6 Best Substitutes For Stewed Tomatoes

If you cook regularly, you’ll agree that meal prepping is a huge time saver. Depending on what you prepare most, bulk prepping versatile ingredients like tomatoes helps cut down the time you would spend making a pasta dish, pizza, soup, and sauces.

Stewed tomatoes are a common way tomatoes are prepped, and you can get canned stewed tomatoes or make yours at home.

Stewed tomatoes are made by cooking fresh tomatoes with (or without) salt and seasonings. The main ingredient here is tomatoes, so if you find yourself short of a can while making a recipe that calls for it, you can opt for other substitutes for stewed tomatoes.

Diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, canned whole tomatoes, tomato puree, and tomato sauce are all great alternatives for stewed tomatoes.

What Seasonings Are in Stewed Tomatoes?

Stewed tomatoes are fresh tomatoes that have undergone a long period of cooking alongside certain seasonings and spices and sealed in a can or jar.

The seasonings in stewed tomatoes include but aren’t limited to spices like onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic. Some varieties may also contain certain herbs, but they are all adequately seasoned.

Many canned stewed tomatoes contain extra additives like citric acid, calcium chloride, salt, and sugar. All this combined with the base content- tomatoes results in a combination of sweet, sour, and umami flavor profiles in one can!

Stewed tomatoes can be used for a million different things; there are different tomato-based cuisines from around the world. It is commonly used in both Italian and French recipes.

Asian dishes make the most out of the highly nutritious berry, and in the US, they are added to countless different courses and have spurred up different unique ways of cooking with it.

Stewed tomatoes can also be used in exotic recipes as well; their blend of spices and herbs makes them great as toppings and for vegan recipes.

The high tomato content of stewed tomatoes makes it a healthy addition to many dishes; it offers a robust content of sodium, lycopene, and many other essential vitamins and minerals.

If you are out of stewed tomatoes, here are some last-minute substitutes for stewed tomatoes you can use to save the day. Keep in mind that you would need to make a little adjustment in quantity and the addition of seasonings and spices to get a taste similar to stewed tomatoes.

Best Substitutes For Stewed Tomatoes

1. Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are the closest substitute to stewed tomatoes. These are fresh tomatoes that have been diced into small square pieces of tomatoes and canned with their juice.

This is unlike stewed tomatoes, which are whole tomatoes that have been cooked and reduced to big and soft chunks. Diced tomatoes do not only have smaller chunks but are also cooked.

Some canned diced tomatoes are salted or slightly seasoned, but others are just plain. If the diced tomatoes were roasted, it gives it a smoky flavor.

You can use diced tomatoes as a substitute for stewed tomatoes, but you may need to make certain twists and adjustments to ensure the dish turns out perfectly.

You’ll need to cook the diced tomatoes for some time to achieve a softer texture; you can also add some onion, garlic, or herbs to the mix for more flavor if desired.

2. Canned Whole Tomatoes

As you can already tell by the name, these are whole peeled tomatoes that are canned with their juice. Plum tomatoes are mainly used because of their rigid texture and ability to retain their shape longer while canned.

Canned whole tomatoes are very versatile and can be used in many recipes, ranging from soup to pasta or sauces.

Using canned whole tomatoes as a substitute for stewed tomatoes enables you to determine the texture or flavor of the end result.

You could chop them into pieces or crush them if you want a smoother texture. They are also not usually seasoned, giving you a blank canvas to add desired spices and herbs.

To achieve a perfect substitute for stewed tomatoes using whole tomatoes, you would need to add other ingredients besides seasonings like a small amount of chopped bell pepper and onion; this gives it a fresh and even better flavor than stewed tomatoes.

3. Crushed Tomatoes

Another substitute for stewed tomatoes with which you can replicate a similar flavor is crushed tomatoes. These are fresh tomatoes that have been smashed and combined with a little tomato purée.

Crushed tomatoes have a smooth and portable consistency, but some brands add in small tomato chunks to make their texture a little thicker. So, make sure to read the description label before being any canned crushed tomatoes.

Crushed tomatoes have a bright and sweet flavor but with a slightly different texture and consistency from stewed tomatoes.

They still make an excellent substitute, nevertheless, and the characteristics of crushed tomatoes make it great for creamy stew or pasta soup. They can also be used for pizza sauce or a filling sauce for some toasty ravioli lasagna.

4. Tomato Paste

This is a thick and concentrated form of tomatoes. Before making this paste, the tomato is peeled and its seeds removed. It is also pureed smooth and cooked till all the water content evaporates.

The lack of tomatoes chunks might make you feel it’s not a good substitute for stewed tomatoes. But tomato paste has an incredible taste and is versatile; when added to a dish, it elevates the flavor and color and improves its consistency.

Tomato paste is commonly used in meat dishes like beef or chicken and is a star ingredient to achieve the perfect flavor of creamy tomato soup.

You can add extra vegetables like celery, onion, or bell pepper to the tomato paste to achieve a similar flavor as stewed tomatoes. You’ll definitely achieve a fantastic taste and may not be able to tell the difference from stew tomatoes.

Because of their concentrated form, be careful of the amount of tomato paste you add to your recipe. Most dishes typically call for one to two tablespoons of tomato paste.

A cup of tomato paste is roughly three cups of stewed tomatoes. So add a little tomato paste, and if you have any left, cover and store away, you can decide an excellent use for it later.

5. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is quite similar to tomato paste but with an uneven texture. Some brands of tomato sauce also contain onion, cheese, basil, and sugar.

Because it lacks tomato chunks like tomato paste, tomato sauce can be added to creamy stews, pasta, and pizza toppings.

The consistency of tomato sauce isn’t as thick as tomato paste, but it’s thicker than stewed tomatoes. A common ratio of substitution is one cup of stewed tomato replaced with a three-quarters cup of tomato sauce. Following this ratio will help you achieve a better flavor.

You can choose unseasoned tomato sauce if you want to be able to season the sauce according to your desire. Add some bell pepper or onion to the tomato sauce to make it an even better substitute for stewed tomatoes.

6. Tomato Purée

Tomato purée is another versatile substitute for stewed tomatoes with a thick consistency. It is made by cooking tomatoes that have been peeled, and seeds strained off.

Tomato puree has a consistency somewhat between tomato paste and tomato sauce. It has a flavor similar to tomato paste and is typically not seasoned.  Some brands of tomato purée are simply a combination of tomato paste and water.

Some add salt, but there are usually no herbs or seasonings in canned tomato purée. To give tomato puree more flavor and make it very similar to stewed tomatoes, add some bell pepper, onion, or spices like black sugar pepper; this intensifies its flavor and makes it an excellent substitute for stewed tomatoes.

Substitute a two-thirds cup of tomato sauce can for each cup of stewed tomato, a recipe calls for. This enables you to achieve a similar texture and flavor to the missing ingredient.

How To Make Stewed Tomatoes

If you do not want a substitute, you can go ahead and make stewed tomatoes at home; it is surprisingly easy.

If you have ripe tomatoes in your fridge or garden, you can make stewed tomatoes on your own, which usually turns out more delicious than store-bought, and you do not need to worry about food safety or preservatives.

It is also a cheaper alternative; making stewed tomatoes takes about 30 minutes. And the final result is unbelievably amazing that you may find it hard to use store-bought versions again.

To make stewed tomatoes, you’ll need some fresh tomatoes, pepper, salt, sugar, and butter. You can also add extra ingredients like onion, celery, or even meat according to taste. Here’s a simple stewed tomatoes recipe you can follow:

  • 8 to 10 fresh tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon unsalted butter


Step 1:

Use a knife to peel the tomato’s skin and discard; you can also peel the skin off by blanching the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them into an ice bowl.

This switch of temperatures loosens the skin of the tomato, and you can peel it without wasting too much flesh.

Step 2:

Slice the tomatoes into desired sizes and place them in a saucepan. Set the heat to medium-low and allow the tomatoes to cook for about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the tomatoes from burning, and they should release their juices and become softer after some time.

Step 3:

Stir in your desired seasoning and spices into the pan, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Keep the heat set at low to prevent the tomatoes from burning, and when it reaches your desired consistency, you can go ahead and make use of your delicious sauce.

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