Tomato Puree vs Paste: Best Uses in Cooking

tomato puree vs paste

Understanding the differences between tomato puree and paste is key in cooking. Each has unique flavors and textures that affect your dishes. Let’s dive into what makes these tomato products special and how to use them.

Tomato puree comes from cooked and blended tomatoes. It’s smooth and works well as a sauce base. It makes dishes like salsa shine with its fresh, tangy taste.

Tomato paste, on the other hand, is thicker and more intense. It’s great for adding a rich sweetness and thickness to recipes. It adds a deep flavor to sauces and soups.

You can substitute these two, but it takes a little work. By adding water to paste, you get a puree-like mix. If you need paste, cook down the puree to thicken it.

Tomato puree is perfect for making sauces and salsas. While tomato paste works best for thickening dishes and adding flavor.

Using both puree and paste can enhance your cooking. Together, they create a balanced tomato sauce. They’re also great in dishes like lasagna and chili, adding layers of flavor.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tomato puree is a smooth and uniform liquid, ideal as a base for sauces and salsas.
  • Tomato paste is a concentrated form of cooked tomatoes, adding sweetness and umami flavors.
  • Tomato puree and tomato paste have unique uses in cooking and are not interchangeable.
  • Substitute tomato paste with diluted tomato paste or cook down tomato puree for similar consistency.
  • Combine tomato puree and tomato paste for a balanced tomato sauce or in recipes like lasagna or chili.

Now you know the key differences between tomato puree and paste. Use them wisely to enhance your dishes. Whether it’s rich sauces or hearty soups, these tomato essentials can make your meals even better.

How Tomato Puree is Made

Tomato puree is a key ingredient in many sauces, like marinara and salsa. It’s made through a simple process that brings out its rich flavor and smooth texture.

First, ripe tomatoes are chosen. They are then cooked to bring out their flavors. This also makes them easier to blend into a liquid.

Lemon juice is added to the cooked tomatoes to balance their sweetness. A bit of salt also helps enhance the flavor.

Next, the tomatoes, acid, and salt are blended into a thick liquid. This makes the bright and flavorful tomato puree.

The puree is then canned in sizes from 15 to 28 ounces. This makes it easy for people to use in all sorts of recipes.

Here is an illustrative representation of the tomato puree production process:

Tomato Puree Production Process
1. Select fresh, ripe tomatoes.
2. Cook the tomatoes to soften them and enhance their flavors.
3. Blend the cooked tomatoes into a smooth liquid.
4. Add lemon juice and salt to balance and enhance the flavor.
5. Can and package the tomato puree for consumer use.

Tomato puree enriches many dishes with its vibrant color and smooth texture. It’s perfect for pasta sauce or zesty salsa, adding richness to every bite.

How Tomato Paste is Made

Tomato paste boosts the taste and richness of many dishes. It comes from a careful process that takes the best parts of tomatoes.

Ripe tomatoes are first chosen and cleaned well. They’re then cooked long enough to deepen their flavor. After cooking, the tomatoes go through a strainer to get rid of seeds and skins. This leaves a smooth tomato pulp.

This pulp is cooked again on low heat to get rid of most of the water. This step turns it into a thick, dark red paste. It ends up with a rich and sweet taste, making it popular for various recipes.

When it reaches the right thickness, the paste is packed. It goes into small 6-ounce cans or tubes. This makes it easy to use in kitchens everywhere.

Tomato paste is key in many food traditions. It’s used to make flavors stronger, thicken soups and sauces, and sweeten dishes. It works well with many ingredients, for stews, pasta sauces, and more.

Next time you’re cooking, add some tomato paste. It will give a strong, concentrated tomato flavor to your dishes.

For a visual representation of the tomato paste production process, refer to the following table:

Stage Description
Selection and Cleaning Ripe tomatoes are chosen and cleaned thoroughly.
Cooking The tomatoes are cooked for an extended period to intensify flavor.
Straining The cooked tomatoes are strained to remove seeds and skins.
Second Cooking The strained pulp is cooked again over low heat to evaporate most of the liquid.
Packaging The thick and concentrated tomato paste is packaged in small cans or tubes.

Try the deep flavors of tomato paste in your meals. You’ll love the difference it makes.

The Differences between Tomato Puree and Tomato Paste

Tomato puree and tomato paste might look the same, but they’re quite different. They vary in thickness and taste. This makes them good for various kitchen tasks.

Tomato puree is smooth and liquid. It’s made from cooked and blended tomatoes. The taste is milder and it has a smoother feel than tomato paste. It works well as a base for sauces like marinara and pizza sauce. You can also mix it into demi-glace to add a bit of sourness and freshness.

Tomato paste, on the other hand, is very thick and packed with flavor. It comes from cooking tomatoes longer, then straining and cooking again to lose most of the water. This makes it sweet and rich, great for adding depth to sauces, soups, and stews. It’s thick, but you can use it in many recipes to enhance taste.

The table below shows the main differences between tomato puree and paste:

Tomato Puree Tomato Paste
Consistency Liquid, smooth Thick, paste-like
Flavor Milder, like fresh tomatoes Rich, sweet from cooking longer
Uses Base for sauces, salsa Thickening, adding flavor

As the table shows, use tomato puree for a gentle tomato taste. Tomato paste is for when you want a stronger tomato flavor and thickness.

Image alt tag: Tomato puree and tomato paste comparison

Best Uses for Tomato Puree

Tomato puree can make many dishes taste better. You can use it in sauces, stews, or salsas to add a rich flavor. It makes your food more delicious.

Here are some top ways to use tomato puree:

  1. Sauces: It’s great for making different sauces, like marinara or salsa. Tomato puree’s smooth and bold flavor is a good foundation for these recipes.
  2. Pasta dishes: Pour it into pasta sauces for a sweet and tangy taste. Tomato puree enhances dishes like bolognese or creamy vodka sauce.
  3. Pizzas: Spread it on pizza dough before adding toppings. Its strong tomato flavor boosts the taste of your pizza.
  4. Stews and soups: Use it to thicken and enrich stews and soups. Its acidity and rich taste make every bowl savory and comforting.
  5. Meat dishes: Stir tomato puree into dishes like meatballs or meatloaf. It goes well with beef and lamb, adding flavor depth.

Try using tomato puree in your cooking to explore new tastes. Its versatility allows for endless culinary creations!

“Tomato puree is more than an ingredient; it’s a culinary powerhouse. It brings depth, richness, and acidity to many dishes.” – Chef Lisa Thompson

Recipe Ingredients Instructions
Marinara Sauce
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Saut√© onions and garlic until they’re soft.
  2. Add tomato puree, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix them well.
  3. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then.
  4. Use the sauce as you like, maybe with pasta or pizza.
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • Lime juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix tomato puree, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, lime juice, and cilantro.
  2. Add salt and pepper as you like.
  3. Chill it for 1 hour to blend the flavors.
  4. Serve it with chips or as a topping for tacos and more.

Best Uses for Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is super useful in the kitchen. It makes many dishes taste deeper and richer. Let’s look at some top ways to use it:

1. Thicken Sauces, Soups, and Stews

It’s great for making sauces, soups, and stews thicker. Its thickness boosts the heartiness of each dish. This makes everything taste and feel better.

2. Enhance the Flavors of Taco Fillings, Baked Beans, and Meatloaf

Adding tomato paste to taco fillings, baked beans, and meatloaf makes them taste better. It gives a nice tomato kick that balances everything. You’ll get a more flavorful and enjoyable meal.

3. Create Homemade Marinara Sauce

Use it to make your own marinara sauce. Mix it with garlic, onions, and herbs. You’ll get a tasty sauce that’s great with pasta, pizza, or as a dip.

4. Flavor Enhancer in Chili

Put tomato paste in your chili for extra taste. It mixes well with beans, meat, and spices. This makes your chili’s flavor stronger and better.

Just remember, you only need a little bit of tomato paste. Because it’s concentrated, a small amount will do. It’ll bring a rich tomato flavor to your favorite dishes.

Substituting Tomato Puree for Tomato Paste

If you don’t have tomato paste, don’t panic! Tomato puree can be a great alternative. We’ll show you two simple ways to match the consistency you need.

Method 1: Dilute Tomato Paste

To thin out tomato paste, mix it with an equal amount of water or broth. Stir them together until smooth. This thinned version will work well as a puree substitute in your dishes.

Method 2: Cook Down Tomato Puree

To get a paste-like thickness from tomato puree, cook it. Use a bit of oil and let it simmer till it thickens. Doing this will reduce the water content, making it more concentrated. Remember, this may change its taste slightly, so adjust seasonings accordingly.

Both thinning paste or thickening puree can slightly change a recipe’s flavor. But don’t be afraid to try. Adjust the taste as needed and enjoy your tasty tomato-based dish!

Substituting Tomato Paste for Tomato Puree

Need tomato puree but only have tomato paste? No problem! Just mix tomato paste with water or tomato juice to thin it out. This will get you a texture like tomato puree, so you can keep cooking without issues.

To swap, mix equal parts of tomato paste and liquid. For instance, use 1/3 cup tomato paste and 2/3 cup water or juice for 1 cup puree. This follows the often recommended 3:1 ratio of puree to paste.

After mixing, stir well until smooth. It might seem thicker than puree. You can cook it on low heat to bring it closer to puree’s taste and thickness. Cooking it down will enrich its flavors.

Keep in mind, swapping tomato paste for puree might need some trial and error. You may have to tweak the flavors or amounts to get your recipe just right.

Tomato Paste Substitution Guide

Tomato Puree Amount Tomato Paste Amount Water or Tomato Juice Amount
1/4 cup 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup 2 tablespoons 6 tablespoons
1 cup 1/3 cup 2/3 cup
2 cups 2/3 cup 1 1/3 cups

Table: Tomato Paste Substitution Guide – Use this table to guide you when you need to replace tomato puree with paste in recipes. Adjust as needed for your dish.

Using Tomato Puree and Tomato Paste Together

Combining tomato puree and tomato paste can make your dishes tastier. Each has unique features that add depth and richness to food. Use them in tomato sauce, lasagna, chili, or curries to improve your recipes.

Tomato puree offers a smooth, mild flavor like fresh tomatoes. It’s a great base that adds a tangy taste. Tomato paste is thicker and sweeter. It brings intensity and complexity to your cooking, making it a good match for the puree.

Using tomato puree and paste together creates a blend of flavors that make your food better. The puree serves as a base; the paste adds depth. This mix is perfect for tomato sauces, soups, stews, and casseroles. It adds a special tomato touch to every bite.

Recipes with Tomato Puree and Paste

Here are some recipes that use tomato puree and paste well:

  1. Classic Marinara Sauce: Mix tomato puree, tomato paste, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices for a tasty pasta sauce.
  2. Hearty Meatball Subs: Cook meatballs in a rich sauce with tomato puree, tomato paste, onions, garlic, and Italian spices. Serve on crusty rolls with cheese.
  3. Spicy Chili: Combine tomato puree, tomato paste, ground beef, beans, chili powder, cumin, and spices for a warm chili.
  4. Vegetarian Curry: Make a curry sauce with tomato puree, tomato paste, coconut milk, veggies, spices, and herbs.
  5. Baked Eggplant Parmesan: Use thin eggplant slices with tomato puree, tomato paste, mozzarella, and Parmesan for a veggie dish.

Adjust the tomato puree and paste amounts in these recipes to suit your taste. Add herbs, spices, or veggies to boost the flavors of your dishes.

Don’t hesitate to use tomato puree and paste together in sauces, stews, or curries. Their unique flavors and characteristics will make your cooking stand out.

Tomato Paste and Tomato Puree: Key Takeaways

Tomato puree and tomato paste are not the same. They each have features that make them stand out. Knowing their differences can make your cooking better. Let’s go over the main points:

Consistency and Flavor

Tomato puree is smooth, like a thick juice. It tastes mild, much like fresh tomatoes. Tomato paste, though, is much thicker. Because it cooks longer, its flavor is sweeter and richer.

Uses in Cooking

Tomato puree is great for sauces, like marinara and pizza sauce, and salsa. It adds a tangy, fresh taste. Tomato paste, on the other hand, thickens sauces, soups, and stews. It brings sweet and rich flavors to dishes like tacos, baked beans, and meatloaf.

Overall, use tomato puree for smooth sauces. Tomato paste is best for thickening and enriching flavors. They can replace each other sometimes. But they shine best in their unique uses.

Property Tomato Puree Tomato Paste
Consistency Smooth, liquid Thick, paste-like
Flavor Mild Rich and sweet
Uses Sauces, soups, salsa Thickening, flavor enhancement


Tomato puree and tomato paste are key in cooking. They give unique flavors and textures to many dishes. You can use them in different ways in recipes, or swap one for the other.

Looking for a smooth sauce or something to make your dish thicker? Tomato puree and paste can help. Puree is great for smooth sauces and salsas. Paste adds a rich taste to soups and stews.

Try using both tomato puree and paste in your cooking. They can make your sauces and chilis even better. Be bold with new cooking methods and flavors. This can help you use these ingredients in the best way.


What is the difference between tomato puree and tomato paste?

Tomato puree is smooth, like a thick liquid from blended tomatoes. Tomato paste is thicker, made from concentrated tomatoes.

How is tomato puree made?

To make tomato puree, cook ripe tomatoes and blend them into a thick juice. Adding lemon juice and salt enhances its flavor.

How is tomato paste made?

Making tomato paste involves cooking tomatoes longer, removing seeds and skins, and reducing them until thick. This creates a concentrated paste that’s sweet and deep red.

What are the best uses for tomato puree?

Tomato puree works great in sauces like marinara and pizza sauce. It’s also good in soups and stews.Adding it to demi-glace makes dishes brighter. It brings out the best in pasta, pizza, and more.

What are the best uses for tomato paste?

Tomato paste thickens sauces and soups, and adds richness. It’s key in taco fillings, baked beans, and meatloaf.You can use it for homemade marinara or to boost chili flavor.

Can tomato puree be substituted for tomato paste?

Yes, you can substitute tomato puree for tomato paste. Cook the puree down in oil to get a thick paste.

Can tomato paste be substituted for tomato puree?

Yes, dilute tomato paste with water or juice for a puree-like texture. You might need to tweak the flavors a bit.

Can tomato puree and tomato paste be used together?

Definitely, blending puree and paste mixes mild and rich tomato flavors. They work well in sauces, lasagna, chili, and curries.

What are the key differences between tomato puree and tomato paste?

Tomato puree is lighter and liquidy, with a fresh taste. Tomato paste is thicker and sweeter, thanks to longer cooking.

What are the key takeaways about tomato puree and tomato paste?

Puree and paste vary in texture, taste, and use. Puree is smooth and mild; paste is dense and sweet. They’re versatile but have unique culinary roles.

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