Making Tomato Sauce from Tomato Paste

James McLeod
  • Making Tomato Sauce from Tomato Paste James McLeod

    I've been trying, on-and-off when I have time, to make tomato sauce from a 5 1/2 oz can of tomato paste, but haven't figured out the right proportions of ingredients.

    I've been combining a can of tomato paste with about 16 oz of water and some sugar to cut the acidity, and reducing it a little, but all I end up with is watery tomato paste.

    It's more likely that I am missing a key ingredient (like a can of diced tomatoes) than a critical preparation step, but I'm curious about other people's experience.


    By "tomato sauce", I mean something functionally equivalent to a store-bought jar of pasta sauce.

    Why would anyone want to do this? I honestly have no good reason. It is mere curiosity on my part. Is it possible to get edible results? Or is it guaranteed to be a complete waste of time, not worth even experimenting with?

  • I use a 16 oz. can of italian style plum tomatoes (contadina or rienzi), a small chopped onion, some basil and salt and pepper and it comes out great. no water, just the juices from the canned tomatoes.

  • Is there a reason you need to be using 5.5 oz of tomato paste? Canned diced or crushed tomatoes work so much better, and you're just asking for blandness if you add water.

    I cook garlic in a little olive oil until it's yellowish and then add two 16oz or one 32oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes. If you have them, add some basil and a couple of bay leaves. Heat until bubbling and then lower and simmer covered. You can cook it anywhere from half an hour to an hour or longer, depending on when you need it by and how much time you have, but longer usually means better sauce. It makes more than enough for one pound of pasta or enough for two pounds if you don't like a lot of sauce.

  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
    onions (chopped finely)
    olive oil

    Heat up olive oil, add garlic and onions, let them cook for about 45 seconds. Don't let them brown - just cook them enough until they smell really good, you will know.

    Add tomatoes. Add sugar to taste. Stir. Reduce fire and simmer covered for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.

    That's the basic recipe. Play around with the cooking times and amount of garlic and onions. You can add basil, mint leaves, and other spices if you like.

  • Couldn't agree more that I'm not sure why you would use tomato paste unless it is one of those challenges that you can't give up on. I think the equal amount of fresh with tinned tomato with the usual of onion, garlic, butter, sugar with vinegar to create a gastrics to mask acidity, seasoning is just as easy and the perfect consistency you require for most cooking uses.

  • It is possible to do, many "instant pasta meals" do so, e.g. The one in the link is also quite edible. From the the ingredients list is seems they use 100ml of water for 50g of paste.

    You probably need more herbs and spices than you currently use to get a good taste. As a minimum I would add onion, garlic, and salt. Basil and Oregano also don't hurt.

  • I can give you the Italian answer - first of all, normally we don't use tomato paste to make sauce, but rather to add a tomato "kick" to recipes. Tomato paste is simply tomato puree that has been cooked down to a high degree of concentration.

    A basic tomato sauce is made by

    1. making a soffritto with onion, carrot and celery (plus other flavors)
    2. adding tomato puree, or "pelati", more rarely fresh tomato
    3. cooking the sauce down until the taste and thickness is what you want

    If you want to use paste instead of puree, the third step has to be omitted or greatly reduced in duration. Keep in mind that tomato paste has its own taste, and that taste will remain in the final sauce.

  • This post is super old, you may not see my answer, but here ya go anyways:

    Sixteen ounces of water is far too much. You should do equal parts of water and paste. I usually put just a little bit more than the full can of water and after seasoning, its perfect! May as well have come out of a prego jar!

sauce tomatoes
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