Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste Vs Sauce – What’s The Difference?

This vs That

Tomato sauce and tomato paste have many differences, they are only similar in that they are both created from tomatoes. This article will be centered on the differences between tomato sauce and tomato paste. Tomato paste when compared to your tomato sauce, contains a more concentrated flavor, the texture is thicker and it is usually used to improve other flavors in dishes.

As against tomato sauce, paste does not act like a tomato in dishes, it instead works as the base ingredient that provides rich flavors. Continue reading if you want to learn the differences between the two items and how they can be effectively used.

Differences Between Tomato Paste and Tomato Sauce

You likely would have seen small tubes and jars of tomato paste in the supermarket and you had the thought that they are small are wouldn’t be worth it if you buy them. What you didn’t know is that one teaspoon of your tomato paste will have a huge impact on your recipe. It is made of rich tomatoes concentration that has lost all their moisture after being cooked.

However, tomato sauce cannot be considered as concentrated. Tomato sauce contains tomatoes that have been briefly boiled in a small quantity of liquid. It can be used to make tasty sauces for meatballs, pizza, pasta, and so on. Let’s check below on how tomato sauce and tomato paste differ:


Because of its intense flavor, you can only use tomato paste in small amounts. It is usually used as the base ingredient for stews and sauces. The richness and color of tomato paste are also always nice when it is used for making soups. If you want to enjoy the flavor of the paste, you must know how you should correctly use it. Even though the tomatoes used for the paste have already been cooked, they cannot just be mixed with some other ingredients with the expectation of wonders.

If you want to activate the tomato paste in the right way, you should use olive oil to fry it until the color changes. The color will be darker and more intense than the previous one because normally, tomato paste is darker as compared to tomato sauce. It will take about 5 minutes for the tomato paste to fry but it will change the taste of the dish which you will remember for longer.

When the color of your tomato paste turns brick red, it signifies the beginning of the process of caramelization. Use water or any other liquid like vegetable and meat stock to deglaze the paste if it sticks to your pan. The umami flavor will be added to the dish in a huge amount.

You can generally use tomato sauce to make some other more complex sauces or pizza sauce or simple pasta. Tomatoes are just briefly boiled in canned sauces. When you want to use canned tomato sauces, note that during the process of canning, heat has already been exposed to the tomatoes. It means they have already been cooked to an extent, though not cooked enough to be consumed but enough to store well.

This means that you should not pour the can containing tomato directly on food when you want to top pasta. It should be simmered for some minutes over low heat. It what you have bought it plain and does not have any added seasoning or ingredients, add some herbs, garlic, and onion to promote it to another level.

Tomato Paste
Tomato Paste


You will easily find both tomato sauce and tomato paste in stores. Homemade items and store-bought items could be different, but the ingredients used to make the two products are fairly simple in case you want to make them on your own. Tomato paste has an acidic flavor and the ingredients are the secret. Tomato paste does not contain any herbs or spices except for salt, this is unlike tomato sauce that gets its flavor from herbs and spices.

The acidic and tart flavors of tomato paste are enhanced by citric acid which is naturally a preservative that helps to prevent food from deteriorating. If you want to make your tomato paste on your own, another important ingredient is olive oil. The ingredients used for making tomato sauce are more flavorful and a bit longer, check below for the list:

  • Olive oil
  • Herbs
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Onion powder or onion
  • Garlic powder or garlic


Tomato paste has a similar taste to dried tomatoes. There is a noticeable tartness that is absent in your tomato sauce. The taste of tomato sauce is more of that of fresh tomatoes. Tomato paste has more concentration, because of this, the taste is very meaty. Tomato paste is usually added to meals to help add to it the umami flavor or it helps to improve the flavors of some other ingredients. You should use the exact amount of tomato paste a recipe need, do not add more because a slight amount brings out the flavors of the dish.

Tomato sauce has a taste that resembles that of fresh tomatoes, though it is usually cooked most times. Tomato sauce purchased at the store usually contains salt as well as other seasonings like onion powder, garlic, and herbs. Tomato sauce made at home could have more flavor by adding high-quality olive oil, onion, and fresh garlic.


Consistency is a major key when you want to find out the differences between these two tomato products. Tomato paste is thick while tomato sauce can be regarded to be more watery and when you pour it on a plate, you will notice it spreading out quickly. A tomato paste will only begin to loosen up after you have mixed some liquid with it or when you add oil to it on your heated pan.

The tomato solids that they contain determine their difference in consistency. Tomato sauce is much lighter and looser in consistency when compared to tomato paste. Tomato sauce contains tomato solids of about 24% while tomato paste contains tomato solids of over 24%. Tomato paste is thick because of the process used in making it. The tomatoes are well cooked for a long time to ensure that the content of water reduces to the bare minimum and you will only have the thick paste left. Peeled tomatoes are usually used to make both products with the seeds removed.

Nutrition Facts 

You only need to use tomato paste in little amounts for your cooking, but you should also know the nutrients your tomato paste contains. 100g of your tomato paste has more nutrition than 100g of canned tomato sauce. You have to, however, know that you will use tomato sauce in a larger amount because tomato paste is only needed in a smaller amount.

100gCanned Tomato Sauce  Tomato Paste 
Daily Value (DV)Daily Value (DV)
Cholesterol0 mg0%0 mg0%
Carbohydrates7 g2%19 g6%
Total Fat0.2 g0%0.5 g0%
Sodium11 mg0%59 mg2%
Vitamin B–6 5%
Protein1.3 g2%4.3 g8%
Potassium331 mg9%1,014 mg28%
Magnesium 4%10%
Vitamin A8%30%
Vitamin C11%36%

Related Questions

How Do You Make Tomato Sauce from Tomato Paste?

In case you don’t have tomato sauce at home any longer, you could use tomato paste to make one. If you, however, have some fresh tomatoes, it is better to use them for making the sauce, you will put in some effort, but you will have a better outcome with an authentic taste of tomato sauce.

Using tomato paste to make tomato sauce is quite simple, all you need to do is to combine water with the paste and mix it well until the consistency is smooth. Add some herbs, garlic, and onion to get the tomato sauce taste. Pour olive oil into your pan and heat it with chopped sauté onions before adding garlic to it. When those two ingredients become soft, you should add your water and paste mixture. Use salt to season it and add a small amount of sugar to add to the sweetness. Allow the mixture to simmer until the consistency you desire is reached.

Can You Substitute Tomato Paste for Tomato Sauce?

Tomato paste can be substituted for your tomato sauce giving a similar result but it will be slightly different. This is because the concentration of tomato sauce is less than that of tomato paste. Tomato paste has nearly no content of liquid, you have to use water to dilute the paste. Tomato paste also has a slightly acidic taste. When using it to replace tomato sauce, you should get an ingredient to balance the acidity. Vinegar in a very small amount or sugar in a small amount will perform the wonders.

Which is Healthier? 

Fresh tomatoes have a lot of health benefits thanks to their high content of antioxidants. Tomato paste is also very healthy. Lycopene is the antioxidant found in tomatoes that helps to prevent cell damage, also reduces the potential risks of getting cancer, and helps the health of the heart.

According to a study, lycopene found in tomato paste usually absorbs better and it means it is a very powerful source for this important antioxidant that is very useful to human health. This benefit is because of the method that was used in making it. According to research, processed tomatoes have better lycopene than the uncooked variety. This means tomato paste overpower tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes when you consider antioxidants. Tomato sauce is not cooked for that long.

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