So I have a pizza tomato sauce recipe that called for adding 6 tablespoons of tomato paste during the cooking. Unfortunately, due to being very disorganized, I only realized half way through cooking that I didn't have any tomato paste in the house and the local 24h corner shop didn't stock any.

I carried on cooking the tomato sauce topping without adding the tomato paste and then put it in the fridge overnight. Should I pick up some tomato paste and add the "finished" product to the frying pan, heat up and put in the tomato paste or should I just leave it. Does the tomato paste add anything bar depth of flavour?

  • Could you post the whole recipe?
    – Mien
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 11:40
  • Tomato paste stirs in more easily when it's good and hot. Adding in cold, to a cold sauce can give you lumps of pure paste, unless you stir assiduously. Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 13:57
  • 2
    Hard to say what you "should" do, but I generally like to fry my tomato paste over decent heat before fully mixing it into anything. It deepens and darkens the flavor significantly, which may or may not be what you want for this particular recipe.
    – jalbee
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 22:21
  • I agree with jalbee -- cook the tomato paste as can be a little strange in its straight-from-the-can (or tube) state. I'd recommend instead when warming back up the sauce, first heat up your pan with a touch of oil, then cook the tomato paste, then adding the tomato sauce to that to let it warm up. Tomato paste also acts as a bit of a thickener, but you might not get that effect without a long, slow cook.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


In general you need to consider the purpose of the ingredient, and what would happen to it during the cooking that it's missed.

For example, there's no point stirring a spoonful of flour into a sauce after cooking, since the flour needs heat in order to thicken the sauce.

In the case of the tomato paste, not much will happen to that particular ingredient during cooking. It may have caramelised a little, depending on the cooking method. It would have infused more deeply into some of the other ingredients. But these are subtle things. Taste your finished product. If you feel it would benefit from an extra boost of tomato flavour, by all means stir in some tomato paste.

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