What kind of cream is used to make tomato sauce into an orange colour i.e. creamy tomato sauce? (the creamy tomato sauce that restaurants serve with pasta)

I'm looking to buy some cream to do that but I'm not sure the right type.

2 Answers 2


Any milk or cream will change the color of your tomato sauce. It just depends on the fat content you want in your final dish. I would assume that many restaurants use a light or full fat, cream, but you could certainly achieve the color change with milk, half-and-half, or cream.

  • I've made tomato soup with half & half and it is a nice darker red before I add the "cream." Once the cream goes in it turns orange(ish). I just wish I could change it back! to dark red. Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 16:57
  • 1
    Or indeed a cheese like mascarpone or cream cheese.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 17:08

Moscafj's answer is of course correct - any milk or cream will give you that look to the sauce. The heavier the cream, the more it will affect the flavour as well as the colour.
Anything milky, creamy, cheesy will do the same thing to greater or lesser degree.

However, you can even fake it a bit with just cornflour. As it forces emulsification of any oils in the sauce it will take on a slightly 'milky' and paler aspect.
Based on experience as a diner, I have always assumed a good percentage of them do it that way. (This is actually one reason I never thicken tomato sauce, but that's just a personal preference; I like the 'shiny' dark red.)

  • 1
    Personally I like to add a bit of sour cream to it. To get that glossy shine I use a pat of butter. Both of these are added after the primary cooking is done, right before I sauté the pasta and sauce together and serve it.
    – BobKayser
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 19:28

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