Stewed Tomatoes Substitute (Alternative and Replacement) 

We are all familiar with the situation when cooking a favorite lunch is spoiled by discovering that we have run out of a key ingredient.

Murphy’s Law has made sure that this usually happens at the most inconvenient moment – when we really care about the dish coming out perfectly, and we don’t have time to go to the store to get the missing ingredient, or it’s a holiday, and all the stores nearby are closed.

Sounds familiar?

Of course, this is something that happens to everyone from time to time.

However, there is no need to fret.

You can successfully replace almost every ingredient of any dish with another food.

You just need to know which foods are suitable alternatives, and if you’re unsure, help is always available online.

The dish you cook may not be identical to the recipe’s ingredients, but rest assured that it will be good enough, and often a substitute ingredient will bring a new shade of flavor.

This article will introduce you to the best substitutes for stewed tomatoes.

You will find out what you can use if you run out of stewed tomatoes and which substitutes are best for certain dishes.

What are Stewed Tomatoes, and in Which Dishes are They Used? 

Stewed tomatoes combine tomatoes cooked on low heat and various vegetables, spices, and herbs.

People love stewed tomatoes because they are versatile in cooking and bring a unique mixture of sweet, sour, and umami taste to every dish.

Stewed tomatoes have a unique structure and a very rich and intense taste, so they are used worldwide to prepare various dishes.

You can buy stewed tomatoes in the store, packed in a can or jar, but you can also make them yourself.

Tomatoes are usually cooked for a long time to get stewed tomatoes. The extended cooking time is what gives the specific flavor and thickness.

You can speed up the cooking process using a pressure cooker or instant pot to make stewed tomatoes in less than half an hour.

Whether homemade or store-bought stewed tomatoes, they are delicious and healthy.

Stewed tomatoes are extremely rich in vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate.

It benefits the work of many organs, but mainly on the health of bones, skin, and heart.

Among the numerous health benefits of stewed tomatoes, the reduction of the risk of cancer and the positive impact on the fertility of both men and women are particularly noteworthy.

In addition to tomatoes, stewed tomatoes usually contain onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery, herbs, and vegetables.

Stewed tomatoes are often added to stews, soups, sauces, and cooked vegetable dishes but are also used as a topping for pastries, bagels, and toast.

This food’s application is versatile, and it only depends on your imagination in which dishes you will use it.

Alternatives and Replacements for Stewed Tomatoes 

But does the fact that stewed tomatoes are such tasty and healthy means that it is impossible to replace them in a recipe?

Absolutely no.

If you realize you have used up the last jar or can of stewed tomatoes in the middle of cooking, don’t worry because there are several good ways to replace this ingredient.

In the rest of the article, read what can serve as an alternative and substitute for stewed tomatoes in various recipes.

Canned Whole Tomatoes 

One of the best ways to replace stewed tomatoes is to use canned whole tomatoes.

Canned whole tomatoes are an excellent alternative to stewed tomatoes in recipes for sauces or soups, although you can also use them in other dishes.

The main difference is that canned whole tomatoes are not spicy, which can be an advantage if you do not like intense flavors or the taste of stewed tomatoes.

If you still want your dish to taste richer with more spices, add some chopped bell pepper or chopped onion to canned whole tomatoes.

You can also add other ingredients, like herbs or spices, to enhance the taste.

Another difference between stewed and canned whole tomatoes relates to texture.

To achieve a texture as close to the original recipe, mash whole canned tomatoes or chop them into pieces.

If you’re using canned whole tomatoes as a substitute for stewed tomatoes in a pasta sauce recipe, a good trick is to mash the tomatoes just slightly with a fork, allowing some chunks to remain in the texture.

It will give a special note to your dish.

If you don’t like experimenting too much in the kitchen and just need a simple substitute for the missing ingredient, use the following formula.

Replace each cup of stewed tomatoes with a cup of canned whole tomatoes.

You can also replace the missing ingredient with three parts of canned whole tomatoes and one part of diced tomatoes.

Canned whole tomatoes contain whole peeled tomatoes, usually, plum tomatoes, because they are more suitable for canning.

Maybe before you found yourself in a situation where you needed a substitute for stewed tomatoes, you didn’t even think about it, but the fact that this type of tomato is not spicy can actually be a significant advantage.

It allows you to add completely different flavors to your dish than those guaranteed by the original recipe.

If you are creative in the kitchen, this is an excellent opportunity for unusual and bold combinations of spices to delight your taste buds.

Tomato Paste 

If you already have a can of tomato paste at home, look no further because it is the perfect substitute for stewed tomatoes in most recipes.

You will get the right texture and a very intense and rich taste with tomato paste.

Tomato paste is essentially very similar to tomato sauce, but it is much thicker and more concentrated.

Tomato paste gives the dish a very intense color and taste and is a perfect substitute for stewed tomatoes in meat dishes, especially those made with chicken or beef. Also, tomato paste will take your tomato soup to a whole new level of taste.

This ingredient also goes well with Italian cuisine, so you can use it when preparing pasta or pizza.

Unlike stewed tomatoes, tomato paste does not contain tomato pieces, skin, or seeds, but don’t let that discourage you from using this ingredient.

The taste of tomato paste is so intense and strong that regardless of these differences, it will not detract from the dish.

If you want your dish with tomato paste to resemble the original recipe with stewed tomatoes as much as possible, it will help add chopped vegetables. First, use onion, bell pepper, and celery, but you can also use other vegetables.

You can make tomato paste yourself from canned diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes.

To begin with, be sure to strain the canned tomatoes through a colander to remove excess water and avoid your dish from taking on a too-diluted taste.

Then mix the strained whole or diced tomatoes in a food processor until you get tomato paste. You can also use a blender.

You must pay attention to the quantity when you replace stewed tomatoes with tomato paste in recipes.

Given the very concentrated texture and flavor, you will need about three times less tomato paste than stewed tomatoes.

It will mean just two or three tablespoons of tomato paste for most dishes. Be sure to stick to these proportions, even if it seems too little.

If you overdo it, your dish could end up with an unpleasantly sharp taste and possibly a thicker texture than you wanted.

Diced Tomatoes 

Just like canned whole tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes are an excellent alternative to stewed tomatoes.

Initially, we should clarify that not all canned diced tomatoes on the market are the same.

However, regardless of the differences, they can all replace stewed tomatoes in most dishes.

The main difference between different cans of diced tomatoes is that some contain juice, and some do not.

If you want a more liquid texture, use those with juice, and if you need a thicker consistency, choose canned diced tomatoes without juice or strain the ones with juice through a strainer.

Also, while some manufacturers preserve diced tomatoes without spices, some add salt and other spices.

Some brands even produce diced tomatoes with a slightly smoky flavor because they are roasted.

Choose the one that best matches the flavor combination you want to achieve.

If you want the dish to resemble a recipe prepared with stewed tomatoes as much as possible, add some vegetables, spices, and herbs.

Garlic and onion are the best options because they add a specific smell to the dish in addition to taste.

Another difference between stewed and diced tomatoes is that the pieces in stewed tomatoes are softer and larger because these tomatoes are simmered, unlike diced tomatoes, which are only cooked for a short time.

Extend the cooking time to achieve a taste close to the original recipe.

In addition, it will make the diced tomatoes softer and help achieve the right texture for the dish.

You can use diced tomatoes as an alternative to stewed tomatoes in pasta, soups, stews, and vegetable dishes.

Do not forget the importance of the right proportion of ingredients.

Since diced tomatoes are harder than stewed tomatoes, use a slightly smaller amount than the recipe calls.

For example, use about three-quarters of a cup of diced tomatoes for every cup of stewed tomatoes called for in the recipe.

The pieces of diced tomatoes will soften during cooking, and you will achieve the perfect texture.

Tomato Sauce 

Tomato sauce looks like tomato paste but is much thinner. However, it is still denser than stewed tomatoes, so that you can apply the same proportions as canned diced tomatoes.

Replace the amount prescribed in the recipe with three-quarters of the amount of tomato sauce, and you will get the perfect consistency and taste of the dish.

There are store-bought and homemade tomato sauces, and both have their advantages.

You can find store-bought tomato sauce in different options, from those with a neutral taste, to salty, spicy, or hot.

This food has a long shelf life, saving you both time and money because you can easily replace food that spoils faster and that you will have to throw away if you don’t use it in time.

On the other hand, the fact is that tomato sauce usually contains added sugars, as well as preservatives and other ingredients that are not particularly healthy.

Homemade tomato sauce is much healthier but requires much time and effort.

If you are a skilled cook, choosing a plain tomato sauce and adding vegetables, spices, and herbs to your taste is best.

However, if you are not exceptionally expert in combining flavors, it is better to opt for a can of pre-seasoned tomato sauce.

Read the ingredients on the package to ensure you like the flavors and spices offered.

Tomato sauce can be an alternative to stewed tomatoes if you prepare soups, stews, or pasta sauce.

Also, tomato sauce makes a great pizza base. If you’re missing chunks of tomatoes from stewed tomatoes, just add a few chunks from a can of diced tomatoes.

Tomato sauce is not an ideal substitute for preparing meat dishes, primarily if you use a pre-seasoned sauce.

The tomato chunks are essential here for the texture of the dish. Also, the spices from your sauce may take the lead and spoil the authentic taste of the meal.

If the dish you are preparing is delicate and requires precise proportions of ingredients, always choose unseasoned tomato sauce.

Tomato Purée 

Strained Roma tomatoes yield a tomato purée, another good substitute for stewed tomatoes.

Purée can serve as an alternative to stewed tomatoes in many dishes, from those that require a smooth texture to those that need crushed tomatoes.

Remember that your dish will taste even better if you warm the tomato purée first.

Tomato purée generally has no spices, so feel free to add your favorite ingredients to take the flavor to the next level and bring it closer to the original recipe.

Tomato purée will give the best results when used as an alternative in preparing various sauces and soups.

Take care of the proper ratio of ingredients. For example, for every cup of stewed tomatoes, the recipe calls for, add two-thirds of a cup of tomato purée.

Crushed Tomatoes 

If you are looking for a substitute that would give you something between tomato purée and smashed fresh tomatoes, choose crushed tomatoes.

There are smooth versions on offer, as well as those with a thicker texture, which contain pieces of tomato.

Carefully read the description on the package to choose the option that is right for you.

The taste of crushed tomatoes is mild and slightly sweet, so if you want a dish with more spices, add vegetables and herbs to your liking.

Crushed tomatoes are an excellent substitute for stewed tomatoes if you prepare lasagna, pizza, stew, vegetable, or meat dishes.

There is no need to adjust the amount when substituting stewed tomatoes with this ingredient. Feel free to use as many crushed tomatoes as the recipe calls or reduce the amount slightly.

Fresh Tomatoes 

Even fresh tomatoes can be alternative to stewed tomatoes in many recipes.

You can make your own stewed tomatoes with some skill and effort, and the benefits are manifold.

In addition to saving money, you will receive a product without preservatives, added sugar, additives, and other undesirable ingredients.

Peel the tomatoes cut them into pieces, and then heat them in a saucepan. Stir for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften and release their juices.

Add two teaspoons of butter, vegetables, and spices of your choice and continue to cook at a low temperature for another twenty minutes, stirring constantly.

For the whole process of preparing stewed tomatoes from fresh vegetables from your garden or refrigerator, you will not need more than half an hour, and you will likely get the ideal substitute for store-bought stewed tomatoes.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

Sun-Dried Tomatoes are often used in Mediterranean cuisine and are a real delicacy.

A natural drying method has utterly dehydrated these whole pieces of tomatoes.

If you replace stewed tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, you will get a more intense and slightly sour taste, which can work well in some dishes.

To achieve the desired texture of the dish, in some recipes, you will need to add a little water and maybe a tiny amount of tomato purée to the sun-dried tomatoes.

Due to the intense flavor and concentrated texture, halve the amount prescribed in the recipe.

Do not use sun-dried tomatoes for soups and stews, but feel free to use them in meat dishes and sauces.

Some More Ideas for Substituting Stewed Tomatoes 

The listed foods are not the only alternatives for stewed tomatoes, but they are the best you can use.

However, if you don’t have any of these on hand, there are other ingredients you can reach for.

The dish won’t be ideal, but it’s worth a try.

One of the possible substitutes is ketchup. With it, your dish will not gain much flavor, but you will achieve the desired color and thickness.

If you don’t have a better substitute than ketchup, add some vegetables and spices to improve the taste.

Also, a possible alternative is spaghetti sauce, which often contains similar spices as stewed tomatoes.

Use the same amount of spaghetti sauce as you would if you had stewed tomatoes.

Since spaghetti sauce is thinner than stewed tomatoes, this alternative will not work in some dishes, but it can work well with pasta sauces and stews.

Even tomato soup can serve as a substitute for stewed tomatoes.

Of course, the dish won’t be perfect, but try this if you have no other option. Remember to reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in the dish to avoid getting too runny a meal.


In this article, we offer several adequate substitutes for stewed tomatoes.

Although most of us like to follow the recipe precisely so that the dish turns out perfectly in the end, sometimes substituting some ingredients can be a good thing that will open up new horizons for you.

Therefore, if you are out of stewed tomatoes, use the canned whole or diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, or purée.

You can also use crushed or sun-dried tomatoes, and if you are not in a hurry, you can make stewed tomatoes yourself from fresh ingredients.

Most of these substitutes will require you to add some spices and vegetables to enhance the flavor, and in some cases, you will need to adjust the amount.

If you don’t have any of these ingredients at home, try some less-than-ideal alternatives like ketchup, tomato soup, or spaghetti sauce.

Explore and be creative while cooking. Some of these replacement ingredients may become your first choice for a recipe after the first use.

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