Skip to Content

The 5 Best Substitutes for Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a common staple in cooking and can be used as ingredients in many dishes.

One such dish is the fire-roasted tomato, which is quick to prepare and incredibly flavorful.

The fire-roasted tomato begins its life just like any other tomato.

However, instead of simply frying or cooking it, one sticks the fresh tomato on a stick and places it over an open flame.

The tomato quickly chars, which creates a delicious flavor and a delightful char on the outside of the tomato itself.

This can be found in many dishes, though it is often seen as a side dish rather than used as an ingredient.

This is especially common with Mexican food, which enjoys the flavors of the fire-roasted tomato.

It is possible to have a flavorful meal without fire-roasted tomatoes; however, these are very common in Mexican cooking and can be quite difficult to replicate.

In this article, we will be exploring five different ways one can replace the fire-roasted tomato.

What are Fire-Roasted Tomatoes?

what are fireroasted tomatoes

Let’s get right to the point – fire-roasted tomatoes are nothing but regular tomatoes that have been exposed to very high levels of heat.

This is done either in an oven, over hot coals, or via another method like microwaving.

The result? Well, you get a tomato that has taken on the smoky flavors that come with roasting (think barbeque sauce – it’s the same idea).

While tomatoes are pretty flavorless, to begin with, fire roasting them gives you a whole new dimension of tomato goodness.

As for nutrition, that’s something that hasn’t been studied much at all.

It probably varies depending on the method, but one thing is for sure – it will be more nutritious than the standard, unroasted variety.

Adding fire-roasted tomatoes to pasta sauces, casseroles, gravies, and so much more will take each dish to a whole new level of flavor.

It’s also an easy way to add some more nutrients while adding a touch of authenticity.

So fire up the oven, grab your tomatoes and let’s get started.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Fire Roasted Tomatoes

If you can’t get your hands on fire-roasted tomatoes, don’t worry.

There are plenty of other great substitutes that will do the trick nicely.

Note: Roasting is preferable since you get more flavor than alternatives like canned/boxed tomato paste, but sometimes, these work better.

1 – Tomato Paste or Tomato Sauce

tomato paste or tomato sauce

This is an alternative to tomatoes that work best when you want to add some substance to your dishes like soups.

The tomato paste will make the soup thicker and richer while adding more color.

If this still doesn’t seem right, consider making your homemade sauce.

It’s quick, easy, and tastes better than anything you can buy.

The downside to this addition is that it’s rather high in sodium.

This means you will need to watch your dietary choices carefully when using these instead of fire-roasted tomatoes.

2 – Diced Tomatoes

diced tomatoes

Diced tomatoes work great in pasta sauces and chili.

They’re thinner than tomato paste and harder to chop, but the flavor is very similar when used in small quantities.

You can also go for canned diced tomatoes.

Just be sure to drain them well before use.

This will help keep your dish from getting too wet, and it’ll make sure you don’t lose any of those tasty fire-roasted flavors.

The only thing that may be an issue is the salt.

This will vary based on brand and type of diced tomatoes, so you’ll need to watch how much goes in – especially if you’re using low sodium cooking liquids/broths.

3 – Sun-Dried Tomatoes

sundried tomatoes

These go well with lighter, more delicate dishes like pasta salads or bruschetta.

While they may not be as thick or have the same depth of flavor, they still add a subtle taste to whatever you’re cooking.

Sun-dried tomatoes are prepared by leaving them in an oven for about 12 hours.

They get their distinct flavor from the natural sugars that caramelize without adding too much moisture.

You can either buy them already packed or make them yourself.

When buying, be sure to check the salt content.

Sun-dried tomatoes tend to have a high sodium content, so you’ll need to watch your intake carefully.

4 – Grilled Mangoes

grilled mangoes

Any grilled fruit will work well as a substitute for fire-roasted tomatoes.

Grilling brings out the natural sugars in fruits, so they’ll add some extra flavor to your dish.

The best part is that this doesn’t take much effort at all.

Dice up your favorite fruit, season it lightly and grill it on each side until you get those dark, caramelized lines.

Grill as many as you need and let them cool before using them in your dish.

The only downside is that the long cooking time will reduce the fruit’s water content, which will be more difficult to incorporate into a sauce or soup.

This isn’t a big deal, though, since you can add a bit more broth.

5 – Tamarind Paste

tamarind paste

This works as a great substitute for fire-roasted tomatoes in many dishes.

It’s used as a souring agent and brings a lot of authenticity to recipes from India, Thailand, and Mexico.

Tamarind paste is made from the pod fruit that grows on tamarind trees.

When fully ripened, they are harvested by hand then sun-dried.

The pods are then de-seeded and boiled until they become a thick liquid.

This liquid is then strained and mixed with a water and sugar solution.

The amount of sugar used will give the paste its distinct sourness and determine how much liquid should be added to your dish.

Check what type of sugars were used as not all tamarind pastes are vegan.


Fire-roasted tomatoes are a great addition to any dish.

They help add an extra kick of flavor and provide a moist, consistent texture.

While they may be hard to find in some areas, there are still many substitutes worth trying out that will help you achieve the same mouthwatering results.

If you’re looking for other ways to add some extra flavor to your dishes, be sure to try out these ideas.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Fire Roasted Tomatoes

The 5 Best Substitutes for Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Tomato Paste or Tomato Sauce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Grilled Mangoes
  • Tamarind Paste


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
    Skip to Recipe