Here’s What to Reach for When You Don’t Have Tomato Paste

Turns out many home cooks don’t stock up on tomato paste or are always running out between grocery runs. Luckily tomato paste can be replaced pretty readily by its tomato brethren — both canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes can step in when you’re out of tomato paste. Here are the best substitutes for tomato paste when you don’t have a can or tube on hand.

How to Substitute Canned Tomatoes for Tomato Past

Both tomato sauce and tomato purée can be pinch hitters in recipes where tomato paste is used for flavoring. Substitute 1 tablespoon tomato paste with 2 tablespoons tomato purée or tomato sauce and the reduce the other liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons.

Got a can of diced or whole tomatoes in the pantry? You can use their liquid as you would use tomato sauce or purée — using 2 tablespoons of strained canned tomato liquid for every tablespoon of tomato paste a recipe calls for, again reducing the liquid in the recipe accordingly.

How to Substitute Fresh Tomatoes for Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is made from cooking down fresh tomatoes, so it would totally make sense that you can use whole fresh tomatoes in place of tomato paste with a little bit of elbow grease. You’ll need one medium tomato for every tablespoon of tomato paste and you’ll want to mash or blend the tomato and then cook it for about 10 minutes to concentrate the flavor.

How to Substitute Ketchup for Tomato Paste

Ah, yes, tomato ketchup has the body and robust flavor of tomato paste with a bit of added sugar and seasoning, so it makes a great substitute for tomato paste in cooking. You can swap tomato ketchup one-for-one for tomato paste!

Even the most well-stocked kitchens run out of pantry staples from time to time. Whether you’re trying to limit your grocery shopping or you need to make a last-minute ingredient swap, we’ve got you covered. This series will walk you through the best substitutions and replacements for common cooking and baking ingredients.