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Tomato Sauce vs. Tomato Paste — What’s the Difference?

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Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan by Arpi Gasparyan | Last updated on November 27, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Tomato paste
vs
Tomato sauce

Summary

Tomato paste and tomato sauce are made by cooking tomatoes; however, the water in tomato paste is reduced afterward, making it thicker. On the other hand, tomato sauce has a thinner consistency and a smoother texture. 

Tomato paste naturally has an intense tomato flavor, whereas tomato sauce needs various ingredients to give it a rich flavor.

As for the nutritional profile, tomato paste is denser than tomato sauce and contains more calories, proteins, carbs, and fats. Tomato sauce comprises 91% water, whereas tomato paste comprises 73.5%.

Introduction

In the 16th century, the Spanish explorers brought tomatoes to Europe from Central America, and after some time, the Italians started cultivating and using them in cooking.

Tomato sauce came from Naples and was called Napoli, Napoletana, or Neapolitan sauce. Tomato sauce is any sauce made from tomatoes, but it differs from ketchup; they have different ingredients and sugar contents and are served differently.

In the UK, tomato paste is also known as tomato puree or concentrate, whereas, in the US, tomato paste is simply concentrated tomato solids with no seeds or skin, and tomato purée is its’ thinner version.

Preparation & Consistency

Tomato paste and tomato sauce are made by cooking fresh tomatoes packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The moisture or water content in tomato paste is reduced afterward. 

Tomato paste is concentrated and thicker, whereas tomato sauce has a thinner consistency, a smoother texture, and is a liquid.

Ingredients

The ingredients vary from recipe to recipe. 

Tomato paste naturally has an intense tomato flavor; apart from the tomatoes, it contains olive oil (extra-virgin or regular) and salt. It may also contain lemon juice (or citric acid) and peppers (bell or Italian). 

The ingredients in tomato sauce vary and depend on personal taste. Tomato sauce may contain spices, garlic (or garlic powder), onions (or onion powder), vinegar, butter, olive oil, and herbs like basil and oregano. Baking soda, vinegar, or sugar may be added for a better and more balanced taste.

Uses

Tomato sauce and tomato paste are versatile and can be a substitute for each other. They can also be substituted for tomato soup, 

Tomato sauce can be used as a dip for different munching foods or served with Mexican salsas, meat and vegetables, pasta sauces, pizza, soups, and stews. It is prepared based on the Napoletana style and can be used as a pizza sauce or as a base for arrabbiata or bolognese sauce.

Tomato paste often adds intense flavor to soups, stews, sauces, chili, meatballs, and meatloaf. It can also be used as a base for tomato sauce when diluted with water or broth.

Nutrition

The nutritional values in this article are presented for 100g of canned tomato sauce and tomato paste without added salt. 

Tomato paste is denser in nutrients than tomato sauce and contains more calories, proteins, carbs, and fats. Their nutritional values may change slightly depending on the ingredients used, but the overall nutritional profile will be consistent.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +260%
Contains more Fats +56.7%
Contains more Carbs +256.1%
Contains more Other +46.6%
Contains more Water +24.2%
4% 19% 74% 3%
Protein: 4.32 g
Fats: 0.47 g
Carbs: 18.91 g
Water: 73.5 g
Other: 2.8 g
5% 91% 2%
Protein: 1.2 g
Fats: 0.3 g
Carbs: 5.31 g
Water: 91.28 g
Other: 1.91 g
Contains more Protein +260%
Contains more Fats +56.7%
Contains more Carbs +256.1%
Contains more Other +46.6%
Contains more Water +24.2%

Moisture

Tomato sauce comprises 91% water, whereas tomato paste comprises 73.5%.

Calories

Tomato sauce and paste are considered low-calorie foods. 100g of tomato sauce provides 24 calories, whereas tomato paste provides 82.

Proteins & Fats

Tomato paste contains 3.6 times more proteins than tomato sauce per 100g serving: 4.32g for tomato paste and 1.2g for tomato sauce.

Both are very low in fat, containing less than 0.5g.

Carbohydrates

Tomato paste contains 3.6 times more total carbs per 100g serving. 100g of tomato sauce contains 19g of carbs, whereas tomato sauce contains 5.3g. 

From the total carbs, 3.6g are simple sugars, and 1.5g is dietary fiber in tomato sauce. The same amount of tomato paste contains 12.18g of simple sugars and 4.1g of dietary fiber.

Most carbs in these tomato products are glucose and fructose in similar percentages. Tomato sauce also contains a little sucrose, whereas tomato paste contains some starch, sucrose, and maltose.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Sucrose +328.6%
Contains more Glucose +215.9%
Contains more Fructose +250.3%
Contains more Maltose +∞%
2% 2% 46% 47% 2%
Starch: 0.22 g
Sucrose: 0.3 g
Glucose: 5.75 g
Fructose: 5.85 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0.28 g
Galactose: 0 g
2% 51% 47%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.07 g
Glucose: 1.82 g
Fructose: 1.67 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Sucrose +328.6%
Contains more Glucose +215.9%
Contains more Fructose +250.3%
Contains more Maltose +∞%

Vitamins

Tomato paste is richer in most vitamins and minerals. Tomato sauce is richer only in vitamin B5, whereas tomato paste is richer in other B-complex and fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.

Tomato paste is over 3.5 times richer in vitamins A and K and 3 times richer in vitamins E, C, and B3.

Both are naturally absent in vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +250.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +198.6%
Contains more Vitamin C +212.9%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +150%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +135.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +210.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +120.4%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Choline +288.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +307.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +117.6%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 92% 86% 0% 73% 15% 36% 58% 9% 50% 9% 0% 22% 29%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 27% 29% 0% 24% 6% 15% 19% 19% 23% 7% 0% 6% 7%
Contains more Vitamin A +250.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +198.6%
Contains more Vitamin C +212.9%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +150%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +135.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +210.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +120.4%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Choline +288.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +307.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +117.6%

Minerals

Tomato paste is comparably high in copper, iron, and potassium and is richer in all minerals than tomato sauce. 

Tomato paste is 4 times richer in iron, 3.4 times richer in potassium, and 3 times richer in copper.

Both are low in sodium: tomato paste contains 59mg, whereas tomato sauce contains 11mg. The recommended intake of sodium is less than 2300mg daily.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +157.1%
Contains more Iron +210.4%
Contains more Magnesium +180%
Contains more Phosphorus +207.4%
Contains more Potassium +241.4%
Contains more Zinc +186.4%
Contains more Copper +217.4%
Contains more Manganese +167.3%
Contains more Selenium +783.3%
Contains less Sodium -81.4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 11% 112% 30% 36% 90% 8% 18% 122% 40% 29%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 36% 11% 12% 27% 2% 6% 39% 15% 4%
Contains more Calcium +157.1%
Contains more Iron +210.4%
Contains more Magnesium +180%
Contains more Phosphorus +207.4%
Contains more Potassium +241.4%
Contains more Zinc +186.4%
Contains more Copper +217.4%
Contains more Manganese +167.3%
Contains more Selenium +783.3%
Contains less Sodium -81.4%

Glycemic Index

Tomato sauce has a glycemic index value of 31, which is considered low. The exact glycemic index value of tomato paste is yet to be calculated; however, considering the low glycemic index values of other tomato-based products and tomatoes and its high dietary fiber content, it is likely to fall into the low glycemic index range.

Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: November 27, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Tomato paste vs Tomato sauce infographic
Infographic link

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +52.3%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +32.2%
Contains less Saturated Fat -59%
31% 20% 49%
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.067 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.16 g
20% 21% 59%
Saturated Fat: 0.041 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.044 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.121 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +52.3%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +32.2%
Contains less Saturated Fat -59%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Tomato paste Tomato sauce
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in price Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Tomato paste Tomato sauce Opinion
Net carbs 14.81g 3.81g Tomato paste
Protein 4.32g 1.2g Tomato paste
Fats 0.47g 0.3g Tomato paste
Carbs 18.91g 5.31g Tomato paste
Calories 82kcal 24kcal Tomato paste
Starch 0.22g Tomato paste
Fructose 5.85g 1.67g Tomato paste
Sugar 12.18g 3.56g Tomato sauce
Fiber 4.1g 1.5g Tomato paste
Calcium 36mg 14mg Tomato paste
Iron 2.98mg 0.96mg Tomato paste
Magnesium 42mg 15mg Tomato paste
Phosphorus 83mg 27mg Tomato paste
Potassium 1014mg 297mg Tomato paste
Sodium 59mg 11mg Tomato sauce
Zinc 0.63mg 0.22mg Tomato paste
Copper 0.365mg 0.115mg Tomato paste
Manganese 0.302mg 0.113mg Tomato paste
Selenium 5.3µg 0.6µg Tomato paste
Vitamin A 1525IU 435IU Tomato paste
Vitamin A RAE 76µg 22µg Tomato paste
Vitamin E 4.3mg 1.44mg Tomato paste
Vitamin C 21.9mg 7mg Tomato paste
Vitamin B1 0.06mg 0.024mg Tomato paste
Vitamin B2 0.153mg 0.065mg Tomato paste
Vitamin B3 3.076mg 0.991mg Tomato paste
Vitamin B5 0.142mg 0.309mg Tomato sauce
Vitamin B6 0.216mg 0.098mg Tomato paste
Folate 12µg 9µg Tomato paste
Choline 38.5mg 9.9mg Tomato paste
Vitamin K 11.4µg 2.8µg Tomato paste
Tryptophan 0.031mg 0.009mg Tomato paste
Threonine 0.133mg 0.037mg Tomato paste
Isoleucine 0.089mg 0.025mg Tomato paste
Leucine 0.124mg 0.034mg Tomato paste
Lysine 0.134mg 0.037mg Tomato paste
Methionine 0.027mg 0.008mg Tomato paste
Phenylalanine 0.13mg 0.036mg Tomato paste
Valine 0.088mg 0.025mg Tomato paste
Histidine 0.071mg 0.02mg Tomato paste
Saturated Fat 0.1g 0.041g Tomato sauce
Monounsaturated Fat 0.067g 0.044g Tomato paste
Polyunsaturated fat 0.16g 0.121g Tomato paste

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Tomato paste Tomato sauce
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
37%
Tomato paste
14%
Tomato sauce
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
49%
Tomato paste
15%
Tomato sauce

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is lower in Sugar (difference - 8.62g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce contains less Sodium (difference - 48mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.059g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is lower in glycemic index (difference - 14)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Tomato paste
Tomato paste is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Tomato paste
Tomato paste is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Tomato paste - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170459/nutrients
  2. Tomato sauce - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169074/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.