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The 5 Best Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes

It’s no secret that stewed tomatoes are delicious.

Their sweet, robust flavors can provide the perfect balance to other bold ingredients in any dish, and they’re tremendously versatile.

You can eat them on your own as a side dish or snack, add garlic for a great marinara sauce base, use them in chili or stews, or even barbecue meats.

Stewed tomatoes are so versatile it is difficult to imagine cooking without them.

This is why it may be hard for you to consider making a substitute when they aren’t available in your grocery store or if you can’t find them in the local farmers’ market.

Fortunately, several options provide similar flavors and textures.

So, when you’re in the middle of a recipe and out of stewed tomatoes, don’t reach for a can of plain diced tomatoes.

Instead, try one of these five substitutes to get that great homemade taste every time.

What are Stewed Tomatoes?

what are stewed tomatoes

Stewed tomatoes are cooked for a long time until they become concentrated and flavorful.

They are often used in recipes, such as stews and soups, to add more taste and flavor to the dish.

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There are many different ways to create stewed tomatoes.

One method simmers the tomatoes for at least half an hour or longer if they are not fully cooked.

It can take a lot of time and effort to become fully seasoned and flavorful.

Some people choose to speed up this process by using an instant pot or pressure cooker, which uses steam to speed up the time it takes for food to cook.

Using a pressure cooker makes stewed tomatoes taste just as good in only about 20 minutes.

Once stewed tomatoes are cooked, they are often added to other recipes.

They can be used as a topping for toast or bagels, or they can be used to make stews and soups taste better.

They are an important ingredient used in many different recipes because of their rich flavor and unique texture.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes

That being said, there are other options for dishes that call for stewed tomatoes.

If you do not like the taste of stewed tomatoes and want to make a recipe with them, several different substitutes can recreate the same taste and texture.

1 – Tomato Paste

tomato paste

When you use a can of diced tomatoes, make sure to pour it into a strainer.

If you skip this step, the excess water will dilute your dish and make it taste watered down.

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After strain, the canned tomatoes, purée them in a blender or food processor.

This will transform them into tomato paste.

You can use tomato paste in place of stewed tomatoes to make almost any recipe.

Tomato paste is available in cans at most grocery stores, and it makes the perfect substitute for stewed tomatoes when you want that rich flavor and compressed texture.

2 – Canned Whole Tomatoes

canned whole tomatoes

You can also use canned whole tomatoes to replace stewed tomatoes.

Whole canned tomatoes are an excellent option for those who would like a dicing option similar to fresh diced tomatoes.

Whole canned tomatoes can be used as a replacement for stewed or puréed tomatoes, and they give you more freedom to chop them up into smaller chunks.

Once the diced tomatoes are chopped, they can be added to almost any recipe.

In addition, you do not have to worry about the excess water in whole canned tomatoes.

That is a lot of extra flavor without a lot of extra fuss.

Just make sure to chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces if necessary.

3 – Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce

Alternatively, you can use homemade or store-bought tomato sauce to replace stewed tomatoes.

Tomato sauce is typically made with fresh Roma tomatoes passed through a sieve and then cooked in an open pot.

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Because this cooking process is time-consuming and requires lots of attention, many people use canned tomato sauce to save cooking time.

The good news is that there are many ways you can create the same delicious taste in your dishes when you substitute stewed tomatoes with fresh or canned tomato sauce.

4 – Diced Tomatoes

diced tomatoes

It’s important to note that any canned diced tomatoes, either with or without juice, can be an excellent substitute for stewed tomatoes.

This is especially true if the recipe calls for canned crushed tomatoes instead of stewed ones, typically chunkier in their texture.

You can use canned diced tomatoes to replace stewed tomatoes because they usually maintain their juices and don’t require draining.

If the diced tomatoes are whole, you may want to use a colander to drain out excess water before using them in your recipe.

This step is not necessary if the diced tomatoes are already crushed.

5 – Tomato Purée

tomato pure

Last but not least, you can also use tomato purée as an alternative for stewed tomatoes.

Tomato purée is made with Roma tomatoes that are passed through a sieve.

Some people may want to heat the pulp after passing it through the sieve to make it easier to remove the excess liquid.

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The best part of using tomato purée as a replacement for stewed tomatoes is that it mimics the texture of puréed or canned diced tomatoes.

This means you can use it to make any recipe, even if it calls for crushed tomatoes.

While it is best to heat the tomato purée, it’s not necessary, as stated earlier.

You can also use tomato paste or purée as a replacement for stewed tomatoes even if you don’t preheat them, but they may slightly alter the taste of your recipe.


Stewed tomatoes are a popular ingredient in many recipes.

Using the five substitutes listed above, you should be able to come up with a creative alternative that will taste just as good- if not better.

Depending on your preferences, tomatoes can be either crushed or diced.

You can also use canned stewed tomatoes to replace fresh stewed tomatoes if you don’t mind the excess liquid.

Tomato purée is also an excellent option, especially when it’s reheated before adding it to your dish.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes

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


  • Tomato Paste
  • Canned Whole Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Purée


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