9 Best Ways To Substitute For Stewed Tomatoes

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Last Updated on October 25, 2022 by Toya

Check out these 9 easy ways to substitute for stewed tomatoes in a pinch. Most of these stewed tomato substitutes are easy to find or in your kitchen right now!

Stewed tomatoes are sliced tomatoes that are cooked or stewed in tomato juice with added ingredients like seasonings and herbs and sometimes even green bell peppers.

substitutes for stewed tomatoes

Stewed tomatoes are very handy and are often used to make recipes like ​​shakshuka, or used as a side for chicken and fish or tossed in pasta.

If a recipe calls for stewed tomatoes, it is always best to use them. However, if you don’t have any available, or you simply cannot find them anywhere, there are a few stewed tomato alternatives that can work in a pinch.

What are the best alternatives to stewed tomatoes? 

  • Homemade stewed tomatoes
  • Whole peeled tomatoes
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Strained tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Tomato paste

Easiest ways to substitute for stewed tomatoes in a pinch

Homemade stewed tomatoes

fresh tomatoes

Have some fresh tomatoes on hand plus a little extra time? If so, you can make the best substitute for stewed tomatoes. 

Homemade stewed tomatoes are easy to make and will only take about 10-12 minutes on low-medium heat.

To make homemade stewed tomatoes, dice up about ½ a pound of fresh tomatoes, then place them into a large skillet with a little olive oil. Add about 1 teaspoon of each seasoning – salt, dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, and sugar – stir and cook these down while stirring occasionally for about 10-12 minutes. 

Once done, use these cup for cup to replace store-bought stewed tomatoes. 

Diced tomatoes 

diced tomatoes

Diced tomatoes can also make a great substitute for stewed tomatoes in a pinch. Diced tomatoes are canned chunks of tomatoes in tomato juice.

To make them work in place of stewed tomatoes, pour a can or two of diced tomatoes into a saucepan, then season with your favorite seasonings – salt, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and some sugar – then simmer on low-medium heat for about 7 minutes.

Use a 1:1 substitute here. Meaning, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of stewed tomatoes, replace it with 1 cup of stewed diced tomatoes. 

Whole peeled tomatoes

whole peeled tomatoes

Do you have some whole peeled tomatoes on hand? If you do, they can be used to make some homemade stewed tomatoes too! 

Roughly chop or mash the whole peeled tomatoes with the back of a spoon, add it to a saucepan, and season with 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt, garlic, onion powder, and some olive oil. Cook this down on medium-low heat until some of the juices reduce (about 7 minutes) then use just like you’d used storebought canned stewed tomatoes.

Stewed tomatoes made with whole peeled tomatoes can be used to make minestrone soup, shakshuka, marinara sauce, chicken Tikka Masala, and more!

Also, if you do not want the extra trouble, you can just use these straight from the can.

Fire-roasted tomatoes

fire roasted tomatoes

If you have access to a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, then you have the makings of an excellent stewed tomato substitute. 

Fired roasted tomatoes are diced tomatoes that have been charred over a fire, seasoned with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and some other ingredients, then canned in tomato juice. This type of canned tomato is sweet and mildly smoky but it can be used to make minestrone soup, marinara sauce, shakshuka, Chicken Tikka Masala, and basically, any other recipe that calls for stewed tomatoes!

Crushed tomatoes 

crushed tomatoes

While crushed tomatoes have a different texture, they can be used in place of stewed tomatoes.

Because they’re essentially a mixture of diced tomatoes and tomato puree and sometimes a little salt, they can be used to add tomato flavor to casseroles, pasta sauces, lasagna, minestrone soup, and more in the absence of stewed tomatoes. 

To mimic the flavor of crushed tomatoes more closely, cook down the crushed tomatoes in some sugar, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder and substitute cup for cup.

Tomato sauce

If you can’t find stewed tomatoes, but you can get your hands on tomato sauce, then you have a worthy stewed tomato replacement. 

Tomato sauce is smoother and has no tomato chunks, but it’s already cooked and flavored with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, herbs, and red peppers. 

Use it in place of stewed tomatoes in most dishes including shakshuka, minestrone soup, pasta, casseroles, etc.

Strained tomatoes

strained tomatoes

If you have strained tomatoes, they can also be used in recipes that typically call for stewed tomatoes A few examples are gumbo and marinara sauce.

Tomato puree

tomato puree

Tomato puree is often used in many of the same recipes that call for stewed tomatoes. Therefore, it is an easy replacement for stewed tomatoes in a pinch.

Because tomato puree is smooth, use it in recipes like soups, sauces, casseroles, and other recipes where the texture and taste won’t make or break the dish. 

Tomato paste

Most people have tomato paste, so if you’re one who does, you can use it to replace stewed tomatoes in a select few recipes like a basic marinara sauce for example.

I wouldn’t use it as the sole substitute for stewed tomatoes in recipes like shakshuka, minestrone soup, or even pasta. Instead, I’d pair it with some diced tomatoes, chopped fresh tomatoes, or whole peeled tomatoes for either of these recipes.

Recipes that use stewed tomato substitutes

Gumbo recipe



Marinara sauce

marinara sauce


Lasagna in a bowl recipe

single serve lasagna bowl


Cauliflower jambalaya

cauliflower jambalaya


Beef taco soup

beef taco soup

FAQs about substituting stewed tomatoes

What seasonings are in stewed tomatoes?

Stewed tomatoes are made with ingredients like tomato juice, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and sometimes green peppers.

What is a good substitute for stewed tomatoes in chili?

An excellent substitute for stewed tomatoes in a chili would be whole peeled tomatoes. Grab 2 or 3 out of a can. Slice them up about 5 or 6 times crosswise so they look like stewed tomatoes. Then add these sliced whole tomatoes into your chili cup for cup. No need to stew and season them beforehand since they will pick up all the delicious flavors of the chili recipe once you add them in.

stewed tomatoes

Best Stewed Tomato Substitute: (+More Great Alternatives!)

Check out this simple homemade substitute for stewed tomatoes that you can make in minutes! Also, check out 8 more great alternatives for stewed tomatoes above!


  • 2 1/2 cups (or 1 lb) of freshly chopped tomatoes or a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar, to taste


    1. Roughly chop up the tomatoes
    2. In a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the bell peppers, and cook for 1 minute.
    3. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, including all the juice, some of the seeds, and most of the pulp.
    4. Add the seasonings and sugar, stir to combine, then simmer over low heat for about 9 minutes. or until is cooked to your liking.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: ½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 0.7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 714mgCarbohydrates: 8.6gFiber: 2gSugar: 5.2gProtein: 1.6g

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