Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Substitute for stewed tomatoes: 13 Easy Options!

Substitute for stewed tomatoes: 13 Easy Options!

Imagine you are just about ready to cook your favorite dish and discover that the last jar of stewed tomatoes is gone. What should you do? Read our article to find out what to use as a substitute for stewed tomatoes. You can easily find a replacement using available ingredients in your pantry.

Adding stewed tomatoes to your dish is the quickest and most clever way to add flavor to any meal. It reduces the work of having to prepare tomatoes and vegetables. You can add stewed tomatoes to your stews, soups, sauces, etc.

The combination of flavorful ingredients in every jar of stewed tomatoes makes us believe that it is impossible to find a substitute for stewed tomatoes. We completely agree that it is always best to have canned vegetables in your pantry to save time.

Plus, fresh foods can perish really fast, forcing us to throw spoiled food away. Having stewed tomatoes and canned tomatoes can also help you save a lot of money because they have a long shelf life.

table top with white bowl with stewed tomatoes and fresh whole tomatoes

What are Stewed Tomatoes?

A stew is a combination of solid ingredients and vegetables cooked with liquid ingredients. Stewed tomatoes are stews made of tomatoes cooked at low heat to maintain their shape. They are cooked until their flavor leaks and creates a pungent taste.

Stewed tomato is an old dish, but it is still part of many dinner tables in the United States. It also has nutritional benefits. In the United States, stewed tomatoes are used as ingredients or served as a side dish, and it plays an essential role in American cuisine.

A can of stewed tomatoes consists of tomatoes seasoned with onions, garlic, green bell pepper, and herbs. Ripe tomatoes are peeled and chopped to release their flavors and soften their texture. Then, they are canned (some are in glass jars) with preservatives and in their juices.

The tomatoes do not lose their shape during the cooking process. Instead, they turn aromatic because of how it’s done.
Stewed tomatoes are nutritious as they are delicious. They have high nutritional value, especially Vitamin C.

Adding garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, herbs, and vegetables increases the nutritional value of stewed tomatoes. Slightly cooked tomatoes have more health benefits than fresh tomatoes.

How to Substitute Stewed Tomatoes

When looking for the best substitutes for stewed tomatoes and deciding which one to use, think about which possible substitutes have the size, taste, and texture ideal for your recipe. There is no significant difference between the substitute for stewed tomatoes below because tomato is their main ingredient.

1. Tomato Sauce

A can of tomato sauce contains peeled, pureed, and flavored tomatoes. Tomato sauce is free of tomato seeds and is the closest you can get to stewed tomatoes if you compare flavor and cooking time. However, your dish will have a different texture since it’s thicker and smoother than stewed tomatoes. Some brands add extra ingredients to enhance the flavor of tomato sauce, such as garlic, onion, herbs, spices, and sugar.

  • You can use tomato sauce as a substitute for stewed tomatoes since it is very similar but has a thicker consistency.
  • If you want to season canned tomato sauce yourself, choose unseasoned tomato sauce.
  • You can also add some onions or bell pepper to the tomato sauce to make it a closer substitute for stewed tomatoes.
  • Do not use this substitute if your dish already has too much liquid.
  • Since tomato sauce does not contain tomato chunks, it is a suitable substitute for stewed tomatoes for your pasta, creamy stews, and pizza toppings.

To replace one cup of stewed tomatoes you can use: 3/4 cup of tomato sauce or mix of 2/3 cup of tomato puree and 1/3 cup of tomato sauce.

2. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is thicker and more concentrated than tomato sauce. It does not contain tomato skins, seeds, or tomato chunks. It has about the same thickness and surface as a stewed tomato.

  • Tomato paste is an essential ingredient in many chicken or beef dishes. It is also the star ingredient of your creamy tomato soup.
  • You can best use tomato paste in place of stewed tomatoes for your pizza, casserole, soup, and pasta sauce.
  • Tomato sauce is the least suitable processed and canned substitute for stewed tomatoes in consistency and flavor. But with its taste and bright color, it is worth a try.

If your recipe requires one cup of stewed tomatoes, you can instead use 1/3 cup of tomato paste added with water. You can also add some onion, celery, or bell pepper to your tomato paste.

3. Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sundried tomatoes are dehydrated whole chunks of tomatoes. They make an excellent replacement for stewed tomatoes.

A can of sundried tomatoes with olive oil has a similar texture as stewed tomatoes. They offer a more robust tart flavor because they have a more concentrated texture.

A little water and tomato puree will make sundried tomatoes have the same consistency as stewed tomatoes. You can substitute 1 cup stewed tomatoes with 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes.

4. Tomato Purée

Tomato purée is a thick liquid achieved by cooking tomatoes without their seeds and skin. The consistency of tomato purée falls between tomato sauce and tomato paste.

This stewed tomatoes substitute contains only salt and does not have any seasonings or herbs.

You can also make the flavor of tomato purée close to stewed tomatoes by adding some extra ingredients: onions, bell pepper, or spices (black pepper and sugar). These additions can improve its flavor and make it a superb substitute for stewed tomatoes.

You can substitute one cup of stewed tomatoes with 2/3 cup of tomato puree.

5. Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are fresh tomatoes cut into small square pieces and canned with tomato juice. These tomatoes are firmer and have smaller chunks. Stewed tomatoes, on the other hand, have soft and bigger chunks.

Some brands of diced tomatoes are plain, and some are a bit seasoned, salted, smoked, or roasted.

  • You can substitute diced tomatoes for stewed tomatoes for your soups, stews, pasta, and many other recipes.
  • To make it a perfect substitute, cook it longer to get a softer texture. You can then add some garlic, onion, or herbs.
  • If you are cooking stews, add a few spoons of diced tomatoes to replace stewed tomatoes.

You can substitute 1 cup of stewed tomatoes with 3/4 cup of diced tomatoes.

6. Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes are smashed and mixed with some tomato purée. It comes with a sweet flavor and smooth texture. Some brands have their cans of crushed tomatoes chunky, while some have it almost like a smooth purée.

They have a slightly different consistency and texture than stewed tomatoes, but it still is a suitable stewed tomato substitute.

  • The texture of crushed tomatoes falls between diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Crushed tomatoes are ideal for pasta soups, creamy stews, ravioli lasagna, and pizza sauce.
  • When you substitute crushed tomatoes for stewed tomatoes, use the exact measurement required in your recipe. Add the crushed tomatoes, though gradually, to your dish. Season it, too, so it comes close to stewed tomatoes.

Crushed tomatoes are often mixed with tomato puree to make an excellent substitute for stewed tomatoes.

You can also substitute 3/4 cup of crushed tomatoes for 1 cup of stewed tomatoes.

7. Canned Whole Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes use plum tomatoes because they have a longer shelf life. It comes with a firm texture. They are peeled with the seeds intact and canned together with their juices.

When using this substitute, you can make it to suit your desired flavor or texture. Chop or crush the whole tomatoes to achieve a smoother texture. You can crush the whole tomatoes, as many cooks do, before adding them to your dish.

  • It also does not come seasoned, and you can add any of your desired spices.
  • You can also add the juice if you need more tomato flavor.
  • Canned whole tomatoes can substitute for stewed tomatoes in your stews, pasta sauces, and other recipes.
  • Adding about 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper to the canned whole tomatoes can create a flavor better than stewed tomatoes.

If you want a quick substitute for one tablespoon of stewed tomato, do so with one tablespoon of peeled whole tomatoes. You can also combine 1/4 teaspoon diced tomatoes with 3/4 teaspoon whole tomatoes.

8. Salsa

Salsa has many ingredients also found in stewed tomatoes, such as garlic, onion, and chili peppers; thus, it is a good flavor match. It does not have the same consistency as stewed tomatoes, so you will need to cook it down for a few minutes. This substitute works well in Mexican dishes.

You can substitute 1 cup of salsa for 1 cup of stewed tomatoes.

9. Spaghetti Sauce

If you are in a rush, spaghetti sauce is a suitable alternative for stewed tomatoes. It is, however, thinner in consistency than stewed tomatoes. However, the difference in texture is not an issue if you are cooking stew or sauce.

Spaghetti sauce, Napolitana sauce, or marinara sauce have the same ingredients as stewed tomatoes, including garlic, onion, herbs, peppers, and celery.

The flavor of spaghetti sauce makes it a suitable substitute for stewed tomatoes.

You can substitute 1 cup of spaghetti sauce for 1 cup of stewed tomatoes.

10. Ketchup

If your pantry and fridge are empty, there is a big chance you have a bottle of ketchup lying around in your kitchen. You may even have sachets of ketchup you saved from your takeout meals.

Ketchup packs a lot of tomato flavor and adds a yummy sweetness to your dish. It also offers a good substitute for tomato paste. While ketchup can give your dish a lot of colors, it is lacking in flavor.

You can substitute 1 cup of stewed tomatoes with 1/2 cup of ketchup. Add some water and vegetables to give it some taste.

11. Tomato Soup

Almost every home has tomato soup cans in its pantry. Tomato soup comes in handy when you need stewed tomatoes but run out of it. It is different from stewed tomatoes, so you may initially not have the exact taste.

Tomato soup has a hearty flavor. It is well-seasoned, too. It, however, has a thinner consistency than stewed tomatoes, so it is without the chunky richness.

If you need to use all of a 10.75-ounce jar of tomato sauce for your recipe, you will need to decrease the other liquid ingredient by about 1/2 cup.

You can substitute 3/4 cup of tomato soup for 1 cup of stewed tomatoes.

12. Roasted Pepper

You can also try to use a non-tomato substitute for a stewed tomato, such as roasted pepper.

If your dish requires a savory taste and some softness aside from tomatoes, a jar of roasted pepper may be able to suit your taste. You can buy bell pepper at many grocery stores. They typically come in a jar with olive oil.

  • The roasted pepper substitute is best used in pizzas and pasta sauces.
  • Roasted peppers have the same texture as stewed tomatoes.
  • They can add smoky and strong flavors to your dish.
  • You can add some tomato paste and water if you want some tomato flavor.

You can substitute 1 cup of stewed tomatoes with 3/4 cups of roasted pepper.

13. Homemade Stewed Tomatoes using Fresh tomatoes

You can opt to make stewed tomatoes instead of buying the canned ones. This way, you can avoid the possible preservatives in canned stewed tomatoes.

Preparing homemade stewed tomatoes does not take long, but cooking will take quite some time.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 Onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

10 fresh tomatoes, large and very ripe, chopped (Beefsteak or Roma)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 Green Bell Pepper, diced (optional)

Make stewed tomatoes using the oven. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.Combinee the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, sugar, salt, and black peppe in a large baking dishr. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are very soft. Serve over cooked pasta, rice, or bread.

Make stewed tomatoes using the cooktop. Cut tomatoes into desired chunks. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan at medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, salt, and sugar. You may also add the green peppers and the rest of the ingredients.

Stir until the tomatoes become soft and the juices come out of the tomatoes. Cover the saucepan and allow the tomatoes to simmer for about 30 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Make sure not to cook away the tomato juices. Adjust the seasoning and herbs depending on your preferred taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Replace Whole Tomatoes with Stewed Tomatoes?

While you can substitute whole tomatoes with stewed tomatoes, you will get more of its flavor from diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes. Substitute a similar amount of whole tomatoes with diced or crushed tomatoes. If you want your dish to be creamy without having too much effort, crushed tomatoes are great with any slow-cooked dish.

What is the Difference between Pureed and Crush Tomatoes?

Pureed tomato has a fine texture because it does not contain any tomato chunks. On the other hand, crushed tomatoes are pulpy because of the included tomato chunks.

What is the Difference between Diced Tomatoes and Stewed Tomatoes?

Diced tomatoes come in small square pieces. They are hard and firm and, thus, a good choice for salad garnishing and salsa.
Stewed tomatoes are chopped pieces of tomatoes cooked with seasonings. The chunks of tomatoes in stewed tomato are larger compared to diced tomato. Diced tomato is smoother and sweeter than stewed tomato.

Final Thoughts

Stewed tomatoes are one of the most-loved ingredients for casseroles, stews, soups, pizza, and pasta sauces. Stewed tomatoes come with a sweet and tangy flavor. If your recipe calls for stewed tomatoes and you do not have one, do not fret. There are several substitutes for stewed tomatoes.

All the food items listed above are great substitutes for stewed tomatoes. You just have to pick which replacement is suitable for your recipe. So, how do you choose the best substitute for stewed tomatoes? The best substitute for stewed tomatoes is a personal choice.

More importantly, you are looking for a substitute that has the closest texture, consistency, and taste to stewed tomatoes.

The choice of the best alternative to stewed tomatoes depends on how you are going to use it. It also depends on your recipe.

More importantly, your choice of substitute for stewed tomato is based on your personal taste and what you want to achieve with your dish.

When you substitute any of the food items above for stewed tomatoes, make sure to taste your dish while cooking. When using a substitute for stewed tomatoes, you will need to adjust the flavor of your dish and add more seasonings and vegetables.

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!
pinterest instagram instagram

Get new recipes and tips via email
when you subscribe!

Have a comment? I love hearing from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.

As seen in:

Eating WellmashededibleWomans WorldTasting TableHomes and Gardens
Back to the Top