Difference between Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste

Published on November 30, 2016

Spaghetti, Pizza, Lasagna and Ziti Skillet. Mmmm. Aside from every one of these being pleasing to your taste buds, they have one other thing in common: they are tomato-based.

Tomato products, whether in the form of sauce or paste, is an essential ingredient in many recipes for many reasons. Aside from its rich flavor and soft flesh, it is packed with countless health benefits. However, many people—especially those who are still learning how to cook—are puzzled about whether to use tomato paste or sauce. Is there even a difference between the two? If there is, what is it? In this article, we will discuss their uses and differences to clear the confusion.

Definitions

Tomato Sauce vs Tomato Paste
Tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce, also called as Neapolitan Sauce, is made by sauteing onion and pepper in olive oil and then adding pureed or chopped tomatoes and, sometimes, water. It has a thin  consistency which makes it ideal for dishes like spaghetti and lasagna. Depending on one’s preferences, seasonings and herbs may also be added.

Tomato Paste
Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste, on the other hand, has a thicker consistency than tomato sauce. It is made by cooking tomatoes for a long period of time then removing the skin and seeds by straining. The end product is a thick dark red concentrate. Because of its consistency, it does not add liquid to a recipe but adds body and a tomato taste. Its thickness can also acts as a binder. It is commonly used as a base for pizza sauce and tomato soup, in which case it can also be diluted with water. 

Tomato Sauce vs Tomato Paste

We have just discussed the qualities and uses of tomato sauce and tomato paste. What, then, is the difference between them?

Tomato Sauce has a thinner consistency than tomato paste. It is a common ingredient in lasagna and spaghetti. Tomato Paste, on the contrary, is a thick concentrate and should only be used in small amounts due to its powerful flavor.

Comparison Chart

Tomato Sauce Tomato Paste
Has a thin consistency Has a thick consistency
Cooked briefly Cooked for several hours
Can be used in large amounts Used in small amounts