Difference Between Tomato Paste and Tomato Purée

Main Difference

The main difference between Tomato Paste and Tomato Purée is that when you cook tomatoes for many hours you get tomato paste whereas when you cook tomatoes for a short period of time, you get a tomato puree.

Tomato Paste vs. Tomato Purée

Both tomato paste and tomato puree are commonly used in many kitchen recipes. Many think they are similar, but the fact is: they aren’t alike. Although, both are made from one main ingredient; red, ripe tomatoes – but the difference lies in how consistent their texture is when they are cooked and made. Tomato paste is thick and Tomato Purée is thin. Tomato paste is richly textured in the consistency, while tomato puree is thin when it comes to its consistency. Tomato paste is intensely sweet flavored, just like dry tomatoes. But tomato puree is fresh in taste and mildly flavored. Little quantities of tomato paste are used to create flavor in soups and also in stews, and it is also used in sauces to thicken their consistency. Tomato puree, on the contrary, is the basic foundation that makes pizza sauce, salsas, and marinara sauce, along with spices and seasonings. Tomato paste can be made into tomato puree by thinning its texture with water but tomato puree cannot be changed into tomato paste. Tomato paste is concentrated in nature, while tomato puree is not. Tomato paste is a thin liquid and tomato puree is thicker.

Comparison Chart

Tomato PasteTomato Purée
Cooked for a long timeCooked briefly
Nature
ConcentratedDilute
Taste
Intensely sweetMildly flavored
Shelf Life
About 5 to 7 days when refrigeratedAbout 3 to 4 days when refrigerated
Texture
Thick liquid consistencyThin liquid consistency

What is Tomato Paste?

A tomato paste is a dense liquid made from cooking tomatoes along with straining them. This paste has a long cooking process and is very concentrated. A paste always maintains its shape when spread on a plate. It is a very common ingredient used in many dishes in Italian cuisine. As it is cooked again and again many times, it has a very rich texture. During cooking, the pips are removed. No preservatives or additives are added in it. It is a thick sauce which is sweet in taste and used to intensely flavor savory dishes. It is spread as a pizza base and in stews for its tomato element. Tomato paste can be made into a tomato puree by mixing water in it in the right proportions.

What is Tomato Purée?

Tomato purée is made by cooking tomatoes lightly. It is made very quickly at home, even by a novice. It resembles tomato juice as it is of very thin consistency. As a very thin liquid, it spreads all over the place forming no shape. It is mildly flavored but very fresh to taste. Tomato purée is not much concentrated, but a rather diluted version of tomato paste. A tomato purée can be made from a tomato paste. But a tomato purée can never be converted into a tomato paste. It is used as a flavor enhancer along with spices added to it to increase its intensity. Where tomato-based flavorings are required, tomato purée is added to those dishes. Some dishes that need extra liquid also used this as it is a fluid. Soups, casseroles, and stews are some instances of foods that require tomato purée mixed with spices to add volume.

Key Differences

  1. A tomato paste is a dense liquid and a tomato purée is thinner.
  2. Tomato paste is sweet to taste and a tomato purée has a mild flavor.
  3. A tomato paste is used as a single flavoring in dishes and a tomato purée is often mixed with spices to enhance a food’s flavor.
  4. Tomato paste takes a longer cooking time and process as compared to a tomato purée that is easily made over a brief period of time.
  5. A tomato paste can be stored for a longer period of time in the fridge and tomato purée can be stored for a short period of time refrigerated.
  6. A tomato paste is very much concentrated. A tomato purée, on the contrary, is not concentrated but rather mild.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

Tomato paste and tomato purée are both used in many dishes and are made from tomatoes. Both have different consistencies, nature, taste, and even their cooking methods and their cooking time vary a lot. The amount of tomato flavoring is different in both. A tomato purée can be easily made from a tomato paste, but in the absence of a tomato paste, a tomato purée can never be changed into a tomato paste. Both of these have different places in various cuisines from around the globe.

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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