What Can I Substitute For Crushed Tomatoes?

Canned or fresh, crushed tomatoes are a magical ingredient that can literally make any bland dish taste good. They add the perfect amount of tanginess to your dish, making it taste heavenly. But what if you can’t find crushed tomatoes? 

What can be the best substitute for crushed tomatoes? 

The best substitute for crushed tomatoes is fresh tomatoes or pasta sauce. You can also use tomato paste to infuse that tange flavor in your dishes.

You may run out of canned crushed tomatoes, which are pretty much irreplaceable in any dish. Keep reading this article to know what you can use instead of the readymade crushed tomatoes to get the same flavor and taste. 

But first, let’s see how crushed tomatoes are made and what makes them so flavorful. 

substitute for crushed tomatoes

Crushed Tomatoes: What’s So Special About Them? 

Well, there is no rocket science behind making crushed tomatoes. The tomatoes are boiled until their skin peels off. Then they are transferred into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. The process is followed by peeling the tomatoes, then pulsing them into a food processor. 

Canned crushed potatoes have preservatives like calcium chloride and citric acid. Sometimes oil and seasoned liquid might be added for flavor. But some manufacturers add no preservatives since the tomatoes are cooked at a high temperature and then sterilized in vacuum sealed cans.  

You can freeze homemade crushed potatoes for up to six months without adding any preservatives. 

What Can Be The Best Substitute For Crushed Tomatoes? 

If you run out of canned crushed tomatoes, you can use the following substitutes that are almost always present in every household. The alternatives I am going to mention are nowhere less in terms of taste and flavor- 

substitute for crushed tomatoes

Use Fresh Tomatoes 

Fresh tomatoes are always the best alternative when you run out of ready-made crushed tomatoes. All you need to do is dice some crushed tomatoes, put them in a blender or food processor, and pulse them. 

Depending on where you are adding crushed tomatoes, you can adjust the consistency from smooth to chunky. Add some salt and pepper for seasoning but they’re not necessary. 

Pasta Sauce Or Marinara 

Tomatoes are the base ingredient in marinara or pasta sauce; hence, these sauces will work as perfect substitutes for crushed tomatoes. But be careful of the other seasonings and spices you add to your recipe since pasta sauce already has enough seasoning. 

Adding too much salt, pepper, garlic, and other herbs might ruin the taste of your dish. 

Tomato Paste 

Plain tomato paste is one more substitute for crushed tomatoes. Both of these taste quite similar, and the main difference is in their consistency. While crushed tomatoes are runnier, tomato paste is thicker. 

Hence, to balance it out, add some water to the tomato paste before adding it to your recipe. You can also add a few pieces of diced tomatoes to the paste, pulse it a few times in the blender, and then add it to your dish. 

You don’t need as much tomato paste as you would have needed crushed tomatoes. Therefore, don’t go overboard while using it in your dishes. 

Combination Of Tomato Sauce And Tomato Paste 

A combination of tomato sauce and tomato paste is yet another crushed tomato substitute. Some prefer to use just tomato sauce, but tomato sauce alone does not give the same taste and texture. 

Hence, adding tomato paste is necessary to make the dish taste good. A combination of tomato paste and tomato sauce is not the best alternative but will work when you have no other alternative or have very little tomato paste to use alone. 

substitute for crushed tomatoes

Diced Tomatoes 

The last best substitute for crushed tomatoes are diced tomatoes. You can either use canned diced tomatoes or freshly chop them. Again, to make it similar to the crushed variety, you have to blend them in a food processor or blender. 

But don’t make it too smooth since you don’t want a tomato sauce. For seasoning, you can add a pinch of salt and pepper. Lastly, for a better texture, add very little tomato paste. 


Crushed tomatoes are one of the essential kitchen ingredients, and there are a lot of dishes that require crushed tomatoes. But if you ever run out of crushed tomatoes or miss adding them to your grocery list, mentioned above are some of the best alternatives. 

Making crushed tomatoes does not require much time and effort, so you can make your own fresh batch of crushed tomatoes. Let us know if these substitutes worked for you or not, and stay tuned for more updates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Boil The Tomatoes First To Make Fresh Crushed Tomatoes?

Boiling the tomatoes is not necessary if you don’t mind the skin on your crushed tomatoes. If you want to remove the skin, boil them just for 20 to 30 seconds as it makes peeling the skin easier.

What Is The Difference Between Crushed Tomatoes And Tomato Paste?

The main difference between crushed tomatoes and tomato paste is the texture. The former has a thin consistency, while the latter has a thick consistency. Tomato paste is often seasoned, while crushed tomatoes are not.

Can I Freeze My Homemade Crushed Tomatoes?

Yes, you can freeze homemade crushed tomatoes. Pulse the tomatoes to a coarse texture, transfer them into sealed bags and keep them in the freezer. You can freeze these for up to six months. Make sure to thaw them before using them. 

Do Frozen Crushed Tomatoes Taste The Same?

No, frozen crushed tomatoes do not taste the same. The tomatoes tend to get mushy when you thaw them, and freezing also breaks down the pulp fiber, making them softer and more watery. 

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