Skip navigation
View Our Other Brands
Joseph Gleason Oct 3, 2023 10:49 AM

Understanding the Difference between Tomato Sauce, Tomato Puree, and Tomato Paste

You’re walking up and down the aisles of your favorite grocery store to get some ingredients for a new recipe. The list says you need one can of tomato sauce, one can of tomato paste and one can of tomato puree. Surely, you don’t need three different kinds of tomato products, right? They all come from the same fruit, so they can’t be that different, right? Wrong. 

Not to worry! Your friends at Red Gold Tomatoes are here to help you out! To put your mind at ease, we’ll delve into the differences between tomato sauce, tomato puree, and tomato paste, their uses in cooking, and we’ll also present a few delicious recipes. From this point on, you’ll have clarity on tomato sauce vs. tomato puree vs. tomato paste and you will not only know which one to choose – you’ll also impress your family and friends with your deep knowledge of tomatoes!


Tomato Sauce: Definition and Uses

Tomato sauce is a mild, fairly thin, versatile sauce made from lightly concentrated fresh tomatoes or tomato paste and water.  Tomato sauce is seasoned with salt, onion powder and garlic powder, although you can also choose a no salt added (NSA) sauce as well.  Sometimes green bell pepper is added as well. Tomato sauce is smooth and does not have seeds or tomato skins in the sauce.   

Tomato sauce can be used on everything from pasta to your favorite chili recipe with our Chili Ready flavored sauce. It’s great for many other dishes, like chicken cacciatore, eggplant parmesan, meatball subs, and so much more. 

Tomato Sauce Recipe

If you need a comforting dish perfect for a family gathering, a potluck, or simply a weeknight supper, check out a great tomato sauce recipe that’s sure to delight, our Baked Spaghetti! It’s a savory dish that you can enjoy with ground beef or Italian sausage, melted mozzarella, parmesan and other tasty ingredients, topped off with Red Gold Tomato Sauce, always made with the freshest, family farm-grown tomatoes. 


Tomato Puree: Definition and Uses

Tomato puree (prounouced pyr-ay) is thicker than tomato sauce, but much thinner than tomato paste.  It is made from concentrated tomatoes with no seasoning at all, not even salt and is void of seeds and skins.  It is the perfect choice when you want to start with rich, thick tomato flavor and add the seasonings for your recipe yourself.  It will add wonderful flavor to tomato-based soups, sauce and gravies and can be used as a base for hot sauce and salsa.  

Tomato Puree Recipe

For a great tomato puree recipe that’s sure to please your guests, check out our Black Bean Chili recipe. You simply place the ingredients in your slow cooker and let the flavors combine into this delightful dish that is packed with beans, onions, canned tomatoes, and ground beef.


Tomato Paste: Definition and Uses

Tomato paste is made from fresh, red ripe tomatoes that have been highly concentrated.  The seeds and skins have been removed.   Tomato paste is cooked for a longer period of time than tomato sauce and tomato puree, giving it a sweeter flavor profile. Tomato paste is great for thickening tomato-based soups, stews, and sauces.  For many recipes, tomato paste is used in small amounts and adds a sweet and savory flavor to dishes. You can also add depth and complexity to certain dishes with flavored paste options such as Roasted Garlic or Sweet Basil

Tomato Paste Recipe

If you’re looking for that perfect Sunday night sauce for your family dinner, check out our Authentic Italian Gravy recipe. Red Gold Tomato paste helps make this gravy authentic, with fresh ingredients, Italian spices and tomatoes all working together to create an unforgettable gravy. 


Tomato Sauce vs. Tomato Puree vs. Tomato Paste: Key Differences

Now that we’ve looked at all three of these tomato-based products, here are the key differences between these delicious dinner-crowd pleasers:

Flavor and Texture

Tomato sauce is thinner than both tomato puree and tomato paste and it is seasoned.   Tomato puree provides a rich tomato taste in a thick sauce with no seasonings whatsoever.   Tomato paste has the thickest texture and consistency of all three and is used to add a savory, cooked brown note to your dishes.

Cooking Applications

Tomato sauce is ready to use with pasta, chili, and other tomato based or topped meals. Tomato puree is ready to season yourself, but it is already nice and thick and will not have to be cooked down. Tomato paste is a great option to thicken up sauces and gravies. 

Shelf Life and Storage

Canned, unopened tomato sauce, puree and tomato paste, stored properly, can last for 18-24 months.


For more than eight decades, family owned Red Gold Tomatoes has insisted that only the best quality and freshest tomatoes make it into our tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tomato puree. Grown on 35 Midwest farms and picked at the height of freshness, our tomatoes are bursting with color, firmness and flavor, and we’re proud to be the first brand to offer Non-GMO Project Verified Ingredients and Non-BPA/BPS lined cans so your tomatoes taste fresh off the vine. We never need to use any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives because our patented Steam Packed Fresh process ensures our tomatoes are preserved using only heat. So, whether you need tomato sauce for your pasta, tomato paste for your gravy, or tomato puree for your pork roast recipe, Red Gold makes all of them with the freshest, most delicious tomatoes available!

Take the Red Gold Challenge Today!

Red Gold Tomato stands by its promise of unmatched quality. It is one thing to check all of the boxes, but another to deliver on quality each time you open a can. See for yourself by taking the Red Gold Challenge! You won’t be surprised when Red Gold Tomatoes far exceeds all competitors in color, size, and texture!


The the Red Gold Tomatoes Challenge


< Back to Blog