Does tomato paste thicken sauce?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “Does tomato paste thicken sauce?”, list down a few uses of tomato paste, and share a recipe of homemade tomato paste.

Does tomato paste thicken sauce?

Yes, tomato paste thickens sauce. Tomato paste is basically concentrated tomato sauce itself. It is cooked until all the water from it is evaporated and a thick, concentrated paste is left behind.

The taste of tomato paste is a lot more intense and potent than tomato sauce or puree and it has no water component in it. It can be used to add flavor to the tomato sauce or to thicken it.

Remember to use it in moderation because it may overpower the taste of the dish that it has been added to. You can also use cream to tone down its flavor if it feels too overwhelming.

Tomato paste has a shelf life of 14-18 months when it is unopened.

What can you do with a can of tomato paste?

Let us look at some ways of using tomato paste for a flavorful dish.


This is probably one of the most common uses of tomato paste. Add some tomato paste to the tomato based pizza sauce and enjoy the amped up flavor


This is another common use of tomato pasta. Most pasta sauce recipes require a spoon full of tomato paste. It goes best with spaghetti bolognese. 


You can add tomato paste to stews whether it is a vegetable stew or meat stew. It gives a burst of flavor to the stew and also thickens it.

Marinara sauce

You can add paste sauce to marinara sauce for an intense flavor. You can add it to store bought marinara sauce or to homemade marinara sauce.

BBQ sauce

You can make your own BBQ sauce at home by using tomato sauce and tomato paste. Add spices, sugar, and vinegar to it. You can even add fruits for some added sweetness.

Korean dishes

A lot of Korean dishes use tomato paste as an ingredient for an elevated flavor profile. You can mix tomato paste in the chili paste and use it to make various dishes.

Tomato powder

Dehydrated tomato paste makes tomato powder which is great for seasoning. Just place the tomato paste in the oven on low heat and let it sit there until the paste is fully dry. Crush this into a powder form and use it as a seasoning.


You can also use tomato paste as a marinade for meat and vegetables. Add tomato paste with a bunch of desired spices and coat the meat in it. Leave this overnight and cook the meat the next day. This is especially a great way for people who love tomatoes.

Learn more about tomato paste here.

How to make tomato paste at home?

Making tomato paste at home is easy and uses very few ingredients.


  • 3.6 kg tomatoes
  • 20 g extra virgin olive oil


  1. Rinse the tomatoes with clean water and remove their stems.
  2. Chop them up in big chunks. Cut up one tomato in 4-6 chunks.
  3. Put them in a blender and blend them until they form a sauce-like consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture in a strainer and use a spoon to press down the mixture to remove any seeds.
  5. You can also add onion or bell peppers to it if you want.

Now there are three ways to cook it:

On the stove

Take a non-stick pan and pour the strained tomato sauce in it. Turn the flame on low heat and let it simmer. You can add olive oil and heat it prior to this step if you wish to.

As the water starts to evaporate, the sauce will thicken. Keep stirring the sauce as you do not want it to burn. 

Once it is thick enough, transfer it into a jar and place it in the fridge for later use.

In the oven

You can also put the tomato sauce in the oven to bake. This process will give it a caramelized flavor.

You can place it in the oven first as it is or you can thicken the sauce over the stove first and then place it in the oven for added flavor. You can choose whichever way suits you best.

Slow cooker

You can also use a slow cooker to make tomato paste. This however will take longer and you will still need to stir it at regular intervals to ensure that it does not burn.

Additionally, you can add any spices or seasonings that you prefer. This is the most basic way to make a tomato paste with the true rich flavor of tomatoes. 


In this brief article, we answered the question “Does tomato paste thicken sauce?”, listed down a few uses of tomato paste, and shared a recipe of homemade tomato paste.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.