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11 Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes (Italian/Mexican Style)

We all know that tomatoes are a versatile, healthy ingredient to cook with. But what if you don’t have any on hand? What can you substitute for stewed tomatoes?

This article will discuss the benefits and substitution directions of various options.

What Can You Use Instead of Stewed Tomatoes

1. Crushed Tomatoes

crushed tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes are a great alternative to stewed tomatoes because they are softened and broken down, just like stewed tomatoes. They will provide the same kind of texture that you get from your normal stewed tomatoes.

Crushed tomatoes are one of the closest substitutes you will find to stewed tomatoes. This is because of the texture and size of the tomatoes. Feel free to add spices and other vegetables to replicate the taste of your normal stewed tomatoes.

You can use this substitute for stewed tomatoes in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes.

2. Ketchup

ketchup

This may seem untraditional, and it is not your first choice for a substitute. However, it works well as a replacement for stewed tomatoes in most dishes. After all, ketchup is made from tomatoes!

You can use ketchup as a replacement but beware of the sweetness it will add to your dish due to its sugar content. A good rule of thumb is to use less ketchup than your recipe calls for. For example, if you need one cup of stewed tomatoes, use about ¾ cup of ketchup.

3. Tomato Puree

tomato puree

Similar to crushed tomatoes, tomato paste is a good replacement because the tomatoes are already broken down and, in this case, pureed. It has a thick texture and a flavorful taste.

When using tomato puree as a substitute for stewed tomatoes, be sure to use less tomato puree than your recipe calls for. The ratio should be 1: ⅔. So if you need 1 cup of stewed tomatoes, use ⅔ of tomato puree.

Further reading: Top 11 Substitutes for Tomato Purée

4. Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce

Similar to tomato paste, tomato sauce is a great substitute for its texture. It is thicker than stewed tomatoes, but it still makes for a good alternative.

Feel free to add other veggies and spices to replicate the taste of stewed tomatoes. Tomato sauce can often be quite bland.

When using tomato sauce as a replacement, the ratio should be 1:¾. Due to its thickness, you should use less tomato sauce than you would stewed tomatoes.

5. Tomato Paste

tomato paste

Similar to tomato sauce, tomato paste is very thick. Unlike tomato sauce, its flavor is intense. More intense than stewed tomatoes!

The umami flavor of tomatoes comes out in tomato paste. If you would like to reduce the punch of this flavor, add water or a vegetable like celery to your recipe.

The ratio for this alternative is 1: ⅓. For every 1 cup of stewed tomatoes, use only ⅓ cup of tomato paste. This is because it is incredibly thick with a potent flavor. You don’t want to overwhelm your dish!

6. Rotel Diced Tomatoes

rotel diced tomatoes

If you are making dishes with a spicy side, this might be a good option for you! Rotel diced tomatoes are sold in cans, and it is a mix of diced tomatoes and diced chiles. The flavor will be similar to stewed tomatoes but with more spice from the chiles.

Using Rotel diced tomatoes as a stewed tomato substitute is a good idea as long as the flavor profile goes with your dish. Use it in a 1:1 ratio.

7. Fresh Tomatoes

fresh tomatoes

If you have the time, using fresh tomatoes to make homemade stewed tomatoes is always a good idea! You can find many recipes online for this but plan for about an hour of work to get your stewed tomatoes.

Fresh tomatoes are perfect as an alternative because you can cook them up however you see fit. This flexibility is great for the inventive cook or the person who likes to experiment with a little variation on their recipe each time. You can use these in a 1:1 ratio.


8. Diced Tomatoes

diced tomatoes

Like Rotel, diced tomatoes often come in cans. This is the perfect kitchen staple and is commonly found in most pantries. You can also dice your tomatoes or use freshly packaged diced tomatoes as a substitute if you like.

If you choose to use these as stewed tomato substitutes, be prepared to do a little extra work.

You will need to cook them for a bit longer over the stove to gain that soft texture that stewed tomatoes have. Add in a few extra spices, and you’re good to go! Use this in a 1:1 ratio.

9. Canned Whole Tomatoes

canned whole tomatoes

Canned whole tomatoes are a great replacement for stewed tomatoes. They are preserved in a can, so you can be sure they won’t be rotted when you need to use them.

They are a great option because you can make them into anything you want, such as slice , dice them, crush them, or leave them whole.

If you choose to use them as your alternative, cook them with a bit of green bell pepper and onion to achieve the taste of stewed tomatoes. They will be the perfect 1:1 substitute for your stewed tomatoes.

10. Cherry Tomatoes

cherry tomatoes

Like fresh tomatoes, you will need to do a bit of cooking to make them soft like stewed tomatoes. Again, many recipes online can show you how to do this. Once they’ve been cooked, they are a similar option for stewed tomatoes!

Be aware that the flavor profile is not the same as traditional tomatoes. You might want to add some spices or other vegetables like onion and green bell pepper to make them taste similar to stewed tomatoes.

Once they are cooked, you can replace them in a 1:1 ratio or use them however you see fit.

11. Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce

Like tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce is a good replacement due to its texture and flavor. Many spaghetti sauces that you can buy from a traditional grocery store have plenty of flavor from spices, onions, peppers, and other vegetables.

It is a good choice for a substitute because of its flavor, texture, and the fact that there are no tomato seeds just waiting to get stuck in your teeth!

To substitute for stewed tomatoes, use it in a 1:¾ ratio.

Further reading: Marinara vs Spaghetti Sauce, What is the Difference?

FAQs About Stewed Tomatoes

What’s the difference between stewed and diced tomatoes?

Stewed tomatoes are whole, peeled tomatoes that have been cooked in their own juices and seasoned with salt and sometimes sugar. They can be eaten on their own or used as a sauce ingredient.

Diced tomatoes are whole, peeled tomatoes that have been cut into small cubes before they’re canned. They don’t need to be cooked.

Stewed tomatoes work well in dishes where the tomato flavor is the star of the show, such as pasta sauce or chili. Diced tomatoes are perfect for dishes that will be served cold or as a side dish, such as salad or pasta salads.

How to make stewed tomatoes from canned tomatoes?

Stewed tomatoes take just a few minutes to make and are perfect for adding flavor and texture to many dishes. If you’re looking for an easy way to make it from canned tomatoes, try this recipe!


Stewed vs crushed tomatoes: any difference?

Crushed tomatoes tend to be thinner and more liquid-like than stewed tomatoes. Stewed tomatoes are usually chunkier and have a milder flavor; They’re also often pre-seasoned with herbs and spices.

If you want a sauce with a strong tomato flavor, crushed tomatoes are the way to go. If you’re looking for something to use in a dish where you don’t want the tomato flavor to stand out, stewed tomatoes are a better option.

Does stewed tomatoes have another name?

Stewed tomatoes are also known as Italian-style tomatoes or peeled tomatoes. The basic ingredients are fresh or canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, and olive oil.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, some pretty good stewed tomato substitutes that you can try out in your own kitchen. This list is by no means complete, so go ahead and experiment with different ingredients to come up with a unique dish that’s not only tasty but healthy as well!

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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