How to turn tomato paste into tomato sauce?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to turn tomato paste into tomato sauce?”, discuss answers to other related questions like what is the difference between tomato paste and tomato sauce, and can you substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce.

How to turn tomato paste into tomato sauce?

To turn tomato paste into tomato sauce is way too easy. All you need to have is some ingredients like onion, garlic, some seasoning, and some dried herbs. The process requires a short time of about 25 minutes and you get the tomato sauce from tomato paste.

To turn tomato paste into tomato sauce, follow the directions given below:

  1. Place a medium-sized saucepan over the medium heat of the stove. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan, followed by the addition of chopped onion and minced garlic.
  2. Once the onions are just translucent, add equal parts of tomato paste and water to the saucepan and mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are blended well.
  3. Now, bring this mixture to simmer, then add some sugar and salt to it. Adjust these seasonings to suit your taste.
  4. Let the whole mixture simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon and little blobs of oil rise to the surface. Rich saucy flavors take time, so don’t be tempted to turn up the heat and boil the sauce too quickly. 
  5. You can also add a dash of vinegar if the sauce becomes too thick.
  6. In the end, add coarsely chopped handfuls of basil and stir into the sauce. Simmer for a final couple of minutes to bring out the basil flavors.
  7. Adjust your seasonings before turning off the heat, and you are finished.

What is the difference between tomato paste and tomato sauce?

The major difference between tomato sauce and tomato paste lies in the concentration and the liquid content. Tomato paste is a rich concentrate made of tomatoes that have been cooked to lose all the moisture, while tomato sauce is not as concentrated and contains briefly boiled tomatoes in a fair amount of liquid. The details of the differences are given below:


Tomato paste has more consistency than tomato sauce. This is because tomato paste contains more than 24% tomato solids while tomato sauce contains only 24% tomato solids. Also, tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes so long that their water content is reduced to a minimum, and a thick paste is left behind.


Tomato paste tastes like dried tomatoes while tomato sauce tastes like fresh tomatoes. Being more concentrated, tomato paste has a very meaty taste and is often added to dishes to enhance the flavor of other ingredients.


Tomato paste contains olive oil and citric acid. Citric acid is meant to increase the tart and acidic flavor of the tomato paste. It also acts as a preservative to prevent the tomato paste from deteriorating.

Store-bought tomato sauce contains salt and other seasonings such as garlic, onion powder, and certain other herbs. On the other hand, homemade tomato sauce is more flavorful with the addition of fresh garlic, onion, and high-quality olive oil.


Being rich in tomatoes, tomato paste is used in very small amounts but, it has a very intense flavor. Tomato paste is used as a base ingredient for sauces and stews and it gives nice color and richness to soups.

On the other hand, tomato sauce is used to make other complex sauces such as pizza sauce or a simple paste.

Is tomato paste healthier than tomato sauce?

The major health benefit provided by tomatoes is due to their antioxidants. The antioxidant found in tomatoes is known as lycopene and it helps to prevent cell damage, maintain heart health, and reduce the risk of many types of cancers.

It is said that lycopene in the tomato paste absorbs better, making this ordinary cooking ingredient a powerful source of an important antioxidant. Thus, as far as the antioxidant contents go, tomato paste overshadows fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce that is cooked very little.

Can you substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce?

Tomato paste can be substituted for tomato sauce but you need to carry out some amendments to make this substitution work better. As tomato sauce is concentrated than tomato sauce, so you need to dilute it with water first.

Also, tomato paste is slightly acidic. So, if you are using it instead of tomato sauce, use an ingredient that can balance out the acidity. A pinch of sugar or a small amount of vinegar can work well for this purpose. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to turn tomato paste into tomato sauce?”, discussed answers to other related questions like what is the difference between tomato paste and tomato sauce, and can you substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce.


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