I'm making a tomato sauce cold from tinned tomatoes and I was going to add tomato puree to thicken the sauce. Is it ok to use tomato puree without cooking it?

  • 1
    Could you edit your question to clarify it? First, it's very confusing that the question you've used as a title is the exact opposite of the question you asked in the body. You accepted the answer "yes" but it's not clear whether that means "Yes it needs to be cooked" or "Yes, it's OK to use raw." Second, it's unclear whether by "tomato puree", you mean something like passata (essentially, tomatoes that have been blended to a liquid) or tomato paste (the result of reducing that liquid into a thick paste, which is sold as "tomato puree" in the UK and maybe other places, too). Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


While it is perfectly safe to eat tomato puree without cooking it, it is not generally recommended. Uncooked tomato puree in a sauce can be undesirably sour and have a rather raw, rough flavour.

If you don't mind this then go ahead, but I would recommend simmering the sauce for at least another 10 minutes after adding the puree.

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    I completely agree, it's safe but blech. You could fry off the paste in a bit of oil in a small pan and then add it, but using it raw would not lead to a good result .
    – GdD
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 9:37
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    Tomato purée differs from country to country. In the US it is cooked but quite different from tomato paste. It can be used raw quite well, but is generally not preferred for fresh sauces because it tastes cooked rather than fresh (like fresh or other canned tomatoes).
    – Cindy
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 11:08
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    In Germany it's usually tripple-concentrated and very strong. Still, I have friends who like to eat it with a spoon.
    – simbabque
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:22
  • I believe this answer can be generalized to say that any canned food allowed for sale (by the US FDA which specifies heating during the canning process; e.g., at least 3 minute 250F for tomatoes) is safe without cooking, right? Green beans, kidney beans, chicken...
    – bobuhito
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 17:43
  • @bobuhito - true, but (at least in the UK) tomato puree doesn't always come in cans, and there are foods that come in similar packaging that do require cooking
    – canardgras
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 18:33

I make tomato juice by thinning a couple of spoons of tomato puree and water. With a can of tomato puree, I can make about 2 litters of tomato juice. At a MUCH lower cost.

  • Rod, welcome! The first rule here is “Answer the Question” - unlike in many forums you may be more familiar with. So while your use of tomato puree is creative, do you really want to say: “Yes, one can use the puree uncooked. And I use it for...“? If you edit your post, it’d be much clearer. I also invite you to register for Seasoned Advice: This is a friendly and welcoming community and we appreciate all contributions. Take the tour and browse our help center to learn more about how the site works.
    – Stephie
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 7:15

Yes, I assume you are talking about what comes in a tube or a small jar.

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    OK, I seriously don't understand that answer. The title asks "do you need to cook". The body asks "is it OK to use without cooking". You say "yes" - but yes to which of the two?
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 9:56

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