substitutes for strained tomatoes

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Are you making a recipe that calls for strained tomatoes? If you are, and you’ve just noticed that you have none in your kitchen then this list of easy substitutes for strained tomatoes is sure to come in handy for you!

In this list, there are 4 easy strained tomato substitute options that are very easy to find! Some of these replacements might even be in your kitchen right now!

substitutes for strained tomatoes


So, what are strained tomatoes?

Strained tomatoes are very similar to tomato puree, except that tomato puree usually comes packaged in cans, while strained tomatoes are usually packed in glass bottles or tetra packs.

Most brands make their strained tomatoes with 100% tomatoes with no sugar, additives, preservatives, salt or seasonings added.

The tomatoes are pureed, then strained to remove seeds and peels, then gently cooked (or thermally pasteurized) and lastly packaged in bottles or carton boxes for optimal freshness.

The results are a smooth, thick, pourable product that can be used to make tomato sauces, soups, pasta and any other tomato based recipe you desire.

So, if you grabbed a few bottles or boxes of strained tomatoes while shopping, and now you’re out. Or, you have found a recipe that you’d like to try that specifically calls for strained tomatoes, fret not.

Here, you will find 4 easy ways to substitute for strained tomatoes in a pinch.

Best strained tomato substitutes

Tomato puree

tomato puree


The best substitute for strained tomatoes is tomato puree. Tomato puree or pureed tomatoes is made by grinding and cooking fresh ripe tomatoes until it is deep, tangy and rich in flavor.

Tomato puree also often contains ingredients like salt and citric acid. Some brands of tomato puree are also just made with a combination of tomato paste and water. This means that flavor wise, tomato puree is unlike the fresher, lighter flavored strained tomatoes.

Nonetheless, tomato puree is also strained before packaging and is therefore seedless, skinless and has a very similar texture to strained tomatoes. As a result it can replace strained tomatoes in casseroles, soups, gravies, chilis, sauces and more.

Adding tomato puree to a dish that calls for strained tomatoes will add another layer of flavor, but it works!

Substitute on a 1:1 ratio.

Crushed tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes are also a good replacement for strained tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are finely diced or crushed ripened tomatoes in tomato puree, although crushed tomatoes on its own has somewhat of a smoother texture than diced. Some brands use citric acid and salt while other brands only use ripened tomatoes. 

Straight from the can, they make an okay substitute for strained tomatoes if your recipe will not be affected by the extra pulp and small chunks.

However, to make it a perfect strained tomato sub, simply pass the crushed tomatoes quickly through a blender to get an even smoother consistency. This will make it more similar in consistency to strained tomatoes. A 1:1 substitute ratio is ideal here.

Also, adjust the salt in your dish if you have a brand of crushed tomatoes that has salt added.

Whole peeled tomatoes 

peeled whole tomatoes


Whole peeled tomatoes can also work in place of strained tomatoes although this substitute will require a little more work on your part.

Whole peeled tomatoes are usually made by peeling and preserving whole tomatoes in tomato juice or puree, sea salt, citric acid and calcium chloride. They typically contain seeds.

To make these into a suitable substitute, blend until smooth, then strain to remove most of the pulp and seeds. Use just like you would use strained tomatoes in any dish.

Tomato paste + water

tomato paste


Last but not least, a mixture of concentrated tomato paste and water can make an ideal alternative for strained tomatoes.

For a homemade tomato paste mixture that works, mix 1 part tomato paste and 2 parts water together until a smooth pourable mixture is made.

This mixture will be a similar consistency to that of strained tomatoes in terms of both thickness and texture. A substitute ratio of 1:1 is suitable. 

Strained tomatoes vs passata

The comparison comes up a lot so here goes the answer.

Passata, also referred to as passato or passata di pomodoro are essentially strained tomatoes or pureed tomatoes in Italian. 

They’re somewhat similar as passata is basically freshly strained tomatoes, but sold in bottles. However, sometimes passata contains some salt and basil like this bottle of Mutti Tomato Puree with Basil (Passata con Basilico) shows. 

FAQs about strained tomatoes 

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