amazon returns almost 50 hits for "tomato sauce" and just 3 for "tomato paste"

Do "tomato sauce" and "tomato paste" mean the same thing?


2 Answers 2


Tomato sauce and paste are not the same thing.

Tomato paste is essentially a concentrated tomato with some water removed that is then preserved. It is generally only used as an ingredient.

Tomato sauce is immensely variable and usually has a variety of other ingredients added resulting in something to actually eat.

  • 2
    Tomato sauce tends to have a lot of sugar specifically, whereas tomato paste has none. That affects the taste significantly.
    – Criggie
    Aug 31, 2020 at 12:49
  • 2
    Only the cheaper sauces have added sugar. It's also worth noting that tomato sauce is a "mother sauce", forming the base of other numerous (perhaps innumerable) other sauces Aug 31, 2020 at 16:03
  • 1
    The most immediately apparent difference is that paste is much thicker. Aug 31, 2020 at 19:30
  • @MikeTheLiar - Yes, but not near as fun to say as the other mother sauces, "Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, and Hollandaise"
    – Glen Yates
    Sep 1, 2020 at 18:27

Tomato paste is basically mashed up tomato pulp (no seeds or skins) baked to form a paste with some citric acid. When sold in a store it usually comes in 6-8 oz cans. Look at the ingredients:

Tomato Paste, Citric Acid.

Tomato sauce is basically hydrated tomato paste with a small amount of added seasonings. It usually comes in 15-16 oz cans. Look at the ingredients

Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Water, Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Dehydrated Bell Pepper.

The seasonings are fairly mild. I've seen recipes that will take either and tell you to just add water if using the paste.

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