The 7 Best Substitutes for Tomato Paste in Beef Stew

Beef stew is one of those classic comfort foods that everyone loves.

But what happens when you don’t have tomato paste on hand?

Fortunately, there are several substitutes for tomato paste that can be used to add flavor and thickness to beef stew.

From pureed tomatoes to ketchup and even Worcestershire sauce, here are 7 of the best substitutes for tomato paste in beef stew.

Read Also: 25 Irresistible Beef Stew Toppings for Ultimate Comfort

Why Is Tomato Paste Used in Beef Stew?

Beef Stew

Tomato paste is a common ingredient in beef stew recipes due to its unique flavor and ability to thicken the stew.

The rich and concentrated flavor of tomato paste adds a depth of flavor to the stew that can’t be achieved with any other ingredient.

The thickening property of tomato paste helps to bind the other ingredients together, creating a thick and flavorful stew.

Additionally, tomato paste is a great source of umami flavor, which is a savory flavor that enhances the overall flavor of the stew.

The 7 Best Substitutes for Tomato Paste in Beef Stew

Tomato paste adds a unique flavor to beef stew that can’t be duplicated by other ingredients.

However, if you don’t have access to tomato paste or want to try something different, there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Here are seven great substitutes for tomato paste in beef stew:

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce is a thick, smooth, and flavorful sauce made from crushed tomatoes, spices, and sometimes other ingredients like onions and garlic.

It is commonly used as a base for pasta dishes, pizzas, and casseroles.

In terms of using it as a substitute for tomato paste in beef stew, it can work as an alternative and offer a slightly sweeter taste, since it is thicker and sweeter than canned tomatoes.

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To use it, you can dilute it with a little water or beef broth to achieve a consistency similar to that of tomato paste.

A good ratio to use is 1:1, meaning one part of tomato sauce to one part of water or broth.

Keep in mind that when using tomato sauce, you might want to adjust the seasonings in the recipe, as tomato sauce already contains some spices.

Additionally, you could use less quantity of tomato sauce than the recipe calls for tomato paste, as tomato sauce is generally sweeter and thicker than tomato paste, this way you can still adjust the taste and texture to your liking.


Ketchup is a popular condiment made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and spices. It can add both a sweet and tangy flavor.

The vinegar will also help to tenderize the meat, while the sugar helps to sweeten the stew.

Ketchup is also a great source of umami flavor, which is the savory taste associated with many dishes.

Additionally, ketchup is thick and tomato-based, so it can help to add body and texture to the stew.

Lastly, because it’s already seasoned, it can help to reduce the amount of additional herbs and spices needed to enhance the flavor of the stew.

Tomato puree

Tomato puree is a thick paste made from cooked tomatoes that have been strained to remove the seeds and skins.

It contains a high concentration of tomato solids, which are responsible for the intense flavor of tomato puree.

Tomato puree is a great replacement for tomato paste in beef stew because it adds a more intense tomato flavor.

It also helps to thicken the stew and can be used to add a more complex flavor profile when combined with other ingredients such as herbs and spices.

Additionally, tomato puree is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Lycopene and Beta Carotene, which are all beneficial to overall health.

Crushed tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes are simply whole tomatoes that have been cooked and crushed into a thick tomato sauce.

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The advantage of using crushed tomatoes is that they provide a similar flavor as tomato paste, but are more economical.

They also contain more nutrients than tomato paste, such as vitamins A, C, and E.

Additionally, crushed tomatoes are a great way to add a little extra flavor to a beef stew without having to buy tomato paste.

They are also much easier to use than tomato paste since they are already in a sauce form.

All you need to do is add them to the stew and let them simmer with the other ingredients.

Tomato juice

Tomato juice is a liquid made from stewed tomatoes and is a popular beverage and an ingredient in many sauces, soups, and other dishes.

It is also a great substitute for tomato paste when making beef stew. Tomato juice is a good replacement because it contains similar acids and sugars as tomato paste, and it can help to thicken the stew.

It also adds a flavour boost and a pleasant reddish hue to the stew. Furthermore, tomato juice has a high vitamin C content and also contains vitamins A, B6, folate, and potassium.

Because of this, it can help to increase the overall nutritional value of the stew. Finally, tomato juice is readily available in supermarkets, making it an easy and accessible replacement for tomato paste.

Red wine

Red wine is a type of fermented alcoholic beverage made from grapes.

It’s known for its unique flavor and complexity, and is often used in cooking to enhance the flavor of a dish.

Red wine is a great substitution for tomato paste in beef stew because it adds deep, robust, and earthy flavors that complement the stew’s other ingredients.

Red wine also adds a strong, deep color to the stew, making it look even more appetizing.

In addition, the acidity of the red wine helps to break down the beef, making it more tender.

Lastly, red wine adds a depth of flavor to the stew that tomato paste simply can’t.

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Beef broth

Beef broth is a savory liquid made from simmering beef bones and vegetables in water. It is a great ingredient for adding flavor to many dishes, and it is a great replacement for tomato paste in beef stew.

The beef broth adds a rich, beefy flavor to the stew that tomato paste cannot. It is also an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it a healthier and more nutritious alternative than tomato paste.

Additionally, beef broth helps to keep the stew moist, which makes it easier to enjoy. The flavor of the beef broth intensifies and becomes more complex as the stew cooks, so it is a great choice for beef stews that need to simmer for a while.

Using beef broth instead of tomato paste is an easy way to add flavor to your stew without having to buy tomato paste.


In conclusion, tomato paste is a common ingredient in beef stew recipes, but it’s not always available or suitable for everyone’s dietary needs.

By knowing the best substitutes for tomato paste in beef stew, you can still enjoy this delicious dish even if you don’t have tomato paste on hand.

The substitutes include tomato sauce, ketchup, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, red wine and beef broth, each with a different flavor profile and usage instructions.

Experiment with different substitutes to find the one that works best for you and your taste buds.

Remember that it’s always best to start with small amounts and adjust to taste.

Happy cooking!

Beef Stew

7 Substitutes for Tomato Paste in Beef Stew

What if you're out of tomato paste but don't want to sacrifice flavor in your beef stew? Don't worry – I've got you covered! In this article, I'm sharing 7 substitutes that you can use in place of tomato paste in your beef stew.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 37 kcal


  • Tomato sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Tomato puree
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato juice
  • Red wine
  • Beef broth


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.