8 Simple Swaps for Diced Tomatoes

Tomatoes are used in so many different types of cuisine. From hearty pasta sauce to fresh and zesty salsa, warming curry, and pots full of chili, you’ll find diced tomatoes used in these dishes and many more. 

But what happens if you realize you’re out of diced tomatoes mid-meal-prep? Fortunately, there are many alternatives that you can swap in for this common ingredient. There’s even a good chance you have one lying in a cupboard now.

So skip the grocery store and check your pantry for one of these simple swaps. I’ll even walk you through when and how to use each one. 

Tastiest Tomato Substitutes

Fresh Tomatoes

tomato back

Fresh tomatoes are delicious, especially in the summertime when they are in season.

Fresh tomatoes are an excellent substitute for diced tomatoes in any dish since they won’t alter the flavor. If anything, the flavor will be more robust and intense.

Since cans of diced tomatoes include tomato juice and chunks of tomato, you’ll want to utilize the juice of the fresh tomato as well. 

2 cups of fresh tomatoes will be the perfect amount to replace one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes. 

Diced tomatoes are typically made from the fleshy end bits of the tomato, which have no seeds or gel. 

Plum and paste tomatoes like San Marzano or Roma tomatoes are the best to replace diced tomatoes since they are the most fleshy. However, whatever kinds of fresh tomatoes you have on hand will work fine. 

Here’s the best way to peel a tomato so you can dice them up and keep on cooking! 

Whole Peeled Tomatoes

blanched and peeled

Like fresh tomatoes, whole peeled tomatoes are another canned option that easily substitutes for diced tomatoes. 

You can either cut each tomato in half to remove the inner gel and seeds or use them whole and dice them as is. 

You may want to reserve and add some of the juice in the can to whatever you’re making since diced tomatoes have a significant amount of liquid.

After dicing the whole peeled tomatoes, you can swap them for diced tomatoes at a 1:1 ratio, adding the leftover tomato juice to adjust your recipe’s texture. 

Crushed Tomatoes

Homemade Crushed Tomato on Frying Pan

Compared to diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes have smaller chunks and are canned in a thick tomato sauce. 

You can substitute crushed tomatoes for diced tomatoes at a 1:1 ratio. 

The flavor would be identical to if you used diced tomatoes. The only difference will be the size of the tomatoes in your dish. 

Crushed tomatoes work great in chili, curry, soups, stews, pasta sauces and bakes.

Tomato Puree

Tomato Puree in a white bowl

Tomato puree is an alternative to diced tomatoes that you can use in a pinch.

Depending on the brand, some tomato purees may not be as flavorful as the diced variety and can contain more liquid. Therefore, you may want to add more seasoning to your dish and adjust the other liquids in the recipe.

This is a good substitute for recipes where tomato chunks are not essential to the dish. 

Start with slightly less tomato puree than you would diced tomatoes, then adjust based on how thick and flavorful the puree is. 

Tomato Paste

tomato paste and fresh tomatoes

Tomato paste is a highly concentrated and flavorful tomato product that is perfect in recipes where you don’t need chunks of tomatoes. 

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste in place of a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes. 

You can either mix the paste directly into your recipe until it disperses or mix it into about 1 cup of water or stock to help it distribute more easily.

Pro-Tip: To save the rest of the tomato paste from a can you’ve opened, scoop tablespoons of the paste onto parchment paper and freeze. Then transfer the frozen dollops of tomato paste to a freezer bag so it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice. 

Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce in a metal bowl

Tomato sauce can substitute for diced tomatoes in the same way that tomato puree would. However, tomato sauce will have more flavor additions, like olive oil, basil, oregano, or garlic. 

Depending on the sauce that you opt for, it may be runnier or thicker, so keep an eye on the texture of your dish and tweak the other liquids accordingly. 

Use about half as much tomato sauce to replace diced tomatoes. And remember to account for the additional flavors and seasonings when putting your recipe together.  

Tomato Soup

tomato soup

You can use tomato soup in place of diced tomatoes in soups, stews, sauces, and other recipes where you don’t need chunks of tomato.

Since tomato soup is often eaten as is, there will be more nuance and seasoning compared to the straightforward fresh flavor of diced tomatoes.

So even if you’re only swapping out a few tablespoons of diced tomatoes for soup, the taste may differ.

(Don’t worry, it’ll still have a delicious tomato-based flavor, but with sweeter notes than diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.)

For each 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, substitute a similar amount of tomato soup. Just remember to decrease the other liquid components of your recipe by ¼ to ½ cup to make up for the extra liquid you’ll get from the soup. 

Tomato Juice

Tomato Juice in a jug and glass

Tomato juice is the thinnest and most liquid substitution on the list. Yet, it still carries a hefty punch of tomato flavor.

Use tomato juice in place of diced tomatoes in hearty recipes where you won’t notice the absence of tomato chunks. It’s especially good in marinades since the high acid content tenderizes meat.

You can feel confident swapping 1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes for 1 tablespoon of tomato juice. 

But, if your recipe calls for more than ½ cup of diced tomatoes, you’ll need to decrease the other liquids in your recipe by about a ¼ to ½ cup to account for the additional liquid. 

Tips For Working With Diced Tomato Substitutes

Aside from using fresh or whole peeled tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes, you’ll want to account for the difference in liquid content and texture.

From crushed tomatoes to tomato juice, the liquid content increases. So, make adjustments to your recipe by decreasing the other liquids so every dish doesn’t turn into soup. 

If you only replace a few tablespoons of diced tomatoes, you probably won’t notice much difference. But if you’re using more than ½ cup of one of the thinner alternatives, you’ll want to leave out about ¼ to ½ cup or so of the other liquids in your recipe. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use tomato sauce in place of diced tomatoes?

Yes, use about half the amount of tomato sauce to replace diced tomatoes since the flavor is more intense. Adjust the other liquids in your dish accordingly to account for the runny texture of tomato sauce.

Can crushed tomatoes be substituted for diced tomatoes?

You can substitute crushed tomatoes for diced tomatoes at a 1:1 ratio.

What can I substitute for a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes?

2 cups of fresh tomatoes will be the perfect amount to replace one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes. 

About the author

Jasmine graduated top of her class from culinary school and has continued cooking and baking ever since. Alongside her passion for food, she is a total bookworm, writer, and editor. You can find her bookish ramblings on her website and bookstagram.