Analyzing Tomato Puree Vs. Sauce

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Tomato Puree Vs. Sauce, Both are yummy items used in almost different cuisines and even in daily meals. As both are made using tomatoes, they seem to be quite similar and are consequently used interchangeably in the kitchen.

It is true that both of them are prepared using cooked and sieved tomatoes. However, they both are different items or ingredients to choose. When it comes to tomato puree vs. sauce, the differences exist in terms of flavor and consistency that also affect your choice while cooking a recipe.

When you precisely know the difference between the two tomato-based items, you know clearly which of the two should be used in which types of recipes.

Tomato Puree Vs. Tomato Sauce: Meaning

Tomato sauce is a sauce prepared using tomatoes. To be specific, it is typically made by cooking tomato puree in spices, veggies, and herbs such as garlic, chilies, basil, oregano, and onions. Even salt is put for conserving tomatoes. The choice of herbs and spices depends upon the desired flavor to be produced.

Unlike the puree, the sauce is thin and is made up of the aforementioned ingredients. However, tomato puree is made using cooked tomatoes and salt that is optional. You can quickly find readymade pouches and jars of tomato sauce in different flavors.

On the other hand, tomato puree has a thick consistency and is made from cooked tomatoes that are cooked, pressed, and sieved to discard peels and seeds. If you buy it canned, it usually lacks the acidic flavor and bright color of tomatoes.

Related: Tomato Puree Substitute

However, an authentic tomato puree is bright and thick, which adds body and hue to recipes such as stews and sauces. It hardly gives a distinct tomato flavor.

Tomato Puree Vs. Sauce: Consumption

The manner in which the sauce and puree are consumed also differ a bit. In case of tomato sauce, because it is cooked already, it is generally heated again before usage.  This is a common practice for usage in pizza or pasta. In some cases, the cooks also prefer to add some more spices or herbs to make the sauce spicier or make the existing flavor more distinct than usual.

On the other hand, tomato puree needs to be cooked prior to using it. This is because it is typically the base of recipes in which it is used, such as sauces. Many cooks prefer adding some spices or herbs later in the cooking phase, as the puree is generally not flavored.

Tomato Puree Vs. Sauce: Taste

Tomato sauce usually contains some herbs and/or spices. Thus, its flavor or taste is quite different than that of plain tomato puree. Depending on the cook’s preferences, usually, parsley, chives, oregano, and/or basil are present in tomato sauce to give an exotic flavor. If chili is added in any form, the sauce becomes spicy.

Related: Marinara vs. Tomato Sauce

On the other hand, the flavor of tomato puree is like ripened tomatoes, which in simple words means a mix of sour and sweet. Its flavor is deeper than that of the sauce.


Differences in tomato sauce and puree exist in terms of consistency, taste, consumption, and cooking process as well as ingredients.

See also: Tomato Paste Substitute