Tomato sauce is a kitchen staple used in many dishes. If you don’t have any on hand, there are a few options for tomato sauce substitutes. Below are five substitutes for tomato sauce.

What is Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce is a sauce made with tomatoes and a mixture of onions, garlic, peppers and herbs. The ingredients are pureed to create the sauce. This sauce is used as a base for Mexican salsas and pasta dishes. Unlike ketchup, this sauce is not intended to be a condiment.

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How to Substitute Tomato Paste for Tomato Sauce

If you’re wondering, “Can I substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce?” then the answer is “yes!” In fact, tomato paste is one of the best substitutes for tomato sauce in recipes.

Use one part tomato paste and one part water. Mix the paste and water until well blended. You can season this mixture with herbs, garlic, and onion to create tomato sauce.

skillet with tomato sauce and gnocchi covered with cheese and garnished with fresh basil

4 More Substitutes for Tomato Sauce

If you don’t have tomato paste on hand to create your own tomato sauce, the following four ingredients can be used instead. Although these options require some additional preparation, they make a good option when you’re in a pinch.

  1. Canned Tomatoes

To use canned tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, drain the liquid from the tomatoes. Blend the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until they have a pureed consistency. If your tomatoes are unseasoned, add seasoning. Pre-seasoned canned tomatoes will not need additional seasoning.

If the mixture is too thin, you can cook it down to get a thicker consistency.

  1. Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is not a good substitute for a spaghetti sauce, but may offer a fair substitution in casserole-type dishes. Empty a can of tomato soup into a saucepan and cook until you achieve a thicker consistency.

  1. Marinara

Marinara may not be good for all recipes, but it is an option if your other flavors work well with Italian seasoning. Empty the marinara into a saucepan and cook until you get a thicker consistency. Do not add any seasoning, as this sauce will already have strong seasoning in it.

  1. Tomato Juice

If your recipe uses both tomato sauce and water, you can use one cup of tomato juice to replace ½ cup of tomato sauce and ½ cup of water. For other recipes, tomato juice can be cooked in a saucepan until it has a thicker consistency. Add salt to season the mixture.