can i use tomato soup instead of tomato sauce

You might ask, can I use tomato soup instead of tomato sauce?

You had a stressful day filled with multiple work projects, dropping off and picking up your kids from school, and attending a late-night class.

On top of that, you have to make dinner. How about spaghetti and meatballs? You reach for a jar of tomato sauce only to discover you’re out of marinara.

Does this sound familiar?

When you want to avoid a trip to the grocery store, you tend to use whatever’s stocked in your pantry or fridge to replace the missing ingredient.

We’re here to answer that question and guide you through the proper methods to follow when swapping out these two tomato-based products.

You can substitute tomato soup instead of tomato sauce, but only in certain recipes. They have different flavors and textures so be mindful of the ingredients when you swap them out.

Tomato Soup vs. Tomato Sauce

tomato soup and tomato paste

Tomato sauce is a popular ingredient used in our favorite recipes. It’s made by cooking, chopping, and pureeing tomatoes with various herbs and spices for a unique flavor.

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You can use tomato sauce as a base or complement other elements of certain dishes.

The flavor adds sweetness and acidity that pairs wonderfully with different seasonings.

The good news is that if you forgot to snag a jar of sauce, there are a few substitutions.

You can use tomato soup as a replacement, seeing that tomato sauce often works as the foundation for soup.

Tomato soup isn’t used as often as some of us would like. But, it’s a good alternative to tomato sauce.

The biggest challenge is to make sure that the consistency is perfect. You can choose brands with rich notes that will bring more punch to your dish.

Note:  You can buy sauces with different ingredients like red wine, cheese, sausage, onions, or sharp red peppers for extra pizzazz. 

Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

make tomato sauce

Of course, you could always make tomato sauce.

It’s quick and easy, and you can store it in the freezer for months if you don’t use all of it for the specific dish you crave tonight.

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Step #1: Remove the Skin and Seeds.

No one likes chewy skin or pesky seeds in their sauce! After taking off the skin and peeling out the slimy seeds, place the tomatoes into a large saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

Step #2: Add Any Seasonings You’d Like.

The choice is yours, but if you want to enunciate the Italian flavor, opt for garlic, basil, or bay leaf.

Step #3: Bring the Mixture to a Boil.

Once the sauce is bubbling, lower the heat and let it simmer. Reduce the sauce by half or until the desired consistency.

Remove from the heat and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Note: If you cut an “X” gently into the tomato and blanche it, the skin will peel off easily!

Other Recommended Substitutions

other subsititutions

Oh, no! You don’t have tomato sauce or soup! What else can you substitute? The best options are tomato paste or canned tomatoes.

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Combine the tomato paste with water to thin it down. Then add olive oil, herbs, and garlic and cook until soft or heated thoroughly.

The tomato paste will enhance your meal, achieving that recognizable tangy tomato flavor and texture.

On the other hand, canned tomatoes work well after draining them and tossing them for a ride in the blender.

They tend to be wetter, so drain the excess liquid before cooking. Similarly, add seasonings like oregano or spices like black pepper.

The color will be darker and thicker.

Note: You can use ketchup in certain recipes as a last resort.

So, Can I Use Tomato Soup Instead of Tomato Sauce?

tomato sauce instead tomato paste

Yes, you can! And no? You can’t?

Tomato soup does have a similar consistency to tomato sauce and plenty of flavors.

But, it largely depends on what you’re cooking. You can achieve satisfactory results in a crockpot recipe by using soup instead of sauce, especially if you make a casserole.

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Can I use tomato soup instead of tomato sauce for spaghetti?

Tomato soup is best when you need a touch of tomato flavoring, but pasta dishes won’t work as well unless they’re baked.

Consider that tomato soup is sweeter, so frequently taste test to ensure you like it.

Add a clove of garlic, a touch of salt, or other extra flavors as needed to strengthen the soup’s flavor.

Also, tomato soup has a base of broth or cream alongside the pureed tomatoes and seasonings. What does this mean?

Despite its runny texture, tomato soup combines well with protein, such as poultry or fish. Tomato soup doesn’t contain a ton of fat, so you can enjoy it regularly.

Note: You could also opt for condensed tomato soup for a more concentrated flavor.

Considerations To Keep In Mind

considerations keep in mind

The majority of the time, sauces complement the protein or appetizer, enhancing or bringing the flavor out.

On the flip side, you can eat soups alone. Therefore, you need to consider the right ingredient amount when interchanging soups for sauces.

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Soups can lack savory seasoning. Tomato soup will give your dish a different consistency and taste.

Using tomato soup in place of sauce will generally make your dish runnier, sweeter, and creamier than anticipated.

Tip: Taste your recipe often, and season to taste to avoid any unexpected surprises.

Use the Right Amounts

Factor in how much liquid the recipe requires as well. You have to cut down on the wet ingredients when using soup for sauce.

right amount

For example, if the recipe calls for the addition of another liquid, such as broth, water, or cream, reduce the amount of that liquid slightly to account for the extra liquid in the soup.

Maybe you have a little bit of each, leftover tomato soup and sauce. Adding them together could help achieve a perfect balance.

Can I use tomato soup instead of tomato sauce in chili?

Feel free to swap them out but remember that tomato soup doesn’t replicate the same flavor as tomato sauce.

It isn’t the ideal substitution, but you can use it in a bind.

Taste and Texture

Overall, there’s little difference between the two apart from taste and texture.

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a taste and texture

If you’re smart about the flavor, seasonings, and viscosity, you should be able to successfully make a scrumptious dinner in a pinch.

Note: Keep in mind the following recommendations when subbing soup for sauce.
  • A single 10-oz tomato soup can = about a single cup of tomato sauce
  • Remove ¼ cup of the liquid from the recipe ingredients for every 10-ounce can of tomato soup used

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we’ll talk about a few common inquiries regarding tomato soup and sauce.

questions about tomato soup

What Is the Difference between Tomato Soup and Tomato Sauce?

While tomato soup and tomato sauce are similar products, you can’t always use them interchangeably.

It heavily depends on the other ingredients and how you will serve your dish.

Tomato sauce is thick, like salsa, while tomato soup flows smoothly.

Their colors also tend to vary, with the sauce being a bright red and the soup being softer in tone and nearly pink due to the added broth or milk.

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Is Tomato Puree the Same as Tomato Sauce?

Tomato puree is a mixture made with cooked, strained tomatoes. It’s slightly thicker than tomato sauce with a more developed flavor.

Additionally, tomato sauce is often seasoned, whereas tomato puree is not.

Before You Go

This is why the question, “Can I use tomato soup instead of tomato sauce?” comes up so often.

In short, tomato soup can replace tomato sauce but only for certain recipes.

Tomato products such as tomato soup and tomato sauce are essentials for any home chef.

Remember to keep proportions in mind so your dish doesn’t come out too liquidy or sweet. If you have other tomato products lying around, consider those before resorting to tomato soup.

Hopefully, you learned something about these tomato products and can confidently head into the kitchen to make a delicious dinner!