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Tomato Paste vs. Tomato Purée: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 20, 2023
Tomato paste is a thick, concentrated form of tomatoes, while tomato purée is tomatoes that have been blended into a smooth liquid.

Key Differences

Tomato paste and tomato purée are both essential ingredients in many dishes, especially in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. Tomato paste is a highly concentrated form of tomatoes, achieved by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce moisture, concentrating the flavors. On the other hand, tomato purée refers to tomatoes that have been blended to achieve a smooth consistency without the intense concentration process of tomato paste.
The flavor intensity of tomato paste and tomato purée is notably different. Tomato paste offers a rich, deep tomato flavor due to its concentration, making it an excellent base for sauces and stews. In contrast, tomato purée retains a fresher tomato taste, offering more of a pure tomato essence without the dense richness of the paste.
In cooking, it's crucial to understand when to use tomato paste and when to opt for tomato purée. While tomato paste is generally added in smaller quantities due to its intense flavor, tomato purée can be used more liberally. This distinction is vital because substituting one for the other can drastically alter the taste and texture of a dish.
The physical appearance of tomato paste and tomato purée also sets them apart. Tomato paste usually comes in small cans or tubes and has a very thick consistency, almost like a paste, living up to its name. Conversely, tomato purée often comes in larger cans or bottles, possessing a fluid but smooth texture.

Comparison Chart


Very thick, like a paste.
Smooth but more liquid than paste.

Flavor Intensity

Highly concentrated tomato flavor.
Fresher, less concentrated tomato flavor.

Preparation Process

Cooked for hours to reduce moisture.
Tomatoes blended into a smooth liquid.

Usual Packaging

Small cans or tubes.
Larger cans or bottles.

Usage in Cooking

Used in small amounts for intense flavor.
Can be used more liberally.

Tomato Paste and Tomato Purée Definitions

Tomato Paste

A thick, concentrated tomato product.
She added a tablespoon of tomato paste to enrich the sauce.

Tomato Purée

Retains the fresh flavor of tomatoes.
The sauce's main ingredient was tomato purée.

Tomato Paste

Tomatoes cooked down to a dense consistency.
Tomato paste adds depth to the flavor of the dish.

Tomato Purée

Tomatoes blended into a smooth liquid.
The recipe called for two cups of tomato purée.

Tomato Paste

Commonly packed in small cans or tubes.
I always keep a tube of tomato paste in my fridge for easy use.

Tomato Purée

A less concentrated form than tomato paste.
I substituted tomato purée for a lighter flavor.

Tomato Paste

An ingredient offering a deep tomato flavor.
The soup's richness came from the tomato paste.

Tomato Purée

Packaged commonly in larger containers.
I bought a big can of tomato purée for the week.

Tomato Paste

Used sparingly due to its intense taste.
A little tomato paste goes a long way in a recipe.

Tomato Purée

Often used as a base in sauces and soups.
She started the marinara sauce with tomato purée.


Can I substitute tomato paste for tomato purée?

Yes, but adjust the quantity and expect a flavor difference.

What is tomato purée?

Tomato purée is tomatoes that have been blended into a smooth liquid.

Can I dilute tomato paste to make purée?

Yes, by adding water, but it won't replicate the fresh flavor of purée.

Can I make tomato purée at home?

Yes, by blending fresh tomatoes until smooth.

What dishes commonly use tomato paste?

Sauces, stews, and some pasta dishes often use tomato paste.

Is there a difference in nutritional value?

Tomato paste, being concentrated, will have denser nutrients, but check specific product labels for details.

What is tomato paste?

Tomato paste is a thick, concentrated form of tomatoes.

Are there any additives in tomato paste or purée?

Some brands might add salt or preservatives; always check the label.

How is tomato paste made?

By cooking tomatoes for hours to reduce moisture and concentrate flavors.

Is tomato paste gluten-free?

Generally, yes, but always check the label for additives.

Is tomato purée gluten-free?

Typically, yes, but check for added ingredients or thickeners.

Which is thicker, tomato paste or tomato purée?

Tomato paste is thicker than tomato purée.

Is tomato paste stronger in flavor than tomato purée?

Yes, tomato paste has a more intense tomato flavor.

What dishes commonly use tomato purée?

Soups, sauces, and many tomato-based dishes.

Can I make tomato paste at home?

Yes, by slowly cooking and reducing tomatoes until thick.

How is tomato purée made?

By blending tomatoes into a smooth consistency.

How should I store opened tomato purée?

Refrigerate and use within a week.

Can you freeze tomato paste?

Yes, it can be portioned and frozen for future use.

Can you freeze tomato purée?

Yes, it freezes well in airtight containers.

How should I store opened tomato paste?

Refrigerate in an airtight container and use within 5-7 days.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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