7 Best Crushed Tomato Substitutes

Crushed tomatoes are a staple of Italian cuisine, but it has also become popular in Mexican, Thai, and even American cooking.

It is one of the most versatile ingredients in any kitchen. They can be used as an ingredient in soups, stews, and sauces or they can even be eaten on their own! 

However, if you don’t have crushed tomatoes or do not have the time to go out and buy them, there are several crushed tomato substitutes available.

Substituting crushed tomatoes with similar ingredients is quite easy so long as you can find these ingredients: Fresh Tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Tomato Puree, Pizza Sauce, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Homemade Crushed Tomatoes.

Some of these alternatives are easy to prepare at home. Read on to know substitution instructions and DIY recipes.

What are Crushed Tomatoes?

Crushed tomatoes are simply whole, ripe tomatoes that have been crushed and de-seeded.

Crushing the tomato breaks them down into smaller pieces and removes some of the excess water which means you get more flavor in less product.

This is quite different from diced or sliced tomatoes which are usually higher quality, but more expensive.  Crushed tomatoes are usually much cheaper and sometimes you can even buy them in bulk.

Crushed tomato uses are numerous. They can be used as an ingredient in soups, appetizers, stews, sauces, and so much more. You can even eat them straight out of the can or jar!

Crushed tomatoes are widely available in mainstream grocery stores across the world so it’s easy to find this product – if you know what you’re looking for.

7 Best Crushed Tomato Substitutes

1. Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh Tomatoes

The first and most obvious substitute for crushed tomatoes is fresh tomatoes!

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Fresh, ripe tomatoes are very similar to crushed tomatoes and you can even use them interchangeably in many recipes. The taste of the final dishes will vary slightly but you won’t notice any huge differences.

It does take a lot of time and effort to produce homemade crushed tomatoes but if you don’t have the ingredients or it’s simply not the right time, fresh tomatoes are a great substitute.

2. Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are similar to crushed tomatoes but they are cut into small cubes instead of chunks. This is another viable option if you don’t have crushed tomatoes on hand.

Both types of tomato products serve similar purposes in dishes and they are both quite versatile. You can dice the tomatoes yourself or buy diced tomatoes in a jar.

Diced tomatoes come bottled at different stages of ripeness which means you can choose your preferred taste for each dish.  

3. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste Substitutes

This needs no introduction because it is one of the most common ingredients in every kitchen cabinet. Tomato paste comes in small cans that are shelf-stable anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Tomato paste is great to thicken soups, stews, sauces, or even gravies.

Tomato paste is another quick substitute for crushed tomato. It works great as an ingredient in dishes and sauces. Many people use tomato paste on its own to flavor their food with rich, tomatoey flavors.

If you want to give your dish a deep, intense flavor, this is the way to go. It may be an expensive alternative but it will certainly deliver on taste!

And as I have discussed here, both tomato paste and crushed tomatoes can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

4. Tomato Puree

This is a thick, tomato sauce-like sauce that has been cooked down to remove excess water. It is great for meat sauces or any other dish where you need a thicker consistency.

If you find yourself without crushed tomatoes, pureeing your own fresh tomatoes may be the next best option.

Tomato puree is another ingredient that you can use to substitute crushed tomatoes. Tomato puree is essentially crushed tomatoes without the seeds and skin which means they are smoother than crushed tomatoes.

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You can purchase tomato paste in a tube or in a jar which makes it very easy to store and access when needed. You can use it just like you would crushed tomatoes – in soups, stews, and sauces.

5. Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce is a very convenient substitute for crushed tomatoes. Not only can you use it as an ingredient in dishes but it’s also great on its own!

If you’re using crushed tomatoes for making pizza sauce then the closest substitute will be pizza sauce itself, or marinara sauce.

Use pizza sauce as you would crushed tomatoes and it will give your dish the same depth and richness of flavor. Just be sure to choose a great quality sauce for the best results!

6. Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are popular items in many cuisines. These flavorful, intensely concentrated tomatoes add a zesty taste to salads and sandwiches. They also add nice texture and flavor when used as an ingredient in sauces and stews.

If you’re looking for the taste of crushed tomatoes without having to purchase a crushed tomato product then sun-dried tomatoes are a great option.

You can use them just like you would crushed tomatoes and they’ll bring the same intensity of flavor to your dish.

If you have any leftover sun-dried tomatoes then you can use those as a substitute for crushed tomatoes. You should rehydrate them in some warm water first and then puree them along with the water to get the right texture.

This is another very versatile ingredient that you can use in various ways depending on your needs!

7. Homemade Crushed Tomatoes

Homemade Crushed Tomatoes

This is the best option because you can control exactly what ingredients go into your crushed tomatoes. Plus it’s very easy to make your own crushed tomatoes, especially if you have a blender or food processor!

If none of these other substitutes fit the bill, why not create your own?

It’s very easy to make your own crushed tomatoes; you just need some good quality, ripe tomatoes, and a few other ingredients.

To substitute crushed tomatoes with homemade crushed tomatoes, simply put fresh tomatoes in a pot and use a potato masher to break them up. Then cook the mixture down until it becomes thick like crushed tomatoes!

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You can even infuse your crushed tomatoes with garlic or basil for added flavor!

What does Crushed Tomatoes Taste Like?

When we hear the word tomato, we may automatically assume that it’s a sweet fruit. However, this is not the case! Tomatoes are actually considered a vegetable because they come from the Nightshade family.

Crushed tomatoes can vary in flavor depending on their ripeness and level of sweetness. They’re usually made from ripe or nearly ripe tomatoes which are cooked down with a hint of salt.

The flavor can range from warm and earthy to bright and acidic depending on the type of tomato used.

What’s the Difference Between Crushed Tomatoes and Diced Tomatoes?

Crushed tomatoes are similar to diced tomatoes though they’re more processed. They’re essentially pureed until smooth while diced tomatoes can be left in larger chunks.

Diced tomatoes also tend to be less acidic than crushed tomatoes which result in a slightly sweeter flavor.

Can I Make Crushed Tomatoes From Whole Tomatoes?

Yes, you can make crushed tomatoes from whole tomatoes! All you need to do is either blend or puree your fresh tomatoes until smooth.

Once the mixture is completely pureed, simply sift out the seeds and skin. You should be left with a tomato puree which you can then cook down until it reaches the right consistency.

Can I Put Diced Tomatoes in Blender to Make Crushed Tomatoes?

Yes, you can use diced tomatoes to make crushed tomatoes. All you need to do is blend the tomatoes until smooth and then sift out the seeds and skin.

Be careful not to blend them down too much or else your crushed tomatoes won’t have that nice chunkiness that chunks of tomato provide.

What Is the Difference Between Crushed Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce?

The biggest difference between crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce is the consistency. Crushed tomatoes are smooth, creamy, and concentrated. Tomato sauce, on the other hand, is thin with a more watery texture.

Final Words

So there you have 7 different options for crushed tomato substitutes when you’re preparing a dish that calls for it. They may all seem very similar but each one will give your dish a unique taste and texture!

If none of these options work then feel free to experiment by using different ingredients in place of the crushed tomatoes until you find something that works.

Bon Appetite!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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