The Tomato Sauce Vs Puree Debate: Which Is The Best?

Tomato sauce and tomato puree are often mistaken for one another in cooking.

Why trust me?

I'm an experienced food writer and passionate cook. My website,, features accessible, informative, and engaging content with quality recipes and articles that are thoroughly researched and enjoyable to read. You can trust my expertise with 8 years of experience in the field. Learn more about me and my work on this website, and check out my featured articles on TastingTable, Mashed, and 5-Minute Crafts. Read more about me HERE.

Although they appear similar and can sometimes be used interchangeably, there are some key differences that make them unique ingredients.

If you’ve ever read a recipe and wondered whether you should use tomato sauce or tomato puree, then this guide is for you!

First, let’s look at the key differences between these two different types of tomatoes.

What is special about tomato sauce?

[amazon fields=”B07TSCWN1P” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

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

It is usually made with tomatoes, water, and salt.

Tomato sauce can be cooked or uncooked.

Tomato sauce is usually made from canned tomatoes that have been cooked down to the consistency of a thick, smooth paste before being strained to remove any lumps or skins.

The liquid part of the tomato paste left over after straining is called tomato puree.

What is special about tomato puree?

[amazon fields=”B00B04AEPQ” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

Tomato puree, essentially a thick and more concentrated version of tomato sauce, is made from tomatoes that have been cooked and strained.

It’s often used in cooking and baking to add flavor to soups, stews, sauces and casseroles.

If you’re using the red sauce to make a sauce or stew, you’ll want to use a thicker puree.

If you’re making something like lasagna or another baked pasta dish where it needs a little extra thickening power but isn’t necessary for the main event (the pasta itself), then opt for tomato paste instead.

Is tomato sauce the same as puree?

Tomato sauce and puree are both tomato products, but they’re made in different ways.

Tomato sauce and puree are both made from tomatoes, but they are different in the way they are prepared.

Tomato sauce is a thick sauce made with tomato pulp, water, and other ingredients that can include garlic, onions, basil, oregano, salt, sugar and pepper.

Tomato puree is also made from tomatoes, but it has been cooked for a longer period of time to break down the seeds and skins in order to make it smoother than tomato paste.

Tomato sauce is made from chopped or crushed tomatoes that have been cooked down and blended with other ingredients, like salt or herbs.

It’s often used as a base for other dishes, such as pasta sauce or pizza sauce.

Puree is made by cooking down tomatoes (and sometimes other fruits) until they form a thick paste.

Purees are often used as dips for snacks or appetizers, or as bases for sauces or soups.

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

Although tomato sauce and tomato puree seem like similar products, they actually have very different uses.

The first thing to keep in mind is that both products are made from tomatoes.

In fact, tomato puree is simply an additional step in making tomato sauce: it involves juicing the tomatoes and then straining out the seeds and skins.

This gives you a thicker consistency than what you get when you just blend fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper (like in my recipe for Basic Tomato Sauce).

It’s also used primarily as a cooking ingredient rather than something you would serve as a side dish or dip with crackers.

The main difference between these two products is their texture: While both will add flavor to your dish, only one of them can be used as part of your sauce base—the other works best when added at the end of cooking time!

Tomato sauce vs tomato puree: What’s the difference?

Tomato puree is a concentrated version of tomato sauce.

While both are made from tomatoes, the process of making tomato puree takes the tomato sauce and boils it down until it’s thick and flavorful.

Because tomato puree is more concentrated than regular tomato sauce, it will yield a thicker result when cooked—and that’s where their main difference lies.

The best way to compare these two ingredients is by comparing them side by side in a recipe.

You’ll see that they are pretty similar in texture (though they may have different ratios of water or other liquid), but one thing stands out: The resulting dish will be darker and richer with the puree than with the sauce alone!

Can I use tomato puree as tomato sauce?

The answer is no, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, tomato puree is thicker than tomato sauce and therefore not as easy to spread on your favorite pizza or pasta.

If you’re looking for something that will stick well, use the thickest sauce available in your local grocery store – but even then, it’s going to be different from what you’d get if you used tomato puree.

Secondly (and more importantly), using the wrong kind of product can drastically change the flavor profile of any dish.

A lot of people think that all tomatoes taste alike and that they’re interchangeable when it comes to recipes; but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Can tomato sauce be substituted for tomato puree?

Yes, tomato sauce can be substituted for tomato puree.

While both are made from tomatoes and contain similar ingredients, their consistency and flavor are different.

Tomato sauce is a thick, chunky sauce that comes in cans or jars.

It’s often combined with other ingredients to make pasta sauces or pizza toppings.

Tomato puree is a smooth and thick sauce made from cooked tomatoes that has been strained through cheesecloth to remove the seeds and skin (to get the same results without using cheesecloth you could also put your cooked tomatoes through an immersion blender).

Because of this difference in texture—and because tomato puree tends to have more concentrated flavor—it’s important not to use them interchangeably when cooking.


[amazon fields=”B07TSCWN1P” value=”title”][amazon fields=”B00B04AEPQ” value=”title”]
[amazon fields=”B07TSCWN1P” value=”thumb”][amazon fields=”B00B04AEPQ” value=”thumb”]
[amazon fields=”B07TSCWN1P” value=”button”][amazon fields=”B00B04AEPQ” value=”button”]

So, if you see tomato sauce in a recipe and all you have is puree, go ahead and use it.

It’s pretty much the same thing.

In fact, I’d argue that most of the time these two ingredients are interchangeable because they contain similar ingredients as well as having similar flavors and consistencies (as long as you don’t stir them too much!).

This isn’t true for every recipe though – for example when making soup there could be some differences between using sauce versus puree depending on how thick your desired outcome is going to be after cooking!