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Stewed Tomatoes Substitute: 5 Common Alternatives to Use

Lisa Price
Last Updated on
by Lisa Price

Many of us have found ourselves in the predicament of being mid-recipe and realizing that we don’t have stewed tomatoes on hand.

Thankfully for all of us, there are substitutes for stewed tomatoes, including diced tomatoes, canned whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce, that you can utilize and put you back on track with your meal plans.

What are appropriate ingredients or avenues for a stewed tomatoes substitute? There are various options to consider. Continue reading to discover how best to utilize these options and what substitutions are most suitable for specific recipes.

Stewed Tomatoes
Stewed Tomatoes

When you find yourself in a bind over what to use in place of stewed tomatoes, look no further! Below we list the top five options for a stewed tomatoes substitute to keep your meal plans on schedule.

Substitute 1- Diced Tomatoes

Diced Tomatoes
Diced Tomatoes

One of the best options to use as a substitute for stewed tomatoes is a can of diced tomatoes or hand-diced tomatoes. Whether you have them in your pantry from the grocery store or a few whole tomatoes on hand, this can keep you on track to finish your next meal’s recipe.

While diced and stewed tomatoes are made differently, you can similarly utilize them in some recipes. This substitute works best when you are making a soup or stew. These meals are ideal due to the texture of the tomatoes and the seasonings included in the manufacturing.

You can often utilize diced tomatoes with a one-to-one ratio. However, due to the different preparation methods, they will usually need to be cooked longer than stewed tomatoes.

Substitute 2 – Canned Whole Tomatoes

Canned Whole Tomatoes
Canned Whole Tomatoes

If you don’t have stewed tomatoes on hand, it is possible that you may have canned whole tomatoes tucked away from previous harvests. This selection makes it very easy to insert another component and still come out with a similar result for your meal.

Stewed tomatoes are processed in a slightly different way than canned whole tomatoes. While many variations can be utilized in canning, stewed tomatoes often involve a specific protocol of cooking the tomatoes for a certain period and adding in spices.

Therefore, you will want to compare the ingredients included in either form before incorporating them into your recipe to ensure appropriate taste. You will likely need to add seasonings to your canned whole tomatoes to have the desired recipe result.

Like diced tomatoes, you can use canned whole tomatoes in equal ratios for recipes. However, you will likely need to cut the tomatoes up or crush them to have a similar consistency.

Substitute 3 – Crushed Tomatoes

 Crushed Tomatoes
Crushed Tomatoes

One of the critical differences between stewed tomatoes and crushed tomatoes is the consistency that each contains. While stewed tomatoes have large pieces of tomato included in their blend, crushed tomatoes are often more smooth with smaller chunks of tomato.

With that being said, not all crushed tomatoes are created equal. Therefore, if you are looking for a variety that has more robust tomato pieces, you are likely to find a brand that sells its product in that way.

If you find yourself needing to make a last-minute substitution for stewed tomatoes, using a can of crushed tomatoes will work for most recipes. However, they are best suited for sauces and soups due to their sweet taste and often smooth consistency.

Crushed tomatoes can also be utilized with a one-to-one ratio like those mentioned above. However, due to the different preparation methods, they will often need to be cooked longer than stewed tomatoes.

Substitute 4 – Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste
Tomato Paste

When you look at the differences between tomato paste and stewed tomatoes, you may think that there is no way that one can be substituted for the other. Not only is the texture completely different, but the makeup of the ingredients is like night and day.

Even so, tomato paste has a high level of tomato flavor that adds a lot of taste to recipes. While tomato paste doesn’t have the tomato pieces that stewed tomatoes do, the flavor will primarily be intact for your chosen recipe.

It may be necessary to keep in mind that stewed tomatoes often come with additional seasonings than tomato paste. Therefore, you may need to add extra flavors and spices to acquire the exact taste you are looking for in your meal.

When using tomato paste as a substitute for stewed tomatoes, you only need to use a fraction of what it calls for in your chosen recipe. For every cup of stewed tomatoes, you will use ⅓ cup of tomato paste.

Substitute 5 – Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce

As another shocking alternative, tomato sauce can be used as a stewed tomatoes substitute. It’s obvious that tomato sauce has a thinner makeup than stewed tomatoes, but the taste is very impactful, and it lends itself well to many different types of dishes.

Many will turn to tomato sauce for use in items like stews, soups, and chilis. However, it can be a sound option for most tomato-based dishes when combined with additional ingredients.

The most significant change is that it lacks the tomato chunks found in stewed tomatoes and doesn’t have the thickness that tomato paste does.

Like other options on the list previously mentioned, tomato sauce can come with its own typical set of ingredients. Therefore, if you require specific spices for the meal you are preparing, it will be necessary to add those in to have the taste profile you desire.

As a substitute for stewed tomatoes, you will use slightly less than what it calls for in the recipe. For every cup of stewed tomatoes, you will only utilize ¾ cup of tomato sauce.


Choosing a stewed tomato substitute can come with a lot of questions. Below we list some of the most common inquiries received on this matter.

Can I Replace Stewed Tomatoes With Tomato Sauce?

Can you replace stewed tomatoes with a simple can of tomato sauce? While you can, it will work best in specific recipes. One of the main characteristics of stewed tomatoes is the chunks of robust ingredients included. Tomato sauce has a different makeup altogether.

Therefore, if you choose to replace your need for stewed tomatoes with a standard tomato sauce, it is best to do so if you are making items, such as soups, stews, or even chili. If you incorporate the tomato sauce variation into other recipes, you may have a watery consistency or bland flavor.

Are Stewed Tomatoes And Diced Tomatoes The Same?

No, stewed tomatoes and diced tomatoes are not one and the same. The two ingredients have entirely different methods of preparation. While diced tomatoes are chopped into small pieces and contained in tomato juice, stewed tomatoes get cup up and then cooked before being canned.

Additionally, you will commonly find that stewed tomatoes have extra ingredients added to their makeup. Oftentimes, this includes sugar, but they can also have onions, celery, or bell peppers.

Because of the difference in preparation, substituting one for the other can take a few additional steps to have the desired result.

Can You Use Crushed Tomatoes Instead Of Stewed Tomatoes?

Like the tomato sauce, as mentioned above, crushed tomatoes can be an appropriate substitute for stewed tomatoes when you are in a pinch, but they are best suited for certain types of dishes.

When crushed tomatoes are produced, they get smashed and mixed in with a puree and select seasonings. Therefore, they do not get cooked like stewed tomatoes.

However, crushed tomatoes can still be used as a substitute. They are best used in items like sauces or recipes with a creamy base. If you are using them in a recipe, it is best to check the ingredients list to ensure that the items included don’t interfere with the taste of the meal you are creating.

What Is The Difference Between Canned Tomatoes And Stewed Tomatoes?

Canned tomatoes are a generic term that embodies a wide variety of different tomato forms. When people can tomatoes, they make them according to various recipes.

Therefore, some may qualify as crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and even tomato sauce.

While there isn’t much difference between canned tomatoes and what you would buy on grocery store shelves, it is helpful to know what ingredients are in each type to better plan for your recipes and meals.

In Summary

We have all found ourselves in a place where we are preparing a meal and abruptly discover that we don’t have one of the ingredients needed to complete the recipe. Instead of panicking, we search for an appropriate alternative to use.

While there are many options available to use as substitutes, some are a better fit than others when it comes to swapping out the ingredient of stewed tomatoes. This guide provides the top five stewed tomatoes substitutes that you can use for your recipes.

From diced tomatoes to tomato sauce, there are several options available that you can likely find in your pantry. Next time you are in a bind, reference this article to find the best alternative for keeping your meal plans on track!

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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