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The Best Passata Substitute for your Recipe.

Passata is very popular in European cuisine and not as much in the US. For this reason, it is a bit more difficult to find. We’ve compiled a list of alternatives to help you find the best passata substitute for your needs.

white bowl filled with passata sauce.

What Is Passata?

Passata is a liquid tomato puree made from fresh tomatoes. Unlike tomato sauce and tomato paste, passata uses uncooked tomatoes.

To make passata, you take raw tomatoes and mash them. Then, you strain them to remove the skin and the seeds. You’ll get a fresh-tasting puree that will give a tomato flavor to anything you add them to.

It is important to note that tomatoes have an umami element, so you’ll get that when using passata in your recipes.

How To Use Tomato Passata

Passata is most commonly used as a base for pasta sauces. This ingredient is also great for pizzas, casseroles, goulash, and stews. It makes tomato soups taste better. Passata can also be added to lasagna recipes, minced meat dishes, and butter chicken.

It can also be included in dips and gravy. You can make sauces for meat and mashed potatoes by using passata.

In other words, you may use passata in almost anything that calls for tomatoes. This is especially true if those recipes don’t need sliced or whole tomatoes.

Tomato Passata Substitutes for Your Recipes

When looking for a passata substitute, it is best to consider the dish you’re making. The alternatives below will give you plenty of options to choose from. So, you’ll surely find one that will suit your need.

Keep in mind that the best passata substitutes will be those that are also made from tomatoes.

We’ve provided two options that don’t have tomatoes in them. This way, you can still cook your passata recipes even without using tomatoes. They will come in handy if you are allergic to tomatoes or if you just don’t like their taste. 

1. Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are one of the best substitutes for passata. These canned goods contain the same ingredients that passata is made from – tomatoes. The biggest difference between these two is that canned tomatoes are cooked. As mentioned, passata uses uncooked ones.

The canning process, though, gives canned tomatoes the same fresh taste. That said, there won’t be any flavor change if you use canned tomatoes instead of passata.

Perhaps, the only difference will be the texture. This is because there are different kinds of canned tomatoes. Yet, you can always fix the canned tomatoes to mimic passata better.

If you have whole canned tomatoes, you can mash them and run them through a strainer. The same goes for canned chopped tomatoes or crushed tomatoes.

2. Pasta Sauce or Marinara Sauce

Both tomato pasta sauce and marinara sauce can be used as passata substitutes. Again, they contain tomatoes, so the tomato flavor note will also be present.

However, these sauces have more ingredients other than tomatoes. Passata, on the other hand, is made from pure tomatoes, sometimes with a little salt.

That said, some changes in flavor might alter the taste of your original recipe. Yet, if the passata is called for in a pasta sauce recipe, you can use marinara or pasta sauce without issues. Their additional flavors would blend well with the other ingredients in the recipe.

3. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste also works well as a substitute for passata. It usually contains no additional flavoring. However, tomato paste is thicker than passata. You might need to add water to tomato paste to get the same consistency as passata.

After diluting, you can use tomato paste in any recipe that calls for passata. You’ll get the same taste, and your swap might not even be noticeable.

4. Ketchup

Ketchup is also made from tomatoes, so using it to replace passata makes sense. Yet, tomato ketchup has additional ingredients that can translate to your dish. Plus, it tends to be on the sweeter side. You might have to alter your recipe to consider this and ketchup’s other flavors.

Ketchup is thinner than tomato paste but usually thicker than passata. This can affect the consistency of your dish, especially if you are not making dips. If this is the case, you can add water to thin ketchup and bring it closer to the passata’s texture.

5. Fresh Tomatoes

One distinct characteristic of passata is that it tastes fresh. This distinctive flavor comes through because it uses uncooked tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are the best passata substitutes if this fresh taste is important to you.

Yet, using them would take longer as you’d have to prep fresh tomatoes before they can replace passata.

You’ll have to mash them and filter out the skin and the seeds to arrive at a homemade passata. For this reason, fresh tomatoes might not work if you’re in a hurry.

An exception is when you’re willing to use fresh tomatoes as is. There will be chunks of tomatoes here and there in your recipe, but the taste will be the same.

6. Puréed Red Peppers

You might be looking for a passata substitute because you are avoiding tomatoes. If this is the case, pureed red peppers are the closest thing you can use. It will, of course, have a different flavor, but it will work in some recipes.

Plus, pureed red peppers will give you the same rich red color, so your recipe will not look different.

Making your own pureed peppers is also easy. First, you’d have to roast red peppers, then peel them. Pop them into a food processor, and you’ll have a nice passata substitute for your recipes.

7. Meat Broth

Another non-tomato passata substitute is the broth. As mentioned, passata offers an umami flavor to recipes. Broth does the same. After all, umami is described as a meaty taste. What can provide a meaty flavor better than the meat itself?

There will be a noticeable difference, though, when using this swap. First, the broth is thinner than passata, so it can make your dish runny. Also, it does not have the same red color, which will affect the appearance of your final dish.

Nevertheless, the broth will work if the umami flavor is all you’re after.

What Is the Best Substitute for Passata?

Without a doubt, fresh tomatoes are the best substitute for tomato passata. They’ll give you the closest flavor as you can essentially make passata from them.

You can alter the texture of your passata depending on your preference.

The next best swap is canned tomatoes if you don’t have time to make passata from fresh tomatoes.

How To Store Tomato Passata

Tomato passata is usually sold in bottles. Unopened, you can store bottles of passata in a cool and dry place in your kitchen. Stored this way, they’ll be best until their “use by” date.

Once opened, though, you should store passata in the refrigerator. They’ll last for 10 days at the most when refrigerated.

If you’ve homemade passata, you can also freeze it in batches. Store them in airtight containers and put them in the freezer. Frozen passata can last for a maximum of 3 months.

Are Tomato Sauce And Passata The Same?

No, tomato sauce and passata are not the same. Tomato sauce is made from cooked tomatoes and usually has added seasonings. Passata, on the other hand, is made from raw tomatoes alone. It sometimes includes a bit of salt, but this is nothing compared to tomato sauce’s flavorings.

Can You Substitute Passata For Tomato Sauce?

Yes, you can substitute passata for tomato sauce and vice-versa. Despite the added seasonings in tomato sauce, it can still replace passata in most dishes. This is especially true if your recipe calls for seasonings too.
Yet, you’ll need to compensate for tomato sauce’s additional flavors. To do this, reduce the other seasonings in your recipe. Do a taste test to ensure your swap blends seamlessly with the other ingredients.

What Can I Use Instead Of Passata?

There are plenty of alternatives to passata. You can use tomato paste, canned tomatoes, marinara sauce, or pasta sauce. Fresh tomatoes can also replace passata in most recipes. Surprisingly, pureed red bell peppers work as a passata substitute too.

Is Passata The Same As Canned Tomatoes?

No, passata is different from canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are cooked before packaging, while passata is not. Plus, canned tomatoes come in whole, peeled, sliced, and crushed. Passata only comes in one form – pureed.

Where Can I Find Tomato Passata?

You can find tomato passata in most grocery stores. If your local grocery store does not have them, you can try looking in bigger stores or ordering them online. You can also try looking for it in Italian or European specialty food stores.

What Aisle Is Passata In?

You can find passata in the pasta sauce aisles of most grocery stores. Some might place them in the canned goods or International food aisle.

What Is Another Name For Passata?

Other names for passata include strained tomatoes and passata di Pomodoro. Some call it tomato purée, as the term “passata” is the Italian word for puree. Do you know of any other passata substitute? Let us know!


If you need a passata substitute, there are plenty of options to choose from. For the best-tasting alternative, go for fresh or canned tomatoes. But if you are looking for a swap that does not have tomatoes, pureed red bell peppers and meat broth are your best bets.

Note that some of the choices above might alter your recipes somehow. Choose one that will have the least effect on your final dish.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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