5 Best Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes

Stewed tomatoes might sound like a basic ingredient but they add a rich, hearty flavor to many dishes. It adds sweetness and acidity to dishes that can’t be replicated with any other ingredient.

Stewed tomatoes are very similar to fresh or raw tomatoes but they have been cooked with salt, pepper, onions, and herbs.

Stewed tomatoes can be used as a base for many other ingredients or used directly in sauces or salsas. They can also be added to pasta sauces and stews like chili and soups for a little extra flavor.

Although it is an essential ingredient in many dishes, stewed tomatoes can be hard to find in many parts.

If you can’t find stewed tomatoes but love the taste of stewed tomatoes and want to make some delicious recipes with them, there’s no need to worry!

Thankfully, there are plenty of substitutes for stewed tomatoes that will work in your recipes with similar properties and flavors!

Diced Tomatoes, Whole Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, and Tomato Sauce are the 5 easiest to find substitutes for stewed tomatoes.

With these on hand, you can make delicious meals without having to worry about the original flavoring.

What are Stewed Tomatoes?

Stewed tomatoes are a cooked tomato product that has been stewed in their own juice. It is often used for sauces or other recipes calling for diced or chopped tomatoes.

Stewed tomatoes have been made since the early 1800s and were commonly served with meatloaf, corned beef, and fish due to their ability to stand up to strong flavors.

Chefs usually use stewed tomatoes when they’re looking for a rich, thick sauce that’s heavier on tomato flavor than chunky vegetables.

This is because stewed tomatoes are cooked down and slow-cooked for about an hour. The slow-cooking process helps to break down the tomato flesh and concentrate its flavors.

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Stewed tomatoes are often used in pasta dishes, salsas, sauces, skillet dishes, soups, or any other dish that calls for diced or stewed tomatoes.

5 Best Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes

1. Diced Tomatoes

Substitutes for Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are a good substitute for stewed tomatoes in many dishes. Diced tomatoes, also known as canned whole tomatoes, consist of canning whole tomatoes and then slicing them into small pieces.

The end result is little cubes that look like diced vegetables. They can be canned or fresh and they work perfectly as substitutes for stewed tomatoes!

When choosing diced tomatoes, it’s best to look for cans that contain low sodium or no salt added. You also want to avoid those cans with sugar added.

Diced or canned tomatoes (whole) work great when you don’t want a large number of cooked tomatoes.

In other words, stewed tomatoes are great if you need a lot of them but diced or canned tomatoes (whole) work well in recipes that only require a few tomatoes.

If you’re looking to make a hearty pasta dish, diced tomatoes might be your best substitute.

2. Whole Tomatoes

Whole tomatoes are another good substitute for stewed tomatoes. The only real difference between whole, diced, or canned tomatoes is that whole, canned tomatoes include the tomato in its entirety (seeds and all).

The end result is a very chunky texture which can be used in recipes like chili to replace stewed tomatoes.

When using whole tomatoes, you will need to remove the seeds and gently crush them for the best results.

If you’re looking to make a thick and chunky pasta sauce, mashed whole tomatoes might be your best substitute.

3. Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed Tomato Substitutes

Whole or diced tomatoes aren’t the only types of fresh or canned tomatoes that work as substitutes for stewed tomatoes. You can also use crushed tomatoes which are also known as tomato puree.

Crushed tomato is a thick and chunky mixture that has been cooked for a little over an hour so the excess water evaporates and concentrates the flavors of the tomatoes.

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The easiest way to go about crushing the canned whole tomatoes is you can use a blender to give it a smoother consistency.

Crushed tomatoes work well in spaghetti sauce, chili, soups, stews, or any recipe where you want to replace stewed tomatoes.

They are usually good in thicker dishes because crushed tomatoes have a more watery consistency than diced or whole tomatoes.

If you’re looking for a tomato base in a dish with meat, crushed tomatoes might be your best substitute.

4. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is another great substitute for stewed tomatoes and it’s something you might even already have in your fridge!

It often works best in pasta dishes because it won’t alter the flavor too much and it can make a sauce creamy when used in moderation.

Tomato paste is created by dehydrating tomatoes, removing water, and concentrating the flavors. This helps to thicken sauces and give dishes an intense tomato flavor.

If you want a smooth or thinner sauce, tomato paste might be your best substitute. Tomato paste is a great substitute for stewed tomatoes in dishes like chili, pasta sauce, soups, and stews.

5. Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Substitutes

Another great substitute for stewed tomatoes is tomato sauce. It’s a product of pureeing whole or diced tomatoes with a little water added to prevent burning when cooking on the stovetop.

When using tomato sauce as a substitute for stewed tomatoes, you might want to add some sugar and maybe even a little salt so the flavors are more prominent.

Tomato sauce is used in many Italian dishes but it has become popular because of how versatile it is. You can use tomato sauce as a base for spaghetti, lasagna, or even pizza!

It’s a perfect substitute for stewed tomatoes in these types of dishes.

If you like the flavor of tomato sauce but want something thicker, try adding some tomato paste instead! If you need heavy, rich flavor, tomato sauce might be your best substitute.

What does Stewed Tomatoes Taste Like?

Stewed tomatoes are actually fairly mild in flavor. They have a slightly acidic taste but they’re usually cooked with other flavors like onion, garlic, or basil so that enhances the flavor.

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When stewing tomatoes, you want to reduce the water content because this will concentrate their sweet and tangy flavor even more!

Can You Make Stewed Tomatoes From Canned Tomatoes?

It’s possible to make stewed tomatoes with canned tomatoes but it’ll be a lot sweeter and some people might not like the flavor. Canned crushed or whole tomatoes can be used to make stewed tomatoes.

How to Make Stewed Tomatoes?

For the best substitute, you’ll usually want to use fresh tomatoes since they tend to have a better flavor and provide a less watery texture.

However, stewed canned tomatoes make a great substitute in dishes like chili, lasagna, and spaghetti sauce.

To make stewed tomatoes from fresh tomatoes, you’ll need to peel, remove the seeds, and chop them up or puree them in a blender for the right consistency.

Once you have your desired texture, add it to a pot on medium heat with onions and garlic and simmer until thickened and reduced by half! Add sugar and season with salt and pepper or dried herbs like basil.

Which Is Better – Canned or Homemade Stewed Tomatoes?

Both homemade and store-bought stewed tomatoes are great but sometimes you might not have access to either one.

The best-stewed tomatoes will depend on your dish since each tomato product has its own unique flavor and texture that might work better with certain recipes.

How Do You Thicken Stewed Tomatoes?

To thicken stewed tomatoes, you can try adding cornstarch or flour to the sauce. You could also cook it down longer to reduce the water content!

You can experiment with your favorite thickening ingredients to get the perfect, consistent texture you desire!

Final Words

So there you have it -5 perfect substitutes for stewed tomatoes.

If you’re ever in a pinch and need to whip up some food quickly, you now have the knowledge to know what substitutes for stewed tomatoes will work best.

However, don’t limit yourself. Each substitute for stewed tomatoes has its own unique flavors so if you want something tangy or sweet, these tomato-based products can be altered with spices to bring out certain flavors!

Hopefully, this list of substitutes for stewed tomatoes helps you. If there are any other substitutes that work in a recipe, let us know in the comments below!

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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