give tomato soup a try.

5. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a type of tomato sauce that is typically made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions.

It has a chunky texture and is used as a dipping sauce or pasta sauce.

Marinara sauce is not as sweet as tomato sauce and has a more complex flavor.

If you are looking for a tomato sauce substitute that has a similar taste to marinara sauce, try using crushed tomatoes.

Crushed tomatoes are made with just tomatoes and have a similar consistency to marinara sauce.

You can add garlic, herbs, and onions to crushed tomatoes to create a similar flavor profile.

If you need a quick substitute for marinara sauce, you can also use tomato soup, or tomato paste thinned out with water.

These substitutes will not have the same flavor as a marinara sauce but will work in a pinch.

6. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato ketchup is a popular condiment made from tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and spices.

It is thick and sweet with a slightly tangy flavor.

Ketchup can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce in many recipes.

When substituting ketchup for tomato sauce, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • The taste of ketchup is sweeter than tomato sauce due to the added sugar. If your recipe calls for unsweetened tomato sauce, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe or omit it altogether.
  • Ketchup is also thicker than tomato sauce. If your recipe calls for thin tomato sauce, you may need to add water or broth to thin out the ketchup.
  • The color of ketchup is usually darker than tomato sauce due to the added vinegar and spices. This may not be an issue in some recipes but could affect the final appearance of your dish if it is important to you.

Overall, substituting ketchup for tomato sauce can be a simple way to change up a recipe.

Just be sure to keep the above considerations in mind so that your dish turns out to taste the way you want it to.

7. Fresh Tomatoes

Tomatoes are versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of dishes.

They can be eaten raw, cooked, or processed into a sauce.

While fresh tomatoes have a different taste than tomato sauce, they can be used as a substitute in some recipes.

The taste of fresh tomatoes is much milder than that of tomato sauce.

They are also much juicier.

This means that they will not provide the same level of flavor to a dish as tomato sauce will.

However, fresh tomatoes can still be used as a substitute for tomato sauce in some recipes.

When doing so, it is important to add additional seasonings to the dish to make up for the lack of flavor from the tomato sauce.

Fresh tomatoes can be substituted for tomato sauce by pureeing them in a blender or food processor.

This will create a thick liquid that can be added to the recipe in place of the tomato sauce.

It is important to note that the texture of the dish will be different when using fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.

The dish may also be less flavorful without the addition of extra seasonings.


There are a number of substitutes for tomato sauce that can be used depending on the dish you are making.

Each substitute has a different taste that can be used to enhance the flavor of your dish.

Choose the best substitute for tomato sauce based on the flavor you are trying to achieve.

7 BEST Substitutes for Tomato Sauce to Try

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1. Tomato Paste
  • 2. Canned Tomatoes
  • 3. Tomato Juice
  • 4. Tomato Soup
  • 5. Marinara Sauce
  • 6. Tomato Ketchup
  • 7. Fresh Tomatoes


  • Select your favorite ingredient from the list above to use as a substitute.
  • Follow the instructions and use the exact ratio of ingredients as directed.
  • This will help to ensure that your dish turns out just as delicious as it would have with the original ingredient.
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