Do you need to use tomato juice in a recipe or to drink but can’t find it in your grocery store?
Although, tomato juice isn’t popularly used in recipes, some recipes such as chili or macaroni and cheese call for it, and you might not have it handy or available in stores.
Luckily, there are some great substitutes that will help you get the same taste without having to go out of your way.
The best tomato juice substitutes are canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato soup, tomato ketchup, vegetable broth, roasted red peppers, and tamarind.
These substitutes will give you the same or better flavor as tomato juice without all the hassle. They’re easy to find at any grocery store and they’ll make your favorite drink just as good as ever.
Table of Contents
- What is Tomato Juice?
- 7 Best Tomato Juice Substitutes
- What Does Tomato Juice Taste Like?
- How to Make Your Own Tomato Juice from Fresh Tomatoes
- Is Tomato Juice Healthy?
- Can You Use Tomato Soup in Place of Tomato Juice?
- What Can I Add to Tomato Juice to Make It Taste Better?
- Final Words
What is Tomato Juice?
Tomato juice is a great source of vitamin C. It’s made from one or more kinds of tomatoes which are then crushed and squeezed in a machine to extract all the juice inside the tomato.
The juice is strained so all the solids and seeds are removed, so you’re left with a tomato juice concentrate. This is then diluted with water, or other liquids such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, and lime juice.
The uses for tomato juice can vary but it’s most commonly used in recipes that call for it because of its high acidity. It works wonders in recipes that have a lot of meat or other acidic components to balance out the flavors.
7 Best Tomato Juice Substitutes
However, if you don’t find tomato juice in your grocery store then there are plenty of great substitutes that give you very similar results.
1. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are an excellent substitute for tomato juice. Use either whole or chopped tomatoes to replace the juice.
For use in recipes, you can simply add them to soups and stews or puree them with some water to make a tomato sauce. You can also roast or sauté tomatoes before blending them to make your own homemade tomato juice!
Store-bought tomato juice substitutes are usually sweeter so you can add a bit of sugar to this homemade substitute for extra sweetness.
2. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is also another great substitute because it’s thick and chunky like tomato juice.
Use 1 part tomato paste with 4 part water and blend it together to get a similar liquid texture that matches the flavor profile of tomato juice.
But you have to make sure you’re using the tomato paste with no salt added. You should be careful not to add too much or else your dish will taste salty, and that would ruin it completely!
3. Tomato Soup
Tomato soup is a great substitute for tomato juice because it’s thick like the juice and has a similar consistency. It also tastes fairly similar.
You can use it in recipes by adding it to the main dish for some extra flavor or you could add it as a side dish.
You can also turn this into a homemade tomato juice recipe at home! To do this, roast cherry tomatoes then blend them with chicken/vegetable stock or water and sugar (if needed). It’s just as simple as that!
4. Tomato Ketchup
If you want to stay with a store-bought substitute then tomato ketchup is another great alternative.
It’s similar in flavor and has the right consistency too, but it might be a little tangier than tomato juice so watch out when adjusting your recipe!
5. Vegetable Broth
If you’re vegetarian or vegan then vegetable broth is a great substitute for tomato juice. You can use it in recipes that call for meat stock, but you might need to add extra liquid and seasonings to make up for the loss of flavor.
Purée roasted tomatoes and add them to the store-bought vegetable broth to make your own homemade tomato juice.
6. Roasted Red Peppers
Roasted red peppers are another great substitute as they’re full of flavor and have a similar texture as well. However, they have a different flavor profile but isn’t it fun to experiment with your recipes?
You can either go for the jarred, roasted ones or you can roast your own at home to use them in recipes like homemade tomato soup!
Blend roasted red peppers with water and thin them out to bring down the consistency level similar to tomato juice.
Tamarind is a fruit that tastes sour and sweet but never too acidic, which is what makes it an awesome alternative for tomato juice.
You can use tamarind concentrate in your recipes as you would with a store-bought tomato juice or you could go the extra mile and make your own tamarind concentrate. Try using it in sauces, soups, or even meat dishes!
These are some of the best tomato juice substitutes you can use.
You’ll find that many store-bought alternatives are too sweet for your recipe so it’s better to go with something homemade and healthier. The colors won’t be as vibrant but the texture and flavor should work just the same.
What Does Tomato Juice Taste Like?
Tomato juice’s flavor can range from mildly tangy to sweet and spicy. Common ingredients for tomato juice include tomatoes, sugar/honey, lemon or lime juice, salt, and spices (usually black pepper).
The sweeter ones barely taste like tomatoes while the spicier ones will have a more noticeable kick! The consistency of tomato juice can range from light and foamy to thick with bits of tomato in it.
How to Make Your Own Tomato Juice from Fresh Tomatoes
Homemade tomato juice is as easy as making a soup! You just need to boil your fresh tomatoes, mash them and then blend/purée the mixture before straining out the pulp.
After that, you can add sugar, salt, and spices, or any herbs of your choice before you pour the mixture through a cloth to get rid of the tomato pulp.
You should be left with shiny, fresh tomato juice that’s ready to use in your recipes!
Is Tomato Juice Healthy?
Tomato juice made from fresh tomatoes can be extremely healthy and nutritious.
According to HealthLine, It’s low in fat, sodium, fiber, sugar, and calories while rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as B-complex vitamins.
The site also suggests buying tomato juice without added salt or sugar. Or simply, make it at home using the above recipe.
Can You Use Tomato Soup in Place of Tomato Juice?
Yes, you can use tomato soup in place of tomato juice in a recipe. Although tomato soup is thicker than tomato juice, you can thin it with water before using it in a recipe.
A good rule of thumb: if a recipe calls for 8 oz of tomato juice/puree, you can use 6-8 oz of tomato soup instead.
What Can I Add to Tomato Juice to Make It Taste Better?
Depending on if you’re using fresh or store-bought tomato juice, you can add a few key ingredients to make it taste better.
Here are some suggestions:
- Fresh herbs and spices like herbs de Provence, peppercorns, basil (chopped), thyme (finely chopped), etc.
- Fresh garlic (minced)
- Brown sugar
- Salt & pepper
Of course, you’ll need to experiment with the amounts as it will depend on how much juice/soup you’re using.
Tomato juice is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many recipes. And luckily, there are plenty of substitutes you can find easily!
We’ve listed some of the best tomato juice substitutes above to help you keep your dishes tasting delicious and on track with what your body needs.