The Difference Between Tomato Paste And Tomato Sauce, According To Chef Experts

Many of us can agree that the tomato is a vegetable, but it’s also commonly used as a fruit for culinary purposes.

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With tomato products ranging from ketchup to hot sauce, salsa to marinara, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

However, two particular products remain at odds with each other: tomato paste vs tomato sauce.

When looking at the main differences between tomato paste and sauce, we explore their flavor profiles and consistency as well as their uses in cooking and baking.

Learn more about this vegetable-fruit hybrid below!

What is special about tomato paste?

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The difference between tomato paste and sauce comes down to how the product is made.

While both are made with tomatoes, tomato paste is less concentrated and generally more watery than tomato sauce.

As a result of its preparation process, which includes straining the juice out of whole tomatoes and then cooking them down until they form a thick consistency, it contains significantly less liquid than its cousin.

This makes it easier to work with when you need to thicken sauces or add flavor without added water content.

Tomato paste has also been known to be used in many other cuisines besides Italian: Spanish paella calls for some tomato paste (it’s one of those secret ingredients that give your dish that extra zing), as does Mexican mole sauces; you’ll find it in authentic recipes from around the world!

What is special about tomato sauce?

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Tomato sauce is a thicker, more concentrated version of tomato paste.

It’s made by cooking down tomatoes, usually with some sugar, until they form a thick paste.

The result is a thicker consistency than your average tomato soup or puréed tomatoes—it has more texture and flavor than just using fresh tomatoes in your recipe.

Tomato sauce can be used in recipes where you’d typically use tomato paste (and vice versa), but there are some things that make it stand out:

  • Because it’s thicker and more concentrated than its cousin, tomato sauce is often preferred over paste when making sauces like marinara or pizza sauce because it won’t thin out as much as the liquid released from fresh tomatoes.
  • Tomato sauce is also very versatile; while both pastes are great for adding flavor to recipes without watering them down too much, many chefs find that their recipes taste better when they use both types of puree together rather than having one ingredient overpowering another flavor profile on its own (like mushrooms).

Tomato paste vs tomato sauce: What’s the similarity?

Tomato paste and tomato sauce are both made from tomatoes.

They’re also both excellent sources of lycopene, a carotenoid that can help protect against certain cancers, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration.

And you’ll get this nutrient whether you’re consuming either one or another—but each has its own unique flavor, texture and color.

  • Tomato paste has a much deeper color than tomato sauce; it’s more concentrated in flavor as well.
  • For example: if you take the same amount of ground beef that would be used to make your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe (and let’s say 2 pounds), then half of the roast beef is going to be ground—so if you want to make yourself some homemade spaghetti sauce with your favorite jarred pasta sauce…it should work!
  • But if that same amount is made into fresh tomato soup…it might fall flat on its face!

What makes this even more confusing is how similar they look when they’re sitting side by side in the grocery store aisle: red cans with black lids labeled “Tomato Paste” vs red cans with green lids labeled “Tomato Sauce.” So today we wanted to talk about their ingredients lists too so that hopefully next time around at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market or wherever else these products are sold; things will start making sense again!

How is tomato paste different from tomato sauce?

The main difference between tomato paste and tomato sauce lies in their consistency.

Tomato paste is thicker than tomato sauce, so it’s not as easily spreadable on your bread or crackers.

The concentration of flavor in tomato paste is also much stronger than that found in a jar of store-bought spaghetti sauce; this means you can use less and still achieve the same effect.

Tomato paste has a more intense flavor than most commercial sauces because it doesn’t contain water, which dilutes the taste of other ingredients like salt and herbs by absorbing them into its body mass.

It also contains more acidity than any other type of preparation; if you’re looking for something tart or acidic to add pizzazz to your dish, this might be just what you’re looking for!

How much tomato sauce equals 6 oz tomato paste?

To match the amount of tomato sauce in a 6-ounce can, you’ll need to add 1/4 cup tomato paste.

To make up an equivalent amount of plain tomato sauce from scratch, it’s best to use fresh tomatoes and simmer them down until they’re transformed into a thick puree.

This will give you the most cost-effective option if you plan on making your own sauce often.

If not, consider buying canned or jarred varieties instead: they’re usually cheaper than their homemade counterparts and come prepped so that all you have to do is add them directly into recipes without any additional prep work yourself.

Can I substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce?

You can use tomato paste or tomato sauce interchangeably in recipes, but they have different flavors and textures.

Tomato paste has a stronger, more concentrated taste than tomato sauce.

So if your recipe calls for 1 cup of tomato paste and you’re substituting it with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce instead, you may need to add additional seasonings like salt and pepper to achieve the same flavor profile.

On the other hand, if your recipe calls for half a cup of tomato sauce and you want to substitute that amount with an equal amount of tomato paste instead, consider adding other ingredients such as onions or garlic in order to boost its flavor profile.

Which is better tomato paste or tomato sauce?

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If you’re looking for a product that’s thicker than tomato paste and less thick than tomato sauce, then the answer is simple.

Tomato sauce is usually thick enough to coat the back of a spoon while still being thin enough to pour from a bottle.

It also has more flavor than tomato paste, but not as strong of a flavor as puree.

The best way to think about it is this: if you want something with a stronger tomato taste that’s better suited for cooking with, go with tomato paste; if you want something that will be easier to spread on your favorite sandwiches or add some color and texture to your pastas or pizzas without making them too salty or sweet like some other sauces might do (think more along the lines of Alfredo), go with tomato sauce!


Tomato paste and tomato sauce are both great ingredients to use in your cooking.

Both can be used in a variety of dishes, but it’s important to keep in mind the differences between them when deciding which one you want to use.

This article dives into the similarities and differences between tomato paste vs tomato sauce.

After reading this post, you’ll know exactly how they’re different (and how they’re similar) so that next time you’re faced with a recipe calling for either ingredient, there won’t be any confusion!